Event organizer

Leah Wittenberg, organizer of Vermont’s first Pride Parade

Downtown Burlington is seen by many members of the LGBTQ+ community as a safe space where they can authentically be themselves. a transplanted New York and Vermont native who helped make Burlington the welcoming place it is today. felt that if you needed something to happen, you had to do it yourself,” she said. Wittenberg said she came out as a lesbian in the early 80s. She said the The idea of ​​starting a Pride Parade in Burlington came about while discussing the out-of-state Pride celebration she and her friends should attend that year. a Pride event, Wittenberg and her friends persisted. “No one supported us,” she said. “There were no community leaders, there were no clergy, there were no had no allies. We did it alone.” Wittenberg said his goal is to encourage acceptance and equality for all. “Doing what feels authentic to you — and I’m speaking from the ripe old age of 71 — is in ultimately what gives you purpose and joy in your life,” she said.

Downtown Burlington is seen by many members of the LGBTQ+ community as a safe space where they can be authentically themselves.

But Queen City, now home to Vermont’s Pride Center, hasn’t always been a beacon of inclusivity.

Ask Leah Wittenberg, a New York and Vermont native who helped make Burlington the welcoming place it is today.

Wittenberg is one of the organizers of the first Vermont Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade, which was held on June 25, 1983.

“At that time, we thought if you needed something to happen, you had to do it yourself,” she said.

Wittenberg said she came out as a lesbian in the early 80s. She said the idea of ​​starting a Pride Parade in Burlington came about while discussing the out-of-state Pride celebration at which she and his friends are expected to attend that year.

While many in the Burlington community were against a Pride event, Wittenberg and his friends persisted.

“Nobody supported us,” she said. “There were no community leaders, there were no clergy, there were no allies. We did it alone.”

Although they may have felt lonely at the time, hundreds of brave members of the lesbian and gay community eventually marched in the inaugural parade.

Now, Wittenberg said her goal is to encourage acceptance and equality for all.

“Doing what feels authentic to you — and I’m speaking from the ripe old age of 71 — is ultimately what gives you purpose and joy in your life,” she said.