Roanoke Pride is getting ready to have its annual festival in September. This year, however, I'm having a very hard time having the least amount of pride in our cities' Roanoke Pride.
From what I understand from several reliable sources a whole choir of people in Roanoke's LGBT community are very distressed with the way Roanoke Pride has behaved and treated people this year. When I was a sponsor for Pride in 2014, I was very impressed, at the time, with the board members. I have later learned those impressive individuals were bullied away by the President of Roanoke Pride and they pretty much decided to leave the board because Roanoke Pride's president was such a terror to work with. When the previous owners of The Park nightclub donated the club to Roanoke Pride in 2015, some of the employees quit because they didn't want to work for Roanoke Pride's president and from what I understand, I don't blame them.
The wrongful termination of The Park's previous manager, Michael "Mr. Microphone" Smith, in January of this year is just but one thing which has caused a lot of anger in the community. Some members of the Pride committee this year have also taken to attacking people online for any criticism they receive. When I voiced my support for Michael Smith through social media, I received several nasty emails and Facebook messages from the current President of the Roanoke Pride committee and from several other board members from that committee. All but two members of the Pride committee have now been blocked from my personal Facebook account. I've even told friends of mine the Roanoke Pride committee has been very "Donald Trump-like" in their responses to criticism.
The chair of the PRISM committee (which I still wonder what that committee is supposed to do other than organize games for the Pride festival) decided, along with her partner, to go to the workplace of someone they had a beef with and then staged a complaint making false accusations towards the target of their ire. Fortunately the other workers in that establishment saw what was going on and nothing became of it. However this goes to show the immature mentality of these people and the childish tactics they choose to employ.
As a result of Roanoke Pride's deeds this year, their popularity is now in the toilet. They believe they can treat people like dirt, come out smelling like a rose and then expect the community to turn a blind eye and support their functions. I'm sure some people are turning a blind eye to Roanoke Pride's tactics this year, but I most certainly am not.
They want to boast unity in the community but yet practice divisive stunts in the background. That's not the definition of Pride. That's just more scandalous queen shit which is so reminiscent of Roanoke's gay community of the past that frankly I, who have been out in Roanoke for 36 years, am tired of seeing and I refuse to support any organization engaging in these childish and uncalled for practices.
I will no longer be supporting Roanoke Pride with either money or attendance until the Roanoke Pride committee gets tired of enduring the baggage of their current leadership, then wises up and gets rid of them. From what I've heard about how the current leadership has stacked their board with "yes-people" I doubt a vast turnover in the board will occur for years. I will not be attending the Roanoke Pride festival this year and perhaps for years to come.
This year, I have become deeply disillusioned with Roanoke's LGBT organizations. I have terminated my associations with all of them, have cut off my financial support for them (which came to about $6,000 to $10,000 per year either through financial gifts or advertising for my recording label) and quit attending their functions.
I have better things to do than to put myself at the mercy of a bunch of power-seeking egomaniacs who feel they have to empower themselves by inflicting their brand of passive/aggressive behavior onto others, and in their eyes, bring themselves up by putting others down all within the smokescreen of doing community work.
That arrogant son-of-a-bitch, who is the current president of Roanoke Pride, may feel like he has license to bully anyone he wants to but it will be a bitter cold day in Hell before he ever bullies me!!