On June 30th, the IATSE joined thousands of others in celebrating WorldPride and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising by marching in the 2019 New York City LGBTQ+ Pride March. This was the first year that the IATSE had an official presence in the Pride March and it follows two years of internal organizing by LGBTQ members of the IA and their allies.
In 2017, at the 68th Quadrennial Convention in Hollywood, Florida, many of us on the convention floor were both moved and immensely proud to be delegates to the Convention and openly LGBTQ members of the IATSE. As Sister Chandra-Li Paul read the resolution committing the IATSE to its stance against hatred and discrimination, and Sister Kimberly Holdridge called for a moment of silence to remember those from the Pulse Nightclub massacre, we felt pride in our International and gratitude to our sisters and brothers for their support and acceptance. At that moment, many of us felt that this was an opportunity to seize upon. At the General Executive Board meeting in Austin, Texas in January 2019, we facilitated an impromptu meeting of all interested members. We met after the session ended for the day to introduce ourselves, and discuss our wish for something more official.
Following this, and sensing the growing desire, in May of this year President Matthew Loeb created the IATSE’s first official Pride Committee. I am honored to have been appointed to serve on this committee, alongside International Representative Rachel McLendon, Local 884 Business Agent and Local 871 Interim Business Agent, Doug Boney Local 631, Treasurer/Corresponding Secretary and member of Local 477 and 835, Kim Holdridge, and our Pride Committee Chair, Canadian Office Operations Manager, Nate Richmond. We chose this name because the initialisms that have been used to describe our community are constantly evolving and different groups have different preferences. Calling ourselves the “Pride Committee” helps to not exclude anyone who self-identifies as part of the community.
This year for the first time, WorldPride was held in NYC to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots Uprising. The IATSE honored this anniversary by organizing our first official contingent in the New York Pride March. The effort was a herculean task undertaken jointly by the IATSE Young Workers Committee and the Pride Committee. We had over 320 members and their family and friends sign up to take part, including 44 USA 829 members and guests, with attendees representing locations from New York to Los Angeles, Florida to Canada.
Our contingent was an incredibly diverse group that ranged in age from six weeks to 90 years old and included a 7-year old that was ready to do it all over again at midnight. We had 6 drag queens, one of which was the aforementioned 90-year-old, (shout out to Local 764's Henry Arango!), two balloon artists, face painting, a trolley named Dolly and two gymnasts performing. This also marked the first public appearance of the newly formed IATSE Pride Committee. We all marched behind a custom-made WorldPride New York banner painted by USA 829 members and allies: Stephen Shelloe (SA), Ula Movchan (SA), Sarah Rigney (SA), Walter Zylinski, and Dante Olivia Smith (LD). We thank everyone who participated, but especially President Loeb for seeing the desire and need for an official IATSE Pride Committee and for marching alongside us on that amazing day.
In Solidarity and Pride,
Business Representative for Live Performance