The Augusta Pride community opened up about LGBT progress in the CSRA as they celebrate six years after organizing.
Thursday night is the continuation of a week of events. Vice President Lonzo Smith told News Channel 6 the President’s Soiree at St. Paul’s River Room is a celebration with those who love and appreciate them.
“We’re your neighbors, your family members, your co-workers. We share many of the same struggles that you do,” described Augusta Pride Budget Director James Mintz.
Augusta Pride has flourished since its humble beginnings in 2009.
“I remember the infancy of Pride then. It was an ad hoc thing. People were trying to sort of put it together. There were more protesters than there were supporters,” Smith recalled.
Six years later, Smith said the support stretches from next door to the west coast.
“Every year we get a proclamation from the mayor. We get more and more corporate sponsors that are coming to us. We have the largest amount of vendors that are going to be on the Augusta Common. We have about 70 vendors that are going to be on the Augusta Common. And we expect 7,000 10,000 people.
In the eyes of Augusta Pride members, news of Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation from man to woman resonates well with those who identify more with the other sex for themselves.
“Someone that was an Olympic Gold Medalist that’s something pretty major that people looked up to. I think people, thanks to the interview with Diane Sawyer, were able to understand the struggles that so many people in this country go through being transgender,” he said.
There is still a struggle as Smith and others in the LGBT community await a decision to be made by the United States Supreme Court on same sex marriage.
“Everyone has miles stones in their life. As a human, you want to share those mile stones with people,” Smith explained. “You find somebody you love. You want to embrace that person you love and say that this is the person that I chose to walk and document my life with. This is my husband or this is my wife. So, it’s no different.”
The President’s Soiree is for VIP sponsors only. Friday night is the largest outdoor dance party, Beats on Broad. The Augusta Pride parade is Saturday morning at 11. Events continue through Sunday. Click here for more information on how you can participate in Augusta Pride events.