An overview of RI Pride

17 Mar

RI Pride is the driving force behind the gay scene in tiny little Rhode Island. While RI Pride (RIP) has been around a long time it has never grown stagnant, and has developed into an organization which has advocated on behalf of the LGBTQI community as well as provided a plethora of entertaining and educational resources open to anyone who desires to make use of them. This is a far cry from the Pride organizations of many states, which is why RIP is considered one of the finest organizations of it’s kind nationwide.

While many people are aware that Rhode Island is one of the most gay friendly states in the country, what that don’t realize is that is in large part the product of efforts by RIP. Whereas many places will host a Gay Pride parade, or maybe have a gay Pride weekend, thanks to RIP Pride is a year round event. They organize socials, art gallery viewings, dinners, the Triple Crown Pageant, and so many various events that they is quite literally something to do every week.

Social events are all well and good, but it is he stance of promoting equality in all regards and educational/support initiatives that really make RIP an important part of the community. Each week groups like YPI which is their youth initiative to provide support and education for young people whom are gay and having difficulties understanding their sexuality. Most weeks these meetings are “peer only”, but they do host special events in which specific areas of concern like faith, safe sex, and the law in regards to homosexuality may be addressed and are open to friends and family as well. What makes YPI work so well is it’s consistency, it is on a regular date in a known location, not a “whenever, wherever” situation.

Furthermore RIP serves as an educational resource for the community as a whole. Whether it be a school or business, RIP is available to insure that any organization which desires diversity training will get it. This has been invaluable as so many people have benefited from this by finally feeling like the work in a non-hostile environment. Another aspect of this is the scheduled discussions which are pen to the community which address issues of concern to the gay community and educate all in attendance as to why they should be important to them as well.They also offer the basics like HIV testing programs and initiatives, as well as business networking opportunities.

RIP sets the lead others follow. RIP recently made the public proclamation that in it’s annual Triple Crown pageant which crowns Mr. Gay R.I., Ms. Gay R.I., and Ms. Lesbian R.I., there is no exclusion based on gender. Simply put a transgender person that lives full time as woman, even if they possess male genitalia may run for the title of Ms. lesbian if that is how they identify them self in daily life, and the same applies to the Mr. Gay as well. This was groundbreaking, and while it ruffled some feathers, it set the precedent that RIP understands the transgender community and recognizes their right to be who they are as fully as possible. Of course it also keeps them in line with state law.

On a final note, RIP is something for everyone and fully inclusive for the entirety of the LGBTQI community. Nary a soul in need of assistance will be turned away based on sexual or gender identification, religion, race, age, health status, or any reason whatsoever. RIP may get headlines for the parade or the movie festivals they sponsor, but it is all the behind the scenes work often ignored by the mainstream media which makes them an integral and vital part of Rhode Island.

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