Main | Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DC Pride To Be Run By Religious Group?

In what's being described as a first for the country, a non-profit group affliated with the Presbyterian Church is one of three organizations competing to take over Washington DC's Capital Pride, which puts on that city's gay pride events every year. The Whitman-Walker Clinic is the current controllig organization of Capital Pride.

From Lou Chibbaro in the Washington Blade:
The Southwest Renaissance Development Corporation, which Westminster Presbyterian Church created to spur economic development in low-income neighborhoods, joined the D.C. GLBT Community Center and a newly formed entity called Capital Pride Alliance in submitting competing proposals on Dec. 11 to Whitman-Walker to obtain the rights to produce the annual Pride events.

Whitman-Walker announced on Oct. 11 that it was “exploring options” to withdraw from its role as the producing agent and primary financial underwriter of Capital Pride. Chief executive officer Don Blanchon said the change would allow the Clinic to focus more on its “core mission” of providing health care services to the GLBT community and people with HIV and AIDS.

ReGina Newkirk, Whitman-Walker’s director of development and community relations, said this week that the Clinic will consider the proposals submitted by the three groups to determine whether a “successful transition” for Capital Pride was possible in the near future.

She said the Clinic is committed to retaining its role as chief fiscal agent and producer of Capital Pride for 2008 and 2009 if Clinic officials determine that a replacement group was not yet capable of producing and operating the Capital Pride events before that time.

Asked if the Clinic might relinquish control of Capital Pride before 2009, Newkirk said, “It could if it would allow for a successful transition, and again, the key word being successful.”

In 1983, Westminster became the first Presbyterian Church in the Washington area to openly minister to the gay and lesbian community, and the gay-friendly church boasts of being the founder of Food & Friends, D.C.’s highly acclaimed AIDS service organization.

If Whitman-Walker selects Southwest Renaissance Development Corporation to take over Capital Pride, it would mark the first known time that a religious-oriented entity would serve as the head of a Gay Pride festival and parade in a major U.S. city.

Opinions? Can even a very gay-friendly church properly administer a major Pride event like Washington DC's? I'm encouraged by their successful operation of Food & Friends, but sometimes people don't realize the staggering logistics of an event that draws hundreds of thousands of people.

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