This is South Carolina Pride week, organized by the gay and lesbian organization, SC Pride. Events have taken place in Columbia all week. Saturday events include a noon march down main street Columbia, and a free festival in Finlay Park afterwards which is open to the public, featuring 1980’s pop star Taylor Dayne.
The civil rights organization South Carolina Equality Coalition was established in 2002 as a statewide non-partisan coalition of local and state gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations including SC Pride.
That organization’s new Executive Director Christine Johnson served two terms in the Utah House of Representatives before coming to South Carolina one month ago. She says SC Pride events including Saturday’s march and festival are for all members of the community, gay and straight.
You can’t help but notice the beautiful rainbow flags hanging on Main and Gervais. Pride week is an opportunity to celebrate authenticity, reward ourselves and allow the community to get a glimpse of us and see what we’re like and see that we’re present in the community and involved in every part of the community at large.
Johnson says attitudes toward the gay community are changing gradually, and she encourges gays and lesbians to “come out.” But she says it takes gay and straight people pushing for equality together. Johnson says a change in attitude across South Carolina is possible but it will happen one conversation at a time.