With Santa Fe Pride festivities falling on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a series of riots led by gay rights activists in protest of a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, this weekend’s event is a nod to those who helped propel a movement.
Linda Mortensen, vice president of the nonprofit Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance, which organizes the local Pride parade and festival each year, said the Stonewall riots continue to serve as a symbol of strength for LGBTQ communities around the world.
“They could gather [at Stonewall] and be themselves,” she said. “The shoulders could come down, no matter if they were gay or straight or trans or bi. It was just a safe space. … I think that’s one of the things Pride gives people the opportunity to do.”
Santa Fe Pride — a celebration of the city’s LGBTQ community — kicks off with a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, continues with entertainment on the Plaza until 5 p.m. and culminates with a late-night dance party at Meow Wolf. Organizers say the empowerment that stems from this daylong event serves as a reminder to embrace diversity every day of the year.
“It’s community inclusion,” Mortensen said. “… We’re all people.”
Mortensen, who attended the inaugural Pride parade in Las Vegas, N.M., in April, said it’s important not only for LGBTQ people, but also their allies, to share a sense of acceptance and compassion.
“When someone receives acknowledgement and welcoming from someone outside of the LGBT circle … there’s a different kind of soul opening that happens,” she said.
While Santa Fe Pride is often a rowdy celebration, Calvin “Brandi” Fields, who helped organize the entertainment, emphasized it is “not just a big party, but it’s remembering the people who made it possible.”
Throughout the day, Fields said, several Pride-goers will wear shirts saying, “I will not be erased” — a quote by activist, drag queen and prominent Stonewall demonstrator Marcia P. Johnson.
Perhaps the most notable change to Santa Fe Pride this year is that Meow Wolf is a partner.
“They were able to take [Pride] and run,” Mortensen said of the immersive arts company, adding she thinks the group will play a bigger role in future Pride events.
Meow Wolf representatives could not be reached to comment on the partnership.
Coinciding with Pride celebrations, the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association will present the 28th annual Zia Regional Rodeo and Hoedown at Rodeo de Santa Fe. The event features music and other live entertainment, including a drag show, until midnight Saturday.
Rodeo competitions are scheduled all day Sunday.
While Mortensen wasn’t sure how many folks would attend Saturday’s Pride parade, she expected big numbers based on social media shares and interactions to posts about the event. Leading up to the festivities, she said, her team was “blown away” by five-digit-number “likes” and page reviews.
Whatever the turnout, one thing is certain: There will be rainbows.
If you go
Santa Fe Pride
Parade: Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the annual Pride parade will begin at the downtown PERA Building and proceed on Old Santa Fe Trail toward the Plaza. Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are expected to participate.
Festival: Music and other live entertainment will be held on the Plaza until 5 p.m.
Dance party: A 21-and-up after-party is scheduled from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Meow Wolf, 1352 Rufina Circle, featuring DJs and dancing; tickets range from $18.50 to $22.
Pool party: DJ Sato will play tunes at The Lodge at Santa Fe from 1 to 5 p.m. for pool party; the cost is $20.
Zia Regional Rodeo
The New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association presents the Zia Regional Rodeo and Hoedown at the Santa Fe rodeo grounds, 3237 Rodeo Road. Opening events and entertainment will be held Saturday; rodeo competitions will be held all day Sunday. For more information, visit rodeosusa.com/rodeos/zia-regional-rodeo.