Pelham Pride Party brings 200 together at Manor home to celebrate LGBTQ+ accomplishments

The well attended party took place at the Levy home. (Charlotte Cohn)

On Friday, 200 people gathered for the Second Annual Pelham Pride Party at the home of Romina and Jerry Levy, with folks of all ages coming together to celebrate LGBTQ+ accomplishments and unity in Pelham.

The party included a visit from the Pelicones ice cream truck, a tango dance performed by Accent Dance, DJ Stephen Byfield playing the tunes and speeches from the president and vice president of the Pelham Memorial High School gay-straight alliance (GSA) club.

Steve Salee, an organizer of the party, said, “I’m a gay dad with three teens, so I wanted to help create and sustain an event that demonstrates visibility, support and inclusion for everyone in Pelham.”

“The Pride Party is for everyone—LGBTQ+ people, allies, family members (adults and kids), friends, neighbors—and it’s welcoming presence demonstrates that visibility, support and inclusion,” Salee said. “I want anyone who is LGBTQ+, and their friends and family and neighbors to know that they are seen and that they belong, whether they’re public about being LGBTQ+ or not. Visible support for them matters.”

Others agreed with Salee on the importance of visible support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Pelham Town Councilwoman Kara McLoughlin said, “I think this is an amazing event to bring everyone together for a wonderful cause.”

“It’s incredible that the community is coming together,” said Darra Gordon, a Pelham resident and deputy president and chief operating officer of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). “I love seeing LGBTQ community members and allies celebrating Pride Month.”

Teens from town also voiced their thoughts on the party, discussing how pride has been showcased in Pelham.

“I like how there are kids here so they can be exposed to it when they’re little, and it’s not viewed as different or weird,” said Anabelle Mount.

Some attending discussed the unwillingness of the Village of Pelham Manor to fly the Pride flag during June. (The banner is displayed on Village Hall in the Village of Pelham and at the Town of Pelham’s Gazebo Park.)

“I think it’s really amazing that the people who decided to host this party actually hosted it, because Pelham Manor didn’t have a pride party, nor did they approve of flying the Pride flag in town,” said Nate Reynoso.

It’s incredible that the community is coming together.

— Darra Gordon

“It’s honestly upsetting that the Manor (government) didn’t agree, and many people would have loved to see it flying in support of lots of individuals,” he said. “It’s truly kind of the people who hosted this for the community, and I thank them.”

Christina Day, a resident of  Pelham Manor who had advocated last year for the village to fly the flag, said, “I’m very disappointed. I made a pretty strong effort last year. I spoke with the trustees about their reasons for not doing it, signed a petition for the flag and I haven’t seen the flag anywhere in the Manor. It seems like a very easy way to show support and inclusiveness.”

Another party attendee, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “It’s a little silly that Pelham Manor won’t fly the Pride flag. It seems like everyone in Pelham wants to fly a flag for their causes so (the Manor) not flying the Pride flag seems kind of sketchy to me.”

Mark Crane, another resident said, “I think it’s a missed opportunity to rally around a group of people that could use support.”

The party not only brought the community together to celebrate pride, but highlighted several important LGBTQ+ issues. In the speeches given by PMHS students, they stated how everything isn’t perfect and how the LGBTQ+ student community still faces harassment in school.

Two openly transgender students said that they had been bullied in Pelham.