By the time Scott Nelson proposed hosting a pride event to the board of directors at The Yard in Chilmark, their yearly budget had already been set. While this would have deterred some, the directors of the dance studio were quick to get on board, and voted unanimously to make the event happen.
“We have created resources for this and asked ourselves, what could we fit into this event that would make a statement and be fun?” said David White, The Yard’s executive director. “That’s the important part. We’re not trying to be didactic, we are trying to let a diverse population come together and have fun.”
On Saturday, August 2, Pride Not Prejudice — A Pride Celebration will start early and run well into the night, from 4 to 10 p.m. DJ Sydny, who started her career on Martha’s Vineyard under the name DJ Di, will get the outdoor dance party started with an early set, followed by a set from DJ Mark Louque. Schwa De Vivre, a drag entertainer from New York, will host the party and give a live performance. Weather permitting, the party will be held outside, and organizers hope that people of all ages will stop by.
“It’s important to us that this party is available to everyone, from families with kids that want to celebrate diversity that they have never been able to celebrate before, all the way to older gay men who have been living here their entire lives,” said Mr. Nelson, who is producing the event. “We are keeping the doors open to everyone, so it’s not a one-sided event by any means.”
This is Mr. Nelson’s second summer living on Martha’s Vineyard and working at The Yard. Mr. Nelson has been impressed by the Island’s LGBT community, but surprised by the lack of pride events. In fact, as far as anybody at The Yard is aware, this is the first public pride event to be hosted on the Vineyard.
“Just being a young gay guy myself on this Island who is used to big city life, I noticed there was a major need for some kind of community event that could bring everyone together in one place for just one afternoon,” said Mr. Nelson.
While initial plans for the event were meager and low budget, the idea was met by overwhelming support from local businesses and the Island community, allowing it to grow. Some sponsors include Offshore Ale Co. and Vineyard Wine and Spirits, which are donating alcohol for the party for those of age. Stagecoach Taxi will be giving 20 per cent discounts to anybody going to the event, and will drive people home for free other than tips for the drivers.
“This has really helped bring people together, even more so knowing that there are like-minded businesses across the Island who are willing to put in time, donations and money to make this a really successful event,” said Mr. Nelson.
Although organizers hope that partygoers will give donations at the door, they do not want the suggested donation to be a barrier, and hope that everybody who wants to celebrate pride will come.
“Pride means something different to everybody,” said Mr. Nelson. “It doesn’t matter your orientation or where you’re from at all. You can have pride in anything and I think that is a great message to send to the young people who will be at this party.”