Noho Pride searching for new spokesperson 

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Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2019 5:41:26 PM

NORTHAMPTON — June is Pride Month, and it’s also a season of change for Noho Pride, which is currently searching for a new spokesperson.

J.M. Sorrell, the spokesperson for the annual celebration for the past several years, told the organization about six months ago that she planned to move on after this year’s event, the 38th annual festival, said Rachel Slack, Noho Pride director of communications.

“She put in her time, she’s put in her effort, and we’re grateful for everyone who’s been a part of our organization,” added Anna Hoff, Noho Pride director of operations and sponsorship coordinator.

Sorrell declined to comment in this article about relinquishing her role.

So who will be the next spokesperson? Noho Pride is looking for someone with media experience who can attend monthly meetings with the team and is “an active ally or LGBTQIA+ community member,” Slack and Hoff said. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, etc. A major component of the job — which is on a volunteer basis like all Noho Pride positions — is to maintain strong relationships with the local media.

Sorrell, the outgoing spokesperson and a Daily Hampshire Gazette columnist, published an opinion piece, “Not a drag,” last week in the Gazette criticizing drag queens as misogynistic and “making a mockery of women” and questioning their strong presence at the Noho Pride Day in May. The article generated considerable discussion among Gazette readers, including severallettersto the editor and social media comments taking issue with Sorrell’s views, as well as some messages of support. A local drag queen and Pride organizer, Hors D’oeuvres, published a guest column about the value of drag as an art form. “At a fundamental level,” wrote Hors D’oeuvres, “we’re all doing drag. None of us are born with social norms telling us who can and cannot wear certain types of clothing or how we should behave.”

Noho Pride also weighed in on Sorrell’s column with a statement of its own: “We have love and adoration for our entire LGBTQIA+ community as well as our allies,” it reads, “and we are nothing short of delighted to present a stage for these beautiful humans to express themselves through the art of performance … We support the drag community and are happy to provide a stage for such energetic and important expression!”

In addition to the group’s spokesperson, the group’s previous co-directors, Cid White and Stephanie Quesnel, are also moving on, Slack and Hoff said.

Slack, a social worker by day, and Hoff, who works as a visual merchandiser, will be stepping up to lead the group in the place of the co-directors.

For next year’s parade, Slack and Hoff don’t intend to make major changes, but the two said the group has decided to “expand Pride” and plans to put on a prom event in October.

They are also hoping to get more people involved. The group is searching for a volunteer coordinator and volunteers who have availability ranging from one year to one day — Pride Day.

“It is just one day,” Hoff said, “but the amount of work that goes into it is astronomical.”

More information on how to get involved can be found on the Noho Pride website.

Slack and Hoff also encouraged people to reach out to them with feedback about the event. “Especially with these last week or two weeks, there’s been a lot of attention on Noho Pride — the drag column, all the different articles and social media posts,” Hoff said. “Something we’re passionate about and want to get out there is that we love hearing from people … If there’s something you wish you could see, let us know.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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