LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – SOMD Pride was held on Sunday, October 8, 2023, at Lexington Manor Passive Park.
“This year’s Southern Maryland Pride theme is ‘Persist in Pride: Building an Equitable Future’ as a reminder to continue the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and against attacks on books, bodily autonomy, drag, trans healthcare, etc,” SOMD Pride stated on the event’s Facebook page.
“Our organization’s mission is to create a welcoming and inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ people, their families, and allies by holding an annual event,” Tammy Gladstone, the Chair of SoMD Pride, told The BayNet. “As a part of this effort, we have the opportunity to bring in businesses, resources, and community groups that are owned by LGBTQ+ individuals, provide help for our community, or have a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQIA+ people. Some of these groups include PFLAG SOMD, The LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Trans Maryland, and more. The process facilitates connections and networking among community members throughout the tri-county area. Building that network is important to creating a sense of community.”
Festivities included Drag performances, live music, the Governor’s Citation, a kid zone, food trucks, photo ops, various vendors, Viking axe throwing, and much more.
“This year was our sixth annual event and the event has grown year after year. It was truly a magical day and we can’t wait for next year’s event,” said Gladstone. Every year the event gets bigger and better. There were so many magical moments. Seeing so many smiling faces enjoying the festivities and just being themselves. Pride events provide a sense of belonging. A sense of community and we have the honor of providing that to the Southern Maryland community.”
Pride SOMD all began in 2017 when a group of youth from Calvert County decided to host a Pride event for the Southern Maryland community.
“The very first Pride SoMD was held at the Solomon’s boardwalk pavilion and had about fifty attendees. They held a rally, did a march up the street, and ended with a potluck picnic. The next year, they held a similar event but expanded into the Corbin Nature Pavilion and had about 150 attendees. In 2019, we saw an estimated 600 attendees. As word spreads about our small Pride event, we are seeing continual growth and saw even more attendees at our 4th annual Pride event in 2021. In 2022, we expanded our Pride Festival and moved to Lexington Manor Passive Park, which gave us much more space and allowed more vendors to participate in our event.” SOMD Pride states on their website.
“Pride is important because it is a celebration of people being who they are, freely and without judgment,” Gladstone stated. “It can be difficult to build a community in more rural areas, particularly if people are not comfortable or do not feel welcomed. We strive to make each Pride SoMD annual event welcoming, inclusive, and fun so people from all walks of life, but especially the LGBTQIA+ community, have a space to be themselves.”
Now, check out some of these amazing pictures from this year’s event!
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