This summer, volunteers with the Greater Bridgeport Pride Committee came together to put on the city’s biggest and boldest Pride celebration ever. The weekend-long affair featured a Pride March, live performances, food trucks, art exhibits, a variety show, and a cabaret extravaganza. We at the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation were thrilled to both support and attend.
Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest city, home to a history as colorful and diverse as its people. Unfortunately, in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, Bridgeport too often stands out for the wrong reasons. Relatively high rates of poverty. Under-resourced public services. Questionable political leaders.
Yet none of this was on display during Pride. It was a celebration not just of the vibrant LGBTQ+ community there, but of the City of Bridgeport itself. Yes, there are urgent and critical needs in the city, but those are not seen as liabilities. They are opportunities. Folks have long talked about the lack of a dedicated space serving the Greater Bridgeport LGBTQ+ community. Now the time has come to make it happen.
In July, the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation announced a commitment to partner with members of the Greater Bridgeport Pride Committee to establish the Bridgeport Pride Center, a permanent community center focused on creating safe and empowering resources and opportunities for LGBTQ+ people in Bridgeport and environs.
It is an ambitious goal that will pair the community experience and background of longtime advocates with the initial seed funding required to get an undertaking like this off the ground. Already a task force of various stakeholders has been convened, and potential board members have been identified to help finalize the Center’s mission and incorporation. There is still a ways to go, but after many years of talking about it, we are finally on the path of action.
The official motto of the City of Bridgeport is, “By industry, we thrive.” The LGBTQ+ community in Bridgeport has already waited too long for something like this. It’s about time for them to thrive.