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Pride Month Flag Raising Inspires Former Newtown Lawmaker



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Former Newtown State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan, whose district now includes Bethel and Danbury following the state’s latest redistricting, attended the Pride Month flag raising ceremony June 1 at the State Capitol.

The event was held to commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month with special guest Robin Fierce, a Hartford resident and recent contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“Raising the Pride Flag ... at the State Capitol and in our towns sends a clear message to the community that hate and discrimination against people because of who they are, or who they love will not be tolerated,” said Allie-Brennan. “To all those who’ve only ever wanted to be and belong: You belong here. You are family here. You are welcome here.”

Pride Month honors the courageous LGBTQ+ activists who paved the path for progress. It acknowledges the contributions and struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history in raising awareness about the challenges still faced by the community.

“It is unfortunate that we still live in a world where it is necessary to make a statement that it is okay to be who you are. It’s even more unfortunate that we only get one month of the year to make that statement,” said Allie-Brennan. “ It should be every month, every day, where you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin. Until everyone can live proudly as themselves — without fear, celebrating our LGBTQ+ community all June is important.”

Allie-Brennan encourages everyone to celebrate Pride Month by supporting LGBTQ+ organizations, attending events, and educating themselves on the issues facing the community. Neighboring Bethel held its Pride Parade & Celebration on Saturday, June 3, and other area events and activities are happening throughout the month.

This year’s Bethel Pride celebration is unique because it is the first time it is being held to usher in Pride Month. This event, founded by a 12-year-old student in 2017, has quickly become a beloved tradition for the LGBTQ+ community and allies from across Connecticut, Southeastern N.Y., and beyond.

In March 2017, Alexis Main’s 12-year-old daughter received a simple school assignment: Write about an issue that impacts society. Main’s daughter, Hailey, chose something close to her heart, LGBTQ+ rights.

As she wrote her paper, she began to think about the local LGBTQ+ community. Did they feel welcome here? How were they supported? How could she help? With friends, Hailey organized the first LGBTQ+ parade and celebration of its kind in the greater Danbury area and Bethel CT Pride was born.

Those interested in learning more about the historic Stonewall riots can attend a documentary screening of Stonewall Uprising and discussion in partnership with Bethel CT Pride and the Mark Twain Library, 439 Redding Road in Redding on June 21.

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.

This 90-minute PBS documentary traces the evolution of the American gay rights movement, explains the circumstances surrounding the uprising, and discusses the event’s enduring legacy. Following the film, audience members are invited to share thoughts and observations during an informal 30-minute roundtable discussion.

Register on the Mark Twain Library site — marktwainlibrary.org.

Westport Activities

A bit further south, Westport Pride, a group for the Westport CT LGBTQ+ community and its allies and the Westport Museum for History & Culture have joined forces to announce the launch of an exciting new initiative, an Oral History Project.

This collaborative effort aims to fulfill the museum’s mission to “make history whole” by bringing to light the hidden narratives of marginalized groups, with a specific focus on the LGBTQ+ community.

Historically, queer narratives have been conspicuously absent from community archives, leaving a void in the historical record. This omission is a consequence of the pervasive bias and criminalization endured by gay, trans, and nonbinary citizens throughout history.

The Westport Museum recognizes the urgency of rectifying this situation and is dedicated to building LGBTQ+ histories for future generations. Brian McGunagle, director of Westport Pride, emphasized the importance of this partnership and the much-needed oral history project, especially in today’s climate of rising forces attempting to rob the LGBTQ+ community of hard-earned equality and equity.

Westport Pride’s “All for Drag and Drag for All’’ family friendly drag experience is returning to MoCA at 19 Newtown Turnpike. This year, the event theme is “Light Up the Night” — attendees are encouraged to come in their brightest colors, sparkle, and all things neon.

Doors open at 5 pm for cocktail hour and a pizza truck, and the show officially begins at 6. The show includes performances and a Q&A with three of the show’s performers.

New Milford

In New Milford, Merryall Center continues its celebration of Pride Month with performances by playwright and comedian Sam Morrison, and “I Kissed a Girl” songwriter Jill Sobule.

Sugar Daddy, an autobiographical play set for June 10th at 8 pm, is Morrison’s love letter to his late partner and how he has found hope and humor in loss, underscored by a satiric critique of the culture of mourning.

On June 17th Merryall welcomes multi-faceted singer and songwriter Jill Sobule, best known for her hit singles “Super Model” featured on the soundtrack of the film Clueless, and “I Kissed a Girl,” the first-ever openly queer-themed Billboard Top 20 record.

Tickets for both events are available online at: merryallcenter.org.

Other Pride Events

Wilton Pride, in partnership with the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT), is holding the first annual Push N’ Pull Parade, happening Sunday, June 25 from 1 to 4 pm on the NRVT in Wilton. The event will feature music, festivities, flare, ‘Best’ contests, and much more.

The parade is part of “Be You,” a series of events organized by Wilton Pride in collaboration with town organizations and businesses to celebrate Pride Month in June.

Start out at the trailhead on Rt 7 at Wolfpit Road, best accessed across from the commuter parking lot in Wilton. Once there, participants will check in with registration, be motivated to get into the parade spirit (including a selfie booth full of props and swag), and encouraged to enter the ‘Best’ contests.

Prizes awarded for: Best Embodiment of PRIDE; Best Use of Color; and Best Creative Use of Flare. There will be one winner in each category, and entrants must have proof of ticket purchase to be considered in the competition.

All proceeds support NRVT and Wilton Pride.

On June 22, the Trumbull Historical Society 1856 Huntington Turnpike is presenting Pride In Our Past: LGBTQ+ Resistance Movements in Connecticut. Hear historian Eve Galanis uncover hidden stories of Connecticut’s queer history.

This event is presented in partnership with the Trumbull Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force — learn more at the task force Facebook site.

On June 16 at 8 pm, The Ridgefield Playhouse presents an evening featuring Chasten Buttigieg discussing the young adult adaptation of his New York Times Best-Seller, I Have Something To Tell You. The husband of former Democratic Presidential candidate details the moving, hopeful, and refreshingly candid story about growing up gay in a small, Midwestern town.

Buttigieg will be interviewed on stage by Tony Award-Winner and New York Times best-selling author, Harvey Fierstein, and author, columnist, and award-winning Broadway, television and film producer, Richie Jackson. An audience Q&A will follow the on-stage interview.

Each ticket includes a signed copy of I Have Something To Tell You. Additionally, books by Harvey Fierstein and Richie Jackson will be available for purchase at the event.

For tickets ($45) visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Former Newtown State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan stands just to the right of Robin Fierce, a Hartford resident and recent contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, during a Pride Month flag raising ceremony June 1 at the State Capitol. The event was held to commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during June — Pride Month. —photo courtesy Raghib Allie-Brennan
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