Pride Fest 2K19 kicks off successfully in Natchitoches despite gloomy weather

By Allison Weatherford

Grey clouds rolled over the sky, dousing the earth below with some much needed rain. At Highland Park, revelers huddled under the available shelter waiting for the storm to pass. The park hosted Natchitoches’s first LGBTQ+ pride festival on June 28. LGBTQ+ folk and friends gathered to celebrate. Braving puddles with bare feet, they painted one another in pride colors, played a game of kickball, and frolicked in a bounce castle overflowing with soap bubbles.

For some, Pride Fest 2K19 was their first LGBTQ+ pride event. Alyssa and Danielle, two local teenagers, explored the festivities together. “It feels like [Natchitoches] is actually trying to do something, trying to support us,” Alyssa commented.

“It’s like, a good movement,” Danielle agreed.

Sarah Lord, who will start as a freshman at NSU this fall, said “I’m gay, and I’m nervous about coming to a smaller southern town as a freshman, but I think it’s really neat that they’re having an event and I feel safer coming here knowing that there is some support.”

Scott Lumry waited through the intermittent rain to be joined by his friends at Pride Fest 2K19. “I’ve been out for 25 years,” he said. “I’m 60, so that would make me 35 when I came out. I helped push for the legalization of gay marriage in this city. I’m happy to be here. I’m ecstatic, knowing this is here for younger people.”

While Pride Fest 2K19 was focused on members of the LGBTQ+ community, many allies were on the scene. Kathy Mitchell and her husband Melton drove from Anacoco to participate in Pride Fest 2K19 by giving free mom and free dad hugs. Their son came out to them 3 years ago.

“Rejecting our child was never even considered,” Kathy shared. “We cried. My big ol’ husband cried, and in his next breath he said ‘I need to hold my son’. It’s a tough journey in this environment, for the kids and for the parents.”

Liz Leblanc, who has attended many pride festivals, came to Pride Fest 2K19 in support of her nephew. She exclaimed, “We’re so grateful that he’s in a rural area and he now has a community of people to talk to, to ask questions, and he hasn’t had that before. I am so excited to be here! The first ever Natchitoches Pride! This is fantastic. We are a part of history. We are a part of progress. Our small little world is opening up. I’m just thrilled!”

In the dug-out, Krissy Youngblood tended barbecues loaded with food that glistened in handsome, amber hues. Her daughter, Tia Youngblood, played part in coordinating the Pride Fest 2K19. Krissy’s smile radiated joy as she spoke of her daughter.

“I raised her to be herself,” she said. “She is who she is, and nothing can change that. I love her. I’m just as worried about girls as I am boys, though! Everyone’s equal to me.”

Despite the disagreeable weather everyone came together and danced in the rain to celebrate love. The inaugural Pride Fest 2K19 was a success, and the revelers hope there will be more to come.

12 thoughts on “Pride Fest 2K19 kicks off successfully in Natchitoches despite gloomy weather

  1. Tis a pity that self-righteous folk who fancy themselves “Christian” feel comfortable enough with themselves to smugly judge the “sin” of others, based, as it is, on a sad misreading of the Bible. What would Jesus do? Laugh His butt off at the behavior and opinions of those who claim to speak in His name. Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

    Haven’t the people obsessed with the LGBT community anything better to do with their lives? Granted, the feeling of moral superiority is certainly invigorating and a perverse rush to one’s self-esteem. But, really, shouldn’t you feel ashamed of yourselves for creating a atmosphere of hate in the name of “Christian love?” As someone who defines themselves as a Christian, I find that particular brand of Christianity demeaning to the teachings of Christ. Shame, shame, shame.

    I am always amused by those believing sexuality is a choice, and condemn those practicing a non-conventional lifestyle (whatever “conventional” means, probably “What I do and I don’t like others doing”). thinking they are deliberately asserting themselves to annoy the self-appointed God-fearing protectors of society. A) If their lifestyle is a choice, why on earth would someone choose to do something that invites the judgment, scorn, and anger of intolerant fundamentalists? B) I guess all the straight people have chosen to be that way, despite their inclinations otherwise. Which makes it all very interesting, indeed!

  2. easy there Gail ,I am not against gay’s .I was questioning Jades first statement.You sure are ready to pounce !

    • @Mark I understand everyone has a right to their own opinion, but why attempt to turn a good, fun filled eye opening experience into a problem because of your own biased views? Keep it to yourself. Let others live happily, Natchitoches is already miserable enough for a lot of people. This give people hope, excitement for the future, something to look forward to next year and shows the community we can come together and accept everyone for who they are. You are a bummer on this planet. Do what you want and what happens in your life and your choices are your business, have the same respect for others.
      This is by no means sin, it’s a sin to push your fellow neighbors down when you can be a part of lifting them up. Hate is a sin. How do you know God’s not pleased? You have him on speed dial? Maybe he isn’t pleased with the negative judgement you go around giving.
      Again, let everyone be happy and live their lives. Your comment was unnecessary, mine is defending and supporting all the people I know personally and don’t know that went to that festival. I support this community’s right to happiness.

    • God’s not pleased with anywhere.

      And whether homosexuality is wrong or a sin, that’s God’s business. Wasn’t it Jesus who said “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone” John 8:7. If you want to be like Jesus, then follow his example of unconditional love.

      • Matt, let me break it down for you. According to the Bible, there are a lot of sins; murder, theft, coveting your neighbor’s wife, adultery, etc. Homesexuality is listed in there as a sin, according to the Bible. The Bible, according to Jesus’s disciples tells us, “Let one among you who is without sin, cast the first stone.” As the crowd was about to stone an adulteress to death. So. Everybody left her alone. Leave people alone if they are not hurting you. God will sort it all out. They have the right to live their lives, just like you. Are you without sin? I’m not. You don’t have to have gay friends. I do. But, that’s my business. Now, did that help you some?

      • People that like to quote the verse about “he who is without sin…” leave out a very important part, Jesus told the woman after this incident to “go and sin no more”. No one pointing out sin is condemning a person to death (figuratively stoning) but judging the behavior based on Biblical principles. Unconditional love for someone requires judgement of behavior not the heart. If you are going to use the Bible, use it correctly.

    • I’m trying to remember which of the 10 Commandments was about homosexuality…

      People used to tell me that interracial marriage was wrong, too, but I don’t recall anybody ever giving me a chapter or verse about it. I think if there were verses about interracial marriage or homosexuality in the Bible, fundamentalists would plaster them over every billboard in America.

      While I remember lots of parables from Jesus in the New Testament, I don’t remember Him saying anything about homosexuals. I do remember there were 2 criminals dying on their own crosses on either side of Him. When one of them mocked Jesus, the other scolded him and asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus went into His kingdom. Because the man believed Jesus was who He said He was, Jesus told the man that he would be with Him in paradise.

  3. What a liberating experience.

    I’ve lived in Natchitoches for 19 years. Have been aware that there has been little in public support during that time. Worked to be visible, along with my loving late husband, so others would see a gay couple be successful and open in our our rural environment. We strived, and I still do, to model the behaviors that build our little town, and work against those who would tear us down or build barriers to our participation in what most consider a good life.

    My thanks to, what I was told, the three of the younger generation who used social media and feet on the ground to pull this event together. You’ve done something momentous in Natchitoches history. Long may your flags fly!


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