May 14, 2022
Twin Cities Pride is saddened by the decision by OutFront Minnesota not to participate in the 2022 Pride Festival and by the accusations made against our non-profit.
Like so many organizations, Twin Cities Pride has been working internally to address the issues identified through conversations with our community and highlighted by people in our organization. Recently, we’ve restructured our Board of Directors to include more transgender voices and are actively working to include more BIPOC voices, we partnered with MN POC LGBTQ+ Pride and Queer Black Excellence to create programming and financial opportunities for Black LGBTQIA+ community members during the COVID-19 shutdown and are consistently working to be a central resource and sounding board for the local Pride community. We acknowledge there is more work to be done, and we are focused on evolving as an organization.
We know the most upsetting issue for many members of our community is the presence of police officers at our Pride March. A Minneapolis ordinance mandates a city police presence at events as big as ours. The Pride March impacts traffic, and we are legally required to have police and traffic enforcement in place for the safety of participants and spectators. In an effort to ease community concerns, we incorporated de-escalation and harm reduction training into our park security and for all organizational leadership, staff and volunteers. We will continue to do everything in our power to address this issue, however we strongly encourage our community to speak out and share concerns with the city leadership.
To keep the leading essential services for our community connected, Twin Cities Pride Executive Director Dot Belstler reached out to OutFront Minnesota during their leadership transition in both June and July of 2021.
Regretfully, those messages went unanswered, and we did not receive interest in participating in the 2021 Festival. OutFront Minnesota is the activism arm of the LGBTQIA+ community in the state and Twin Cities Pride understands the importance of a united voice on issues affecting us. We welcome a conversation with OutFront Minnesota’s new Executive Director Kat Rohn to start the process of reconnecting our groups.
We always encourage our community to participate in any and all avenues of Pride in the Twin Cities and in Minnesota.
Dot Belstler, Executive Director
Felix Foster, Board Chair Twin Cities Pride