Pride is Here!

Jeff Freedman. Photo by Chad Isaiah.

Pride is Here! Pride is Here! I say this every year. June is my most favorite month of the year. Being old(er) I have been fortunate to have seen the evolution of Pride. I can remember the few dozen people showing up for a Pride March, to hundreds, to thousands, and now hundreds of thousands for a Pittsburgh Pride Day Celebration. This growth and visibility is something that we’ve fought hard to achieve. I can sometimes get lost in the energy of Pride. You can’t deny that participating in Pride is a life experience. I like to refer to it as “Feel the Rainbow”! We’ve grown into this celebration and we deserve it. It’s our day to celebrate! I hope to see you there! #FeelThePride

We must remember that this is an election year. PLEASE not only get out and vote but help get your friends out to vote as well. I don’t have to remind anyone that we are in a battleground state. Each and every vote counts here in Pennsylvania. Please don’t forget to check your voter registration. Many times, people move and don’t update their address. Make sure that your voter registration matches your current address. Easier still, you can sign up to vote by mail. Once again, please check to see that you are signed up for a mail-in ballot. Don’t be like me and sit and wait for the ballot to arrive only to find out that even though you thought you signed up for it you didn’t (but you swear you did). These are simple things that you can do to ensure that our voices are heard. Together we can do this. Together we HAVE to do this. VOTE ON November 5! #VoteVoteVote

A HUGE thank you to the Pittsburgh Pride Group for making Pride happen. Pittsburgh Pride remains a free event. In my opinion, every Pride celebration should be an admission free event. We should never force anyone to pay to celebrate ourselves. How horrible is it to be turned away from Pride because you “couldn’t afford it.” On a day that we are there to feel good about ourselves why turn it into a day of rejection? We here in Pittsburgh are committed to keeping it a free event but we also have to be realistic and remember that Pride isn’t free to produce. I would like to ask everyone out there to please visit PittsburghPride.com and donate what you can. Donate for yourself and more importantly donate for the someone else out there that could really benefit from not only seeing but participating in their first Pride. How about becoming a sponsor of Pride? Activate your company or your organization to partner with Pride if not this year then next. Let’s make this happen Pittsburgh! Let’s keep this incredible event free to the public. #KeepPrideFree

Pride Month also starts a new chapter in my life. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve left the corporate world. For those of us that have built our lives on that corporate ladder and achievements it’s sad to end that journey. Let’s not call this a retirement though. I still have my community service part of my life to devote more time to which includes QBurgh. Stay tuned to QBurgh for further updates. #CommuntyWins

Lastly, did I mention that this was an election year and to VOTE?!!

Together in Pride,
Jeff Freedman

Jeff Freedman (he/him) is a Pittsburgh native and is in his fourth decade of volunteerism for the LGBTQ Community.  Jeff is one of the founding members of the Steel City Softball League in 1981 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ Community ever since.  Jeff is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for LGBTQ Affairs.  He is a past Chair of the Pittsburgh Pride celebrations (’05-’07) and current Pittsburgh Pride March & Parade Co-Chair.  You would recognize him by his voice.  He was the loud one on the megaphone lining up all the March & Parade participants.  Jeff has a lot of great stories to tell and looks forward to sharing the printable ones with the QBurgh Community.