HRC Blog

Wild and Wonderful Pride in West Virginia

This past weekend I returned to the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia to represent the Human Rights Campaign at West Virginia’s 14th annual Pride Festival and Parade in Charleston. It was truly wonderful to return to the state and see so many of the folks I worked with on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Campaign. The amazing community energy found at any Pride event was certainly in the air. But in addition to that, the LGBT community in West Virginia has also had a pretty good year. A few months back, the WV state legislature rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as between only a woman and a man, and of course, we just gained Senator Byrd’s support for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. This weekend was certainly a time to celebrate the local community and its recent victories. Despite severe weather, the Pride festival and parade attracted approximately 800 supporters from across the state, including a number of faith groups. It was a truly impressive event, and despite nearly being blown away (more than once) there was a lot of fun mixed in with the work we were doing. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal this year isn’t a done deal, and over 100 supporters signed petitions urging Senator Rockefeller to vote in favor when the legislation makes its way to the full Senate. For me, the best part about attending Pride this weekend was the fact that once again, HRC came together with the WV Young Democrats and Fairness West Virginia. This time, our coalition was literally tied together under two canopy tents bound by bungee cords to brace us against the torrential wind and rain that clouded much of the afternoon. We floated between tables, helping each other when someone needed a break or lending a helping hand to hold down the merchandise and literature in the wind. When it started to rain inside the canopy itself, we opened up our umbrellas and pressed on. The collaboration at the Pride tent was truly a physical metaphor of the great working relationships between HRC, WV Pride, Fairness WV, and the WV Young Democrats.

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