‘Clash of Values’: Why a Boycott Is Brewing Over Pride Celebrations

Housing Works, an advocacy group focused on H.I.V./AIDS and homelessness, is supporting the protest march and handling its finances. Charles King, chief executive of Housing Works, said his group had grown frustrated with the Pride March and the priority given to corporate floats. Smaller groups like his are put toward the back, he said, and sometimes finish the route after dark.

“It’s all about the money, and that’s what we find offensive — the corporatization of our lives,” he said.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Democrat who represents parts of Lower Manhattan and who in 1991 became the first openly gay person elected to the State Legislature, said that after marching in about 40 Pride Marches, she intended to march only in the Queer Liberation parade this year.

Ms. Glick said she felt “more comfortable in a march that is going back to basics.”

“What now feels like a very canned’’ parade, she added, “doesn’t speak to my heart in the way that the early, more countercultural energy did.”

Mark Segal, a journalist and a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, which helped organize the first march, said they might have accepted corporate support in 1970. “If we could have gotten a sponsor we probably would have,” he said, “but no corporation in America would touch us.”

Mr. Segal said he saw the merit of the Reclaim Pride Coalition seeking a more streamlined political demonstration. But he said the Pride March is “all about visibility” in delivering a message of equality to millions, even if it has “mobilized more people interested in entertainment than politics.”

Regarding the coalition’s decision to hold a competing march, he said, “It would be nice if we had a united front, but they’re making their statement.”


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