The group Greater Palm Springs Pride today declared Palm Springs a Drag Sanctuary City and announced that -- in a stand against anti-drag bills, anti-LGBTQ+ extremism, and to support artistic expression and advocacy -- its 2023 Pride Week theme will be "Drag Now. Drag Forever."
The 37th annual LGBTQ+ celebration will be held Nov. 3-5, featuring a pride parade and festival with multiple stages of live entertainment and an exhibitor marketplace, according to Greater Palm Springs Pride president and CEO Ron deHarte, who also serves on the city council.
"Drag is not a crime. Our country has a rich history of drag as an artistic expression, standard of activism, and the backbone of fundraising in the community," deHarte in a statement. "We call on everyone to support the drag community and fight all anti-LGBTQ+ bills that threaten the freedom and equality of all."
Greater Palm Springs Pride declared that the city of Palm Springs supports drag, as it's a part of everyday life that has existed for hundreds of years, according to deHarte. He added that the city will be a sanctuary for those under attack by anti-drag and anti-LGBTQ+ forces.
DeHarte said that performers will be celebrated and judged by their contributions to the city and for their ability to bring the community together as well as their looks and personas.
"Facing a legislative landscape of increased attacks on members of the LGBTQ+ community coupled with physical violence, we must gather to support one another and be unified against fear and intimidation,'' said deHarte. "The fight for freedom continues."
Pride Week is the largest gathering of LGBTQ+ people for three days in the Coachella Valley, deHarte said. The event attracted 200,000 attendees and generated a $38 million direct economic impact for local businesses in 2022.
More information about the Pride Week festivities can be found at pspride.org.