Dear Pride Family,
Just a few years ago, I was told by a local government official that “there is no LGBTQ arts and culture.” An odd thing to stay knowing that government bodies across the country are introducing a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills attempting to erase our history from libraries, our flags from public view, ban drag performances, and even prohibit Prides from happening. Meanwhile, Pride events around the world not only honor and uphold our history; they are celebrations of queer art and culture with huge economic impacts.
The turbulent stories of our unique perspectives, vulnerable lives, and heroic movement are worthy of being preserved and showcased. Visual and performing arts provide innovative advocacy and community-building palettes where we are empowered to creatively bare out our hearts to find new empathic connections. San Diego has a wealth of LGBTQ artists and cultural organizations like Diversionary Theatre, Lambda Archives of San Diego, FilmOUT San Diego, the San Diego Women’s Chorus, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, and San Diego Queer Youth Chorus.
Here at San Diego Pride, we have an array of LGBTQ arts and culture programming. Our Festival showcases hundreds of diverse LGBTQ singers, musicians, DJs, dancers, and drag performers. Our Art of Pride program highlights an array of LGBTQ visual artists at the Festival, hosts bi-monthly art exhibitions, including our upcoming Pride Youth Art Show, and is currently calling for artists to show dynamic expressions of queer Latine identity for a giant mural to be showcased at our Festival’s Mundo Latino. Our Pride Youth Marching Band which performs at the Parade, OUT at the Park, and events throughout the year, is celebrating its 9th year and is always looking for new members.
Even our entertainment department works year round to elevate LGBTQ artists here at home and across the globe as they train and mentor other Pride organizations. Their team has been hosting an LGBTQ performing artist development series to help our community enhance their professional skills. They’re also hosting an entertainment open house soon if you’re interested in joining their volunteer team.
There is so much LGBTQ arts programming in our region for youth that we’re partnering with Diversionary and several other organizations to host an LGBTQ Arts Educator Mixer coming up in March to ensure we’re all supporting each other and help students find the programs that fit their talents!
When I’m asked what arts and culture should look like in San Diego, I reply that it should look and sound like all of San Diego. That means the full spectrum of creative LGBTQ people who have always been here are deserving of investment. LGBTQ art is a powerful tool for justice and for joy, and the national threat to its existence in daylight is a social justice issue. To all of our artists, thank you for all you do to help us shine, celebrate, protest, mourn, and Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride