Nothing but Love: Suffolk shows its Pride for LGBTQ+ community

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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Despite the sweltering heat, Suffolk residents came out last Sunday to show love, acceptance, and support to the LGBTQ+ community.

The 4th Annual Suffolk Pride Festival was held on Sunday, June 30, at Bennett’s Creek Park. There was plenty of food, games, music, and various vendors providing supportive resources to the community. LGBT Life Center Director of Community Engagement Michelle Reid discussed being part of this year’s Suffolk Pride.

“It is about community. It is about unity. It is about providing space for individuals to come to learn, for individuals to be their authentic selves and at the end of the day, it is all about love,” Reid said.

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Reid discussed the resources they provide for the entire 757 area, including two clinics and another location in Hampton in July.

“We have free HIV testing, we have a food pantry, we have services for individuals living with HIV. We have services for individuals of the LGBT community. Our food pantry is for anybody, for everybody to come in. Food insecurity in Hampton Roads is really high,” she said.

Executive Director of Thriving Transmen of Color Simon Melhoward thanked Suffolk Pride for accepting them at the event while discussing their work.

“We are going to create a trans clinic and we are going to create a trans shelter and we are basing it in Downtown Newport News, Virginia,” Melhoward said. “We are asking that if there’s any organizations or businesses that want to support a fundraiser for us, we would greatly appreciate it. We’re asking that if there are any trans men or any people in general that want to support the mission and volunteer their time, we will be having weekly yard sales to raise the funds for the money.”

Event Organizer Tray Burch says it was “exciting” to see many people attend the event.

“It’s hot, but we’re still excited about the turnout even in this heat that we’re getting,” Burch said. “Ever since we started this event four years ago, the response from the community has been amazing. We’ve heard from several people that have come up to us that are grateful and thankful that something like this is available for Suffolk residents along with the resources that we provide.”