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Have Complaints About Pride? Come Help Us Make It Better.
August 27, 2009

The July issue of Camp included an interview with the new president of Gay Pride Kansas City, Rick Bumgardner. I’m a member of the Pride committee, and my partner and I are two of the 15 or 20 people who are out there every year for the 10 days or so that it takes to build, put on and take down Pride. We want to thank Rick Bumgardner and Josh Krueger for the more then 365 days of work that they did. We also want to thank Camp for the continued honest, up-front and complete coverage of Pride.

So many things go into making Pride. A lot of people continue to complain about Pride, but never come out or attend the committee’s monthly open meetings, which the committee encourages everyone in the city to attend. Year after year, there are people in the city who say that Pride is just a party for those who want to get drunk and be stupid.

Having lived here for more then a few years, we can tell you that we don’t need a very expensive event in a park for people to do that. Pride is the one weekend a year when the gay people in this city can come out and be themselves! The president and all the others work very hard to make sure that there will be something for everyone at Pride. They also work very hard to make sure that everyone who wants different things at Pride can come to our meetings and make suggestions for different events, entertainers and activities.

But even after others are invited to attend meetings, they don’t show up. Some people attend the meeting but don’t get involved. Pride is the only organization in the city that takes suggestions as to how we should run our event for the gay community.

Our president changes his life for Pride. He and others were on Main Street at 6 o’clock the morning after Street Blast with brooms and trash bags, cleaning up after everyone who had a good time the night before! How many people who complain can say that they were doing that?

The work for next year began the Monday after Pride ended ­— about 6 o’clock when it was all cleaned up. A charge to get into Pride will not hire people to clean up. It will allow the committee to make the event better and better each year. Let us remember that none of us get paid. Those who think that we do can come see the books and the bills that are paid in full this year.

This is a volunteer organization from the president on down to those of us who give up vacation days at work in the hope that the 12-hour-plus days will make for a good event. All we need are volunteers and participation, and we can have the Pride that people seem to want. To those who want to complain, show up and tell us what needs to change or just find something else to complain about.

Again, thank you to Camp, Rick, Josh and the others who made this year a new Pride! Let’s all move forward to next year and stop looking back. Come out, help, be proud and feel the pride that we did when it was all over this year.

Steve M.
Kansas City, Mo.
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