Hampton Roads Pride happens this weekend with Envouge, Kristen Beck, and first ever colors ceremony by the Marine Corps Color Guard
June may be halfway over, but Pride festivities are still going strong. If you haven’t attended enough parades or parties, Hampton Roads Pride has you covered.
Starting Sunday, June 21, HR Pride will be hosting daily events to satisfy your Pride month celebration needs until the world’s first and only boat parade kicks off the 27th annual PrideFest on Saturday, June 27 at 11 am.
John Osterhout, president of HR Pride, said the theme for the weeklong celebration this year is Hampton Roads Pride, Hampton Roads Proud.
“Hampton Roads has become a very great community in which to live if you are LGBT,” Osterhout said. “We have support of all the mayors in the area, and we couldn’t ask for better allies.”
Last year, 15,000 people flocked to the Norfolk Waterside to unite and celebrate the LGBT community here in Hampton Roads. This year, Osterhout is estimating a turnout of 20,000 people.
This year, the organizers have worked tirelessly to get the word out about Pride.
There are a lot of firsts for HR Pride this year, and perhaps the most noticed so far are the six billboards placed throughout the area.
“Simply having our events on commercial media is significant to our community members,” Osterhout said, “because when you’re part of a disenfranchised group, and you hear or see your group being promoted in a positive light, it soothes your soul a little bit.”
Last year, the Pride community focus was on marriage equality. This year, the main focus will be transgender equality.
“There’s a momentum for transgendered folk that we haven’t seen before,” Osterhout said.
Located in the equality section of the park, HR Pride will have advocates from the ACLU, Equality Virginia and members of the transgender community to answer questions and offer support.
Kristine Beck, the transgender former Navy seal who authored Warrior Princess about he transition from male to female, will also be at Pride.
Thomas Roberts, journalist and news anchor of MSNBC and LGBT community member, will serve as the grand marshal of the parade. For the first time at any Pride event in the country, the U.S. Fleet Forces band will perform. The Marine Corps Color Guard will present the colors, which is also a nationwide Pride first.
En Vogue, the soulful R&B trio, will be the headlining act on the main stage. Norfolk favorites DJP & MrT and Skye Zentz will also play sets during PrideFest, among a mixture of DJs and drag performances.
HR Pride will also showcase the LGBT History Project Exhibit and City Tour, as well as sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
The Family Fun and Games Park, which will be decked out in a modernized circus theme, will feature events and activities such as corn hole and other games, face painting, an aerial performance, a touch tank by the Virginia Aquarium and the Chrysler Museum portable glass studio.
This year, there will also be over 70 craft, food and beverage vendors in the park.
HR Pride is hoping that this year will be the largest celebration yet.
“We really want this to become as much of an event for our allies as it is the members of our LGBT community,’ Osterhout said, “and we want LGBT to just be a normal, every day segment of the community.”
PrideFest is open and accessible to all, and will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 27. For a full list of Pride Week events, visit hamptonroadspride.org.
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