Linda DeMarco, president of Boston Pride, celebrates the LGBTQ community
Linda DeMarco attended her first Boston Pride event in the 1980s, when she marched in the parade to honor a friend who died of AIDS. In 1997, she began volunteering for the organization and never left. More than 20 years later, DeMarco is now the president of Boston Pride and the co-president of InterPride, an international organization of Prides that was cofounded by Boston Pride in 1982. “It is truly an honor to lead InterPride as it has its roots in Boston, where the commitment to advocating for the LGBTQ community is without question,” says DeMarco. “We need to ensure that all Prides around the world are represented and have a voice.”
DeMarco’s love for the city is evident in her dedication to Boston Pride Week, which begins on May 31 with the annual Pride Flag Raising at City Hall Plaza, and culminates on June 9. More than just a parade, Boston Pride also hosts block parties in Jamaica Plain and Back Bay during Pride Week, the proceeds of which go to Boston Pride’s Community Fund. DeMarco oversees that fund, which has given out over $100,000 to more than 60 local grassroots community organizations serving the LGBTQ community. The Pride Parade, Festival and Concert, though, on June 8 this year, are the main event. “We are happy to have the largest annual spectator parade in New England,” said DeMarco, “with almost one million spectators and participants.”
2019’s theme for Boston Pride is “Looking Back, Loving Forward,” a reference to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, which took place on June 28, 1969 and is widely seen as the most important event leading to the Gay Liberation Movement and subsequent fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. “Looking back refers to the inclusiveness of the origins of the Gay Liberation Movement, and how it was part of a countercultural movement that understood different oppressions as linked,” says DeMarco. “Loving forward looks to the importance of including all people, to listen to their voices, understand their experience and extend support to them.
“My favorite part of Pride Week,” continues DeMarco, “is seeing the thousands of people in Boston from the LGBTQ community and their allies supporting our community. From those thousands, we know that it’s somebody’s first pride, and that makes my work for Boston Pride so meaningful.”
Boston Pride Week
May 31–June 9 at various locations throughout Boston, bostonpride.org