The air is rife with energy. The bassline of Charli XCX’s “1999” shakes the ground. A sea of rainbow flags and signs undulate with the beat as a group yells, “Trans rights are human rights!”
This past Saturday, the Triangle community descended on West Main Street for the annual Durham Pride celebration, an all-day event centered around the LGBTQ+ community and an ongoing fight for equality.
Kiran Sundar, a first-year student at Duke, has attended Durham Pride for the last three years and spoke of representation as the single most important characteristic of the event.
“It’s important to feel as part of a bigger community and to feel supported and to feel loved,” Sundar said.
Other attendees also mentioned inclusion in the community as the primary motivator for participating in the parade.
“I’m here to celebrate life and celebrate pride, you know, enjoy everybody, enjoy life,” Dustin, a high school student from Durham, said.
Brooke and Sabrina, long-time residents of Durham, spoke to the history and importance of Pride.
“We’re really happy that people can be open and out,” Brooke, a 59-year-old member of the Durham community, noted. “You know, [for] people our age that wasn’t always true.”
“We want to be a support to our community,” Sabrina, Brooke’s wife, said. “It does us good. I never had models when I was a young person. So I want to be a model for young people. It’s a good time for us to have a voice.”
Young children, accompanied by their parents, also participated in Durham Pride.
“I’ve got little kids,” Brad, a 37-year-old attending with his children, said. “And I need them to see what this is all about.”
Kelly Bowers, Linda Warren and Pastor Margaret Herz-Lane of the Church of the Abiding Savior, Lutheran attended Pride to spread a message of love and acceptance.
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“I’m here because where else would I be?” Bowers said. “I’m a Christian and our job is to take the love where it needs to go. And today that’s here.”
After the parade, the crowd moved towards East Campus activities, which included music, food and craft booths.
The Wells Fargo booth was manned by two people who explained that they aimed to bring attention to the company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
“We’re here for diversity, inclusion—everyone is welcome!” Zach, a Wells Fargo employee, shared.
Others hoped to foster community within the larger Triangle LGBTQ+ community. Two individuals, Vivan and Zoe, sat at a booth promoting the Triangle Trans Lady Social—a group aimed at fostering camaraderie between trans women in the area.
“We’re a group for trans women to get together and have a potluck once a month,” Vivian said. “It's not like group therapy or anything; we’re just hanging out and being friendly.”