The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro kicked off their combined month-long LGBTQ+ pride celebration on June 3 with the second annual Pride Promenade.
The event began with a march that started at 2 p.m. at the Peace and Justice Plaza and ended with festivities at 140 West Plaza — which included a live DJ set, drag and circus performances, community mural-making and local food trucks.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pro Tempore Karen Stegman who has served on the Chapel Hill Town Council since 2017, spoke at the event.
“Pride is both a celebration and a protest,” Stegman said. “It is so important to celebrate how far we have come.”
After the passage of LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination town ordinances in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the first annual celebration of Small Town Pride took place in 2021.
“Pride is also a protest of the hate, the discrimination, the marginalization that we continue to face,” Stegman said. “Especially our trans community, most especially people of color and youth. We must stand together and be more visible than ever.”
Stegman said that when she and her wife wanted to get married 18 years ago, they were unable to legally. She also said her wife had “no legal relationship” with the couple’s children.
“I think that it is signaling to all queer people here that, not only are we accepted here, but we are expected, and the city is making an intentional effort to make sure that we feel welcome,” Samantha Slayer, who attended Pride Promenade, said. “I think that's especially important with all of the legislation coming out of the General Assembly.”
The N.C. Senate passed Senate Bill 49 — a bill requiring teachers to notify parents when LGBTQ+ issues were discussed in class — on Feb. 7. The bill has stalled in the N.C. House Rules Committee.