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Little Rock to host its first gay pride parade

Submitted by Sarah DeClerk on September 14, 2013 – 4:03 pmNo Comment

Graphic courtesy of Central Arkansas Pride

Little Rock’s first gay pride parade will take place downtown Oct. 5 at 2 p.m., said Jennifer Pierce, parade committee chair. The parade is sponsored by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and by Central Arkansas Pride.

The lineup begins at 1 p.m. The parade will start at the intersection of Fifth Street and Ferry Street and travel west before going north on Scott Street. The parade will continue through the River Market and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center parking lot.

The parade involves eqaul rights organizations across Arkansas as well as local churches and businesses, Pierce said. There will also be a float contest, the winner of which will receive $100, the CAP website said.

Pierce said the event will be family-friendly and she hopes many parents and children will be there.

The parade coincides with the Main Street Food Truck Festival, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pierce noted.

After the parade, there will be a reception at Recreation Studios, located at 608 Main St. There will be promotional booths by equal rights organizations as well as live music, Pierce said.

She said that the parade is looking for volunteers. Parade applications, rules and volunteer information can be found at centralarkansaspride.com. Applications for the parade are due 5 p.m. Sept. 25.

“It’s important to show LGBT youth and people how much support is out there for them,” Pierce said. She added that she wanted to relieve stereotypes about LGBT people and straight allies. “We want to show people we’re just like everyone else,” she said.

Pierce added that although some automatically assume equal rights activists must be gay, she would be happy if there were as many allies as LGBT people. She herself is an ally, she said.

Although the South has a reputation for mistreating the LGBT community, things are changing, Pierce said. “People think that maybe our state is not progressive enough, but I think this is past due.”

So far, the parade has not received any negative feedback, according to Pierce. She noted that the Conway pride parade had a lot of opposition at first, but that it died down. “That’s why we’ll have police there,” she added.

Pierce came up with the idea for the parade in February, she said, and spoke with pride groups around Arkansas. “I decided we needed one and worked to get it done,” she said.

Parade applications, rules and volunteer information can be found at centralarkansaspride.com. Applications for the parade are due 5 p.m. Sept. 25

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