Pride And Joy In Westport

Over the years, Jesup Green has hosted anti-war and pro-war demonstrations. It’s seen rallies against nuclear arms, antisemitism and AAPI violence, and in support of Black Lives Matter.

Yesterday, Westport’s first LGBTQ Pride celebration took over the historic town lawn. For several years in the early 2000s, smaller events were held at the Unitarian Church.

This one drew 500 people. Spanning all ages, many faiths, and ranging from gay, lesbian, bi, trans and questioning to plenty of straight allies, they enjoyed the most beautiful day of the year so far. (Weather-wise, and in spirit.)

Kicking off a joyful day. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The crowd saw a rainbow flag fly over the green. They heard great music and inspiring speeches from out, proud teenagers. Politicians and clergy praised the progress made, and promised to keep working for social justice and civil rights. Kids had their faces painted.

Westport Pride organizer Brian McGunagle and his 2-year-old son Henry listen as 1st Selectman Jim Marpe — wearing a rainbow tie — reads a town proclamation. (Photo/Kerry Long)

It was a powerful, memorable community event. For some in the crowd, it could have been life-changing.

Another celebrant. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

It made all who were there immensely proud of their town. (Click here for the News12 report.)

Proud clergy (from left): Rev. Heather Sinclair, United Methodist; Rev. Alison Patton, Saugatuck Congregational; Rev. Dr. John Morehouse, Unitarian; Rev. John Betit, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal;Β  Rev. Marcella Gillis, Christ & Holy Trinity. Jewish clergy who were officiating at Saturday services sent their best wishes. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Showing the flag (Photo/Kerry Long)

State Senators Tony Hwang and Will Haskell. Haskell drew laughs when he said that his 3 gay brothers were disappointed the day he brought home a girl. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Staples Players were out in force — with their own prideful t-shirts. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Suzanne Sheridan helped organize Westport’s first Pride festival in 2002. She was part of the great entertainers, along with Stacie Lewis, Julie Loyd and many young singers. (Photo/Kerry Long)

(Photo/Kerry Long)

Former Staples High School principal John Dodig is flanked by his husband Rodger Leonard (left) and Staples Gay-Sexuality Alliance co-advisor Chris Fray. Kayla Iannetta, a biology teacher, is the other advisor, and helped organize the event. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Cornell University football player AJ Konstanty and his brother Colin, a Staples junior, posed, then performed “Your Song” on keyboards and vocals. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Marjorie Almansi, who helped organized the day, stands with her next-door neighbors. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Staples singers entertain the large crowd. (Photo/Kerry Long)

US Congressman Jim Himes discusses past struggles, current successes, and future goals. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Pride was a family event. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Weston High School junior Zac Mathias: fashion model — and role model. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Everyone — and everything — gets into the act. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Wave that flag! (Photo/Dan Woog)


10 responses to “Pride And Joy In Westport

  1. Marjorie L Almansi

    It was truly a magical day. The community worked together to make this happen. It was inspiring and exciting to work side by side with all the amazing young adults. Dan, you have been a trail blazer in this town for as long as I can remember. You now have a community of love supporting you and one another. Thank you for leading the way.

  2. Thanks Dan, this really makes me proud to be a former Westporter and Staples grad (β€˜65).

  3. Jessica Bram

    Exceptional photos.

  4. Wendy Crowther

    I stopped in at the event without intentions of staying very long but I was so taken by the educational and emotional content delivered by the speakers and performers that I stayed to the end. Thank you to all who contributed to make the rally such a success, and also to those who have courageously advocated over the decades (some of whom spoke at the rally) to bring LGBTQ+ awareness, connection and pride to our community.

  5. Diane Johnson

    What a wonderful event; heartfelt thanks to all the organizers! We would have been there had we not been out of town for a wedding. Wonderful to see and another reason we love living in Westport. πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ’œπŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

  6. Gail Berritt Pravder

    I felt so much pride and love at this beautiful event. I truly hope it happens every year. Thank you, Dan, for sharing your inspirational story. Congrats to all the organizers.

  7. This is so fantastic! Thank you for the photos and the stories.

  8. Mary Schmerker

    This is wonderful! Thank you for the reporting and the great photos.

  9. Sandra Long

    Congratulations and well done Westport Pride! Your efforts are educating and enhancing our wonderful town.