What started as a local movement to support Wilton’s LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month in June 2021 has evolved into a more permantent organization. New leaders Farah Masani and Nicole Wilson-Spiro have officially registered Wilton Pride as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Masani and Wilson-Spiro said they recognized the need and interest for a more organized “official” approach to supporting Wilton’s LGBTQ+ community and allies. As part of that support Wilton Pride will promote its “vision of Wilton as a place where the LGBTQ+ community is welcome, safe, supported, and celebrated.”
“We’re excited to continue to partner with local organizations [in Fairfield County] like Triangle Community Center and Kids in Crisis, but most importantly, we are excited about our collaborations with our very own Wilton organizations like the Wilton High School PTSA, Middlebrook PTA, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), and Trackside Teen Center to build meaningful programs that support our LGBTQ+ community,” Masani said.
She called the response to the group thus far “really positive and inspiring.”
“By establishing Wilton Pride we’ll ensure Wilton is known for the welcoming and open place that it is for all,” Masani added.
Wilton Pride has formulated plans for a full roster of events and outreach throughout the year in support of its specific mission: “to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture, foster community collaboration, and promote awareness in Wilton.”
The group has scheduled its inaugural event, a community forum called “Ask Me Anything” on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 7-9 p.m. at Trackside Teen Center (15 Station Rd.).
Organizers said the event is geared towards Wilton youth and parents and is intended to be educational. There will be a panel of “LGBTQ+ representatives” and attendees will be able to ask questions (anonymously and in advance), and connect with resources in what Wilton Pride promises will be a “safe and supportive environment.”
Panel members include:
- Clinical psychotherapist Michele Battey (moderator)
- Cadence Pentheny, Triangle Community Center Community Educator
- Heather Schlitz, Middlebrook School physical education teacher; co-leader of Middlebrook’s Youth-2-Youth, W.E.B. (eighth-grade leadership training) and Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club
- Drew McConnell, Barcelona Wine Bar Director of Brand Marketing and fiancé Jaron Thomas, Doctor of Audiology
- Rob Comerford, Wilton resident; Deloitte’s U.S. Audit and Assurance Practice Chief Knowledge Officer and LGBTQIA+ Community Resource Group leader
Members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies are invited, and anyone wishing ot attend is required to register online in advance.
The registration includes the statement that organizers “have worked very hard to make this event a safe place.” That includes requiring anyone wishing to attend to sign a Code of Conduct as part of the online registration. The Code of Conduct includes prohibiting cell phones and other recording devices inside Trackside during the event, requiring attendees to treat other event attendees “with courtesy and consideration,” and asking attendees to “behave in a manner that is consistent with an environment free from discrimination, harassment or hate and… refrain from any conduct that infringes on the rights of others.”
The code adds that anyone displaying disruptive or disrespectful behavior or breaching the Code of Conduct will be required to leave event.
Editor’s note: the story has been updated to correct the job title of Rob Comerford, one of the event panelists.