InterPride comes to San Diego to discuss LGBTQ+ issues confronting communities across the globe
It was a festive atmosphere in the lobby of the Westin Gaslamp hotel Thursday, as delegates representing 139 Pride organizations from all corners of the globe gathered.
It’s the first time that InterPride, shorthand for "International Pride," was held in San Diego in 40 years.
The event included breakout sessions on everything from living with HIV, to queer art and activism.
Delegate Mickey Heller, a retired lawyer with Brooklyn Pride, helped to lead a discussion dubbed the “seniors caucus” in an upstairs conference room. He cited "the value of interacting with so many people not just from around the country, but (from) around the world — to see what’s going on and see how we participate, because we really are one community."
One community that’s largely dominated by younger people — but as everyone in the caucus room could tell you, LGBTQ+ seniors have issues they need addressed. Sometimes they’re the same issues faced by straight seniors, but sometimes not.
“We were talking here today about some who are able to go into senior communities where they still don’t want to come out of the closet, because they’re afraid of what might happen. Things have changed a lot over the years, but those fears are still instilled into many of us," said Heller.
Down in the lobby, there were informal meetings all around. Among the crowd was Fernando Lopez, the executive director of the host organization, San Diego Pride. San Diego Pride is the founder of InterPride, and Lopez was feeling proud.
“I know that folks think, 'Oh, you put on a parade and a party once a year.' But we really do year-round education and advocacy work and 100 events a year, so this couldn’t be more perfect," Lopez said.
Lopez said the work InterPride does is particularly important as LGBTQ+ people and organizations face increasing threats in this country and around the world.
“This is gonna take an international network of resolve and commitment that we are gonna be relentless in fighting this new onslaught of attacks that’s happening across the globe," Lopez said.
The work, and the social gatherings, continue through Sunday. Then these 381 delegates from around the U.S. and 31 other countries will head home, with new ideas and new energy to continue the struggle for rights and equality for the LGBTQ+ community.