Who We Are and What’s Next
You may have seen our Facebook page or posts and often wondered who is Buckhannon Pride? Our founding member, Sydney Hollen and her Mother Lisa Hollen, were at a city council meeting in Philippi, WV in 2017, when a representative from Fairness WV spoke about his experiences talking to legislators. Sydney realized that other communities had an organization to represent LGBTQ concerns, but there was no such organization in Upshur County. So, she thought that the community needed to be celebrated and wanted to create something where everyone can come together and share ideas for what our community should be. After the help of several area LGBTQ people and allies Buckhannon Pride was born.
Our first event, Buckhannon’s first-ever Pride Festival, was held in Jawbone Park in conjunction with a local community potluck group to celebrate unity in July 2017 and featured the talents and support of many local community members. There were about 50 or more people in attendance. Our second event, in October 2018, was a screening of the Movie Hocus Pocus along with a drag show as a fundraiser for Rainbow Pride of WV, which will become a yearly tradition for us. We are in the current stages of planning more events for 2019 including a bigger Pride Fesitval.
So, why now make everything more public if we have been around for over a year? Well, it is for the simple reason that we need to be seen. It was obvious going into the Buckhannon City Council meeting earlier this month regarding a local non-discrimination ordinance, that certain members of our city council had already made up their minds, and no matter who spoke in support of the ordinance, they would not approve it. The speakers that opposed the proposition were using typical conservative arguments and those of us that were there in support, spoke about our personal experiences. It left us with a clear idea of where we stand in the community. Our mayor, along with Fairness West Virginia, brought this ordinance forward to make sure all felt welcomed here. The opposition however; made their opinions clear, that all are NOT welcomed here… at least not if you do not fit within their Christian religious beliefs or are gay. That was the general feeling that was left in our hearts.
Keep looking forward to more from Buckhannon Pride. Our goal is to show that we are worthy of love and acceptance, and we aren’t going anywhere. I will be discussing my personal journey and escaping the torture of conversion therapy, and we will be addressing other topics that are of interest to us.
You can find more about us on our Buckhannon Pride Facebook page and on our soon to be website.