Nightlife » Special Events

GayDays' Plan to Bail from June Orlando Weekend in '19 Sows Confusion

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday May 10, 2018

A major player in the annual June weekend of LGBTQ events that brings thousands of travelers to Orlando from around the world is planning to split off and do its own thing in August next year - and that's roiling the ranks of the weekend's fans, some of whom assume this means the entire show is now moving dates and venues.

But not only is that not the case - the major players who are sticking to the traditional June dates are looking to rename the event in a bid to solidify the events that will carry on and give them a single more comprehensive identity.

GayDays is leaving the pack and striking out in summer 2019, as QueerCents reported recently.

QueerCents reported that GayDays will be using a new host hotel, which the article identified as the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive. The dates of the newly separate GayDays event will be August 13 - 19, 2019.

That does not mean that the annual June gathering won't go on as always, but it does leave a little bit of a vacuum in the June weekend's roster of organizations and events - a space that One Magical Weekend and Girls in Wonderland are already moving to fill. Among the proposals from the two groups: Coming up with a new name for the weekend's many overlapping opportunities for fun and socializing. OMW took a not-so-oblique swipe at GayDays in a Facebook post and a joint press release designed to clarify what's going on and enhance enthusiasm for those who look forward to the gathering each year.

" 'Let's be clear, a private company that started seven years after the initial gathering does not own the tradition, nor does anyone else, but we are committed to what started in 1991 and our dates are NOT changing!' said representatives from Girls in Wonderland and One Magical Weekend," the joint press release stated. " 'There are reasons that this date has held fast over the years and the date is the date. We will always kick off LGBT Pride Month the first weekend of June at Walt Disney World® Resorts!' "

At Facebook, OMW added, "Whatever alphabet we now call ourselves or whatever label we decide NOT to put on ourselves, we believe that 'Gay' is no longer inclusive enough" as a name for the overall panoply of events.
"So let's decide as a community what feels right to you - LGBT Days, LGBTQ Days, LGBTQIA Days, Diversity Days, Red Shirt Days...whatever!"

The Facebook post invited readers to add their own suggestions as to what to call the June gathering. Rather than a frenzy of ideas for the new name, though, the comments left under the post focused on clarifying just what was going on with the change. When one individual lamented what he saw as a "disparagement" of GayDays, OMW jumped in to defuse that idea.

"Truly, we are not competitors," OMW posted in response. "We all do something unique that attracts visitors. So to promote the weekend as a whole would benefit all of us. That is why we are going to create a community page and name the event. It will allow all of us to market collectively and individually. The name change is difficult, as it is hard to break a 28-year tradition. The fact that we point this out is not disparaging, just stating the truth. Our (the community's) celebration will remain and people will still call it what it started out as, but we will try and have a name that each of our businesses can use that will not infringe on a trademark."

The trademark being, of course, the name "GayDays," which OMW is looking to put out of the minds of June celebrants by coming up with a new, more inclusive moniker. "Diversely Thirsty Funshine Weekend," anyone?

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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