June is unofficially recognized in the United States as LGBT Pride Month, even if Rochester typically waits until July for Pride Week. This year, however, is sure to have a Pride Month to remember, as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that led to increased recognition and rights for LGBT people across the nation. However you plan to get involved this year, use these tips to make sure you’re celebrating Pride Month respectfully and supporting the LGBT community appropriately.
Make Mindful Merchandise Choices
Many companies and organizations have started to pick up on Pride Month as a commercially viable opportunity, meaning you’re likely to start seeing rainbow products on shelves everywhere. However, not everything with a rainbow on it means your money is supporting the LGBT community. The U.S. apparel market is expected to grow to an estimated value of $385 billion by 2025, and any apparel company with a good marketing team is going to start putting rainbows on their clothing if they notice it sells better around Pride Month. Whenever possible, try to support your local, smaller, LGBT-owned stores; you’ll be helping individual creators directly this way.
Give What You Can
While some progress has been made since the Stonewall uprising fifty years ago, many LGBT people still face discrimination and struggle on a regular basis. Pride Month is an excellent opportunity to support non-profit organizations that help improve life for the LGBT community and provide much-needed resources. You might even find yourself wanting to give more often; 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.
Not all organizations will require the same sorts of donations or support. Check with local organizations like the Out Alliance to see what donations are needed. Some will prefer physical items like food or clothing, while others collect money to help support LGBT families directly. Surrogacy for gay men typically costs anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000, and many look for financial support from local non-profits that you can help support with your donations.
If you plan on attending one of the many Pride Month events taking place over the next few weeks, either as part of the community or as an ally, remember that not everyone in the LGBT community is able to be open about that part of their life. What might look initially like a straight couple might not be, or they may be there to support a loved one. Pride events are intended to be supportive for all members of the community regardless of whether they can safely be out or not; make sure you’re doing what you can to make sure everyone feels welcome.
Many people see Pride Month as an opportunity to have fun, celebrate, and attend events decked out in rainbows. However, Pride Month exists for a reason, and on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, it’s important to remember why people are celebrating. Enjoy Pride Month responsibly, and be sure to support your local organizations and businesses while celebrating.
Tattoos are becoming more and more popular every year, with 47% of Millennialsand 36% of Gen Xers saying they have at least one tattoo. If you have yet to get your first tattoo, your best chance might be quickly approaching, as local tattoo shop Love Hate Tattoo hosts the 11th annual Roc City Tattoo Expo. The expo features a variety of local and visiting tattoo artists, piercers, vendors, and more, and will take place between April 26th and 28th this year.
Eleven Years And Counting
Each year the popular expo has taken place, more and more visitors have stopped by to witness impressive body artists at work or get a piece done themselves. The expo has featured over 400 artists and gathered over 3,000 guests in previous years, and the number only continues to grow as the expo gains attention.
While conferences and expos are the most popular type of event to plan with 62.4% of organizers planning these types of events, tattoo expos like this one are less frequent. The organizer, Joseph DiProjetto of Love Hate Tattoo, has stated that he originally planned the expo eleven years ago as a way to gather some of his favorite artists. Now, the tattoo expo has grown to feature artists from as far away as Japan.
Tips For Attending
If you plan on attending the expo and getting a tattoo, it’s best to show up with a plan in mind. Many artists will have flash sheets available for quick tattoos at reasonable prices and will be accepting walk-up appointments. However, for those looking for a custom tattoo, a larger piece, or a more complex design, consider reaching out to your preferred artist in advance for an appointment. With how busy the expo is likely to be this year, this will give you a better chance at securing an appointment.
The event website features a growing list of artists who will be featured at the expo, giving you the opportunity to research their styles in advance. If you’re looking for a newer style, like the currently trending embroidery style of tattoo, be sure to ask your preferred artist in advance if they’re able to work in this style. Not every artist will be willing to try a new style in the expo setting, but it’s worth asking to get your preferred result.
More information about the Roc City Tattoo Expo can be found either on the event website or by contacting the Holiday Inn at 70 State St. Admission is $10 per day or $25 for the full weekend, and parking will be available.
February is Black History Month, and this year’s celebration is a special one for Rochester residents in particular. That’s because February 2019 is also the bicentennial anniversary of famed abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass, who later made his home in the Flower City. Not only is Douglass immortalized throughout Rochester in the form of statues for all to see throughout the year, but the University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies will partner with the school’s Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation library facility to showcase Douglass’s work and life.
Of course, this is not the only way Rochesterians are celebrating. Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee are hosting a month-long events program to pay tribute to our country’s proud black heritage. The City Hall Link Gallery hosted a special event to kick off the month with flair. Live jazz music by the Art Beaty Band could be heard as guests appreciated the artwork of 25 local African American youth and adult artists. Attendees also had the chance to sample a variety of specialty African American foods. Considering that an estimated 65% of American consumers purchased specialty foods in 2017, it’s likely the crowd left the event satisfied on several levels. The event may have passed, but the artwork will remain on display through the middle of March.
City Hall isn’t the only place you can experience incredible works of art, either. The Memorial Art Gallery also hosted a Black History Month event that included live jazz performances, art activities for children, storytelling, and even a Frederick Douglass impersonator. During February break, kids can also receive free admission to the museum with the purchase of an adult ticket. Since studies have shown that seeing a beautiful painting can increase the blood flow to the “joy response” part of the brain by 10% (the same effect you experience when you look at a loved one), this can be a wonderful cultural experience for families.
If art isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Black History Month in Rochester. There are several gospel concerts planned throughout the month, including one that will take place in the City Hall Atrium on February 27 during the lunch hour. The U of R’s Tournees Film Festival features several selections for Black History Month, as well. The celebrations put on by the city actually continues into March, with the 16th Annual Black Heritage Gala on March 9 and the Community and College Gospel Explosion on March 30. The Memorial Art Gallery will also host a multi-screen film and video installation called Lessons of the Hour, which is inspired in part by Frederick Douglass, from March through May. Residents can also do their part to support black-owned businesses during this month by checking out Embellish Boutique, Simply Simone Naturals, the Arnett Cafe, and more. Black-Owned Business Rochester is an excellent resource to learn about other establishments in the area. Should you feel like staying home and tuning into some local programming instead, WXXI will broadcast television and radio programs throughout the month that feature influential black men and women.
Clearly, there are countless ways to celebrate Black History Month in Rochester, thanks to the city’s diversity and commitment to cultural appreciation and understanding. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the iconic figures that have shaped the black experience, both past and present.
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.