In April 2021, when Southington was gearing up for its first-ever collection of events celebrating Southington Pride, an editorial in this space lauded “how it is all coming together.”
“It can serve as a model for other municipalities to follow and we hope other towns will,” it concluded. “Celebrating diversity and inclusiveness makes a pretty good party, after all.”
This year, Southington Pride events expanded, and Pride celebrations can be found nearly everywhere you look. In Wallingford, students in the Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Lyman Hall High School organized a Pride rally at Johanna Manfreda Fishbein Park. The idea, as the Record-Journal reported, is to build inclusivity. The three-hour event included art and poetry contests, music and a drag performance.
“It’s important for people who don’t identify as queer (see) that we are here and we’re proud of who we are,” said Kaiya Bryant, a Lyman Hall senior who is president of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club.
Not everyone is on board, of course. The acceptance and inclusivity that are key goals of Pride efforts remain goals that are not yet fully realized. The Pride event in Southington prompted pushback from some town residents.
One of the aims of the Lyman Hall initiative was to respond to students who don’t recognize the importance of Pride month.
“It’s important for students especially to learn more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community and what they can do in the community,” said Fae McNamee, secretary of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club.
The club’s efforts at Lyman Hall can be viewed as a microcosm of efforts taking place on a wider scale. The club is a focal point for acceptance and understanding. “If you go into any classroom in this school, you will see information saying this is a welcoming place — the club has been very successful,” said Vincent Testa, a faculty adviser who is also a Wallingford town councilor.
A “party with a purpose” is how Pride has been described. There have been a lot of good parties going on, and we hope they continue.