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Generations of Pride

For celebrating gays, familiarity breedsIn 1973, when Pittsburgh PrideFest was created, its very existence as a celebration of local gay life had an activist component.

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Thirty years later, the need for face painting makes the biggest statement. The shifting focus of gay activism is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the addition this year of a "Children's Area" at PrideFest -- for the use of children of gay and lesbian parents.

At PrideFest 2003 on June 21, says planning committee Chair Kevin Cox, a Gay and Lesbian Community Center board member, increased activism is also evident "just based on the exponential increase in registration and involvement in the event itself in just one year," as well as on the creation of a new "Peace Through Pride Youth Coalition," which includes the Anti-Racist Action Society, Youth Services of Pittsburgh, the Youth Empowerment Project and the Youth Collaborative.

"We found that there is a gain in the number of same-sex parenting households," says Cox, "and they want to be able to celebrate with their families and their children at an event where they will feel comfortable and where there will be something entertaining for them."

For the second year in a row, the event will be held on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. "It's an area where you can have something that's alternative," says Richard Parsakian, owner of Eons Fashion Antique, a member of the Pride committee as well as the board of the Ellsworth Business Association. "It's very nice to have a business community that's supportive."

The day-long event will include an 11 a.m. parade, entertainment, vendors and parties -- and will be preceded by a week's worth of free educational program at the Squirrel Hill GLCC each evening.

For a full schedule, see www.glccpgh.org

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