PROVINCETOWN – Who doesn’t love a good sashay?
After a Pride rally on the steps of City Hall, a pride-loving group of townspeople and visitors marched down Commercial Street to the Boat Slip and Tea Room at 161 Commercial St.
On Saturday, Provincetown Business Guild hosted the 5th Annual Pride and Sashay Gathering.
Those in attendance included State Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, City Manager Alex Morse, Board Chairman David Abramson, Board Member Leslie Sandberg and Associate Director of Business Guild Trevor Pittingery, most of whom spoke to the crowd.
On the steps of City Hall, Peake welcomed visitors to the “cradle of American freedom.” Provincetown was the first stop in the New World for pilgrims on their journey to religious freedom.
Pride and Privilege
The guest speaker was Muhammad Burhan who spoke about the grave perils of growing up non-binary in Muslim Pakistan.
13 countries where being gay is legally punishable by death
According to a 2019 article in USA Today, homosexual acts are illegal in Pakistan. The country’s Penal Code states that “carnal intercourse against nature” – which can mean homosexuality, even if it is not explicitly mentioned – is punishable by a fine and/or a prison term of two years in perpetuity.
Burhan recently traveled to Pakistan to continue his social media activism, creating content around gay pride and transgender visibility.
After an interview about his social media activism gained traction, Burhan said he received hundreds of death threats online. He had to take down his social media platforms.
Here is a list of events:Want to celebrate Pride Month in Massachusetts?
While Burhan worries about his safety, he is more concerned about his friend who still lives in Pakistan and has no escape like him.
“I tell you all this because Pakistani politicians are not doing anything new. They are repeating what American politicians have done and continue to do,” Burhan said. “Especially now with their ‘don’t say gay’ agenda.”
Burhan reminded the crowd not to take gay pride celebrations like Saturday’s in Provincetown for granted.
“I don’t know if I will be able to celebrate Pride 2023,” he said. “Pride is a privilege accessible to only a few people and only a few countries.”
Far from Stonewall
State Representative Peake spoke about the progress of the rights movement and the continuing challenges.
“Since the days of the Stonewall uprising, we’ve come a long way,” Peake said. “Just look at this sea of rainbow colors, there’s a lot to celebrate during Pride.”
The Stonewall Uprising was a six-day rebellion between LGBTQ+ protesters and the New York City Police Department on June 28, 1969. Police raided the Stonewall bar in an ongoing effort to harass the LGBTQ+ community, according to the Library of Congress website.
Stonewall was the catalyst for what is now known as the gay rights movement.
Peake asked his listeners to reflect on the progress they’ve made and the progress that still needs to be made.
“As happy as we are here today, our rights are not secure,” she said. State lawmakers across the country are disenfranchising women, transgender people, transgender youth, and gay people.
“They’re attacking women’s rights now and they’ll attack our rights next,” Peake said.
What’s the story behind Pride Month? :How the LGBTQ celebration was born
She urged the crowd to get involved and stick together to make change happen.
“It’s really fun swirling through the rainbows, but the focus has to be on where the movement is going and that’s on going back and lifting those behind us. “, said Pittingery.
Those who came before, those who sacrificed themselves could participate and experience the beauty of a place like Provincetown, he said.
When people are around other people who are comfortable in their own skin, other people can become comfortable with themselves, Pittingery said.
People who understand Provincetown come here to dip their toes into being themselves and then bring that experience back into their lives outside of here, he said.
‘A place of tolerance’:The 3-day Provincetown LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration features parties, flags, comedy, dancing, and more.
Singing duo Austin Tyler and Paige Turner opened Saturday’s event with lighthearted jokes. The rally was spirited with a sprinkle of heartfelt commentary on life and pride.
“I’m very lucky to be able to live in a city where as long as I don’t hurt myself and anyone else,” Tyler said. “I can be who I am, what I am, no problem, and that’s a gift and a blessing.”