UPDATED: June 3, 2016 — qnotes had earlier information that Ty Herndon was going to be the headliner at Salisbury Pride and reported so in our print edition and here online. Due to an artist change Chely Wright will now serve as the headliner for the event. This story has been updated to reflect that change. We also reported that Salisbury Pride was taking place June 24, but it is taking place on June 24-25. 

June is heralded as the month that the LGBT rights movement began. Out from the Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, a band of courageous individuals fought back against the system to demand rights and respect from their community and neighbors.

Now, many decades later, LGBT groups and organizations have taken what was a more solemn observance in the early years and turned it into a full-fledged celebration, often with festivals, entertainment, and in some places, parades where the community and its allies are able to show support for and rally behind LGBT causes in a highly visible mode.

Photo Credit: murphy81 via Adobe Stock
Photo Credit: murphy81
via Adobe Stock

Key moments in LGBT history:

June 28, 1969
Stonewall Riots herald in the gay rights movement and public outcry.

Being gay declassified as a mental disorder by the American Psychological Association.

AIDS crisis ushered in.

Vermont becomes the first state to allow same-sex civil unions.

In Lawrence v. Texas, anti-sodomy laws are struck down by the Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama puts his signature on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Sept. 21, 2011
“Don’t Ask, Don’t” Tell lifted from military ban, thus giving LGB individuals the right to serve in the Armed Forces openly.

June 26, 2015
Same-sex marriage legalized by Supreme Court as nation celebrates major victory.

Pride, Carolinas style

So, here is the “411” on everything Pride in the Carolinas from now through October, including news about the assorted organizations and a quick rundown on what is planned as of press time. Don’t forget, all of the Pride groups are always in need of volunteers to help make their events successful. They also need the support of the community, either by gifts in-kind goods and services, contributions, sponsors and more.

Pride headliner announced

Country artist Chely Wright will be the headliner at the Salisbury Pride festival on June 24-25.

Salisbury Pride will be bringing in country music star Chely Wright as its headliner at its festival in the historic downtown district on June 25. She will also stage a concert on June 24 at Nashville Nights, 127 E. Innes St.

Tickets are $15/advance and $25/at the door. VIP tickets are $50 and include VIP seating at the concert and a meet and greet on Saturday at the festival. VIP tickets are limited, so order quickly to secure the package.

Salisbury Pride is currently seeking Peace Keepers for the festival and other volunteers.

In other news, the organization is deliberating on its selection for its annual Ketner Ally Award. It was established by Salisbury Pride to recognize an individual who has contributed to progressing equality and acceptance for the LGBT community in and around Rowan County. The recipient will be presented with the award at the festival.

info: salisburypride.com

Pride selects new fest chair

Blue Ridge Pride Center’s Executive Director Yvonne Cook-Riley has announced that the organization has chosen Nicole Townsend as its 2016 festival chair.

Nicole Townsend
Nicole Townsend

Originally from New Madrid, Mo., she has been a stalwart defender of justice. Her brother died from AIDS when she was 10-years-old. Surrounded by negativity after the death, she became a student of the social justice movement. Townsend lent her voice to fight against hate crimes in Asheville, N.C., by helping to generate funds needed by grassroots organizations.

A person of color, she often felt like the “token black lesbian in the room.” That led her to seek out other African-American lesbians in North Carolina. As a result, she produced a film entitled “Color ME Brown: Conversations with un-muted voices.” At that juncture she found herself traveling the southeast screening the film for college campuses and more.

Townsend cites her African-American and Chickasaw heritage as the guiding force behind her work to bring visibility to those who are often muted, underrepresented, and underserved.
Blue Ridge Pride Center’s Executive Director Yvonne Cook-Riley has announced that the organization’s constituent management system is now available for use.

Volunteers, donors, vendors and outside organizations are able to use the service to help streamline operations. In order to participate, users are required to create a profile and establish a login user name and password. Afterward, the online system can be used to register for events, volunteer sign up, Pride merchandise purchases, contribution management and more.
It only takes a moment to sign up. Visit bit.ly/1VY5wly to enroll.

In other news, the center has announced that its fall Pride festival will be held on Oct. 1. They are in the process of securing volunteers, committee persons and more. They are also engaged in ongoing planning meetings that will take place leading up to the event. Email yvonne@blueridgepride.org to learn more.

info: blueridgepride.org.

Photo Credit: murphy81 via Adobe Stock
Photo Credit: murphy81 via Adobe Stock

Pride organizations & celebration dates across the Carolinas:

Salisbury Pride
June 24-25, Salisbury, N.C.

Charlotte Black Gay Pride
July 13-15, Charlotte, N.C.

Charleston Pride Festival
Aug. 6-13, North Charleston, S.C.

South Carolina Black Pride
Aug. 18-21, Columbia, S.C.

Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade
Aug. 20-21, Charlotte, N.C.

South Carolina Pride
Sept. 3, Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina Pride in Leather
Sept. 9-11, Columbia, S.C.

Upstate Pride
Sept. 10, Spartanburg, S.C.

OBX Pride
Sept. 9-11, Outer Banks, N.C.
(Nags Head, Manteo, Kill Devil Hills)

Greensboro Pride
Sept. 17, Greensboro, N.C.

Catawba Valley Pride
Sept. 17, Hickory. N.C.

NC Pride
Sept. 24, Durham, N.C.

Blue Ridge Pride
Oct. 1, Asheville, N.C.

Pride Winston-Salem
Oct. 15, Winston-Salem, N.C.

More information on each of the events will be forthcoming in future qnotes issues when more details have been released. Check back to learn more.

qnotes regrets if it inadvertently omitted anyone from the list. If our readers find an error or omission, please email us at editor@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com with event details. Information will be used to update the listings.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.