Featured photo: Attendees dance in the streets at Greensboro Pride 2022 (photo by Carolyn de Berry)

All photos by Carolyn de Berry

From a bird’s eye view, thousands of dots can be seen together in a colorful mesh as they go every which way through downtown Greensboro. Outfits of all shades and textures can be seen. Some wear rainbow flags as capes as they dress in shorts and t-shirts for the hot day. Drag queens can be spotted in bright neons with tight lace and sparkles. Accompanied by everyone are flags in a typhoon of different colors. All together, the entire street transforms into a pulsating rainbow as befits the occasion of this year’s Greensboro Pride.

An annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, the event creates a space to allow everyone to take pride in who they are. It’s about building a stronger community, promoting acceptance and, of course, having a good time with new friends.

“Pride means so much to me,” said Kyle Carney, a Pride attendee. “Because there are millions of people around the world who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, who struggle with their identities and who are afraid of living out and proud. Pride gives us a chance to bring the LGBTQ+ community and our allies together to celebrate the rights of and freedom of a decreasingly oppressed people. My experience today is one I will never forget.”

Celebrations of acceptance, such as these, hold immense importance for a community that is still struggling to be accepted. According to a 2022 study by The Trevor Project, 45 percent of LGBTQ+ youth have seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 36 percent have reported being threatened or assaulted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It’s important to bring awareness and understanding,” said Kyle Carney. “To those individuals, who may be confused about the meaning of Pride. For me, it’s always such a thrilling and fulfilling experience to see and be amongst friends and many others, who are like me. I’m beyond excited that the city of Greensboro allows my community the opportunity to celebrate and have Pride.”

Flanked along the street are booths that offer food, souvenirs and resources. One peddles Pride flags of a wide variety, while others have T-shirts and give out free wristbands. Food stands offer scrumptious snacks, such as smoked barbeque and sweets.

Merrymakers and partakers coalesce aside one another as they make their way to the center of the festivities. The area is a main stage where performers sing and dance. Up next is the local dance troupe that came together specifically for Pride, called Giselle and Company.

“Pride is something special to me,” said Giselle Cassidy Carter, a drag performer and lead dancer of the Giselle and Company troupe. “My first Pride is where I felt that I could be myself and nobody would judge me. I’m from Elkin, which is a really small town, so Pride is not something that happens there. Today my performance is my love letter to all the gay people, who want to be themselves and want to get out of the small town. To encourage everyone to love, be themselves and love themselves.”

The dance troupe makes their way through the crowd and up on the stage to resounding applause. The troupe shines bright in neon mesh and encrusted with sparkles. Giselle naturally takes center stage as the queen of today’s performance. She orchestrates dancers in their twirls, twists, poses and contortions to the thumping of the techno pop music and the deserved cheers of the crowd.

View the full gallery of Greensboro Pride here.

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