New England’s largest LGBTQ+ Pride parade will return in June for the first time since 2019 under the leadership of a new organization that stepped up after the previous organizer dissolved amid a bitter controversy over transgender and racial inclusion.
Pride Month’s signature parade and festival will be held June 10 on Boston Common and at City Hall Plaza, according to the newly formed Boston Pride For The People. Other activities are planned for the preceding week and throughout the month, the organization said Thursday.
The local LGBTQ+ community praised the return of the Pride celebration as a welcome boost at a time when gay and transgender rights are under assault in states across the country.
“People really missed Pride these last few years,” Arline Isaacson, a cochair of the Massachusetts GLBTQ Political Caucus, said in an interview. “And it’s not just LGBTQ people who missed it, but it’s also our friends, our allies, our families, and actually the city missed it. It’s such a huge part of the culture of Boston, and even New England.”
Adrianna Boulin, president of Boston Pride For The People, said the organization hopes to reunite people after years of division and isolation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is “time for a unified Pride for everyone to enjoy,” Boulin, who is also director of community impact and engagement for Fenway Health, said in a statement Thursday.
“The pandemic kept us apart for a long time. Now, all of us are eager to reconnect, embrace each other as a community, and most importantly have fun,” she said.
The previous organizer, Boston Pride, dissolved in the summer of 2021, about a year after the group faced criticism for its response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
During that time, Pride leadership rejected a statement drafted by its own communications team and instead released a watered-down version without consulting its Black Pride subcommittee members. About 80 percent of Boston Pride’s volunteers quit in protest, the Globe reported.
Critics and activists called for a turnover in leadership but the group chose to shut down.
Casey Dooley, the former chair of Boston Black Pride and cochair of accessibility for Boston Pride, was an outspoken critic of Boston Pride and the former parade.
Now she is a founding member of Boston Pride For The People and supports the group’s leadership and governance.
“With Adrianna as the president, I am very confident that they will put on an incredibly diverse, community-engaged Pride,” Dooley said. “Under the old Boston Pride, it was very secretive. The board didn’t . . . engage the community, as well as their committee members, on major decisions, whereas this new board is very community-focused and there has been a very wide range of discussion and community engagement to get to this point.”
The new group said its members have worked over the past year to “ensure that input on the Pride events included a broad chorus of voices.”
Jo Trigilio, a board member who was on the communications team in the group’s former iteration and helped craft the statement on Floyd that was rejected, said the new group aims to “produce a Pride celebration that centers the rich diversity, culture, and intersectionality of our city’s LGBTQ+ community.”
“To do that, we need to be intentional about ensuring that people who are often marginalized feel welcome and valued,” Trigilio said in the statement.
The group is calling for volunteers and donations to support the upcoming parade. People interested in getting involved can visit bostonprideforthepeople.org for more information.
Gary Daffin, a board member with Boston Pride For The People, said the group is hoping to raise about $750,000 to minimize the cost of registration for community groups and businesses, particularly LGBTQ+ and Black-owned businesses.
“Our intent this year is to center the people of the community, in the parade and at the festival,” Daffin said in the statement.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said she is looking forward to the return of the celebration, which has also historically been a boon for local businesses.
“Boston has a long history of advancing LGBTQ+ equality, and I’m so grateful to Boston Pride For The People to keep this legacy going and ensure the success of this year’s events,” she said.
City Council President Ed Flynn said he is “delighted” the parade will return.
“The Pride parade has always brought our city together to celebrate our LGBTQ+ communities, our diversity, and the dignity of all people,” Flynn said in a statement.
LGBTQ+ advocates said they are similarly optimistic about the celebration’s future.
“We’re very excited and looking forward to seeing what they do,” Linda DeMarco, a former president of the Boston Pride board, said Thursday. “We’re happy that Pride will be back in Boston. We wish them the best of luck.”
At GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, executive director Janson Wu said the organization looks forward to participating in this year’s festivities.
“We are grateful to the members of the organizing committee who are putting in the dedicated effort and attention to bring a fully inclusive and community-focused Pride to Boston,” Wu said in a statement.
“Especially at a time when LGBTQ+ people and especially young transgender people are facing so many attacks around the country, having a Pride in Boston that truly represents and celebrates everyone in our community is a cause for excitement and hope,” Wu said.
Tonya Alanez of the Globe staff contributed to this report.