BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)–June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the City of Beckley is celebrating its diversity and inclusiveness with all.
The third annual Beckley Pride event was a smash success in Downtown Beckley. Attendees walked around the sections, celebrating who they are and what they stand for.
The Sergeant at Arms of Beckley Pride, Nicole Hoye said during the pandemic, they could only celebrate pride virtually, but she’s glad they could come outside on a beautiful day to enjoy the diversity and inclusiveness.
“We have 70 vendors that are selling all kinds of things. I’m sure some of them are doing giveaways as well. We also have several local artists that have their pieces they’ve invested time into as well as performers,” Hoye said.
Elliott Stewart and Lenny Sundahl were a part of the vendor space selling zines, or small circulated self-published work to the participants.
Stewart said the pandemic was one of the reasons he decided to start his business.
“I’ve been doing zines since I was about 13 or so. And just I think honestly COVID. I was quarantined and couldn’t get active in the community so it was a way to reach out to my peers and make friends,” Stewart said.
Even though a couple of protestors tried to rain on their parade, that didn’t stop those who were there to be themselves.
Both Stewart and Sundahl said they just want to be treated with the same respect as anyone else and to live as their true selves.
“If they don’t know someone who is gay lesbian bisexual transgender, they just see them as the boogeyman talking on these actual people. And that’s I think all that anybody wants to be out here to show is that they’re people that are worthy of love and respect,” Stewart said.