Just over a week ago, we announced that we would be asking for a five-dollar entry fee for PrideFest 2017. You, our community, responded with your concerns about the many who would be disproportionately affected by this decision.

 

After a long and productive discussion this past Monday with concerned community members, including representatives of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC), and others, it was decided that PrideFest will remain free. As in past years, we will operate based off of a suggested donation.

PrideStL17SliderAt its core, the Pride movement is about protecting, empowering, and celebrating each and every member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our previous decision to charge a mandatory entry fee, though made with no intent to exclude, would have created another barrier for those who already face so many challenges.
 
You spoke, you shared your concerns and your stories – and we heard you.
 
Our goal has always been to serve our community. Pride St. Louis was founded by the community, for the community. You have asked us for transparency in why we felt it was necessary to charge. Last year’s festival presented several unforeseen circumstances, in part due to increased security as a result of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, as well as the dangerously hot weather. In light of these difficulties, we operated on a deficit, struggling to honor our financial obligations to organizations like Show Me Bears, Missouri Courage Scholarship, and others. While we are no longer operating on a deficit, we’re counting on your support in order to prevent this from occurring again.
 
We have taken measures to reduce costs where possible, cutting our budget by twenty-two percent (22%) in order to honor our commitments to our partners while still funding our many initiatives. The suggested donation is more important than ever. We are in dire need of your help. To fund the community center, scholarships, outreach, and festival, we need to raise $238,000. Without your support, we will be unable to continue providing the community services and resources that we’ve offered for almost four decades.
 
You have responded with many ideas, and we have heard you. We will be raising the alcohol wristband cost to two dollars ($2) to compensate, ensuring that the youth in our community are able to attend for free.
 
Additionally, we have heard your concerns about the presence of police and first responders in the parade. In our effort to represent “Community Proud”, the parade will consist of people, organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and sponsors. While we value our first responders, they will no longer lead the parade; you will lead our parade because you directly represent us.
 
We exist because of the investment and inclusion of all members of our community. We are committed to listening to, serving, and representing your interests. We will continue our work: building bridges, encouraging inclusion and diversity, advancing equality, and promoting unity.

We are “Community Proud” because of you.


In Community,

Pride St. Louis, Inc.

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