Thousands of LGBT and straight ally community members from across the Carolinas converged Saturday on Uptown’s Gateway Village for the annual Pride Charlotte festival. Despite vocal protests from a local anti-LGBT religious organization, the event was a success, organizers say.
Vendors included sponsoring businesses like Food Lion, Bank of America and Scorpios, as well as non-profit organizations and LGBT-owned businesses. Entertainment from local, regional and national performers took two stages and a kids’ area with face painting and story telling allowed LGBT parents to spend quality time with their children.
Police estimates put the day’s attendance at 12,000-15,000, and The Charlotte Observer reported that more than 500 individuals participated in the rival “God Has a Better Way” worship and prayer protest rally across the street.
Although the protest rally was primarily for worship, protesters wearing red shirts with the “God Has a Better Way” website address did enter the festival and speak with Pride participants and community members. Pride Charlotte’s “Partners in Peace” volunteers were on hand to help festival-goers and protesters from avoiding conflict.
In a prepared statement to the media, protest organizer Dr. Michael Brown said his rally’s goals were two-fold: “We say ‘Enough is enough’ to the destructive goals of gay activism, and we say to the GLBT community, ‘Jesus loves you and God has a better way!'”
View more Pride Charlotte photos and be sure to pick up Q-Notes‘ Aug. 8 print issue for more on Pride Charlotte.