Saratoga Pride Festival on Sunday, June 16 at High Rock Park - And More...

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Saratoga Springs celebrates LGBTQ community with Pride events, banners and window stickers

Saratoga Pride is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in a big way this month. On Sunday, June 16, the organization is to host the 5th Annual Pride Celebration from 1 to 4 pm at High Rock Park Pavilion. Eventgoers can enjoy live music, information from community organizations, crafts, photo ops and more. Pride celebrations will continue at Bailey’s at 4 pm. Where appetizer will be served and $5 donation is requested. All are welcome. Additional Pride events hosted in Saratoga can be found on

“Saratoga Pride is excited to offer an expanded program of events during Pride Month 2019. There are 25 community organizations and businesses tabling at the annual festival on June 16, along with musical performers and fun activities for children and families.” Stated Cindy Swadba, volunteer for Saratoga Pride. 

 Throughout June, Pride flags will hang on Broadway street lamps in downtown Saratoga Springs. The flags, now displayed for the 4th consecutive year, represent Saratoga as an inclusive community and welcome LGBTQIA+ individuals to the area.

Additionally, Saratoga Pride is working with local organizations to encourage their support of the LGBTQ community with one-of-a-kind rainbow horse window stickers. The stickers will be distributed to any Saratoga organization interested. Businesses that are already utilizing the Pride stickers include Northshire Bookstore and Solevo Kitchen + Social.  Businesses can pick up a sticker at the Annual Pride Celebration or by reaching out to Cindy Swadba at

Why Do We Need PRIDE?


Why do we need PRIDE? Why do we still need to show our presence in the community 50 years after Stonewall?


  • Hatred and bigotry still exist.

  • There are people who still believe that being bisexual or homosexual is a sin.

  • There are children who don’t understand that having 2 mommies or 2 daddies is perfectly normal and healthy.

  • There are places where it is still unsafe to be queer.

I am proud and consider myself quite fortunate to live in Saratoga Springs, NY. I walk on Broadway in June and see Saratoga Pride Flags, and feel an immense sense of comfort and pride, and I feel welcome. I see signs in shop windows that say “All Are Welcome Here” and I am happy to know that I am included.

Then I receive a message like the one below (sent to the Saratoga Pride website), and I have to step back and remember that there remain a few in our community who wish I was not here. A few who wish, in fact, that I did not exist at all. I reprint this note in its entirety, but have intentionally removed the name of its author, not so much to protect her, but because I feel sorry for the her. To live with such hatred must be a heavy burden.

Message: I am highly offended that you have placed 'pride' flags at almost every light post in Saratoga!! Your militant lgbt agenda is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the residents of Saratoga Springs. You represent maybe 2% of the whole population but you insist on pushing your agenda at every corner of downtown Saratoga! The lgbt lifestyle is not something to push on others or to be proud of. In 21 large metro areas, 1 in 5 homosexual and bi-sexual men have HIV!! Telling young people to come out and embrace the homosexual lifestyle is like telling them to play Russian roulette!! It seems especially intentional that you display your lamp post flag directly in front of Spa Catholic High school!! Are you trying to recruit as many into your ranks as possible or do you just want to be as 'in your face' as you possibly can to a Catholic School. As a mother of school aged children, we will NOT be marching in the flag day parade this weekend no thanks to your obnoxious organization!! i am also complaining to the city and encouraging as many people as possible to do the same!!! I will boycott any shopping on Main Street and encourage as many others as possible to to the same. Stop destroying our culture by pushing unhealthy and potentially deadly sexual acts and behavior on everyone.

Today is the Saratoga Springs annual Flag Day parade sponsored by the Elks. I am proud that we will have a contingent from Saratoga Pride in the parade, as we have for the past couple years. While marching down Broadway holding rainbow flags, we receive cheers and thanks, and once again I feel welcomed and safe in my home town.

This why we still need to show PRIDE and march in parades, and why I hope you will join us today, whether you are gay, bi, queer, trans, or an ally, family member or friend of any sort, because “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE” – and I am proud of that.

- Steve Rosenblum

Announcing 2019 PRIDE Month Activities!


June is PRIDE Month in Saratoga Springs! Here is the list of exciting activities we have planned for our community to gather and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, including our own PRIDE Festival on Sunday, June 16th at the High Rock Park Farmers’ Market Pavilion.

Sunday, JUNE 2 - Afternoon Yaddo Gardens and Ghost Tour! Back by Popular Demand! Friends and family (children, too) welcome. $10 donation per adult benefits Yaddo. Starts at 4 PM.

Wednesday, JUNE 5 – PRIDE Cocktails & Cabaret at the new Panza’s! Check out the new Panza’s at 129 South Broadway for snacks, a cash bar and some live cabaret music, featuring Michael Panza and friends. $5 Donation requested to benefit Saratoga Pride. 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM (and stay for dinner!)

Saturday, JUNE 8 - Saratoga Elks 52nd Annual Flag Day Parade! Join Saratoga Pride to march in this local parade. Last year we had a great contingent! Line up by 11:30 AM for noon Parade – Check for exact lineup details. (Special GIFT for the first 15 to sign up!) UPDATE:

Flag Day Parade Update: Group will line up on 1st Street (West side of Broadway) as part of “Division 4”, starting at 11:00am. Look for the Saratoga Pride sign and Rainbow Flags. Parade steps off at noon, so please arrive by then.

Sunday, JUNE 9 - Capital PRIDE Festival in Albany! We need marchers to join Saratoga Springs mayor Meg Kelly and friends to show some Saratoga Pride! Line up by 11:30 AM for noon parade – Check for exact lineup details. (Special GIFT for the first 15 to sign up!)

Wednesday, JUNE 12 - Open Mic Night at Caffé Lena! Back by Popular Demand! Sign up 7 PM / Show 7:30 PM.


Join us for our annual celebration of PRIDE (And bring your Dad for Father’s Day!)

1:00 PM: Saturday afternoon at High Rock Park (Farmers’ Market Pavilion) in Saratoga Springs. Join us for live music and festivities, followed by a gathering at Bailey’s.

4:00 PM: Pride Celebration at Bailey’s on Phila St. $5 donation requested. All are welcome!

Thursday, JUNE 20 – PRIDE Night with Erin McKeown at Caffé Lena! Sultry vocals with instrumental prowess, Erin McKeown is a performer who is constantly breaking down boundaries. 7 PM – 10 PM. Tickets

Friday, JUNE 28 – An Evening with Fred Hersch at Caffé Lena! Storied Jazz Pianist and Composer celebrates the 50th Anniversary of The Stonewall Riots in NYC. Shows at 6 PM and 8:30 PM. Tickets

Saturday, JUNE 29 - PRIDE Night at the Opera "Daughter of the Regiment". Discounted tickets to Opera Saratoga’s opening production for the Saratoga Pride Community, with a Group Gathering after the show. To get tickets, call (518) 584-6018 and mention the code PRIDE25. Performance starts at 7:30 PM.

We are also in need of volunteers for a number of events. Please email

Saratoga Pride's Biggest Festival Yet!

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Saratoga Pride’s fifth annual pride month festival was its biggest yet! Over a dozen local churches, non-profits, arts organizations and area businesses, joined over 200 local LGBTQ community members, allies, friends and family at High Rock Park in Saratoga Springs, in celebration of our diverse and welcoming community.


Live music was provided throughout the event by The Rich Clements Band.

Host and MC, Cindy Swadba welcomed the group and we had a visit from Saratoga Springs Mayor, Meg Kelly, who said she wanted to see Saratoga have its own Pride Parade in the future. A representative from Governor Cuomo’s Office read a proclamation from the Governor, and NY State Assembly member Carrie Woerner was also represented. In a reflective moment, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson Board Chair, Joyce Elliott and Moms Demand Action’s Tricia Pleu helped us to remember the victims of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub shootings two years ago. Reverend Joe Cleveland presented Saratoga Pride with a special gift on behalf of members of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Saratoga Springs, and there was a surprise performance of “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story by Andy Pappas of Opera Saratoga!

Check out dozens more Pride Festival photos provided courtesy of Susan Blackburn, Blackburn Portrait Design.

After the Festival community members strolled down Broadway, stopping at Northshire Bookstore to admire its Pride Window displays and on to celebrate at Bailey’s and Ben & Jerry’s. A number of Pride members attended a special Pride Night event at the Orchard Project, featuring playwright and entertainer Charles Busch.

Other Pride Month Activities included a packed Open Mic Night at Caffe Lena, and a Garden and Ghost Tour at Yaddo which drew over 40 people!

To get involved in future Saratoga Pride activities, send a message to

Happy Pride Month!

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Flags are Up on Broadway!

Saratoga Pride Flags Line Broadway for the Month of June

June is Pride Month in Saratoga! Please join us for any or all of the many events we have planned:

Monday, JUNE 4 - Open Mic Night at Cafe Lena: This incredibly popular event is back!

            Arrive by 7pm to sign up and hear guest performers Crys Matthews & Heather Mae.

Saturday, JUNE 9 - Saratoga Elks 51st Annual Flag Day Parade: Join Saratoga Pride to march in this local parade. Last year we had a great contingent! Line up by 11:30am. We are in Division #5, lining up at North Broadway & First St, behind Sustainable Saratoga and Dairy Princess groups. Parade begins at noon. 

Sunday, JUNE 10 - Capital Pride Festival in Albany: Join your friends to show some Saratoga Pride! Line up by 11:30am for noon Parade – Check for exact lineup details.


5:30pm:          Friday evening at High Rock Park (Farmer’s Market Pavilion) in Saratoga Springs. Join us for live music, featuring the Rich Clements Band, and festivities, followed by a stroll down Broadway.

7:00pm:          Pride Celebration at Bailey’s on Phila St.

8:00pm:          Charles Busch at the Orchard Project! A recent addition to our Pride Line-Up… Check the event listing for details.

Sunday, JUNE 17 - Afternoon Yaddo Gardens and Ghost Tour! Friends and Family (children, too) welcome. (A great Father's Day Activity!) Starts at 4pm.

Friday, JUNE 29 - Pride Night at the Opera "The Merry Widow". Discounted tickets for the Saratoga Pride Community and Group Gathering.  To get tickets, call (518) 584-6018 and mention the code PRIDE25. Performance starts at 7:30pm.

Announcing Saratoga Pride Month Events

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Here are the upcoming June Pride Month Events. We are also in need of volunteers for a number of events. If you are willing to help, please email

Monday, JUNE 4 - Open Mic Night at Caffe Lena: This incredibly popular event is back!

Saturday, JUNE 9 - Saratoga Elks 51st Annual Flag Day Parade: Join Saratoga Pride to march in this local parade. Last year we had a great contingent!

Sunday, JUNE 10 - Capital Pride Festival in Albany: Join your friends to show some Saratoga Pride!

Friday, JUNE 15 - SARATOGA PRIDE FESTIVAL! Friday evening at High Rock Park in Saratoga Springs. Join us for live music and festivities, followed by a celebration at Bailey's Restaurant. Festivities start at 5:30pm. Featuring the Rich Clements Band!

Sunday, JUNE 17 - Afternoon Yaddo Gardens and Ghost Tour! Friends and Family (children, too) welcome. (A great Father's Day Activity!)

Friday, JUNE 29 - Pride Night at the Opera "The Merry Widow". Discounted tickets (25% off!) for the Saratoga Pride Community and Group Gathering. To get discount tickets, call (518) 584-6018 and mention the code PRIDE25.


Congratulations to Saratoga Hospital for Earning “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” Designation


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 3, 2018—Saratoga Hospital has been designated a “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Top Performer” from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization. Saratoga Hospital is the only hospital to receive this designation in the Capital Region and North Country.

For more information:


"Trans Talks II - Continuing the Conversation" to be held May 1

Saratoga Pride presents Trans Talks II, sponsored by Saratoga Hospital and Cathy Masie, on Tuesday, May 1, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Excelsior Springs Ballroom, 27 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs. This free event is open to the public and will continue the standing-room-only conversation that began a year ago, addressing the needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming community as well as providing community-education opportunities for the larger Saratoga region.

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The event will begin with a presentation by guest speaker Acey Mercer, LMSW, whose substantive expertise in topic-relevant social work, consulting, clinical training and policy development will be enlightening, followed by a question-and-answer period and small group discussion as time permits. Pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited. Valet parking is provided. Click here to register.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is November 20 (Vigil, Nov 19th)

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Vigil to be held at Skidmore College Sunday, November 19 at 4pm (Fallstaff's). (See below for details)

About TDOR

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

Note: This page was taken from

The Remembering our Dead Web Project and The Transgender Day of Remembrance are owned by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, All Rights Reserved


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Announcing: "Coming Out Month" Film Series


“Coming Out Month” film series.
Presbyterian—New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular St., Saratoga Springs.
Co-sponsored by Saratoga Pride.
Schedule (subject to change):
Oct 4 Milk (biopic about gay activist Harvey Milk)—2008; dir. Gus Van Sant; 2 hr 8 min; rated R—starring Sean Penn
Oct 11 Ma Vie En Rose (a child identifies as a “girlboy”)—1997; dir. Alain Berliner; 1 hr 20 min; rated R—French with English subtitles 

Oct 18 God Loves Uganda (documentary about evangelical American missionaries promoting homophobia)—2013; dir. Roger Ross Williams; 1 hr 23 min; unrated

Oct 25 For the Bible Tells Me So (documentary about growing up and coming out gay in 5 different Christian families)--  2007; dir. Daniel Karslake; 1 hr 35 min; unrated
Show time 6:30 PM.  Each screening followed by panel discussion.  More details to follow.
For more information contact: Terry Diggory;; 518-587-3537.

Saratoga Pride 2017!

Pride Weekend was well represented by Saratoga Pride. Friday, June 9th was the Saratoga Pride Festival at High Rock Park, with over 150 LGBTQ, allies, family and friends enjoying the festivities! 

June 10th, for the first time, Saratoga Pride was represented in the Saratoga Flag Day Parade!

Saratoga Pride marched on Sunday, June 11th in Albany's Capital Pride Parade.


Sunday, June 4th: Guided, hour-long walk in Saratoga State Park @ noon, meet at the Warming Hut by the Rt 9 SPAC entrance (Note this is a change in location). Dogs welcome!

Monday, June 5th: LGBTQ Open Mic at Caffe Lena @ 7:30-9pm! Show us your talents! $3 cover charge.

Friday, June 9th: Join us for the annual Saratoga Pride Celebration! We will start with a small festival at High Rock Park, featuring music, visits from community leaders, and information tables from local organizations. Then, we will pause for a group photo before taking our annual stroll down Broadway to a local venue for appetizers and beverages. (There will be a small cover charge at the restaurant to cover the cost of food.)

Saturday, June 10th: Saratoga Flag Day Parade on Broadway! Details of parade start and times will follow. Please email to sign up. Allies and friends welcome!

Sunday, June 11th: Capital Region Pride Center annual Pride celebration in Washington Park, Albany. Join Saratoga Pride in the parade! More details to follow.

Tuesday, June 13th: Sing-a-Long to Grease! Bow Tie Theater, 6:00pm social hour 7:00pm movie at the Bow Tie Cinema on Railroad Ave. $5 donation.

Announcing the Saratoga Pride 2017 Festival for LGBTQ and Allies!

Where: High Rock Park, Saratoga Springs (location of the Farmer’s Market) and more...

When: Friday, June 9th, 5:30pm – 9:00pm

We are very excited to be expanding the Saratoga Pride event this year to include a small festival gathering at High Rock Park.  This will include some information tables from local LGBTQ and allied organizations; brief visits from community leaders; and hopefully some live music and food options. As in other years, we will pause for a group photo prior to taking a stroll from High Rock Park, along Broadway to a local venue for appetizers and beverages, starting at about 7:15pm. There will be a small charge at the restaurant to cover the cost of food, and there will be a cash bar. This is an all ages event! (ID will be required to purchase alcoholic beverages.) Watch for more details!

Volunteers, Organizations and Musicians Wanted!

If you are a representative of a LGBTQ or allied organization that would like to have an information table at the event, please contact Saratoga Pride. We are also seeking musicians who would like to donate their time and talent to perform a brief set at the festival.  Space for tables and time for performers is limited so please let us know as soon as possible. Finally, we need some volunteers for setup and breakdown, and other jobs.  Send a note to to participate in any of these ways!

LGBTQ ‘National Pride March’ on Washington Planned for June 11

By Andy Towle (from Towleroad January 26, 2017)

Organizers of the D.C. Pride Festival are planning to collaborate with a gay activist from Brooklyn, New York who is organizing a National Pride March to take place on June 11.

Write the organizers:

Additional details about the March will follow, but we are working in conjunction with the Capital Pride Alliance, in Washington, DC to incorporate the March into the 2017 Celebration of Pride in the Nation’s Capital. We want to build off the momentum the strong women in the US and around the world started on January 21st. They set the tone with their leadership and it is our intention as a community to follow their lead and play our part. This will be an ALL inclusive and peaceful event!

We urge all supporters, friends, and family to descend on DC for the Pride 2017 weekend (June 8-11th) to make sure our voices are heard. If you cannot attend the March in Washington, DC, we urge you to reach out to your local Pride organizations to assist in creating solidarity through your existing Pride events. Let’s make this truly a “National Pride March” that spreads from coast to coast and shows solidarity through our Pride movement.

There is no word yet on how inclusive this march will be in terms of gender identity, disability, and race, or collaboration with groups like Black Lives Matter and immigration organizations. These surely need to be top of mind for organizers.

Says David Bruinooge, 42, the Brooklyn, N.Y., resident who created the National Pride March page, to the Washington Blade:

“I was watching the events unfold on TV and I was very proud and inspired by all the women, the strong women in our country who were kind of taking this to the street and getting their voices heard,” he told the Washington Blade. “And in the back of my mind as an openly gay man I thought the gay community should be doing something like this to follow up on the momentum,” he said.

He said he intentionally chose June 11 for the march because it’s the same day that D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival is scheduled to be held on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. near the U.S. Capitol. Bruinooge said his thought was the march would start in the morning and end at the site of the Pride festival.

Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes the D.C. Pride events, including the Pride Parade set to take place on June 10, said he has spoken with Bruinooge and expects that Capital Pride officials will collaborate with the march organizers so the march and the D.C. Pride events will complement each othe

Uniting Communities Against the Politics of Hate: A Public Forum

Uniting Communities Against the Politics of Hate: A Public Forum
February 12, 2017, 4:00-6:00 PM
Presbyterian—New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
PNECC office:

There will be a panel discussion with representatives of the African-American community, Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia, Capital District SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice), the Jewish community, the Latino immigrant community, and the Pride Center of the Capital Region/GLSEN. PNECC pastor Rev. Kate Forer will moderate. Attendees will learn skills for diffusing and healing hate situations, as well as building relationships. The event is free and open to all!

Upcoming Action Opportunities - Open Letter from Joyce Elliott

Dear Friends -- I hope you will join Cindy and me at these upcoming events:


1. The Albany Inaugurate Resistance March on Saturday January 21 from 4 to 5:30 PM. This will be the biggest, most unified local action on the day after the presidential inauguration. This is a sister event to the national march in Washington D.C. We stand together in support of the many vulnerable and intersecting communities who have been targeted by the incoming administration. There will be workshops at 12:30 and 2 PM on community organizing at 155 Washington Ave (1199/SEIU Building). The march begins at 4 PM at 155 Washington Ave and ends at the West Capital Park at the NYS Capitol with a rally and speak out. For more information, see Inaugurate Resistance on Facebook. 


FYI, a group called Saratoga Unites has been formed to bring together residents and organizations from our region to take action to stop racism, bigotry and inequality. An initial meeting held on Sunday the 14th at the Parting Glass drew over 200 people. A variety of break out groups were formed. An LGBT group, convened by Reverend Joy Block, will meet again on Sunday January 22 at 4:30 PM, location to be announced. For more information, join the Saratoga Unites group on Facebook. 


2. The Winter Party for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson (PPMH) on Saturday January 28 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at 191 Union Ave in Saratoga. This fundraiser is an elegant cocktail party just when we need one. Open bar, music by The Sheiks of Third Street, silent auction, wine raffle, and delicious, hearty hors d'oeuvres by our dear friend Kim Klopstock of the Lily and the Rose. The cost is $75 for return guests and $50 for first-timers. Please register online at   


3.  Family Planning Advocates (FPA) Annual Day of Action on Monday, January 30 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. Beginning at 10 AM, we will rally with over 1,000 supporters. Speakers will include Cecile Richards, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, possibly Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS legislators and community leaders. The afternoon will feature workshops on community organizing and lobbying at the legislature. If you register in advance, a box lunch and a vibrant pink scarf are included. Register at    


The two Planned Parenthood events support reproductive justice and health care for youth, women, men, the LGBTQQ community, and others who typically have no other access to the health care -- of any kind -- they need.  


As Chair ofthe Board for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, I can tell you the communities we serve are the same communities we march for on the 21st. The need for what we do is greater than ever, as is the threat to shut us down. Please stand with us all and with Planned Parenthood!  


My very best wishes to you in 2017 -- Joyce

Cindy Swadba interview on Channel 10 ABC concerning hate crimes in Saratoga

It’s not uncommon to see graffiti along spring run trail in Saratoga but this week a swastika and found and even more troubling, it was the second one found in just two weeks here in Saratoga Springs.

“We’re better than that and we know better than that and I’m fearful,” Cindy Swadba, volunteer at Saratoga Pride, said.  Cindy was interviewed by Channel 10 ABC News in an episode that aired on Nov. 29.  The episode discussed the rise in hate crimes since the recent presidential election, and featured Cindy Swadba and Mayor Yepsin.  See the full article here.