Pride Month kicks off in Pittsburgh, drawing thousands to two major events | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pride Month kicks off in Pittsburgh, drawing thousands to two major events

click to enlarge Pride Month kicks off in Pittsburgh, drawing thousands to two major events
CP Photo: Rayni Shiring
Pittsburgh Pride Revolution on Sat., June 4, 2022
The first weekend of Pride was celebrated in multiple neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh, with thousands gathering Downtown for Pittsburgh Pride Revolution on Saturday and more congregating on Sunday for SiSTers PGH’s first ever Swissvale Pride.

Pittsburgh Pride Revolution held its “Stand Up. Fight Back.” march and parade from Downtown to the North Side on June 4, followed by an all-day festival in Allegheny Commons Park to celebrate the region’s LGBTQ community.

“Pride helps let people know that we're not hiding anymore. Pride lets us show what we're not able to any other month. Pride just lets us be ourselves,” says Gabrielle Bryant, an attendee at the North Side festival.

At the beginning of the march in front of the City County Building, several notable public figures like Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, Pa. State Rep. and Democratic U.S. Rep. nominee Summer Lee, Pa. Gov. Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, and Pa. State Rep. nominee La’Tasha D Mayes gave speeches, citing the importance of celebrating pride.

“So I look forward to standing with y’all, fighting with y’all, to being in solidarity with y’all every single day in and out of pride,” said Lee, who emphasized that, for her, Pride was a “celebration, but this one is a revolution.” If elected to Congress, she told the crowd she would attack anyone who dared to take LGBTQ rights.
click to enlarge Pride Month kicks off in Pittsburgh, drawing thousands to two major events
CP Photo: Ladimir Garcia
Billy Porter in the Pittsburgh Pride Revolution march
The large crowd then marched to the North Side with Pittsburgh native, actor, and LGBTQ icon Billy Porter leading the parade as the grand marshal. In Allegheny Commons Park, the festival that followed included music, food, and a range of vendors including Central Outreach Wellness Center, which provided STD testing, The Allegheny Health Department, which was giving out free contraceptives, Steel City Stonewall Democrats, PFLAG, and more.

On Sunday, Pride came to Swissvale for SisTers PGH’s first ever Swissvale Pride at Dickerson Elementary School.
click to enlarge Pride Month kicks off in Pittsburgh, drawing thousands to two major events
CP Photo: Dontae Washington
Swissvale Pride
“When we moved to Swissvale, we noticed that there was not a Pride event here,” said Ciora Thomas, founder of SisTers PGH, which has been organizing Pride events for years, including a People's Pride march to the North Side in 2020. “We already touched Pittsburgh, so why not touch the communities in Allegheny County.”

The event included LBGTQ musicians and vendors, one of which was a last-minute entry.

Mo Marshall, owner of Handmade Line: Custom International Jewelry and Paintings, was there to celebrate Pride month when she saw an empty vendor table and took advantage of the opportunity.

“I did not know that I was able to be a vendor here until I got there,” Marshall says. “I did not have anything but my product and business cards, but Ciora allowed me to do me, so here I am.”

Stonewall Sports, an all-inclusive LGBTQIA sports league in Pittsburgh, was also at the event, teaching folks about its organization, which offers events like bowling, sand volleyball, kickball, and dodgeball.

“We want to provide a safe and fun space for everyone to enjoy the sports that we offer,” said Adam Andre, Stonewall Sports team member. “Inclusion is important as well as necessary so that is why we have zero-tolerance when it comes to bullying and discrimination of all kinds.”

The Renaissance City Choir, the only affiliated LGBTQIA choir in Western Pennsylvania, was also on hand.

“Choir members are allowed to be wherever they want. It is your voice so you should have the say on where you want to be and that is something you can not find with many choirs,” said Becca Weih, Renaissance City Choir member.

Like Pittsburgh Pride Revolution, Swissvale Pride also provided a number of vendors with LGBTQ-friendly resources.

“It is easy for people to be nervous or even not know about these resources. Practicing safe sex, getting checked for STIs, or asking for help with their mental health,” said Nikki Boudreau, from Allies Pittsburgh. “It is our duty to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible and educate them about the resources available to them.”

In addition to its being Swissvale’s first-ever pride festival, Sunday’s event was also one of the few Pride events that have taken place in a Black community in Pittsburgh.

“It feels wonderful to be able to walk to a place where there are resources for me instead of having to take the bus or drive a car,” says local college student Lee Richardson.

Some attendees voiced that Black communities often lack resources including resources for LGBTQ folks.

“I do not have people in my family that look like me. To take it a step further, I do not see too many people within my community that look like me,” said college student Jaxon Neff. “Seeing people that I can relate to is huge.”

SisTers PGH said they’re looking to change the narrative of LGBTQ acceptance.

“It’s been an issue, but who said that could not change?” Thomas said. “If we can dance in a field together, have fun together, then we can learn to be together.” She added that SisTers hopes that this is the first of many.

“This first year was a feeling out process, but next year will be bigger and better,” says Thomas.
For more Pride events throughout June, visit

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