Pride at 39

By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  June 1, 2009

Unity at Sea Boat Cruise
Boat parties have their drawbacks: potential seasickness, total lack of an escape (unless you're an Olympic-grade swimmer) should an ex-lover show up, high probability that you'll get a sunburn confined non-adorably to your nose, forehead, and shoulders. Still, SNL's Lonely Island dudes might have a point when they say — quite eloquently — "Fuck land. I'm on a boat, motherfucker." In that spirit, Kristen Porter's Dyke Night Productions — in collaboration with a plethora of other Boston-based event groups — will host a Unity at Sea sunset boat cruise on Sunday, June 7, from 3:30 to 7 pm. The 100-foot boat will feature two full bars and a dance floor, with boat-dancin' tunes provided by DJ Kristin Korpos (who also spins Pride Week's Jamaica Plain block party each year). "Pride is one of the funnest weeks to DJ," says Korpos. "Everyone's just so into celebrating. It's like Christmas or Hanukkah — everyone's just so happy. To be gay."

King and Queen of Boston Pride Pageant
"It's like senior prom, when you pick the queen or king," says Wilfred Labiosa, who organized this year's first-ever King and Queen of Boston Pride Pageant, which will take place Thursday, June 11, at the Estate (One Boylston Place, Boston). Make that senior-prom-meets–Miss America (talent and eveningwear portions included), with a huge helping of Pride Week–style open-mindedness, diversity, and role-reversing — there's a swimwear category for the men, for example, but not for the ladies. "The theme [of Pride Week] is transforming our community, so we wanted to develop an event in accordance with theme," says Labiosa, co-founder of Somos Latin@s LGBT Coalition of Massachusetts and Latino Pride Week, who has been organizing pageants since 1997, when he created one to promote HIV awareness. The contestants in this year's pageant, he says, "can be male or female, transgender or not, they can be gay or lesbian" — the "king" and "queen" titles will be used loosely. Winners will ride past their adoring fans during the Pride Week parade (June 13, beginning at noon).

Optionz Diversity Pride Party
"I always walked around the parade, but I never went to the parties. It just felt like a reminder that we were in the minority," says Adaora Asala, founder of Queer Women of Color and Friends Boston (QWOC+), who first hosted a dance party called Optionz three years ago, in response to her quandary. This year is the second time Optionz will be an official Pride Week event, hosted by QWOC+ and MadFemmePride. It'll take place Thursday, June 11, at Umbria (295 Franklin Street, Boston). "It was a grassroots initiative to put on an event that increases visibility for people of color, and for anyone who identifies as an 'other,' " Asala says, adding that Optionz is a party that's open to anyone who'd like to attend. "It's more of a mingling thing, and less of a club gathering, where people show up and the music is really loud. It's a warmer gathering than a night out at a club." Pride Week first-timers are especially encouraged to attend: "We want people to show up at Optionz as their first Pride event to feel welcome, which is why we have a welcome wagon of greeters at the door. It's a great place to make connections."

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