Last year, the city decided that a Big Gay Dance Party was the perfect way to kick off Pride Month. The more than 1,000 LGBTQ people and allies who showed up to dance in Union Square seemed to agree.
“It was just a huge hit, and it really showed that there was a need for that in the community,” says Nina Eichner, special events manager for the Somerville Arts Council, which hosted the event. “So many people came up to me after, just saying, ‘I’m so glad this is happening, it makes a big difference that I feel represented in the city,’ and I think it really was symbolic to people, and really significant.”
The arts council and the city’s LGBTQ community liaison will throw the dance party again this year, with drag performances from Sham Payne and JP Delgado Galdamez and music from DJ Dee Diggs.
Gracie’s Ice Cream will offer up rainbow ice cream sandwiches for the party, Eichner adds.
Organizers have also invited organizations that provide services for LGBTQ individuals and planned for free, confidential HIV testing.
“Some people feel like they’re not comfortable, or they’re scared, or whatever the stigma is around going to do that testing on their own, but you can just be at the dance party and then kind of slip away and do that and there’s less barrier for entry there,” Eichner says.
The Big Gay Dance Party will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 2 in Union Square. The party is free and open to all ages.