Boise Pride Won't Go Dark
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We consider it a core focus of our organization to create a welcoming, vibrant, and colorful (figuratively and literally) Pride Festival every year for our valued community of LGBTQ+ friends and family, and our allies.
That is why we are disappointed to share with you that this year, counter to several years of tradition, our plans to light the Idaho State Capitol building in rainbow colors are being blocked by local government officials.
The Department of Administration refused our request after three years of cooperation, quoting “attempts to keep Idaho’s Statehouse a dignified symbol of the state,” an offensive disregard for the impact Pride has for the community.
They continued, "it was decided to eliminate colored lighting altogether and be consistent in applying the policy.” Despite having allowed Boise State University, autism awareness, and various breast cancer groups to utilize it for this purpose in the past. We share with these organizations a commonality of being a local cause and nonprofit community institution and should be treated no differently.
What may seem a small symbolic act actually stands as one of the most recognizable and anticipated aspects of Boise Pride. Nearly all publications (print and digital) referencing 2018’s festival chose a photo of the Idaho capitol lit up in rainbows as their feature image. The scene stretches far down Capitol Boulevard at night and demonstrates the community’s support throughout the weekend’s festivities.
This action sets us back and signals unwelcome feelings to the LGBTQ+ community. On our 30th Anniversary, and in light of exponential growth in attendance year after year, this about-face is timely in all the wrong ways.
Including Boise’s, the earliest Pride Festivals were very much protests that demonstrated, in public and in bright, powerful colors, that the queer community was here to stay. 2019 is the 30th Anniversary of Boise Pride’s inception, which began with a tiny parade of masked participants, to protect their identity and ensure safety. This year, the celebration will include fireworks and our biggest entertainment lineup yet, which is projected to draw 75,000 community members and allies.
2019 is also the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the beginning of what is widely known as the gay liberation movement.
The irony of this timing, in light of Boise’s and national progress in LGBTQ+ acceptance and visibility, is this action taken on behalf of the state of Idaho. We know our community wants better, and they deserve better.
We are asking for support in this time from the community that has supported us for so many years. We feel that putting pressure on this office is critical to show that Pride, in ways big and small, will not back down, and this will not set precedent for the future.
Please consider signing this petition and distributing it to friends and family.
For our community and our sponsors, Boise Pride’s 30th Anniversary will be everything and more of the exuberance, positivity, and rainbows we promise year after year.
About Boise Pride
Founded in 1989 Boise Pride Festival is set to celebrate its 30th Anniversary this year. Exceptional support from our community has made the festival a stand-out LGBTQ celebration. We strive to promote unity and celebrate the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, engaging the Boise community year round.
We are thrilled to share our most exciting main stage Pride lineup ever to celebrate our 30th anniversary, which coincides with 50 years after the Stonewall Riots. 2019 is a truly historic moment for the past, present, and future of the LGBTQ movement. It’s another year of fabulous headliners, awesome local talent, and, of course, a parade and festival in the park made for showing your colors.
We’re also closing out the mainstage Friday night with a fireworks show to light up the Capitol in rainbows - bigger and brighter than ever.
Boise Pride Fest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based out of Boise, Idaho.
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