Bull City (aka Durham) will celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Saturday, September 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Duke University’s East Campus. The event will kick off with a parade, followed by a festival filled with vendors, food, entertainment and more.
Additional events occurring around the city and designed to coincide with and celebrate Pride include:
• “Pride on the Pitch”
Hosted by The Eno River Rugby Club and performer Stormie Dale at Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub, located at 427 West Main Street. The fun kicks off Friday, September 22 at 5 p.m. and continues through 10 p.m. Stormie Dale begins the evening with Drag Queen Story Hour at five o’clock, followed by a performance by Batala Brazillian Drums at 6:45 p.m., as well as an evening drag show at 7 p.m. Admission benefits Eno River Rugby.
• “The Pink Triangle celebrates Durham Pride”
Takes place at the Accordion Club, located at 316 West Geer Street. The party starts at 4 p.m. September 23. It includes performances by Stormie Dale, and Alex the Rabbit with music from DJ By Durham. Admission is free.
A look at NC Pride and Pride: Durham History
Durham’s pride event developed in the wake of the violent murder of 46-year-old Ronald Antonevitch, who was targeted and murdered by two men who were reportedly yelling anti-gay threats at Antonevitch and the three others he was sunbathing with.
“When the murderers were brought to trial, there was great fear that the court system would let them off or lightly punish them due to the gay aspects of the case,” according to Durham’s LGBTQ+ Center’s history webpage. “A group of local gay men and lesbians banded together for the first public demonstration for gay civil rights in North Carolina at the Durham Court House during the trial in 1982.”
The demonstrations evolved into the statewide event NC Pride, which traveled to major cities around the state to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality, and Durham was the first city to host the event and march.. However, the NC Pride march disbanded, and it was Durham residents who came together to create a new kind of “march” to fit in with the change in times.
From the Durham LGBTQ+ Center’s website: “This plan was exceptionally successful, sprouting many Pride festivals in the cities of NC including Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Salisbury, Charlotte, Asheville and the Outer Banks. After a long legacy, NC Pride dissolved and its organizers moved on to new endeavors. To continue the legacy and grow toward inclusion of all peoples, The LGBTQ Center of Durham took the reins with the support of the community to lead the newly created Pride: Durham in 2018.”
Thus, Pride: Durham, NC was born. The annual celebration always has a theme, and this year’s focuses on the strength and resilience of North Carolina’s transgender community. The theme, “Give Them Their Flowers,” honors and thanks the courage and leadership of trans residents, particularly Black and brown trans women and non-binary folks.
The Pride Durham page of the local LGBTQ+ center offered the following assessment: “Our events this year will provide opportunities for us to center and celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community who boldly certify our public standards for human dignity, all while facing physical violence, hateful legislation, and other harmful experiences. We intend to commemorate our ancestors who sowed past seeds that still bear fruit today and to pay tribute to the people who help us be our best selves now, embodying our highest values and greatest visions for a more whole, safe and liberated Durham…”
This year’s festival will not only work to show the hard work of LGBTQ+ identifying residents and allies, but it will also bring the Durham community together in a safe, supportive space.