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Gay Pride Week Kicks-Off In Brooklyn

LGBT events include plays, dances and Saturday's annual parade up Fifth Avenue.

Brooklyn’s 15th annual LGBT celebration kicks off today with a weeklong series of events, including an art exhibition, fundraising dance and a multicultural festival and parade.

Brooklyn PrideBrooklyn Community Pride Center, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, are combining to sponsor the series of events throughout downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Bed-Stuy to celebrate Brooklyn’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

The festival began in 1996.

“A number of people came together and asked, ‘Why do we have go into Manhattan to have pride?’” said Zully Rolan, the chair of Brooklyn Pride.

Rolan said that originally the pride celebration was inside Prospect Park and sponsored by Brooklyn Pride, which worked very closely with various LGBT organizations. Over time, Brooklyn Pride began to collaborate with neighborhood civic groups. Once a celebration limited to Brooklyn LGBT groups, the festival now has many participants from out of state.

Brooklyn Pride is a nonprofit organization that fights for fair treatment for the LGBT community, seeking to embrace all residents of Brooklyn and the outer boroughs, regardless of sexual orientation.

Brooklyn Community Pride Center, which is not affiliated with Brooklyn Pride, provides physical and mental health services, recreational and cultural programming, and support for the LGBT community in Brooklyn. It is sponsoring a myriad of events, including “Sorry…” a play with music by Steve Fisher that is inspired by the life of Tyler Clementi, a gay 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide after a roommate taped him having a sexual encounter with another man, as well as an ongoing LGBT art exhibit called “Lights of Color.”

“We just want to show that we have different talents, not put people in a box,” said Alvaro Luna, the curator of “Lights of Color,” which as of now features four artists who do not necessarily create art that is LGBT-themed. “We want to bring culture to the festival.”

Though Rolan acknowledged that there will always be people protesting against LGBT celebrations, she said that Brooklyn Pride has worked very closely with residents and , which covers Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope and Red Hook, to ensure the "LGBT community is shown in a positive light.”

“As we struggle for equality and against being second class citizens, it’s so important to show the diversity of diversity,” Rolan said.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has been a co-sponsor of the festival since 2002.

“Brooklyn has one of the largest LGBT populations, if not in New York City, then in the nation, especially in Park Slope. Marty has always been actively involved in reaching out to the community,” said Mark Zustovich, Markowitz’s press secretary.

A schedule of events, courtesy of Brooklyn Borough Hall, is listed below:

Visit www.brooklynpride.org and www.lgbtbrooklyn.org for updates.

Brooklyn Pride’s 15th Annual Pride Celebration: “The Many Faces of PRIDE” Schedule of events

MONDAY, JUNE 6

Noon, Flag Raising Ceremony. Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St.). Bringing together Brooklyn LGBT organizations as we raise the flag on Pride Week. Special guests include Borough President Marty Markowitz and District Attorney Charles Hynes.

7 p.m., Interfaith Service.  of Brooklyn (17 Eastern Pkwy.). A spiritual group comprised of many faiths comes together to a worship service of the LGBT community. Speakers: Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman, Revs. Ann Kansfield & Jennifer Aull and Bishop Zachary Jones

THURSDAY, JUNE 9

6 p.m., Pride Reception at Borough Hall. Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St.). An evening reception co-hosted by Borough President Marty Markowitz honoring local community leaders: M. Blaise Backer, executive director, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership; Thomas Smith, founding board president, Brooklyn Community Pride Center; Zully Rolan, chair, Brooklyn Pride, Inc.; Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), Inc.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10

10 p.m.–4 a.m., Pride Fundraising Dance at Langston’s. All door proceeds go to Brooklyn Pride. 10 p.m.–4 a.m. 1073 Atlantic Ave. (between Classon and Franklin Avenues). Sponsored and hosted by Club Langston Co-Hosted by: GMAD (Gay Men of African Descent), Brooklyn Men (K)onnect and Shades of Lavender

SATURDAY, JUNE 11

Pride Day 2011

8 a.m., Prospect Park at Bartel-Pritchard Square. 15th Street and Prospect Park West. Pride 5K Fun Run (registration begins at 8 a.m.). A fun event for the LGBT community and allies in a festive, healthy and inclusive environment. A portion of the proceeds goes to a local LGBT organization.

11 a.m.–6 p.m.,  Multicultural Festival featuring stage performances, family zone, shopping and great food. Most importantly, it provides opportunities for the community to learn about community organizations, issues and business.

Noon–4 p.m., Kids come join the fun at Brooklyn Pride. There will be sing a song, puppet making workshops, story time, bookmaking and much more.

7:30 p.m., Night Pride Parade 5th Avenue - from 14th Street to Sterling Place. Join the fun with the first “Night Time Parade in the Northeast,” a celebration of pride and heritage. Grand Marshals: Revs. Ann Kansfield & Jennifer Aull – Greenpoint Reformed Church; Carl Siciliano, executive director, Ali Forney Center

The Brooklyn Community Pride Center will be sponsoring the following events:

Monday, June 6

8 p.m., (421 Fifth Ave. at Eighth Street) Benefit reading of “Sorry…” a new play with music by Steve Fisher inspired by the life of Tyler Clementi, the gay 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate live-streamed him having an intimate encounter with another young man. Donation: $50, includes wine and cheese reception with the cast and creative team. Buy tickets here. 

Thursday, June 9

6 p.m., Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St.) Come out and celebrate pride reception at Borough Hall. Co-hosted by Borough President Marty Markowitz and honoring local community leaders: M. Blaise Backer, executive director, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership; Thomas Smith, founding board president, Brooklyn Community Pride Center; Zully Rolan, chair, Brooklyn Pride; and Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), Inc.

Ongoing: LGBT art exhibit, “Lights of Color,” in the Brooklyn Borough Hall Community Room

7 p.m.—11 p.m.,  (53 Prospect Park West) In partnership with and held at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, BCPC will host “Out in Brooklyn,” a teen dance with food, music and safe solidarity for queer and questioning youth. Free.

Saturday, June 11

Pride Day 2011 (Prospect Park at Bartel-Pritchard Square)

11 a.m.—6 p.m., Brooklyn Community Pride Center at the Festival. Representatives and volunteers from BCPC will be available to answer your questions about the Center and its programs.

1 p.m.—4 p.m., Family Fun & Frolic in the Park. Join other LGBT families for an array of exciting activities.

7:30 p.m.—9 p.m., Pride Parade. Join representatives from the Brooklyn Community Pride Center and partnering organizations as we march down 5th Avenue.

9 p.m.—2 a.m.,  (227 4th Ave. between President and Union Streets) 

Post Parade Pride Party. DJ, cash bar, prizes and a live performance by Brooklyn Indie band Tayisha Busay. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Buy tickets here

Sunday, June 12

11 a.m., Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture (53 Prospect Park West)

“Nurturing Pride in Brooklyn.” Brooklyn Community Pride Center Executive Director Marianne Nicolosi will share the growing pains and pleasures of establishing the borough’s first LGBTQ Center.

Thursday, June 23

7 a.m.—9 p.m., Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture (53 Prospect Park West)

“Getting the Love You Want,” an introductory couple’s workshop for the Brooklyn LGBT community sponsored by BCPC. For additional info, contact jzimmerman@lgbtbrooklyn.org.

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