Greensboro pride brings diversity

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The 12th annual Greensboro Pride festival was held from 11AM-5PM on Sept. 16, downtown on South Elm Street. The event is a celebration of the trials and triumphant that many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual/agender/aromantic (LGBTQIA) community.

“It [Pride] is a time where you can be happy and carefree. Everyone is rooting for you and no one is judging you. You can be the best version of yourself here,” said Afeni McPherson, an N.C. A&T student.

Pride was just one of many events that took place at multiple locations around town throughout the weekend.

LGBTQIA clubs, Limelight, Chemistry and the Q, each hosted fun theme nights to celebrate pride as the weekend progressed. Famous drag queens JuJu Bee, Roxxxy and Oniga from the hit-show RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH1, closed out pride weekend, on Saturday, at Chemistry nightclub located on Spring Garden.

The festival, which sprawled over two-thirds of downtown Elm street, was lined with booths of over 100 vendors. There were a variety of merchants selling products ranging from food to LGBTQIA paraphernalia. Vendors happily smiled and sold products as festivalgoers meandered down the street.

“We formed our business of the platform of equality, respect, unity, and love. So this event means everything to us. It’s exactly what we stand for,” said Aaron Byerly, owner of Bath Art Bonnie Borchert.

There were two stages set on opposite ends of the street; one for drag performances and the other for DJs. Drag performances began at noon and continued until the end of the day. Local favorites such as former Miss NC USA, Ebony Addams, and former Miss N.C. Entertainer of the Year, Angelica Dust, were met with roars of cheers from the crowd.

There were also many informative and educational speakers and community activist at booths around the festival. Local chapters of national LGBTQIA organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and PFLAG, promoted attendees to register to vote, become a part of the political process and be aware of their own sexual health status. Free HIV testing booth stations were set up throughout the event.

Pride, which above all promotes the equality and acceptance of the LGBTQIA community, was met with some hostility from a few protesters, but not as many as it has been in past pride festivals in Greensboro.

“We are loving and accepting people. We accept all religious groups, all sexualities as well as other things. I don’t see why you turn us down. We accept you so I don’t see why you can’t accept us,” said Indigo Orlando, a festival participant.

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, which is an index that focuses on LGBTQIA equality in cities and towns, Greensboro ranks first in North and South Carolina for its inclusion of the LGBTQ community.

As Pride came to a conclusion, many began to reflect on the day and how important it is for celebrations like these to continue to thrive in our society. Greensboro pride is a necessity to the community to help promote diversity and tolerance in a world that isn’t always so accepting of those that are considered “others.”

“To me, it [Greensboro Pride] is about giving us a platform to be ourselves. It’s always nice to be at events like this to feel all the love and togetherness,” said Tanisha Pratt, a festival participant.

For more information about Greensboro Pride, visit, https://greensboropride.org/.

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