On June 28 of 1970, New York’s Central Park hosted the nation’s first Pride parade. In the 48 years since, there have been a myriad of events throughout the country recognizing LGBTQ folks of all colors, shapes, sizes, and identities. Acknowledging this diversity within the community is imperative. Without it, the unique issues that affect such a multifarious population could go untouched.
This year, Denver’s PrideFest and beyond will host a number of events led by women and in celebration of women in the queer community.
Created to “break away from typical PrideFest form,” the Denver Dyke March and Rally will celebrate its ninth year. Festivities will take place Saturday, June 16. The event has always tried to offer an inclusive environment, and this year will be no different.
While the event has been held at Denver’s Blush & Blu in the past, the rally/march will move to Colorado’s State Capitol this year. Jenn Vaughn, the event’s organizer, emphasized that the organization will continue to work with the bar, but needed a more accessible venue. The event is free and open to all ages.
“Lost Voices, Missed Faces” will focus on speakers from both underserved and underrepresented communities. The Capitol’s West Steps will play host, and the event will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Through their theme and call to action, the organization spotlights the importance of visibility.
Visibility is a versatile tool. It has the power to inspire the acceptance and ownership of identity. After altering the way we see ourselves, it can then change the way we view the world and our place in it.
Babes Around Denver (BAD) has been connecting queer woman in the community for almost two decades. Dede Frain created the organization in hopes to fill the queer women’s venue void in Denver. Beyond “providing social and recreational opportunities for the lesbian community,” (their First Friday is the longest-running monthly women’s party in the nation) they partner with local charities and nonprofits in the metro area.
BAD has been a supporter of Denver’s PrideFest for many years, and the organization’s contributions have designated it the official women’s party. Past themes include “Neverland: Lost Girls” and “Stargayzer.” Frain said that 2017’s party brought out 1,900 people.
This year the theme will be Paparazzi and will take place Friday, June 15, at Tracks.
“Basically it will be decorated like a (Hollywood) studio lot,” Frain said. There will be a room set up to look like an Italian restaurant from a mob movie. She dubbed another room “toon town” and said the VIP tables will be made to look like starlet dressing rooms.
The party will run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission will be $10 before 10 p.m. and $12 following. The event is strictly 21 and up.
As for the PrideFest downtown festivities, you can find plenty of women representing on the event’s center stage. Most notably, Crystal Waters will be performing on Sunday June 17 at 3 p.m. Her 2017 release, “Testify,” hit number 10 on the iTunes Dance Chart.
Supporting women-led events, as well as their leaders, is important. Not only does it encourage other woman to follow their dreams, it also creates a safe space to come together and make plans and moves that change the world—or to just dance the night away.
Denver’s PrideFest events offer the women of the city a chance to see themselves reflected in the community. While the Women’s Pride Party and Dyke March and Rally were created to support and celebrate LGBTQ women and issues, they both stress how important it is to have allies in attendance, too.
As the Denver Dyke March and Rally call to action declares, they want to see everyone represented.
“Self-identified dykes, femmes, butches, queers (with cheers), studs, stems, AGs, lesbian and other feminists, tomboys, womyn of color, bi-dykes, boi-dykes, trans folks of all flavors, labia lovers, supporters of any and all types… WE WANT YOU!”