The spectrum center hosted it's first annual Hattiesburg unified southern fried pride LGBT celebration on Saturday. Equality rights, self-affirmation and activism not only increased their visibility as a social group — but, rather as a community in celebration of sexual diversity in the Pine Belt.
The event offered, food, music, special performances, vendors, educational and informational booths. Spectrum center, board of director, Kaylee Bradshaw shared her hopes on LGBT advancement in the deep south, "In the next five to 10 years I don't want to see marriage equality, I don't want to see LGBT rights. I just want to see equal rights, civil rights, there shouldn't be a separation between the two," she stated.
During and after the pride walk event through downtown LGBT activist were met by religious protesters waving christian and confederate flags. Both demonstrations remained progressive and respectful.
Becky Bickett from the Gulf Coast encouraged those who felt a sense of discouragement after the anti-gay protest message, "Just know that you are an important person, your life matters, your experiences matters and that you have enough to bring to the table."
The spectrum center serves as a host location for meetings for various groups affiliated with the LGBTQ+ community. The center offers free HIV testing, and other health-related functions through collaboration with the greater community; social functions and support groups.
For more information visit www.hattiesburgpride.com