On Pride Week: "You're Not Doing Anything Wrong By Being Gay"

The 27th Annual South Carolina Pride Festival was held on Saturday. News19's Lana Harris reports.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The colors of the rainbow took over downtown Columbia on Saturday where thousands of people showed up for the 27th Annual South Carolina Pride Famously Hot Festival.

Jeff Marsh, the president of South Carolina Pride says it was a day to bring together people who may usually feel excluded.

"Today we celebrate the lives of the LGBTQ community," Marsh said, "the community is a part of society just like everybody else."

Some people who attended the event say it is a chance to be surrounded by people who accept them.

"It makes it feel like the community is actually a community, because usually we're invisible," said Devin Isaac, a festival attendee. "We don't often get a national stage to be ourselves."

"We're taught so much that the way we are, is wrong," added Cari Tuel, another festival attendee.

On a colorful day filled with parades, entertainment, and togetherness, members of the LGBTQ community can cast those judgments aside and be who they are.

"We've created a really safe space here," said Kelly Sharpe, another festival attendee. "Seeing everybody holding hands and kissing, you don't find a lot of places like that."

Tuel says events like this help people who may be afraid to identify themselves with the LGBTQ community feel more comfortable about who they are.

"So if you go here and you look around and you see people," Tuel explains, "you go, 'people are like me, people can be happy like me, there are people who accept me, I don't have to feel like I'm alone in a hateful world.'"

Marcus Morrison, another festival attendee, says it is an experience he is glad to finally have.

"This is my first Pride, it's the first time I've ever been able to express myself the way I want and I just love it," Morrison said.

Because here they are not just people in the LGBTQ community, they are just people.

"You're not doing anything wrong by being gay," said Ayana Gidron, another festival attendee. "you're being who you are, you were born this way."

This event was part of the 2016 Pride Week that ends on Sunday. The last Pride Week event will be the SC Pride Picnic on September 4th, 2016 at 11 AM. It will take place at Reformation Lutheran Church on Union St. in Columbia.


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