June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and honor their determination and resilience in fighting for equal rights. For the third year in a row, Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass will be hosting a Pride Month celebration with a series of events throughout the month.
The festivities kicked off June 7 with the annual raising of the gay pride flag at the Government Complex Terrace. Upcoming events include a drag brunch at Bark Social and a talk with Chasten Buttigieg, author of “I Have Something to Tell You” and husband of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
We spoke to Councilmember Glass about what’s in store for his third annual Pride Month celebration.
How did the flag-raising ceremony go?
It was a wonderful showing of compassion and love within Montgomery County. This year we raised the progress (pride) flag, which includes the pride flag as well as additional stripes to represent communities of color and the transgender community.
What will this month’s events look like in regards to COVID-19?
We have a mix of in-person and virtual events this year. By the time things started reopening it was too late for some organizations and businesses to organize in-person events, but that just means that I expect next year to be even bigger and better.
At the flag raising, my colleagues and I were joined by many members of the community and we were all maskless for the first time since the pandemic began. I think there’s a symbolism in that because members of the LGBTQ+ community too often hide themselves, and here we are — unmasking and seeing each other for our true selves as we come out of the pandemic and celebrate Pride.
What are your motivations and goals for hosting these events?
People used to go to the D.C. for the Capital Pride Celebration, but I want residents of Montgomery County to be able to show and celebrate Pride right here at home. This year, more people and businesses are hosting events to celebrate with neighbors and clientele which is a great sign of progress.
What feedback have you received from past events?
When we hosted the first flag-raising ceremony in 2019, there was a lot of pushback from some MoCo residents and people across the country. My office was inundated with so many hateful phone calls and emails that we stopped answering our phones for three days.
Fast forward to 2021, and we’ve not only raised the new progress flag, but we also haven’t received one hateful phone call. It goes to show that progress continues to be made but you have to take that first step. The foundation of the LGBTQ+ rights movement is about changing hearts and minds, and that starts with conversations.
Have you added any new events since 2019?
Yes, absolutely. This year we’ve partnered with Bark Social, a dog park and beer garden, to host a “Puppy Pride” event so we can celebrate with our four-legged friends. I have two rescue dogs, so I’m very excited for this.
We’ve also teamed up with Friends of the Library to host an author talk with Chasten Buttigieg, and the MoCo Pride Center is holding some events, including a Juneteenth event at Sandy Spring Museum.
We really want to celebrate Pride in the most inclusive way possible, and that’s achieved through partnerships and collaborations.