Pride Month in the North Bay Wraps with Busy Week of Events

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When the Covid-19 pandemic forced North Bay residents to shelter-in-place in mid-March, Sonoma County Pride was one of the first organizations that made the difficult decision to cancel its planned summer event, namely the 2020 Pride Festival & Parade scheduled for June 6.

This development does not mean that Pride Month 2020 is canceled, but several planned get-togethers have been delayed or updated to accommodate the social distancing that is required to stop the spread of Covid-19. Now, as June reaches its final week, Sonoma County Pride and other North Bay LGBTQI+ groups are hosting events to celebrate Pride Month while remaining safe and healthy.

On Thursday, June 25, the Museum of Sonoma County invites everyone to get an interactive history lesson during an online look back on “The Lesbian History of Sonoma County” with  presenters Tina Dungan and Shad Reinstein, creators of the Sonoma County LGTBQI Timeline.

For those who don't know, Sonoma County found itself at the intersection of the women’s movement and gay rights movement in the 1970s when a confluence of lesbian women moved to the area. These women opened businesses, produced theater and musical events, created Women’s Studies programs at Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College–two of the first such programs in California–and helped lead political fights that such as the defeat of Prop 6 in 1978, which sought to ban gay and lesbian people from working in public schools.

“The Lesbian History of Sonoma County” presenters Tina Dungan and Shad Reinstein are longtime lesbian activists, historians and educators. Dungan is a lifelong Sonoma County resident who came out as a lesbian in the early 1970s while a student at SSU. Since 2007, she has been working with others through the Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County and she teaches through the Older Adults Program at SRJC.

Reinstein has been involved in local and national LGBTQI culture and politics since coming out after the Stonewall riots, most notably co-producing the documentary film, Mom’s Apple Pie: The History of the Lesbian Mothers’ Custody Movement.

Dungan and Reinstein first collaborated to create the Sonoma County LGBTQI Timeline in 2018, and they have also co-created a talk on "The LGBTQI History of Sonoma County," 

“The Lesbian History of Sonoma County” is presented over Zoom on Thursday, June 25, at 7pm. The online program is free, though pre-registration is required at Museumsc.org.

After learning about the past, get involved in a discussion of the present on Friday, June 26, as The California Census Office hosts a moderated panel talk on "Including the LGBTQ + Community in the Census" over Facebook Live.

The California Census Office’s Mignonne Pollard will be moderating the conversation, which features input from Meghan Maury, Policy Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Jeremy Payne from the Equality California Institute, and Eddie Martinez and Yesenia Mendoza from the Latino Equality Alliance & Mi Centro.

In addition to celebrating Pride, the discussion will answer questions on intersectionality in terms of the census as well as the impact of Covid-19 and how everyone can help lift up the LGBTQ+ community in 2020. Tune in on June 26 at 1:30pm on Facebook.

Saturday, June 27, features two of the biggest Pride events of the month in the North Bay. First up, "Unmask Your Pride" brings Sonoma County Pride to your computer with a virtual event. Local performers and artists will offer an evening of live music, comedy, drag queen and drag king performances and more that is meant to spread some much-needed love and showcase Sonoma County's vibrant LGBTQI+ community. "Unmask Your Pride" live streams June 27 at 6pm. The virtual show is free, though registration is required on Eventbrite.

Also on Saturday, June 27, Napa Valley's LGBTQI+ Pride movement gets moving, quite literally, with the Pride Night Cruise in downtown Napa. This socially-distant event invites folks to decorate their cars with Pride and drive up and down Jefferson, where Pride banners and other festive decorations will be on display. KVYN 99.3 FM The Vine will broadcast a specially curated playlist of Pride music for cars to blast as they cruise, and prizes will be awarded for best decorated cars.

"While it's unfortunate that we can't be together in person this year, we are happy to be able to provide a fun night in celebration of Napa Valley Pride," said cruise organizer Rob Doughty in a statement. "We are hoping our LGBTQ+ community and all of our allies will join us."

The Pride Night Cruise begins at 7pm on June 27. In addition to the cruise, attendees can join the official after party at Napa Valley Distillery, beginning at 9pm. Masks and social distancing will be in effect. The event benefits North Bay initiative LGBTQ Connection.

For more information on these and other events, visit SonomaCountyPride.org.

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