Southington residents planning town’s first gay pride week this spring



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SOUTHINGTON — Local members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual community are working to plan a pride week this spring that will include raising a rainbow flag in front of Town Hall, painting a rainbow crosswalk on Apple Alley and youth events at Camp Sloper.

It’s the first such event in town planned for late May and early June.

“It’s truly revolutionary,” said David Falvo, a Republican Board of Education member and member of the gay community. He’s also on the pride committee that’s planning events.

“Our main goal was to come together as a town and celebrate pride,” said Alicia Novi, a committee member who described herself as bisexual. Novi is also chairwoman of the Zoning Board of Appeals and a Democrat. “I’ve heard so many people say, ‘I’ve waited so long for this, I can’t believe it’s happening.’”

Flag raising and more

Novi and others had tried to get a pride event started last year but those efforts were shut down by the pandemic. This year, she’d hoped to have a flag raising but as more people added ideas for things such as events and panels, the planned pride week expanded.

“We started off wanting one event and ended up doing two weeks,” Novi said.

She worked with Town Manager Mark Sciota for the flag raising and was pleasantly surprised that they’d be able to a do a larger gathering than initially expected. Novi said it may still be live streamed to allow people to view the flag raising virtually.

Novi and committee members have also talked with youth at Southington High School’s Gay/Straight Alliance about what they’d like to see in a pride week.

Pride event at Camp Sloper

While many of the details are still being finalized by the committee, Novi said it will likely start on May 22nd with a family event at the YMCA’s Camp Sloper that will include a drag queen story hour, a rainbow flag march around the lake and workshops for parents.

Mark Pooler, YMCA executive director, said pride committee members are running the event at Camp Sloper but that he was meeting with pride week leaders to learn how the YMCA could be involved in other events.

“We’re supportive of it,” Pooler said. “We want to make sure we’re being inclusive of everybody… We want everyone to feel like they belong at the YMCA.”

Pooler said the pride week committee has been very active in planning.

“They’ve got some good energy and good momentum,” he said.

Pride passport, food drive

Novi said committee members are also working with Center Street restaurants to create a pride week passport for diners who can turn in their completed passports for a raffle. She’s also hoping that restaurants will offer specials during pride week.

The pride week group is also working with Bread For Life, a local soup kitchen, on a food drive and drag queen event.

While a parade is often a part of gay and lesbian celebrations in other towns and cities, Novi said that wasn’t going to happen in 2021. Many of the pride committee’s plans have contingencies in case pandemic restrictions are further tightened this spring.

“We’d love to have a parade, but this is not the year for a parade,” Novi said. “We’re making the most of it.”

Resolution on gay and lesbian contributions

Earlier this month, the Town Council unanimously approved a resolution about the upcoming pride week and the contributions of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. Falvo wrote the resolution.

Falvo said other towns such as West Hartford have downtown pride events and was glad to see Southington beginning to start its own.

“There are a lot of LGBTQIA members in the community,” he said, using an acronym encompassing a number of non-heterosexual preferences and gender expressions. “They deserve to be recognized and they deserve to be celebrated for their contributions to the community.”

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ



"I’ve heard so many people say, ‘I’ve waited so long for this, I can’t believe it’s happening"

-Alicia Novi
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