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February 03, 2017

Philly gay pride event: We're not canceling for D.C. march

Organizers of the Philly Gay Pride weekend celebration this summer have no intention of canceling their annual event because of a planned march on Washington, D.C. for LGBTQ rights that falls on the same date.

In a statement on its website and a follow-up post on Facebook, Philly Pride Presents said that there was no way to change the date of its June festivities, which run from Friday, June 9, to Sunday, June 11.

The National Pride March is scheduled to take place in the nation's capital on June 11. It was organized by a 42-year-old Brooklyn man named David Bruinooge, 42, who told the Huffington Post he created a Facebook page for the event after being inspired by the Women’s Marches that took place shortly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

OPINION: Philly should suspend Gay Pride this year

The Facebook event for Bruinooge's event has more than 100,000 RSVPs, and the event has teamed up with the local pride organization to collaborate with an LGBTQ festival also already scheduled for that weekend.

Philly Pride said in a statement Wednesday that the march threatens to significantly cut the attendance of its festivities that weekend, the proceeds of which are used to fund other events, like OutFest in October.

"This event was proposed by a single individual without consultation with local Pride organizations, many of which have their events that weekend," the statement read, claiming that the D.C. pride group has a clear incentive to join forces with the recently planned march since it is likely to increase attendance at its weekend activities.

"Make no mistake about it, this event was spontaneously scheduled without any due consideration of those of us who work so hard to keep our local voices heard," the statement read.

On Monday, PhillyVoice columnist Natalie Hope McDonald wrote that Philly Pride should suspend its June celebration, noting that Philly Pride operator Frannie Price had already asked the city's LGBTQ community on Facebook to petition the D.C. march.

McDonald argued that because Trump's administration had signaled intentions to roll back LGBTQ rights, the D.C. march had a much larger meaning than the annual June festival.

"So for the sake of LGBT rights nationwide, let’s think bigger than Philly, bigger than Penn’s Landing, and let’s pitch in to help the dedicated, hard-working people of Philly Pride Presents reimagine its role anew this year," McDonald wrote.

"Let’s offer to find ways to get even the most economically disenfranchised among us a ticket to march for their pride, for their rights."

But on Thursday, Philly Pride reiterated on Facebook that it would not alter its plans, despite many people contacting organizers about that possibility.

"Yes, all Pride groups support the concept of a National Pride March, and we have suggested a variety of alternate dates for same wherein we can partner to make the National March much more successful," the post read. "No, it is simply impossible for us (and other gay pride organizations) to change long existing dates."