Reverend Irene Monroe has penned an article in the new issue of Boston Spirit Magazine, “Why Shut Down Boston Pride?” (I’d love to include a link but at the time I wrote this Boston Spirit’s website still didn’t have the article online. How is that even possible? But I digress.)
The well written article starts back in June 2020 when Boston Pride hired two consultants to help them address the growing chorus of criticism that Linda DeMarco (President) and the Boston Pride Board was too secretive, inhospitable to new ideas or suggestions, and increasingly tone deaf – especially to the trans and non-white LGBTQ+ members of our community. For many, Boston Pride’s mishandling of and the resulting tepid response to the murder of George Floyd had become a tipping point.
The goal of engaging the consultants was to help Boston Pride transform – empowering and engaging different members of the community as well as to help refocus and reaffirm Pride’s commitment to all of Boston’s LGBTQ community. What happened instead was the President of Boston Pride and the Board unilaterally stepped down and abruptly dissolved the organization. The work, the relationships and the fifty years of history associated with the organization was essentially deleted, leaving many in the community (yours truly included) wondering W-T-F?
Rev. Monroe wrote, “As our community reels from the shock of Boston Pride disbanding, questions remain unanswered around the organization’s finances.” I hate to think like that but it would be naive not to recognize how much money Boston Pride must have recieved in corporate sponsorships. But thus far Linda DeMarco and the Board have remained tightlipped, unwilling to talk to anyone, including Rev. Monroe.
The last response Rev. Monroe received from DeMarco was a few weeks ago via email where she said, “it has been a difficult time with closing down Boston Pride and all that goes with it, but we did it for the betterment of our community and for the future of our leaders.” I find that response difficult to take at face value. I know that Linda and the Boston Pride members have dedicated many hours to helping grow Boston Pride with the hope that they can empower and give voice to the LGBTQ community, but this last chapter of Boston Pride leaves a bitter taste and seems foul.
It doesn’t seem like any one voice or direction has emerged from the ashes thus far. Time will tell what will happen as members of Boston’s LGBTQ community come together, but I can say that in light of the news that has come out about Boston Pride since its dissolution, it is hard for me to miss the organization.