Queens Pride Celebrates 21 Years

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

The Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee will celebrate its 21st Winter Pride event for those who have significantly provided to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community in Queens on Jan. 25 at the Astoria World Manor.

More than 350 people will gather to honor NYC Pride, the organizers of the Manhattan Pride Parade and Cathy Renna, a Queens native, who has played a critical role in media related to nearly every issue affecting LGBTQ populations.

Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court Case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court Case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Among those in attendance will be Edie Windsor, the woman whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last spring, leading to federal recognition of same sex marriages. She will be on hand to present Renna with her award on behalf of the Pride Committee.

Chris Calvert, co-chair of Queens Pride, said they are excited to have Windsor at the event.

“Edie’s victory was a victory for LGBT people in Queens, across the country and around the world,” he said. “She is the embodiment of the impact one person can have, standing up for what is right and fighting for what you believe in. We look forward to celebrating with her.”

Renna, who works for Target Cue LLC, is the founder of Renna Communications, where she brought her public relations skills to more than 50 different organizations including the Matthew Shephard Foundation, Family Equality Council, the Point Foundation, ACT-UP, the New York LGBT Center, Senior Action and many more.

Through her media relations abilities, Renna has touched every aspect of the LGBTQ community from marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” to being the force behind creating more visibility for older LGBT people, homeless LGBT youth and transgender youth.

“It is a thrill to be honored by Queens Pride, especially because I was born in Astoria, raised in Whitestone and now live in Middle Village,” she said. “It feels great to be a ‘local girl that’s done good.’ I have always seen my work as the kind of activism that tells the stories of our diverse communities – often one we would never see otherwise – and this award is wonderful validation of that work and an inspiration to do more.”

Andrew Ronan, chair of the Winter Pride organizing committee, said media is often dominated by negative stereotypes and homophobic rhetoric.

“Cathy has been an incomparable force in countering that negativity and bringing awareness to many issues that are important to the LGBTQ community,” he said. “In publicizing the stories of LGBTQ seniors, youth and other diverse populations, Cathy has amplified Queen’s Pride’s Mission to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community. In the words of our founder, ‘we are here, we are queer, and you know who we are.’”

The second recipient of the honors that night will be NYC Pride, which is an organization within Heritage of Pride, Inc. They work toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. They accomplish this goal by producing pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate the diverse LGBTQ community.

“From its founding to the present day, Queens Pride has been and continues to be more than just a strong partner to NYC Pride during our march to equality,” David Schneider, Stonewall 50 Committee Director of Heritage of Pride, Inc./NYC Pride, said. “We are honored beyond measure to be celebrated by our compatriots at this year’s Winter Pride.”

Queens Pride will celebrate the 22nd Queens Pride Parade and Festival on June 1 in Jackson Heights. For more information or to purchase tickets to this weekend’s Winter Pride, visit www.queenspride.org or contact winterpride@queenspride.org.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.