Pride is about feeling good about ones life and accomplishments and contributions to “the community.”  Community in Second Life is hard to describe or put your hands on.  There are social communities, business communities, and lifestyle communities.   They never see eye to eye and sometimes just can’t seem to get along.

Quoting from Wikipedia Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.”

That statement in my eyes is the reason behind Second Pride.  Second Pride is one of the oldest, if not the oldest LGBTQ groups in Second Life.  It was established to bring the various communities together for a festival once a year to show ourselves off. To show the good things that we accomplish in our every day lives both in SL and RL.

In my eyes, I am going to state categorically, that it was not established as a self promotion tool for anyone involved.  It was not established to be a super secret club for self-perceived movers and shakers. It was established to promote and bring together the entire community for at least 10 days every years to show off.

In being able to serve the community the board has guidelines and a set of bylaws that guide it in accomplishing their job.  Let me tell you its a big job.  There have been ALOT of anonymous accusations of misdeeds in the past 3 years.  From my year directly with the board never saw any of it.  There have been a great deal of comments in the past of the board sitting on loads of money that should be distributed.  There have been alot of unfounded accusations of board member just stealing money, I can’t speak for past boards, but I can say the accusations that flew when I was on the board were made up lies.

Well as I stated the board was established to put on a yearly festival.  Outside donations to charity are a byproduct of the festival.

Three years ago the board voted to purchase a sim, instead of renting space to hold meetings. In establishing the sim, the board made available meeting and display space to smaller non-profits in world who would be better served not having to spend their resources on tier.  They also established a Second Pride avatar that acts as the banker and is responsible for paying the bills.  As with any organization/charity SP operates on a year budget.  The tier fee for the sim is ~79,500 a month, which means that the board needs to budget 954.000Ls each year to just cover that cost.  Then there is the cost of the avatars premium membership which is approximately 19,000Ls a year.  After the festival the board meets to discuss and take suggestions for worthy in world or real world charities to donate the excess funds to.  The board works with the charities and often seeks out charities that have an in world presence as the transfer of the funds is less complicated.

Records of all transactions are recorded and posted on the SP website.  There is also an audit committee that periodically looks at the financials to make sure that everything is on the up and up.  They have found errors/spending mistakes in the past that were corrected.  To try to overcome any re-reimbursement errors, the board 2 years ago established a policy of all asset purchases are made by “the avi.”

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, Its time for the varied members of the community to come together.  Elections for the Second Pride board will be happening soon. Its time to be involved, whether its standing for election to a board position or volunteering to help one of the elected board members. Details of the election have not been released but should be soon, stay tuned.

Have a great day ya’all.


pride_001 copy

One needs to take Pride in their own efforts, take Pride in the efforts of others and take Pride in their respective outcomes.

A year ago when I made the decision to run for a position on the Second Pride board it was not a decision I made lightly.  I had been in and around Second Pride since its beginnings.  I even had a brief stint as an appointed board member a few years ago, until I had to step aside for personal reasons.

I believe in this community.  Yes it is a community.  Communities are made up of many diverse individuals, groups and organizations.  But in my mind what makes a community is having common goals.  We might not always agree on how to reach those goals.  But we all want to see life better for ourselves and our successors.

This experience with Second Pride has helped me learn a great deal about myself and others. I believe in Camelot.  I believe in a world where everyone looks out for their neighbor.  I believe in standing for what is right for the common good.  I wanted to try to reinvolve with Pride groups that had left for one reason or another.  At least try to talk to them and find out why.  Let me tell you I learned alot about patience (on my part) and deep seeded anger and hostility (on their parts).  I won’t go into all the details.  Spent lots of time talking but to no avail or think that things were being accomplished and then suddenly being back at stage 1.

The board had a rough time this year. From the outright unruly election cycle, to behind the scenes harassment, to having many seats become vacant during the year.  There have been many lies and half truths spouted this year about all those who have sat on the board this year.  I can guarantee that there has been no theft of any funds during this year by any board member.  The financials are posted on the Pride website for all to see.

I want to thank everyone who has been supportive this year and everyone who served on the board for the community.  It has been a long year and it culminated in a GREAT festival.  There was great turn out, a busy schedule and loads of fun.  I want to thank everyone for the hard work, all the vendors, all the entertainers, all the sponsors.  Without you this isn’t possible.

The one thing the board has left to accomplish is the Annual Meeting which will be July 19th at 11AM in the Second Pride Conference Hall.  At this time we will review the year and the festival. We will also make announcements about the annual charitable donation and about the process/procedure for the upcoming elections.

With all this said, I have just one more thing.  Its been a pleasure and an honor to serve the community this year.  I have chosen not to run for re-election for personal reasons (both SL and RL).  I wish the everyone strength and happiness.


Complaint Dept: Now serving #27

I got involved in the election for Second Pride board because I wanted to help better the community. I didn’t get involved with the election or the board to benefit my own ego or reputation.  I got involved to try to benefit the greater good.

The election hurt the community.  Sometimes I think it damaged the community beyond repair.  To a point where its really hard to see a community but rather several cliques joined by a common thread.  I have said in the past.  There is a great deal to be proud of in this community. We all have our own little areas we usually gravitate towards.  There is nothing really different about the SL community as compared to the RL community.

The one thing that is different between SL and RL.  In RL everyone comes together for at least a short period of time to “show off” us to the rest of the world, from Dykes on Bikes to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and everything and everyone in between.

Second Pride isn’t about any one club, any one group, any one clique. It isn’t about those who think they are the movers and shakers of Second Life. Its about all of us.

In November 1969 a group of activists were meeting in Philadelphia and proposed that there be an annual reminder event to commemorate the demonstrations that took place on Christopher Street the summer before in and around the area of the Stonewall Inn.

From the proposal at that meeting ”

That the Annual Reminder, in order to be more relevant, reach a greater number of people, and encompass the ideas and ideals of the larger struggle in which we are engaged-that of our fundamental human rights-be moved both in time and location.

We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY. No dress or age regulations shall be made for this demonstration.” From the wikipedia page.

I included this quote and highlighted that we need to do good things for the community and the greater good.

There are some hard working people involved with the board this year. Who I believe understand the concept of working for the greater good.

But it becomes hard at times when feathers get ruffled and personal difference arise between individuals.  That turn into LONG held grievances and and anger.

I have been involved with Pride for almost 8 years.  This will be my 8th festival I believe. Over the years my level of involvement has varied. But as I said this year I wanted to get involved because I saw a need to improve the direction that was being taken.

The “Second Pride” board is made up of all volunteers.  No one gets paid and I truly believe that they are all involved for furthering the greater good.  We have all made a goal to reach out to folks or groups who participated in the past and to groups and individuals who have never participated in an attempt to strengthen the community.

Its hard to please everyone all the time.  The SL “community” is not homogenous just like the RL community isn’t.  Its going to be hard to please everyone all the time.  The board that was first elected appeared quite homogenous to start.  This cause alot of anger to be hurled that it was going to become a bear group.  (just rolled my eyes).  Due to circumstances that have arisen, there has been a great deal of shuffling and new people come on board.  This board right now is the most diverse group that I can remember every sitting together.

With that said, we all have our own interests and contacts. so we have been actively trying to include “entertainers” that have worked with us in the past.  Its good to expose membership to new things and new people.  That is why the majority of the DJ’s at the Valentine event were people who had never played at a Pride event.  A great opportunity for them to get some exposure.

I get complaints in my IM box.  It goes with the territory.  I listen to what folks have to say.  Try to sort out how to make things better.  Usually I end the conversation with suggesting that they come by a Pride meeting.  And thats where the complaint ends.

And finally.  I get it I really do.  I understand people have issues with past members of the board. BUT I am not going to apologize for anything that individuals who were involved with the board in the past may have done.  All I or any member of the current board can do is try to make things better moving forward.

So to finish up – the invitation is there, come join us for a meeting.  We would love to see you.  Its time to buck up and move forward.  If you have issues with members of previous boards.  I suggest you take it up directly with them and don’t continue to blame the organization years after it happened.

Checking Yourself

The past 6 months have been interesting for many good and many not so good reasons. There have been some highs and lows for us but that is old news and its time to look forward.  Its time to step up for the greater good.  Its time to put petty personal issues aside and ask what can I do to make this a better place.

What we do in Second Life and how we represent transcends itself to RL and vice versa. Its time to ask what can I do to make things better for someone else.

I go through ups and downs of liking and not liking Facebook.  But on occasion there are some VERY interesting items pass through my timeline that make me stop and go “hmmmm.”  Most recently was a post by Dan Savage on The Stranger about homophobia in Ireland. Can be found here if you haven’t seen it.  It brought me to a beautiful and eloquent speech by Panti Bliss, who according to her wikipedia page is Ireland’s foremost drag queen.  Please take the time to read Dan Savage’s piece, it lays out the background of what Panti is referring to in this video.

As Dan said few people in North America had ever heard of Panti until now. I have spent the past few days learning more about her.  What she said in this speech hit home with me on many levels. And it carried a great deal of meaning for me both for my SL and my RL.

Homophobia runs deep in everyone’s life.  In and out of our community.  There is strong hate and dislike for certain members of our community from within the greater community.  This is for me a really sad state of affairs.  One thing that Panti said, ” I do, it is true, believe that almost all of you are probably homophobes. But I’m a homophobe. It would be incredible if we weren’t. To grow up in a society that is overwhelmingly homophobic and to escape unscathed would be miraculous. So I don’t hate you because you are homophobic. I actually admire you. I admire you because most of you are only a bit homophobic. Which all things considered is pretty good going.

But I do sometimes hate myself. I hate myself because I fucking check myself while standing at pedestrian crossings. And sometimes I hate you for doing that to me.”

I keep my head held high.  I have overcome alot and am at a comfortable place in my life.  I have learned to appreciate others and the diversity around me.  I respect your opinion, I might not necessariy agree with it, but it is your oninion and you are entitled to it.

In my research of Panti, i came across this video shot last year at 30th anniversary of Dublin Pride.  She present wonderful remarks to open the event and brings into perspective the difference a community can have and how we can work around those difference for the greater good.

Pride in RL and Pride in SL is more than who has the pretty group, who throws the biggest parties, who throws the most L’s at the sploders.  In fact there is a great deal more to the community than dance clubs and cruising for sex.  Because alot of those who seek to alienate and hate us think thats all we do.  There are many talented creators in the SL community and for a good number of them they are  creators in the RL community as well

There are many life issues that should scare the hell out of you that affects the community as a whole. As Panti said in the first video, “Have you ever turned on the computer and seen videos of people just like you in far away countries, and countries not far away at all, being beaten and imprisoned and tortured and murdered because they are just like you?”

Please consider this an open call to everyone, Step Up, Step out and lets move forward.

Thank you for reading.

Final Candidate Statement for Pride 2014 Elections

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and consider me as a candidate for the position of Secretary/Co-Chair for Second Pride.

This will be my final statement that I will be posting on the pride forums when the time comes.  But being unsure of how many of you have gone there, I am posting it here as well.

There are a few things I want to talk about as this “campaign” comes to an end.

History – Since its inception Second Pride has enjoyed a rich and varied history.  In the past the festival has been a culmination of long hard work by the entire community.  its time to get back to that.  In the past SP events have been held at various times around the grid by sponsoring sims/organizations as a joint effort with Pride.  This gives both groups a chance to show off.  Its time to get back to that.  There has been space given in the past to showcase the varied visual artists within our community.  Its time we get back to that.  In the past there has been space available for displaying the AIDS/HIV quilt, its time we get back to that.  I understand its so large now that it could require a whole full sim to display completely.  I would propose that we designate a spot at the Pride sim as a permanent location to display sections of the quilt that could be rotated in on a regular basis.  Its important to remember from where we came in this bold move forward.  Our LGBT predecessors  worked hard for alot of rights that we are now beginning to enjoy.  Its important to remember that and honor that.
Community – I have said in the past that OUR greater community is made up of smaller closer knit groups that are often insular in nature and rarely venture into the realms of other groups.  I can respect and appreciate that.  But we as a whole have to recognize that for the greater community to flourish we need to be able to come together periodically for open and frank discussions and events.
Moving Forward – We as a community won’t always agree on how anything should be accomplished.  But moving forward we need to be open and frank in our discussions.   Take ownership of our comments and ideas.  Hiding behind nameless faceless comments on some hate blog isn’t productive and only leads to divisiveness.  The board needs to have open and frank discussions with various groups within the community as a whole (the lesbians, the elves, the furries, and the GA) to help foster a better relationship and try to bring everyone back to the table.
Teamwork – this does not mean that anyone has to agree 100% of the time with what the team does.  But for me it does mean that if you choose to be part of a team then you should participate to the best of your ability.  Being part of a team means you can express reservations about ideas/plans.

Fundraising – we need to have fundraising kiosks out all year long. A good way to increase buzz about Pride would be to do a fundraising challenge. Sims/groups/clubs and individuals could form teams.  The higher amounts that a registered “team” raises gives them higher rewards, such as a bigger display spot at the festival, or a more prime time slot for dance or some other event of their choosing during the festival.  Just a thought.

Events/Event Planning – The area needs a great deal of attention.  This is a good area to work on the diversity and inclusion of all groups.  I feel that we should have at least a minimum an event every 8 weeks and they should be spread out among the different communities, allowing them to show off as well.  In RL I have worked as an events planner and understand the complexities of it, but also know that buzz is important. And for events we need to get past the idea that everything needs to happen between 4PM and 10PM SL.  We have a significant portion of the community in the Pacific Rim and Asia as well.

Representation/Diversity – I believe that all groups should feel represented by the board. Every member of the greater community should feel that they could bring issues and concerns to the board and recieve due attention.  The past few years has seen the board gain a representation as being only for the men.  The way to fix this is have the community relations person reach out to all the major groups spend time with them, learn their concerns, bring them to the board, foster relationships that have been bruised and broken. Diversity isn’t gained by having a woman, a furry , a gorean, or a bear on the board just as a token.  The board needs to have strong leaders who can reach out to the entire community.  The board needs to reach out and nurture participation among the varied groups.
Customer Service – The members of the board are there to represent you. In that the board members should be respectful and courteous to the public that they represent.  This holds true for the community as well.  Some level or courtesy and respect will get you along way in life.

Marginalization– every member of our community is a valuable asset whether you agree with them or not. Not always agreeing is how communities grow.  I will not stand for marginilzation of anyone through the use of blind hate blogs, spewing random comments that are unsubstantiated.  They have no value to the community as a whole and truly only serve as a sideshow.  Moving forward we shouldn’t feed the trolls, even if they are part of the community or claim to be.

Thank you for reading.  This upcoming year for the Pride Committee is an important year.  I encourage everyone to vote. Vote with your conscious and with an understanding of who you are voting for.  If you are reading this on my blog, if you are not registered to vote, you will need to register on the Second Pride website, information at this link.  And you also need to be a member of the Second Pride Festival group.  I have never learned how to paste those nifty links that will take you to the join page.  But if you look in my profile you can find the group there and link to it that way.

Thank you for your time.

Petr Vanbeeck

It Gets Better Project

The “It Gets Better Project” was started by Dan Savage and Terry Miller when they uploaded a moving video to youtube.  Please take a moment to wander through the website and watch the video.

Last year just before Second Pride I asked several people in Second Life that I know if they would be willing to help create some posters in SL in support of It Gets Better.

So was born the first 32 images in the collection, they represent a wide variety of people and experiences.  I hope that at Pride last year they got alot of people talking and thinking. 

After the festival, I was pleased and honored to have Draghan Marksman, owner of the LGBT Civil Rights Center at Brokeback Pride HQ, ask me to show the images at the sim.

When Second Pride Festival 2013 opens you will be able to find the collection at its second home, in a space graciously donated by the Pride committee. 

I would like to leave you now with the latest image to be added to the collection.  I will let the words speak for them self.  Just remember, It Gets Better.

It Gets Better - Doc Spad1