Intersex Day of Remembrance

The River of Pride Herculine Barbin

Intersex Day of Remembrance, also known as Intersex Solidarity Day, is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight issues faced by intersex people. It marks the birthday of Herculine Barbin, a French intersex person whose memoirs were later published by Michel Foucault in Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite.

While Intersex Awareness Day on October 26 appears to be celebrated more in English-speaking countries, particularly in North America, Intersex Day of Remembrance has been marked mostly in Europe. Some countries, such as Australia and South Africa, mark both events and the days between as “14 days of intersex”.

The event appears to have begun on November 8, 2005, as Intersex Solidarity Day, following an invitation issued by Joëlle-Circé Laramée, then Canadian spokeswoman for Organisation Intersex International. The Organisation invited organisations and groups and individuals to show solidarity by marking: the life of Herculine Barbin, or discussing intersex genital mutilation, “the violence of the binary sex and gender system” and/or “the sexism implicit within the binary construct of sex and gender”.

Intersex Awareness Day

The River of Pride Intersex Awareness

Intersex Awareness Day is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight the challenges faced by intersex people. The event marks the first public demonstration by intersex people in North America. On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America (carrying the sign “Hermaphrodites With Attitude”) and allies from Transexual Menace demonstrated in Boston, outside the venue where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. Intersex Awareness Day is an international day of grass-roots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children.

Asexuality Awareness Week

The River of Pride Asexuality Awareness Week

Asexual Awareness Week is an international campaign that seeks to educate about asexual, aromantic, demisexual, and grey-asexual experiences and to create materials that are accessible to our community and our allies around the world.

Spirit Day

The River of Pride Spirit Day

In early October 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan promulgated the observance of a new commemoration called Spirit Day, the first observance of which took place on October 20, 2010; it now however takes place on October 17. On this day people wear the color purple to show support for LGBT youth who are victims of bullying. Promoted by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of this cause, and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design. The name Spirit Day comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow flag, whose creator Gilbert Baker defined it as “representing ‘spirit’”. The observance was inaugurated in response to a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi. More than 1.6 million Facebook users signed up for the event globally.

National Coming Out Day

The River of Pride National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as a gender or sexual minority. The day is observed annually by members of the LGBT community and allies on October 11. NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates. The date of October 11 was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

LGBTQQIP2SAA+ History Month

The River of Pride LGBTQQIP2SAA+ History Month

LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on October 11.  In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2005 abolition of Section 28.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day

The River of Pride Celebrate Bisexuality Day

Celebrate Bisexuality Day is observed on September 23 by members of the bisexual community and their supporters. This day is a call for the bisexual community, their friends and supporters to recognize and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in their lives. First observed in 1999, Celebrate Bisexuality Day is the brainchild of three United States bisexual rights activists: Wendy Curry of Maine, Michael Page of Florida, and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas.

International Drag Day

The River of Pride International Drag Day

International Drag Day is to celebrate the greatness and wonder that is Drag Artists from every corner of the planet. Created by Adam Stewart in 2009, International Drag Day was set up to give Drag Artists a well-deserved chance to shine and be celebrated for everything they give to gay life and culture.

Stonewall Riots Anniversary

The River of Pride Stonewall Riots

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.

Maine Man Who Made 900-Foot Flag to March in Boston Pride Parade 2019

The River of Pride Flag Blackstones 2006

By Dustin Wlodkowski

Click the link below to be taken to NBC Boston 10 to watch the interview. https://www.nbcboston.com/on-air/as-seen-on/River-of-Pride-Flag_NECN-510931612.html

A Maine man will be responsible for a big part of Boston’s Pride Parade — 900 feet of it to be exact.

That’s the length of the “River of Pride” flag, sewn together by Bishop McKechnie of Augusta.

For more than 10 weeks, McKechnie has been busy sewing, eight hours a day, to get the flag ready for Saturday.

“It’s a labor of love, we’ll just say that,” McKechnie explained.

 

He first had the idea to make an extremely large flag 13 years ago when customers at Blackstone’s, a well-known Portland bar, asked if they could be on the bar’s pride parade float.

“The clientele would come in and ask to be on the float,” he said. “It dawned on me [to] come up with something that would make the parade longer.”

That’s how, with limited sewing experience and support from his husband, David Hopkins, McKechnie created his first River of Pride flag with a length of 700 feet.

“This was my solution for people who felt unseen or unheard,” he explained.

As McKechnie put it, for the first time, anyone who didn’t belong to an organization or group with a float in the Portland Pride Parade could now belong to a new open-door group with no bar to entry.

A few uses later, the giant rainbow banner became 900 feet long and was used over and over in the Portland Pride Parade until 2017.

After a one-year hiatus, a friend put McKechnie in contact with Boston Pride.

The Massachusetts group jumped at the opportunity to use the flag made of a special shiny silk fabric, which McKechnie says has the price tag of “a nice car,” altogether.

A 200-foot Unity Flag will also make its way to Boston.

The separate flag sewn by McKechnie is meant to include people who don’t feel represented by the rainbow, like individuals who are non-binary.

“Some may feel they’re such a small sect inside the rainbow,” said McKechnie. “I created a brand new flag for those people.”

The Unity Flag uses all different kinds of swatches sews into one flag and has a multi-colored infinity symbol at its center.

It also has room for new colors to be added by anyone who feels they need a color not in the flag to be represented.

Having one of his epic flags in the Boston Pride Parade has been a dream of Bishop’s since the inception of his project that Hopkins said resulted in at least one “intense” needle accident.

But McKechnie, the one who actually had a needle go through his thumb, has never held one of his flags in a parade before.

That will change on Saturday.

“I’ll be marching in Boston. It’ll be my first time picking up the flag,” said McKechnie, who eschewed any type of title like “artist” or “creator,” saying it distracts from the togetherness he’s trying to foster.

“The flag doesn’t get its way down the parade route,” he said. “You make that happen.”

To clarify a few details from this news story:

The first 125 feet was sewn by Bishop and friends in 2006 along with 2007 to 2008 the addition 775 feet was added. The next 750 feet was sewn by Bishop alone in 2019. The 10 weeks included the 750 feet of The River of Pride Flag and 200 feet of The Unity Pride Flag.