One of the world’s smaller but more specific Pride celebrations came to Orlando, Florida, over the weekend.
Big Boy Pride is a party weekend organized by the Big Brothas Network – a social and networking not-for-profit organization aimed at ‘Urban debonair big men of color in the LGBT community and those who admire them.’
Co-organizers Tony Brown and Jay Torrence arranged the first Big Boy Pride in spring 2011. The men have continued to welcome big guys from around the US (and beyond). This year’s event ran 12-15 April at the Parliament House resort.
The theme? ‘A Deeper Love.’
Highlights included pool parties, cabaret, fashion show, seminars, a pyjama party and a Black Panther-inspired Wakanda-themed party. Martha Wash, formerly of the Weather Girls, was just one of several acts to entertain the crowd.
‘Big Boy Pride is about brotherhood, self-love and awareness, relationship building and elevating consciousness in the Big Boy community and the public at-large,’ states a description of the event on its official website.
‘Simply nothing quite like it’
Tim’m West (pictured above left) has attended the event every year.
‘Eighth year attending this important and affirming event where people are welcoming in ways black men of size too seldom experience in some spaces,’ he told GSN. ‘This is why I commit, like so many others, to returning. There’s simply nothing quite like it.’
His views were backed up by William (@bear_by_nature) from Atlanta, Georgia.
‘For me, [Big Boy Pride] is a family reunion of your extended family! Us members of the LGBTQ community are one huge family regardless of where you come from, social-economic status or whatever.
‘People from all over come together to have a good time away from their everyday lives because we all need that break to rejuvenate ourselves and why not be surrounded by your loved ones in a judge-free zone?
‘The highlight for me every year is the time spent with my fellow brothers that I haven’t seen in a year. Playing games, going to seminars, catching up on lost time and helping those in there time of need that they may not be receiving where they live.
‘Jay and Tony the founders of this organization do a great job pulling this off every year because they don’t make money off of this. They do it because it’s needed within the community and I love them.’
‘We are large, in charge, and here to stay’
Richie from Brooklyn (@dyson_bear below bottom) was enjoying his first ever Big Boy Pride, but the event left a lasting impression on him.
‘OMG I am so grateful that I came to Big Boy Pride,’ he told GSN. ‘I was such an amazing experience to see our black brothers of size and those who love us just come together in fellowship. We are large, in charge, and here to stay.’