Inland groups advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are ringing in Pride Month not by celebrating with a parade, but by hosting social gatherings and forums to help bridge the LGBT community and its supporters.
It’s what they aim to do year round, advocates say.
“I think for our organization, it’s mostly to not only serve the community but build strong community relationships,” said Angie Balderas, outreach coordinator for the Inland Region Equality Network.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, May 30, signed a proclamation declaring June as Pride Month for the state.
“California has been a leader in advancing the civil rights of its LGBT citizens. And while further progress is needed, it is important to recognize and celebrate the substantial gains that have been achieved,” Brown said in the declaration.
Pride Month has been typically celebrated with parades in major cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Long Beach. This year, some Pride parades across the nation are taking a different turn, given the political climate under President Donald Trump. Los Angeles, for example, is hosting a “Resist March” on Sunday, June 11 on Hollywood and Highland.
“Instead of a Pride Parade meant to celebrate our past progress, we are going to march to ensure all our futures,” organizers said in a statement. … We are going to march in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity.”
In the Inland area, there are no Pride parades or festivals outside of Palm Springs and Coachella. Palm Springs on June 11 is hosting its Equality March for Unity and Pride, while Coachella held its first Pride Festival in May.
However, a number of groups are working to increase the visibility of the LGBT community across the Inland Empire. LGBT advocates have attributed the lack of LGBT awareness to a lack of financial resources in the Inland area.
“There’s not much going on for the LGBTQ community out here,” Balderas said.
Balderas said the role of the Equality Network is to do “whatever we can do to help the LGBTQ community stay visible.”
That’s why the nonprofit group is hosting “The Mix” on Saturday, June 17, at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino to network and distribute resources available for the LGBT community and supporters. The group is aiming to attract a large college youth population. Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes, D-Grand Terrace, San Bernardino school board member Abigail Medina, and Highland councilman Jesus Chavez are among scheduled speakers.
Balderas said the Equality Network hopes to plan a Pride celebration next year.
Other LGBT events are taking place across the Inland area.
The San Bernardino-based Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance is hosting a day of action Monday, June 12, to honor the victims of the 2016 mass shooting inside the Pulse nightclub, a gay bar frequented by LGBT people of color. The I.E. Trans Project is also hosting social meetups for the transgender community throughout the month.
For Megan Rush, program coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center at UC Riverside, the LGBT community should be acknowledged on a daily basis.
This Pride month, Rush said it’s important to focus on “resisting the current (Trump) administration.”
“People who work in this field are resisting every day,” she said. “I appreciate the fact we have it (but) … Every month should be Pride month.”