My Experience at Shenandoah Valley Pride

By, Aaron Keen 

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Music, laughter and diversity filled Shenandoah Valley Pride (SVP) as everyone celebrated the fifth annual pride festival at Courthouse Square. Drag queens and kings joined Virginia politicians on stage creating a memorable celebration for attendees.

This was my first time at SVP. It was astounding to see pride flags of each letter of the LGBT community represented. I even seen my first ally flag which showed me the event was truly inclusive. The theme for this year’s pride was, “I Am Human.” Each letter encompassed people from all colors of the rainbow and all walks of life.

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The volunteers and attendees of SVP helped Q Media setup our booth. I found it very refreshing that total strangers were warm and welcoming with each other at this small and intimate pride festival. I also enjoyed the fact the different vendors in Courthouse Square got to know their neighbors for example Q Media befriended LGBT vacation company, VACAYA. All around the festival the true spirit of pride was unfolding with love, acceptance and inclusion.

SVP is truly a pride for everyone. Straight couples with children joined the LGBT community celebrating this joyful event. I found it interesting to see political organizations like Log Cabin Republicans and Virginia Democrats actively representing at the pride festival.

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The theme “I Am Human” rang true for me, especially coming from a small, rural background. The more I explore communities throughout Virginia, the more I find the people share more in common than they may think. I hope that we as a society can build upon those things that connect us rather than those things that divide us, so we can come together for the greater good.