On Saturday, April 13, Spectrum Arts and Hill City Pride are producing Lynchburg’s first Pride celebration from 12-5 p.m. at the Lynchburg Hillcats Stadium
“The main objective for this festival is to demonstrate it’s OK for people to be themselves right at home and to highlight for the LGBT community that there are plenty of allies right here at home,” says Josh Cline, managing director of Spectrum’s in-house chorus and a member of Spectrum’s executive committee told the Lynchburg News & Advance.
“For the last couple of decades, Lynchburg hasn’t had the most welcoming reputation, not just for LGBT people, but diverse groups of people. We want to change that conversation and perception.”
The family-friendly event is free and open to the public features local musical talent, area drag queens and will be hosted by New York City’s own drag star Delighted Tobehere.
Local and national advocacy and support groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Lynchburg Diversity Center and the Virginia chapter of Free Mom Hugs, will also be present. Everyone is welcome at the event, including protesters. Organizers have set aside an area near the event space specifically for protesters and are asking them to register with Hill City Pride.
The Coalition for HIV Awareness and Prevention of Central Virginia (CHAP) will also offer free HIV testings and educating attendees about about pre-exposure prophylaxis — or PrEP, a medication that drastically lowers ones chances of contracting HIV.
The celebration will continue into the evening in downtown Lynchburg.
“A few of the drag queens who performed during the afternoon will be at the downtown restaurant sans costumes, giving people a chance to meet the man under the wig,” Cline told the Lynchburg News & Advance.
Many Pride celebrations are held during the month of June, but organizers of Hill City Pride decided to produce Pride in April to enable participation among local college students.
Organizers are hopeful that Saturday’s event will be a success and an annual event.
“I think the city is ready… We’re a culmination of different people from different walks of life, and I think now is the time,” Cline told the Lynchburg News & Advance.