Boston Pride announces it will shut down after criticism it was racist, insufficiently supportive of BLM

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Boston Pride is the organization that has organized the largest annual pride parade in New England. Today the group announced that it was shutting down all operations in response to demands from activists who accused the group of being racist and exclusive. Here’s a portion of the group’s statement about the decision:

Over the past year, we have invested time and energy to address the concerns of the community, both with our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access work with Dorrington & Saunders and by forming the Transformation Advisory Committee comprised of members of the LGBTQIA+ community to help bring change to our organization. We are grateful for all who have been involved in this process.

It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. There will be no further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization.

This year’s parade was put off until October because of concerns about the pandemic so it’s not clear that any event will be possible this year, which would have marked the group’s 50th anniversary.

The Boston Globe reports on the conflict that led to the group’s decision to dissolve itself:

In recent years, Boston Pride has been criticized by some in the LGBTQ community who say it has forgotten its activist mission and become commercialized by corporate sponsors, many of whom don’t share their other social justice concerns.

The long-simmering conflict boiled over last summer, after protests erupted nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Pride board rejected a statement drafted by its own communications team and issued a watered-down version without consulting its Black Pride subcommittee members.

The group never really recovered from that one statement it issued last June, which was criticized not so much for what it said as what was removed from it before it was published. That led to most of the group’s volunteers issuing a demand that the entire board resign.

“We wrote in that statement, ‘We stand with Black Lives Matter. We stand against police brutality,'” says Casey Dooley, the former chair of Boston Black Pride. “The communications team then gave that letter to the board. The board then proceeded to take out Black Lives Matter and police brutality.”

The public reaction to Boston Pride’s revised statement was so negative that the organization postponed the majority of its June events and issued an apology. “Events over the past week have led the Boston Pride Board to examine itself and acknowledge that it needs to do more as a social justice organization to take substantive action to better address racism and white privilege within Boston Pride, the LGBTQ+ community and society at large,” the organization wrote.

Following the backlash, members of Boston Pride’s Black and Latinx committees met with the board and presented a letter and a list of demands. “We explained how, if they would not resign, that we would be resigning ourselves,” Dooley says. “So over 80% of the volunteer force ended up resigning because the board came back and basically said…they won’t be stepping down.”

Once the volunteers resigned, they set up a rival pride group and called for a boycott of Boston Pride. Former volunteers claimed it wasn’t just the altered statement but said the group had other problems including a history of micro and macroaggressions:

According to sources, volunteers have experienced racial micro and macroaggressions while working with board members of Boston Pride. Dooley recalls one particularly upsetting incident involving a head wrap she wore to a meeting. “A board member proceeded to argue with me on why wearing a head wrap wasn’t normal and why I had it on,” she says. “The conversation was so uncomfortable that another board member and a committee member had to step in.”

So there you have it. A pretty significant pride organization has been canceled (or pushed into self-canceling) by complaints of racism and insufficient support for Black Lives Matter (and insufficient criticism of police). People on the left who still think they’ll be spared the woke inquisition because they’re progressives in good standing should look on this and reconsider.

Finally, some of the comments on the Boston Globe story are worth noting:

Makes me sick. Rather than work to improve things, let’s just call it a day. And to the protestors who just just spew and whine but don’t do anything, I hope you’re happy. You’ve just destroyed one of the most benevolent, progressive, and positive gay organizations in New England. What are you going to do to fill that void? You’ve hurt the community as a whole. How are you going to mend that hurt? As a gay man, I don’t know who to be angrier with, Pride for giving up, or those who protested it. PROTESTORS: REMEMBER, IT’S UNITED WE STAND.

It just makes me sick.

And one more:

Pure progressive activism finally took down a target. To everyone’s surprise, it’s Boston Pride.

This person is being sarcastic obviously. It’s only a surprise if you haven’t been paying attention since at least the campus takeover at Evergreen State College in 2017.