Every year, millions of people around the world in various countries and cities come together to celebrate LGBT pride. While most Pride parades shake up cities in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots that occurred in June of 1969, Pride events occur all year long, with Greensboro, North Carolina having its annual Pride festival in September.
North Carolina’s LGBT history has had many challenges and triumphs in the past few decades. According to ncpride.org, the first demonstration for LGBT rights in North Carolina occurred in 1982 outside of the Durham Courthouse during a trial. The trial was over a violent hate crime that ended in a murder in Little River, on April 12, 1981. Many people who testified at the trial lost their jobs over LGBT discrimination.
In 1986, the second demonstration for LGBT rights occurred in Durham on Duke University’s campus. Pride demonstrations such as these have been happening in North Carolina ever since.
Although Pride parades and festivals happen in major cities all throughout North Carolina, the state has still been known to have its legal challenges regarding LGBT rights. Up until 2014, North Carolina had denied marriage to same-sex couples since 1996. On Oct. 14, 2014, it was found in federal court that the state’s denial of same sex marriage was unconstitutional, and that ban was overturned.
In March 2016, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, otherwise known as House Bill 2 (HB2), was passed in North Carolina.
This particular bill has been described as one of the most anti-LGBT legislations passed in the United States. One aspect of the bill was that it legislated that individuals must only use restrooms and changing facilities that align with the assigned sex that is on their birth certificate. This legislation was criticized for targeting transgender people.
The bill also prevents certain municipalities in North Carolina from passing anti-discrimination policies.
Eventually, the aspect of the bill that legislated the bathroom policy was overturned on March 30, 2017, and replaced with House Bill 142 (HB142). This new bill was criticized by LGBT rights groups for its lack of additional protection for transgender individuals.
Despite the challenges in North Carolina for LGBT rights, the state still has a lot of pride. Like Greensboro, many cities in North Carolina celebrate Pride festivals in September. The Raleigh, Durham and Asheville Pride festivals this year all fall on Sept. 29 with the Outer Banks Pride festival happening the weekend before, on Sept. 21.
Greensboro’s 13th annual Pride festival, which was scheduled for Sept. 15, was postponed due to Hurricane Florence. Last year, around 7,000 people attended the event which takes place on South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro. This year, around 12,000 people are expected to attend the event which is set to have musicians, drag queens, entertainers, food trucks, vendors and more.
Musicians set to perform at Greensboro’s 2018 Pride festival include Vanessa Ferguson, a Greensboro native who has been on The Voice, and Ed E. Ruger, a Greensboro rapper who’s been featured on Breaking Bad and The Boondocks. As well as musicians, a legendary drag performer from North Carolina named Jamie Monroe is set to perform.
For more information on Greensboro Pride, visit https://greensboropride.org/.