A ‘coming out door’ activity at LA Pride Festival 2018. Photo by Vitaliy Gyrya
BY CRISTINA OLDS
Los Alamos Pride
“We really didn’t know if it was going to be a huge flop or an amazing event until the moment it was happening,” said Ken Nebel, remembering last year’s inaugural Los Alamos Pride Festival.
After hours and hours of planning meetings, of creating props and activities, of talking to volunteers, and of worrying and anticipating this event with its unknown impact, the core team of organizers breathed a collective sigh of relief when the day and time finally came at 4 p.m. on June 15, 2018.
Overwhelmingly, Los Alamos Pride was a shining success for the stalwart organizers and for the hundreds of attendees.
Citizens young and old and everywhere in between strolled the lawn outside Fuller Lodge while taking in the crafting of individual “floats,” t-shirt painting, dragon building, practicing with the “coming out door,” floating balloons over a rainbow, face painting, and visiting business booths. Meanwhile, inside Fuller Lodge, attendees enjoyed a karaoke dress-up show, where folks could pick out an outfit (courtesy of Boomerang), have their hair and makeup styled (by Cortex and Co.), and then hit the stage singing! The food and decorations were donated by 39 local people who wanted to financially support the festival and the LGBTQ+ community.
LA Pride 2019
A date for LA Pride 2019 isn’t yet set, but most agree that part of last year’s success was its Friday afternoon timing before the Ashley Pond concert, so that’s a preference. The location is also yet to be determined for this year’s event.
Another member of Friends of Los Alamos Pride (FLAP) who was pivotal in making the event happen was Anna Dillane of Boomerang Consignment and Resale. “I had so much fun helping on last year’s festival,” she said. “I made so many friends. It’s a great group of people.”
About 15 people attended the first planning meeting for Los Alamos Pride 2019 at the Unitarian Church on March 4.
A little history
To launch the first 2019 planning session, Tina DeYoe recounted the short history of FLAP and the birth of the pride event. In a nutshell, Tina met Roberta Beal with LANL’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group at a Diversity Week potluck in January 2018, and the two hatched a plan on the spot to create a pride event in Los Alamos last summer.
They formed FLAP and requested that the County Council proclaim Pride Week in Los Alamos during the June event. Community members packed the meeting room at the White Rock Fire Station #3 to support the proclamation which was eagerly adopted by the Council.
Pride Week — this year from June 9–15 — will be re-proclaimed at 6 p.m. at the May 28 County Council Meeting. Community members are encouraged to attend and show support.
Recently, FLAP was incorporated by the State of New Mexico, and the group is working toward becoming a nonprofit with 501c3 status.
Goals for LA Pride 2019
- Celebrate Pride Week instead of Pride Day
- Involve more local businesses
- Invite LGBTQ+ artists and vendors to events
- Integrate more youth outreach and college students
- Focus on building community
- FLAP members will attend and staff booths at other NM pride events
Samuel Roman opened the planning meeting by asking attendees to write down the special skills they can offer as organizers of this year’s pride events. Then the group brainstormed ideas for pride preparations, and activities for Pride Week and for the festival.
“Many people have come into the shop during the last eight months to talk to me about last year’s Pride Festival — this community was so excited to finally have a way to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community,” Anna said.
Janine Morales added, “I got a lot more out of planning Los Alamos’s first ever Pride than I ever expected—I gained a whole new group of friends.” And that is what Pride is about: building relationships, friendships, and community, while embracing all of the amazing diversity of people we have here in Los Alamos County.
Now it’s your chance to get involved and make Los Alamos an even prouder place for LGBTQ+ people and allies in 2019.
The next FLAP meeting is March 21 at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. The community is invited to participate in this meeting and any of the future meetings to be held at the same time and location: April 8, April 18, May 6, May 16, and May 30.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.