*Disclaimer: while the Pride March will still happen tomorrow, the Pride Festival has been postponed to Sunday, July 30th due to weather.*
This Saturday at 10:00am, head over to Riverfront Park to participate in the Fredericksburg Pride March of 2023. Members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome and encouraged to march, as this city celebrates the equality and dignity of all of our citizens.
Meegana Henry formed the non-profit organization Fredericksburg Pride in 2021. In addition to the nationwide pride groups such as Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project, Henry saw a need for local representation and organization. She said that as accepting of the LGBTQ+ community as Fredericksburg is, there needed to be a resource for people to know of the pride-friendly businesses, medical practices, and other companies that they can rely on and reach out to. Since day one of her organization’s founding, Henry said that Fredericksburg Pride has quickly grown into the primary support system for the local LGBTQ+ community.
“In the past it’s been taboo to support our community,” Henry said, noting the increasing amount of companies and organizations who now support and participate in the pride march. “It’s been really, really awesome.”
Henry has been hosting pride events in Fredericksburg for over six years, and is excited for the third annual Pride March and Festival in Fredericksburg. In 2020, the Fredericksburg Pride March and Festival had approximately 500 participants. Last year, it was estimated that 6,000 people participated. The FXBG Pride March has had significant growth in the past few years, and rain or shine, Henry hopes to expand their march even further.
“Regardless of rain, people are gonna show up,” Henry said. “People want that support, and they want to be here, they need to be here.”
Participants will meet at Riverfront Park at 10:00am, and the Pride March will begin at 11:00. Henry said that the exponential growth of the Pride March sends one message above all others: visibility. She believes that the LGBTQ+ visibility that the Pride March provides is essential and incredibly beneficial to the community.
“The event isn’t just about support and love,” Henry said, “ it’s about progress. It’s about what we’re still fighting for. And we’re still fighting for those rights.”
While some people are still afraid about attending the Pride March, Henry wants them to know that the LGBTQ+ community is fully safe. The Pride March is entirely nonviolent, and welcomes anyone who attends to celebrate the community.
Henry is appreciative of how supportive the City of Fredericksburg has been towards the Pride March, most notably with the pride flags that are currently flying throughout downtown. In addition, the Fredericksburg Visitor Center auditorium currently has an art exhibit by LGBTQ+ youth. This support, Henry said, is wonderful and will never be forgotten.
“We are visibly, and [businesses] are visibly sharing their support,” Henry said. “That’s really incredible for our community.”
The Pride March will take place from 10:00am to 11:00am. Follow Fredericksburg Pride on Facebook.