The first of two Pride events planned by PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County — its first-ever Pride march in the city — is set for this Saturday.
Members of PFLAG are organizing a march in downtown Westminster carrying messages of positivity and support for the LGBTQ+ community. The hope is to create visibility for the community and PFLAG, Judy Gaver, a member of the PFLAG Steering Committee, wrote in an email.
Those who hope to participate should meet in the open area across from the Westminster branch library at 2 p.m. No registration is required, but signs with positive and supportive messages, as well as rainbow flags, are encouraged.
The marchers will start there on Main Street and walk east on Center Street and Anchor Street before returning to the starting area.
The Westminster-Carroll County branch is part of the nationwide organization of PFLAG, dedicated to the equality of people who identify as LGBTQ+. They meet on the third Sunday of the month at 5 p.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Westminster. Their next official meeting will be in September because they do not meet in June, July or August, according to their website.
“We also hope it shows the LGBTQ+ community that they are supported, loved and we are here for them to advocate, support and educate,” Gaver said.
This is the first year a Pride march has been held in Westminster. This year across the country, Pride celebrations are marking the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which are looked on as a cultural catalyst at the foundation of the movement for gay rights.
Gaver said the anniversary has prompted many Pride celebrations to be even more visible. At home in Westminster, she wrote, “We feel this march may be a precursor to a parade in the future, but it is our community's way of showing support and hopefully erase the stigma against members of the LGBTQ+ community locally, statewide, and nationally. While Stonewall was a riot, and ensuing marches were to protest police brutality, bigotry, oppression and violence, today's marches are a way to show support and solidarity to those who still suffer these abuses.”
PFLAG will also sponsor “Shantay You Stay,” a drag performance scheduled for July 6 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Westminster Hall, at 17 Bond St. For more information, visit www.pflagwcc.org/pridedragshow.