Jonathan Groff and William Kapfer Source: William Kapfer

Out with Dr. Bill: 2024 Pride's Big Finish

Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 12 MIN.

Flipping through my pictures from the last two weeks of Pride Month warms my heart and makes me smile.

Condensing all the incredible events I attended into one column feels impossible. Each celebration was special, and I want to give them the recognition they deserve without writing a novel. So, instead of my usual in-depth narratives, I'll share quick snapshots of each event. While this isn't a complete representation of all the amazing Pride activities I enjoyed this year, it's a highlight reel of the ones that brought me the most joy.

LGBT Center's Garden Party: A Vibrant Start to Pride

This year, as the sun set on June 24, Eric and I joined several hundred fellow New Yorkers at Pier 76 in Hudson River Park for The LGBT Center's annual Garden Party. This event always signifies the start of Pride Month for me, and it was the first party under the Center's new chief executive, Dr. Carla Smith, who started in February.

The Garden Party was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with friends, LGBTQ+ community leaders, and advocates, all supporting the essential services provided by the Center.

Since its founding in 1983, the Center has been a beacon of celebration and pride for all LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.

Eric Baker, Dr. Carla Smith, and William Kapfer
Source: William Kapfer0

Despite a breezy start that felt like a scene from "The Wizard of Oz," the party was an absolute blast. The wind eventually settled, but our hair didn't! The celebration included elected officials like State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Tony Simone, as well as allies like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Their presence underscored the community's broad support, making it a perfect event to celebrate Pride and our vibrant LGBTQ+ community.

Todd Sears, William Kapfer and Daniel Sinasohn
Source: William Kapfer

Pride at the White House

Pride festivities continued in our nation's capital, as I had the pleasure of attending the annual White House Pride Month celebration in Washington. An earlier meeting with WEConnect Founder and CEO Elizabeth Vasquez, an amazing LGBTQ+ ally, brought me to DC, so the timing was perfect.

I met up with my buddy Casey Oakes, an inspiring LGBTQ+ leader, to enter the party. As a DC insider, he ensured our entry was seamless. I first met Casey over a decade ago when he was VP of Corporate Relations at the NGLCC.

The White House South Lawn was a vibrant canvas of rainbow colors on a sweltering Wednesday evening. Hundreds of us gathered to celebrate Pride Month. Following the White House staff's instructions, we dressed comfortably for the heat in hats, shorts, and short-sleeved shirts.

The festive spirits remained high despite the heat wave. The presidential mansion's columns, adorned in Pride flag colors, created a striking visual spectacle.

William Kapfer, Brad Baumoel and Justin Nelson
Source: William Kapfer

Ashley Biden, the president's daughter, delivered a heartfelt introduction to her mother, First Lady Jill Biden, who spoke passionately about unconditional love and acceptance.

The celebration peaked with Deborah Cox's electrifying performance, which had the crowd dancing and singing along.

This event was a significant gathering of influential LGBTQ+ leaders and allies, many of whom I knew from my home state of Arizona, including Daniel Hern√°ndez Jr., a former Arizona State Representative.

I later joined him at Crush, D.C.'s newest gay bar on 14th Street, for the LGBTQ+ Elected Leaders and Community Members reception hosted by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund.

I believe this celebration perfectly reflected the vibrant spirit and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.

by Dr. William Kapfer

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