Connecticut became the second state to legalize gay marriage more than a decade ago. It was a monumental step for gay rights, but still only a step. While many in the LGBTQ community are accepted, there are many more who are suffering — in the workplace, at home and in schools.
“It’s easy to imagine that everything is ‘all better’ in 2019, but the fact remains that LGBTQ youth are still four times more likely to attempt suicide that non-LGBTQ youth in Connecticut,” says Kevin Jennings, a Southbury resident and founder of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
Last June, Jennings began working with the Waterbury-based Connecticut Community Foundation to establish a fund, Pride in the Hills, specifically to celebrate and improve the lives of LGBTQ people in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills.
Following its first fundraiser last summer, Pride in the Hills will hold its second benefit June 15 from 6-10 p.m. at Spring Hill Vineyards in Washington Depot. The evening will include a performance by Pilobolus, as well as other guest star appearances and an auction. For more information, go to prideinthehills.org.
Pride in the Hills is one of many events in the state centered around gay rights and culture scheduled for June, which is Pride Month, rooted in the Stonewall riots 50 years ago. Here is a sampling of pride-related activities.
LGBTQ film festival, May 31-June 8, Cinestudio, Hartford — Presented by Out Film CT, the state’s longest-running film festival is dedicated to fostering community through the presentation of outstanding fiction, documentaries and shorts reflecting LGBT themes. Check websites for schedule and ticket prices. outfilmct.org, cinestudio.org
Yard Goats Pride night, June 4, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Hartford — The Hartford Yard Goats play the Trenton Thunder, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus performs. $10 to $23. milb.com/hartford
Pride in the Park, June 8, Mathews Park, Norwalk — This sixth annual Fairfield County festival is free and family friendly. Highlights include vendor booths, food, informational booths, hula hooping, face painting and music. ctpridecenter.org
Historical exhibit, June 13-Aug. 3, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford — Presented in partnership with Central Connecticut State University, this traveling exhibit explores the history of the state’s LGBTQ community. Admission is $12, $10 seniors, $8 students, free the first Saturday of the month. chs.org/exhibition/lgbtq
Queer Con, June 14, Real Art Ways, Hartford — “A mini convention of queer activities, exhibits, vendors, performance artists and visual arts geared toward Stonewall and its impact on the LGBTQ+ movement and people.” The event will include music, poetry, spoken-word performances and dancing. Admission is free. realartways.org
Pride parade, June 15, Middletown — The city’s first pride parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Main Street at St. John’s Square, and proceeds down to Union Street. A festival on the South Green follows. facebook.com/middletownctpride
Selma to Stonewall, June 19, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven — The 2016 documentary From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet? will be shown at 7 p.m. in Engleman Hall, Room A120. Free. calendar.southernct.edu
Queer Prom, June 21, West Hartford Town Hall — The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective presents this 25th annual event, this year titled Dancing Under the Stars, from 7-11 p.m. It’s open to LGBTQ youth ages 13-18 and their allies. $15, no pre-registration required. hglhc.org
Photo exhibit and film fest, June 22-Sept. 15, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford — Be Seen: Portrait Photography Since Stonewall, a show of portraits that redefine gender and sexuality, is on view from June 22 to Sept. 15, with a gallery talk scheduled for June 28 at noon. $15, $12 seniors, $5 students, free for members. The Atheneum will also offer an LGBTQ-themed film series from June through August. thewadsworth.org