June is National Pride Month, and to celebrate Give Back, New Hampshire is giving the floor to Manchester City Pride Parade and Festival in Manchester — both taking place next Saturday. What started as a block party with friends has grown into a beloved annual event that welcomes thousands of attendees.
NHPR’s Emily Quirk spoke to festival organizers; here is a transcript:
Scott Cloutier (Director of Communications): We’re all kind of forced into a box when we’re born, aren’t we? It is a blue box or a pink box. And sometimes I want to be in a purple box… or I don’t want to be in a box at all.
I am Scott Cloutier, he/him/her. These are my favorite pronouns. And I’m the director of communications for Queen City Pride.
In 2018 – in fact, it may have been a little earlier than that – when Robb Curry and Kyle Davis opened their restaurant Madear’s on Hanover Street in Manchester. They had just, you know, been a very open place for the LGBT community.
And they saw that there were just no pride events. So they went to the community and said: Hey, what can we do? And let’s start by blocking off this little section of street on Hanover Street and having a little block party. And they did. And it was very, very successful. And then it slowly grew into what it is now. It’s exiting.
Chloe LaCasse: I’m Chloe LaCasse, she/her pronouns—and I’m the Community Outreach Director at Queen City Pride.
One week from today, June 18, starting early (you know anyway, early for me), 10:00 a.m. is the first Queen City Pride Parade, then Pride at Arms Park. It’s going to be an amazing day. The day is going to be long. Let’s hope the weather is with us, but it’s going to be everything, the scouts will be there. And we’re going to have a story hour with some local queens, which is always fantastic and just lots of dancing and food vendors. And again, literally in this case, waving your flag, whatever color it is.
Cloutier: So what we’re trying to do is show people that there’s a safe space for you, no matter who you are, how you portray yourself, you know who you love. You can go out and feel the support of a group of people who are just a lot of fun and full of love.
LaCasse: You know, with the unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ youth, trans kids, especially non-binary kids, you know, we’ve been really, really doing everything we can to make sure these people and their families are seen.
Um, and for me, I’m trans and being able to support people who have just come out, who haven’t started hormone therapy, who haven’t started, you know, social transition and really, really support them and say , ‘hey, I did it. It was hard. You know, we’re here… you know, tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine.
Cloutier: And I think if we keep bringing more allies into the community, we’ll see more safe space commercial locations, more people, you know, pushing for more diverse representation in their company or their community or their different cultures in the community. But it really is a big event. And, you know, the community comes together and surrounds us for that, and that’s what it’s all about.
Where/when does the parade start? To find, here.
You can find a full list of Queen City Pride events and more information about the festival, here.
Or donate directly to Queen City Pride initiatives by clicking, here!