Monday, September 28, 2009

NC PRIDE 2009 — New Experiences

by Volunteer Coordinator Intern Zack Ballard

We came. We marched. We dodged the storm ….

The looming rain may have deterred some from attending this year’s NC Pride, but those who did brave the elements proved they were ready to stand out and stand up for the LGBT community.

I had never been to a Pride before this year, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect — especially considering I was tabling as an intern for a state-level organization of which many people are familiar.

After struggling with the muddy ground and our tent for about thirty minutes, the day finally began, and I was nervous to see what happened. I was pleasantly surprised with every interaction I had, though — those of us at the Equality North Carolina table enjoyed talking to people all day about their hometowns, their experiences, and their time at Pride.

I spoke with many North Carolinians who have lost jobs because of their sexuality, and how happy they were to see our efforts to put a stop to the hate. I was ecstatic to see all of our eager volunteers networking and spreading the word about Equality NC’s goals. Because of you, volunteers, we were able to secure hundreds of signatures in support of ending workplace discrimination in North Carolina—a huge feat!

Not only were the Pride-goers happy and helpful, they were full of connections, stories, and positive energy. When it came time for the parade, I saw churches, schools, businesses, and locals gathering together to show support for the LGBT community (not to mention the bride and her llamas). I felt a sense of community I’ve yet to feel since coming out about a year ago.

It was wonderful to walk hand-in-hand with my partner, Aaron, and feel as comfortable and safe as any couple should. I expected there to be protesters everywhere yelling obscenities and giving looks of hate, but there were barely any in sight for the entirety of the parade. Afterward, looking at the final stack of signatures, I know now I really couldn’t have asked for a better Pride to be my first.

So thank you, everyone, for making this a truly unique experience! Happy Pride!

No comments:

Post a Comment