Pride celebrated in Winston-Salem

Tai Van Dyke, graphics editor

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On the sunny morning of Oct. 15, in Winston-Salem, something is different on Trade Street. Usually, the road is packed with traffic. However, the road is empty this morning. People of all ages gather on the sidewalk. They are all there to watch a pride parade, which is being held by Pride Winston-Salem.

Pride parades have been hosted in American cities since the late ’60s. They are generally held to honor the diversity and the resilience of the LGBT community, as well as to promote acceptance and understanding.

Here’s a glance at what happens at pride.

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Families and groups of friends wait for the parade to begin.

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The parade is family-friendly and open to all ages. Many parents bring their kids to join in on the celebration.

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Around 10 a.m., people begin to march, bearing balloons, flags and banners. Some dress up, and others pass out candy. “The parade really livened up the atmosphere,” sophomore Chloe Mabe said. “The people are so nice and there’s no judgement.”

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People also provide their talents to the parade. Some dance, some roller skate, and others spin flags.

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Not everyone is there to celebrate. Protesters dot the streets to preach against pride and the LGBT community, often citing their religious beliefs. “[The protesters] were a lot more harsh this year,” Mabe said. “They were trying to start fights to get their point across. They were legitimately insulting the way we looked.”

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While protesters showed up to express contempt, other religious organizations, such as Wake Forest Baptist Church, marched in the parade to show their support of the LGBT community. “It says multiple times in the Bible that God loves everyone no matter what, and that we have no right to judge,” attendee Gabby Romano said.

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Performers such as drag queens often participate in pride festivities.

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There are a lot of rescue dogs at the event, who are also decked out in rainbow attire.

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Though most of the parade is cheerful, these marchers have a more solemn purpose. Their banner honors the victims of the Pulse shooting, an act of violence on a gay night club that left 49 dead. Though the LGBT community has made strides in recent years with civil rights, the deadly effects of homophobia and transphobia still affect many.

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After the parade, people gather in the arts district for the festival. There there are booths advocating LGBT resources and selling merchandise. A dance floor is laid out towards the entrance, and live music plays on the side of the street.

Overall, the parade at Pride Winston-Salem is an event where people can be themselves and support a cause, all while having a good time with a welcoming crowd.”To me, pride means being proud of who you are despite people who might disagree with you, disown you, or invalidate you,” Romano said. “It’s the celebration and acceptance of one’s own identity and others’ identities.”

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