Say It Loud, ‘Out and Proud’ 

‘To build a stronger community, we must first get to know one another’ — Peekskill Pride President Brian Fassett (r), with Shay d’Pines.

The LGBTQ+ community is looking forward to coming together in June to celebrate Pride Month after a two-year hiatus from large-scale, in-person festivities. While New York City hosts the oldest and largest LGBTQ Pride event in the country—the annual NYC Pride March—on the last Sunday in June, there are also popular events happening closer to home, where River Towners can connect with their friends and neighbors.  

Peekskill Pride will be hosting its 2nd Annual Pride in the Park at Pugsley Park in downtown Peekskill on Saturday, June 25. Westchester Circus Arts will perform and then kids (and the young at heart) will have the opportunity to learn some juggling, plate-spinning, tightwire, and more. Abrakadoodle will be joining to do a take-away craft with the children. Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park will host a Pet Photo Contest. Stage entertainment will include spoken word and poetry, a short play, Ms. Kitty Ka’Boodlez’s Drag Queen Story Time, and a Headline Drag Performance from Ms. Evita Loca. 

Brian Fassett, President of Peekskill Pride, who also sits on the City’s Common Council, hopes that the event will serve as an introduction for many LGBTQ+ neighbors who have recently moved to the area. “To build a stronger community,” he says, “we must first get to know one another. Our LGBTQIA+ youth, families, and allies must have the opportunity to see adults, peers, families, elected officials, businesspeople, and artists out and proud who are just like them, and see that Peekskill is here to support them.”  

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The LOFT, Westchester County’s LGBTQ+ community center, holds the Westchester Pride festival in downtown White Plains on Sunday, June 5. This year’s festival, co-hosted by Olivia Lux from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag King Maxxx Pleasure, kicks off with an official flag-raising of all pride flags at Renaissance Plaza with Westchester County Executive George Latimer.  

Highlights include Broadway Sings For Pride (Kevin Smith Kirkwood from Kinky Boots is this year’s headliner), The Pride Pet Parade hosted by Drag Queen Rhoda Rollins Stone and sponsored by Choice Pet, the Homecoming Queer Contest, and The Family Zone (an area specifically for children, with games, fun and treats).  

A House and Ballroom event co-presented with ArtsWestchester, “Ballroom: Beyond the Binary,” will feature performers Twiggy Pucci Garcon (of Pose fame) and Milan Garcon (featured in HBO’s Legendary) with other house members. DJ Hausboi will be bringing the beats at the official After Party at Sonesta White Plains Downtown.   

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Pride is a time for celebration, and also for remembrance and healing. “It’s a very troubling time for our community,” says Judy Troilo, Executive Director of The LOFT, “which is why Westchester Pride is so important. Our hope is that we can use Pride as a place not only to celebrate but to also spread the word that we need to band together to address the real possibility that our rights may be taken away.”  

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About the Author: Caedra Scott-Flaherty