New York Pride weekend is almost upon us, and with it, some of the greatest, gayest parties of the year. It's important to remember, though, that this month is about more than just getting drunk in spandex. Queer event producer Jake Resnicow has taken action through his "Pride With Purpose campaign, which offers free admission to three of his main events--the Matinee, Luvboat and M.E.A.T.--in exchange for 8 hours of community service with specific LGBTQ organizations.
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"Pride Month is a reminder that we must continue to fight for equality and take care of each other," Resnicow told OUT. "The Pulse Nightclub shooting was a wake up call. It challenged me to consider how we can make this world a safer place for our brothers and sisters. Given today's social climate, it's important for our community to understand that we have a history of being discriminated against and repressed. Violence against the LGBT community is on the rise. The program is all about empowering people to do more, to donate their time and resources."
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Those interested can donate their time to any LGBTQ charity--options include the Ali Forney Center and the Trevor Project.
"I think initially the draw is free party tickets, but several volunteers have expressed interest in continuing their service," Resnicow says. "That really touches my heart. Organizations like the Trevor Project save young lives everyday. It's amazing how much of a difference we can make dedicating a few hours out each week."
Matinee is the main event of clubbing, while M.E.A.T. a sexy leather-centric underground party, and Luvboat, fittingly, is a VIP yacht cruise.
"Our parties provide a place to feel welcomed, to be accepted, and to people come together and celebrate who we are in the face of life's obstacles," Resnicow says. "Those who may have been shunned by family, friends, communities or employers can be free here. For some, it is more of a home than they have ever known."
Pride's always been something close to Resnicow's heart.
"To me, Pride is a state of mind," he says. "It's about living every day with integrity so we can make a difference for others. It means living without fear and standing up for others, when they are unable to stand up for themselves. There is much work to be done. I hope this program can inspire others to continue to give back."
Once you've completed your 8 hours, you can submit proof of service to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just buy tickets online.