While so many victories and rights have been hard won for LGBTQIA+ people in the last 40 years, many of us continue to fight for our lives everyday. Those of us who are people of color, indigenous, youth, elders, trans, women, undocumented, disabled, or poor have been the most disenfranchised and most at risk of violence or harassment. More than half of LGBTQ Americans reported experiencing violence, threats, or harassment based on their sexuality or gender identity in 2017. In even the most progressive communities, these risks remain a reality.
The first Franklin County Pride March & Rally on June 24, 2017 was created and organized by a handful of dedicated lesbian and queer women, in reaction to the charged political climate after the 2016 presidential election and the growing threat to marginalized people in our community (i.e., undocumented people, people of color, women, and LGBTQIA people). [The event was also inspired, in part, by a small but mighty Greenfield Pride event held in 2015.]
This all-volunteer event drew broad participation from diverse members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, and was made possible by overwhelming support from local businesses and individual sponsors. The event drew over 400 marchers and 600 rally participants, with musical performances from local entertainers, and speeches from local community groups and leaders.
FC Pride expresses our immense gratitude to the original FC Pride co-chairs, Trouble Mandeson, Pam Parmakian, and Michelle Delisio (along with the support of countless friends and volunteers) for their work organizing the first FC Pride event.