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Inaugural Reston Pride Festival Attracts More than 1,000 Attendees

by Fatimah Waseem June 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm 19 Comments

Roughly 1,200 people attended Saturday’s inaugural Reston Pride Festival at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston.

The Rev. Debra Haffner, a minister at UUCR, pushed to put together the event after she moved to Reston two years ago and identified what she calls a void in programming for and about the local LGBTQ population.

“I asked where are the gay people in Reston. My congregants told me there were none,” Haffner told Reston Now. “I knew that wasn’t true.”

The event was cosponsored by more than 21 local organizations and included a performance by Reston Community Players and remarks by local elected officials, including state Del. Ken Plum.  Many of the attendees were from South Lakes High School and Herndon High School, organizers said.

Haffner’s son, Greg Tartaglione, a drag performer, was the emcee — a role that Haffner said taught event-goers “about the role a drag queen can play in creating community.”

Plans are in the works to continue the festival next year, likely at a larger venue like Reston Town Center or Lake Anne Plaza. Haffner said the community needs to do more to celebrate the local LGBTQ community.

“For the last year, UCR has had a rainbow flag in front of our church. We’re only the freestanding rainbow flag in Reston. We need as a community to do much more and stand up and support and celebrate the LGBTQ community,” she said.

Photos by Kim-Marie Mullen and Debra Haffner

  • Guest

    Okay, I’ll bite.
    Will someone please explain exactly what the “role of the drag queen can play in creating community”? Such statement requires further elaboration to many of us.

    • The Constitutionalist

      You should’ve checked your bigoted, straight, white, cisgendered (oh, that’s not a word?) male privilege for one moment and attended the festival. Maybe you would’ve learned that drag queens provide a meaningful and healthy way to express oneself and bring greater attention to transvestic fetishism in the community.

      • 30yearsinreston

        What are the Q’s ?

        • The Constitutionalist

          Thanks for asking! Asking questions is the best way to check your privilege. Currently though, the verdict is still out on the letter Q. Some consider it to be “questioning” for those who are unsure of their fluid sexuality, and others consider it to be “queer” for those who consider themselves to not be heterosexual or have strange sexual identifiers that don’t fall into the LGBT.

          The community is much less split on the letter P though. But that is a discussion for another time, as we aren’t quite inclusive enough for that yet, unless the “P” is a Democrat and then we welcome them with open arms.

      • Greg

        But how come there are never any drag kings? Dames as dudes?

        • The Constitutionalist

          Uh, sorry Greg, but drag kings do exist.

          Your Islamophobia is really starting to disturb me.

      • Drive By Critic

        Nothing like some completely unjustified name-calling to clarify the issues, eh Constitutionalist? You have already lost the battle when you resort to such slurs. Transvestic fetishism may be a real “thing” to some ppl, but there is apparently at least one person out here who wanted their question answered. All you have succeeded in doing is gratuitously slander whoever this first “Guest” author was…congrats for such a constructive discussion. You have got to do a much better job. The extremes on the left and right are always engaging in name calling and disparagement, it doesn’t work for them and it won’t work for you, either.

        • The Constitutionalist

          I answered life-form’s (the only proper way to address someone) question.

          I find your tone about transvestic fetishism to be quite racist. It is a real “thing.” It’s the primary purpose for dressing in drag. You would probably know this if you had any culture or had attended the festival.


          “All you have succeeded in doing is gratuitously slander whoever this first “Guest” author was…congrats for such a constructive discussion.”

          Or really? Oopsie me.

          • Der Trumpenfuhrer

            You must related to one of those left-wing stand up comics who think that calling a woman a c**t is the highest form of first amendment expression? BTW what kind of “life-form” are you? Even your sarcasm needs work.I think that the Constitutionalist is losing his touch, he is usually much more entertaining than this. SAD!

          • The Constitutionalist

            That’s a very strange connection you made. I will reflect inwardly and try to find the true meaning of your words.

            Please don’t try to typify me into a ‘type’ of life-form. That is hardly sensitive to the plight of my fellow life-forms who choose only to be identified as such. Trying to catalog me makes you a white supremacist.

      • Willie Reston

        Calls himself “the constitutionalist” as though he’s some benevolent all-knowing sage, then does nothing but bash anybody who’s not like him. SAD!

        • The Constitutionalist

          No, what you have is a name that states my unwavering political point of view.

          Have I ever, in the three years I’ve been embarrassing you, taken a stance against anything that is already in the Constitution?

          What’s my answer always been on Constitutional matters? If you don’t like it, change the Constitution.

          That goes for every thing I disagree with personally and spiritually too.

          Of course I bash you, it’s like picking the low hanging fruit. But that doesn’t make you special, well at least not the good type. You’re right about doing it to everyone though, I don’t discriminate with my bashings.

          Here’s a tip for the future, from a wise, all-knowing sage, we do it because you get mad.

    • LaureenMT

      This drag queen served as emcee for an event that drew more than 1,100 people together – and raised funds for the event in the process! Few of us have accomplished as much.

      • The Constitutionalist


  • Anonymous Person

    I mean, it seems like this event was mainly an excuse for this lady to boost get son’s drag queen act and business. Like NoVA has no pride events or anything in the area, that’s patently wrong.

    • Keeks

      I mean, it sounds like you’re grumpy, old, and bored on a Tuesday morning with nothing better to do than whine about something that doesn’t affect you.

      • Greg

        Judge much?

    • LaureenMT

      He lives in California, so I don’t think a VA appearance will boost his business. And I know of the NoVa Pride event in Manassas in September but no others nearby. We are fortunate to have another NoVa event. Feel free to ignore it, if it doesn’t interest you.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    They shouldn’t move it to RTC if RTC still has paid parking at that point.


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