The town of Alamance in North Carolina saw its annual Pride festival on Saturday (6 October).
But alongside the Drag Queen Storytime, music and workshops, this year’s Pride brought a welcome addition to the celebrations.
In a special announcement, Alamance Pride Festival partnered with the Alamance Community Foundation will offer scholarships for LGBTI students.
The festival has currently set aside $2,500 for the scholarship, with an eventual goal of $25,000.
Helping LGBTI students in Alamance
In his speech, Alamance Pride Board President Ken Smith spoke of the importance in supporting LGBTI students, Burlington Times-News reported.
‘We all know how vital education is to the future, whether it is the future of our society as a whole or our local community, and we all know that students who identify as LGBT don’t always have the social or financial advantages of their straight-identified counterparts to get the education that they need or deserve,’ said Smith.
‘We believe it is time to start changing this in Alamance County. With so little help available for LGBT identified students, we believe that as a community, it is time we help ourselves right here, right now in Alamance County.’
Spreading the message of inclusivity
While the festival hosts various bands, and stalls selling jewelry and T-shirts, there are also facilities where people can test for HIV and has areas which allow attendees to register to vote.
Another of the main features of Alamance Pride Festival was the crowd favorite, Drag Queen Storytime.
Local residents Victoria Gaudet and Karra Richmond said they have become regulars to the Pride event.
They also spoke of the importance of spreading the message of inclusivity through the festival.
‘It is a place I don’t have to worry about being judged for who I am, really, because I am judged every single day, especially at work,’ said Gaudet.
‘We are not as intimidating as we may seem. The bright colors may seem a little scary at first but I promise, we are all chill,’ said Richmond.
In certain respsects, LGBTI rights in North Carolina remain a contentious issue.
North Carolina has made headlines over recent years over the so-called ‘bathroom bill’.
LGBTI activists have labeled the bill as transphobic, as it requires people to only use washroom facilities of the gender on their birth certificate.
This went on to spark a national debate over LGBTI rights.
However, there was some change last month following a federal court ruling.
The rulling said that the law does not prohibit transgender people from using public facilities corresponding to their gender identity.