LGBT organization Sisters PGH will conduct an independent celebration immediately following the main event.
Organizers of Pittsburgh Pride have made some people angry in choosing to rename their celebration after a corporate sponsor which has had anti-LGBT political views in the past.
The Delta Foundation has organized Pittsburgh Pride for nearly a decade. This year, the celebration will undergo a name change from Pittsburgh Pride Parade to EQT Equality March.
Equitable Gas (EQT) is the corporate sponsor this year, a company whose political views and environmental choices have come under fire from both the public and green watchdogs.
Corporations do sponsor Pride celebrations, but they don’t usually require that their name be front and center, un-nesting the word Pride in lieu of branding.
Some criticisms have nothing to do with this year’s Pittsburg Pride taking place on June 11. The company has also come under fire for their fracking practices.
Despite those environmental practices, the community is perhaps more concerned with their history against LGBT equality.
In 2016, EQT donated $10,000 to Bill Shuster (R), a state representative who blamed “a handful of activist judges” for the failure of the Defense of Marriage Act.
That same year EQT also gave money to Republican congressman Tim Murphy, a politician who was for allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees.
The EQT Equality March, nee Pittsburgh Pride Parade, will now fracture into two events thanks to LGBT organization Sisters PGH who are organizing a protest march on the same day called “The People’s Pride.”
“Pride has historically been about resisting,” Ciora Thomas told the Pittsburgh City Paper. “It’s about bringing visibility to a marginalized community. That’s the history of Pride. We’re trying to carry on that legacy.”
Two years ago, The Delta Foundation ruffled feathers in the community after booking the volatile singer Iggy Azalea who went on a homophobic rant in the world of Twitter.
What’s more, Azalea’s paycheck was more than Delta had ever donated to the LGBT community. Nick Jonas eventually took over as headliner that year.
Some people feel that Pittsburgh Pride is selling-out; sacrificing the spirit of Pride for cash.
Instead of the community celebrating their plight and accomplishments, it has now become just one big expensive corporate PR party.
“The people we serve are still suffering,” Sister PGH wrote on the Pittsburgh People’s Pride Facebook page, “[They’re] looking for a permanent solution to oppression and hardship, only to be exploited time and time again by corporations and organizations that do not have our best interests in mind and that do not put their profits back into the communities they harm.”
Since local non-profits have already paid to participate in the main event, People’s Pride will be held immediately afterward so they do not lose any money.