York Revolution to host first LGBTQ night
A parade, a veterans celebration and a sea of rainbow flags will fill PeoplesBank Park as the York Revolution celebrate their first annual LGBTQ Pride Night on Wednesday, June 14.
Former MLB pitcher Joe Valentine will headline a ceremony before the Revs honor LGBTQ leaders and LGBTQ members of the armed forces.
“I have been a lifelong ambassador to the LGBT community, having been raised since birth by lesbians,” Valentine, an ambassador for the LGBTQ ally nonprofit Athlete Ally, said in a news release. “The world needs more understanding and patience and less hate and ignorance, and I hope I can help with spreading the word.”
Valentine will address a group of invited York and Adams County high school and college athletic directors and coaches. He will speak about homophobia in athletics and how coaches can combat the issue, according to the release.
The ceremony will include a pride parade on the field with hundreds of rainbow flags provided by Equality Fest, the annual daylong LGBTQ pride event in York City.
Several LGBTQ performers will entertain at the event, including the Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus and the UCC Open and Affirming Singers.
'Awesome': “I think it’s going to be awesome,” said Carla Christopher, equity coordinator at York County School of Technology.
Christopher recently was announced as this year’s YWCA Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award recipient for her advocacy on racial and social justice.
Christopher, who created the LGBTQ celebration event Equality Fest in 2014, said she believes the time is right for a celebration at PeoplesBank Park for LGBTQ rights.
“When I started Equality Fest, I thought there would be pushback, but it turned out to be great,” she said of the annual event, which will hold its fourth celebration at Penn Park in August.
York’s perceived homophobic slant is just that, according to Christopher.
“It has a reputation more than it has a reality,” she said. “York County is actually a very diverse and progressive place that will stand up for the rights of its citizens.”
In addition, Christopher said including LGBTQ people in the all-American sport sends a powerful message.
“Being gay is super all-American, too,” she said.
“The wholesome all-American family sport of baseball and the wholesome all-American gay family,” she stated. “I think that symbolism is important.”
“This idea of LGBT being fringe is so over,” Christopher said. “We are your pastors, your teachers, we are Pennsylvanians. Let’s just embrace it.”
Event: The Revs worked with local community organizations and businesses to plan the event, including Equality Fest, Family First Health, PFLAG York, the LGBT Center of Central PA, i-ron-ic and York City.
York City Mayor Kim Bracey will attend the event and is expected to announce a proclamation at the ceremony.
In a news release, York Revolution President Eric Menzer said one of the organization's goals has always been to be “the most welcoming place in York.”
According to the release, Menzer said a committee of employees approached top brass about a potential event for the LGBT community, and upon hearing it, he said, “we not only wanted to do it but also wanted to make sure we could be part of the solution to homophobia and exclusion in sports.”
Tickets for LGBTQ Night are on sale at the York Revolution website. Tickets for a private speaking engagement by Joe Valentine include a ticket for the game as well as a two-hour all-you-can-eat buffet for $30. For more information, visit the York Revolution’s online single ticket section at www.yorkrevolution.com/tickets/single-game-tickets.