While the regular hang out for the area’s LGBT+ community is Le Place in New Bedford’s north end (where film nights and drag contests are regularly on the bill), there are more opportunities for fun all over town. Every week, the city sponsors A Perfect Place (which, appropriately enough is located on Pleasant Street). At this gay-friendly gathering, community members are invited to come together for social support and just a good time. Every month, the Gay Men’s POZ hosts their monthly social group at Seven Hills and the South Coast LGBTQ Seniors Group invites the more experienced members of the community to partake of and participate in their popular Supper Club at the Council on Aging in nearby Fairhaven. On alternate months, special events are prepared and presented for LGBTQ members aged 17-25 at which they can discuss and explore gender roles and the ever-changing rules and understandings that go with them.
As is true across the country (and the world), LGBT+ pride is on the rise in New Bedford. So much so that their annual Pride celebration has grown every year. This past June 3rd, thousands gathered in Buttonwood Park for a calming and restorative morning yoga class that was followed by a healthful and invigorating wellness walk. The rest of the day featured vendors, artists, drag performers, and live music, including a set by Kristen Merlin, who had been featured on Season 6 of “The Voice.” And all of that before 4 PM!
For those who wanted to keep the Pride going late into the night, event organizers at the South Coast LGBTQ Network (sclgbtqnetwork.org) prepared a 21+ party at Le Place, a popular venue in the community that hosts DJ nights and other events every week.
South Coast LGBTQ Network administrator Eileen Douglas mentions the organizations Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SCLGBTQNETWORK/) that lists such additional activities as a free drop-in yoga class the organization hosts Mondays at 5:30 PM. “Incognito has a monthly drag show,” she notes, mentioning the popular hangout for LGBTQ community members.
New Bedford also has a new walking trail Lighting the Way, Historic Women of the SouthCoast celebrating local born lesbian, Marie Equi (1872-1952). Equi’s nationwide activism was influenced by her working class experiences while growing up in New Bedford. Equi stood up and stood out, encouraging others to do the same.
New Bedford is an ideal spot for a wedding. From a ceremony at City Hall to a fully-catered affair at the Whaling Museum or any of New Bedford’s historic venues, the City has everything a new couple, family, or a romantic getaway could want, including romantic places to spend the night…or the rest of their lives!
– Matthew Robinson, Contributing Writer