Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 081915 Contents 4 // 8.19.2015 // SFGN.com //
Pride Fort Lauderdale doesn’t want
its signature annual PrideFest to be
known as a gay man’s event. Even
though the festival has always welcomed
everyone, organizers realized they needed
and wanted more participation from women.
So this year they’re making it happen.
Bryan Wilson, a board member, said PFL
is going to focus more on including women
in community events and targeting them for
Wilson said he was saddened to see New
Moon, a lesbian bar in Wilton Manors,
close down because of the space it offered
to women. As a community organizer he
recognizes the general lack of services
offered to women and notes that the majority
of the Pride board has been made up of men
since he’s been involved.
“So what led to these efforts is information
from the community, close friends who
identify as lesbian or bisexual women,
who also brought this to my attention,” he
said. “It didn’t feel like pride all across the
Wilson said he felt it was time to increase
social services for women and start bringing
them the table.
“We have to reach out and target the
women’s community,” he said. “We also have
to target the trans community. And reach
out to the black community.”
As a part of this new outreach they’ve
made sure to include a woman in this year’s
lineup DJ Citizen Jane, who will be deejaying
on Saturday of this year’s event as well as
participating in the after party taking place
in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Sonia Mitchell said there’s definitely a
need for increased inclusion within the
community. While she enjoys working on
the PFL board and working within the LGBT
community, she said it’s also a challenge.
“It gives me a chance to do what I enjoy
doing, fight for people, fight for rights for
women, for men, for kids,” she said. “Having
fun doing what you love doing doesn’t mean
you don’t have obstacles or
hurdles that you have to go
Mitchell has been serving
on the PFL board since 1997.
“I’m still there because
I’m looking forward to
the day that the board
looks equal, with women,
transgender people, fluid
people, questioning people,”
she said. “I love diversity
so therefore I would love to
see the day when it’s more
She said usually at
meetings she’s the only
female there, which makes it
“It’s not easy going in the
middle of a board, and you’re the only girl
and black person,” she said.
Mitchell is happy with this newfound
effort to be more inclusive.
“You have to allow people to feel welcome,”
she said. “If somebody comes into your
home and doesn’t feel welcome and warm,
they don’t want to stay long or be there.”
The men on the board, she said, tend to
stick together, and now there are very few
women who attend board meetings.
But she noted that men aren’t fully to
blame — women should try harder if they
want to see change as well.
“You can’t just visit something once and
say, ‘I’m not coming back,’ because you
didn’t hear what you wanted to hear,” she
said. “You’re going to need to
be the difference. Stay with
it and be the justice that you
want to see.”
Katie Yankee, who works at
SunServe, agrees that there is
a lack of representation.
“I’d like to see the day when
women look around and say
they are well represented
in terms of services for
women,” she said.
Yankee said she’s glad to
see a woman performing at
the Pride Festival because DJ
Citizen Jane could serve as a
role model for young women
within the community.
Yankee also said that
women should get more
involved even if they face obstacles.
“If we want to see change we have to make
the change ourselves,” she said.
Mitchell said change is slowly taking place,
and she’s glad to see Pride Fort Lauderdale
has become involved with the Rainbow
Ladies and has taken on two women DJs.
Both women look forward to seeing what
else Pride Fort Lauderdale accomplishes.
PRIDE FORT LAUDERDALE NOT JUST FOR GAY GUYS
Pride Fort Lauderdale
in March of 2014.
Organization makes efforts to include women
comes into your
home and doesn’t
and warm, they
don’t want to
stay long or be
- Sonia Mitchell
PFL Board Member
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