Bronx Pride festivities are returning with a combination of in-person and virtual events for locals during Pride month.
To kick off the festivities, musician James Teal performed on June 2 during the borough’s Pride concert series at Roberto Clemente Plaza in the South Bronx. Meanwhile, on the first day of Pride, officials brought back their annual in-person Rainbow Flag-raising ceremony after hosting a small socially distanced and live-streamed event last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, buildings throughout the Bronx began to light up in rainbow colors in honor of the queer and trans community.
Organizers of the 1 Bronx Pride festival, which includes the Third Avenue Business Improvement District, the office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and others, say this year’s event will be smaller than usual — but more expansive than last year. Before the onset of the pandemic, Bronx Pride organizers saw some of their most significant numbers in 2019, with more than 75,000 attendees and revenue that surpassed more than $1 million dollars in day-of economic activity, according to the 2021 Bronx Pride guide.
Additionally, on June 5, the Haus of Us is hosting a “Block Party Mini Ball” from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Alexander Avenue between Bruckner Boulevard and 134 Street in the Bronx. The event will feature legendary ballroom DJ Byrell The Great and MC Thunda Juicy Couture. Individuals seeking to walk in the balls have a chance to win up to $500 in cash prizes.
Two days later, the South Bronx LGBTQ+ Impact Coalition is unveiling a virtual workshop to discuss race and equity in the LGBTQ community. Plus, a small Pride street festival will commence on June 12 at Alexander Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, though that event does not have an official start time just yet.
On June 16, Destination Tomorrow, a Bronx LGBT Center, is collaborating with City Councilmember Vanessa Gibson for a Pride award ceremony honoring LGBTQ leaders.
Destination Tomorrow will lead the Bronx LGBT Expo on June 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The first part of the day will feature a panel of speakers, music from DJ Mimi, local vendors, service agencies, and others, while the evening event will feature Harmonica Sunbeam and DJ Mike Cruz for a drag show, a mini ball, comedy, food, craft vendors, and more. COVID vaccinations and HIV testing will also be available on-site.
Sean Coleman, the executive director of Destination Tomorrow, who has led the organization for more than a decade, accused the organizers of 1 Bronx Pride of undermining his organization’s role in local Pride events.
“This is one more way to erase the voices of Black and Brown LGBTQ folks, particularly trans and gender-non-conforming folks,” Coleman told Gay City News. “As the only LGBTQ center in the Bronx, one would assume that anything that would be Pride focused would at the very least include the leadership and partnership of Destination Tomorrow — for that not to happen and for it to be so blatant — is bothersome. It feels like this is another attempt to co-op a movement that started with Black and Brown trans people.”
The Bronx Pride Festival, meanwhile, will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 19 at 139th Street between Brook Avenue and Willis Avenue. Glitteratie and Jonathan Fernandez will be hosts of the event, while the House of Miyake Mugler and Sweet Sensation will perform live.
Pride organizers are also paying homage to the late Jose Ramon, the founder of the Bronx LGBT Expo, and the White Shirt Project, an organization that brings attention to mental health issues. Jose, a 54-year-old activist, died in March after suffering from ALS, according to the Bronx Times.
Attendees can find the 2021 guide to Bronx Pride here.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include Pride events led by Destination Tomorrow and a quote from that organization’s executive director, Sean Coleman.
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