Letter from the Editor

This year, the 50th anniversary of the first Boston Pride, is a particularly challenging one for the community. We started the year planning for Pride to be a grand celebration of half a century of organizing and demonstrating for LGBTQ rights, and to have the Guide center and honor the historical people and events that built Boston Pride. 

The pandemic derailed our celebratory plans, making it unsafe for our flagship events, which bring together large swaths of the community, to move forward in their traditional form. The Boston Pride Committee quickly rallied to develop virtual events, to ensure that our flag would still be raised above City Hall, that we could uphold our traditional honoring of those lost to AIDS, another devastating pandemic, that the community would still have outlets to express their pride. 

As people began sheltering in place, we adjusted the focus of the Guide to focus on our new reality and examine the impacts of the pandemic on queer people. This online-only issue of the Guide addresses the health disparities facing queer people in this country, which are only amplified in our current situation, and presents methods for achieving mindfulness and managing mental health challenges. In this issue, we see how queer people are coping with the pandemic, from the impact it is having on queer immigrants, to the work Rhode Island Pride did to ensure food access within their community, to the creation of an international “Global Pride” celebration. 

The pandemic has helped to highlight the importance of community and the arts. These values come together in the photospread featuring nonbinary New Englanders. Expanding upon the artistic tradition of the Guide, this issue features paintings and drawings by local artists, each of whom invites the community to understand the meaning behind, and inspiration for, their piece. This issue also features another form of art, inviting readers to expand their cooking repertoire with two Caribbean-inspired dishes from a local chef.

Each year, the cover of the Guide is designed by a local artist to reflect the year’s Boston Pride theme. This year, we brought back the artist who designed our beautiful 2019 cover, Noah Grigni, to draw a cover reflecting the ways in which the queer community is dealing with the pandemic. Noah created an excellent mock-up of a cover that was to feature grassroots organizers continuing their work in quarantine.

And then a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, demonstrating that, even in a quarantine, Black people are not safe from the violence enacted upon them by our country’s white supremacist systems. While we were all sheltering in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Black people were unable to avoid the brutal results of a more insidious pandemic that has long infected our society: racism. Literally overnight, Noah designed a new cover to emphasize that #BlackLivesMatter and to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters not only standing up against this most recent injustice, but also working to dismantle the systems of oppression that induced the murder of George Floyd. 

The climate in which this Guide is being released is far from the festive 50th anniversary celebration envisioned months ago. But, as in previous years, this issue reflects the realities and experiences of members of Boston’s LGBTQ community. I hope that the 2021 Guide can include your voice as well; accordingly, I invite anyone with story or art ideas to e-mail me at editor@bostonpride.org.

Boston Pride has postponed the 50th anniversary celebration to 2021. I look forward to coming together on the Commons next year. In the meantime, we need to draw upon our rich heritage of taking to the streets, organizing, and demonstrating in support of all of our community members who suffer injustice and violence due to bias and discrimination.

Jessie DeStefano's signature in pink

Jessie DeStefano