COLUMBIA, S.C. — Across the Midlands, many are celebrating Pride Month, celebrated across the country during June.
The month honors the Stonewall Riots that occurred in June, 1969. The riots sparked the movement for LGBTQ+ rights. Now, many hold festivals to celebrate the accomplishments of activists and to show their pride of who they are.
"I just feel like everybody should be able to feel comfortable no matter where they are," said Jaynes Davis, Columbia Resident. "Pride Month gets that message out there, that it’s okay to be you, and it’s okay to be loved and love other people."
Pride Month is meant to encourage individuals to be proud of who they are, and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community for who they are.
"I think it’s important we have pride month, to make people in the LGBT community to feel more comfortable in their bodies" said Lenna Diamaduros, Columbia Resident. "That way, they can celebrate who they are and celebrate who they want to be."
After COVID-19 canceled many events last year, the South Carolina Pride Movement is hosting Outfest Columbia this summer.
"Outfest is a smaller version of pride, but it's more local it's like to say we are Columbia pride," said Jeff March, President of SC Pride Movement.
March said the event will feature over 20 local venders, local entertainers, and local activism. 2021 will be the fourth year of Outfest and the 32nd year of SC Pride.
He said SC Pride Movement holds both events each year to allow more people to attend.
"We wanted to celebrate Pride in June, but it's because of our history of South Carolina Pride we can't really move the entire festival to June," March said. "We want to be here because this is a college town. We want pride to be when college is in session, so we wait to the fall. We also needed to be a little bit cooler. So we came up with an idea of having Outfest to celebrate Pride Month. A year is a long time to wait to have a celebration for a whole community like this."
There will be some COVID-19 safety guidelines in place to keep patrons and vendors safe such as:
- All Vendors and Patrons are asked to please stay home if you are positive for COVID-19, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or have close contract with a person with symptoms in the past 14 days.
- All vendors and patrons are asked to maintain 6+ feet of social distancing
- We ask all patrons to please refrain from handling products at vendor booths. Please ask the business for assistance.
Last year, both Outfest and SC Pride was canceled due to the pandemic.
Outfest will be held outside on June 5 on the 1200 block of Park St, in Columbia. The event is free and will be held from 2-10 p.m.
"It gives them a chance to go and be around people just like them and come out in a way that makes them feel loved, it's special," Diamadorus said.
"We're all humans we're here together," Davis said. "It unifies everyone and I really, I love seeing that for Columbia, my state, and all of us."