Fayette County residents who are also part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual + (LGBTQIAP+ or LGBT for short) community will hold a Pride 2019 event downtown this month.
According to the Library of Congress website — www.loc.gov —, LGBT Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible.
In major cities across the nation the day soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.
Recently, discussions on Facebook by Fayette County residents and natives highlighted a need for Pride celebrations within the county to help show acceptance of locals who may not have the support or love they could use. In this effort, local LGBT community members and event directors Airyn Muñoz and Autumn Callender — with assistance from Samantha Tackett helping to unite the community with a Facebook page — have announced the first-ever county Pride celebration being held on June 29, from 1 to 6 p.m.
“We live in a place where not everybody feels accepted and loved, and I feel that it is important that even in that kind of place, there is endless support and unconditional love,” Muñoz said. “There have been a lot of people that have come forward and have told us, ‘Oh my daughter’s gay, my brother is trans,’ and it’s nice to know they feel better. A lot of people have come forward and said this makes them feel great. Originally, Samantha Tackett posted on Facebook asking if we had Pride events locally. Some people can’t make it to the bigger cities like Cincinnati or Columbus to celebrate. So I suggested that we start one, and my original plan was to just prepare for an event next year. Samantha got the ball rolling though, and then Autumn and I took over so it’s going rather quickly, but already going rather well.”
One reason the plans are progressing quickly are local efforts to help the event, including an upcoming downtown business, Salty Broads Patio, located at 216 Court St. in downtown Washington Court House, offering to handle the location and refreshments for the event. According to Muñoz, Salty Broads will have water available as well as sno-cones and paninis ranging in price from $1 to $6.
Also at the event will be live entertainment, including bands, poets and speakers who will share testimonies. Room is still available for more entertainment at the event and those interested in performing can contact Callender at (740) 606-1313.
“We see you, we know you are here,” Muñoz said to the LGBT community members within Fayette County. “I am part of the community, both Autumn and I are. It is really incredible how much support we have gotten. This county can be a little crazy at times, but there is a lot of love here. For sure anyone that wants to come out will be accepted.”
Muñoz said they have already started to receive donations and prizes to help support the event with a drawing and to help purchase tents, portable toilets and more as needs rise. Muñoz also said that each person who comes to the event will receive a ticket for a chance to win one of the prizes just for attending as a way to say thanks for the support. The organizers said they are still looking for more donations and business sponsors, and those interested can contact Muñoz at (740) 463-1707.
“We could also use volunteers for set-up, tear down and more,” Muñoz said. “We really hope to continue to see business sponsors. It not only makes you look good, but it’ll make you feel good and is good publicity when people see you show your support for the LGBT community.”
Stay with the Record-Herald for more information on the event as it becomes available this month. Follow the Fayco LGBT+ Facebook page and check the Fayette County PRIDE 2019 event page on Facebook for more information.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.