For the first official Pride Month in Myrtle Beach, more than one hundred people dressed in colorful pride-themed clothing and makeup gathered in Chapin Memorial Park to celebrate Thursday evening.
“Tonight, we get to celebrate a significant milestone happening right where we live,” said organizer Terry Livingston. “This is significant to everyone, but maybe even more so to, shall we say, the older and grayer gays, who remember a Myrtle Beach many years ago where gays were told there were no vacancies at the oceanfront resort, or a even mayor who once stated that, ‘The city did not welcome gay garbage.’ So look how far this great city has progressed.”
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune in May signed a proclamation declaring June as Pride Month. Livingston read out a portion of the proclamation Thursday evening.
“‘Therefore, be it proclaimed, that the Myrtle Beach City Council hereby designates June 2021 as Pride Month and encourages citizens to recognize, celebrate and accept the ongoing efforts and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community by building a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance,’” Livingston said.
DJ Stephen Craig provided the live music, with numerous rave songs and dance numbers. There was also a booth offering free COVID-19 vaccinations.
Attendees found different ways of showing their pride and celebrating diversity in Myrtle Beach. Many people wore pride-themed makeup, jewelry and clothes, and dozens carried or wore pride-colored flags. Throughout the park, new friends and old friends gathered together to take photos of how they had chosen to express their pride.
A.J. Mays said he came to meet up with friends for his first pride event.
“It went really well,” Mays said. “I was expecting a lot more backlash from homophobic people.”
Mays also said South Carolina has come a long way to be able to hold official Pride Month events.
“It’s progress — a hell of a lot of progress,” Mays said.