MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As 2019 draws to a close Grand Strand PRIDE announced on its Facebook page that the group will be ceasing operations on December 31st.
The announcement was made as part of a ‘decade in review’ post on the accomplishments of the organization. The group cites a lack of donations and volunteers in 2019 as contributing reasons. Another roadblock the group cites was a boycott on a large fundraiser which a “large part of the community” participated in and convinced others to as well.
The group says this is part of a nationwide trend and a possible reason for the decline is that LGBTQ advocacy groups “have accomplished so much in this decade.”
In that same post, the group outlines the various accomplishments and major events over the past 13 years since its founding, including:
- Countless social gatherings, including happy hours and holiday balls and dinners
- Celebrating together the victories of marriage equality court cases in 2013 (Edith Windsor), 2014 (Bostic case brought marriage equality to SC) and 2015 (Jim Obergefell).
- Formalizing our organization (which started in 2006) into a public charity as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of South Carolina in 2014
- Organizing the Coastal Business Guild in 2015
- Hosting five Business Expos, four Galas, and a PRIDE in the Park
- Bringing Jim Obergefell and Greg Louganis to Myrtle Beach
- Fielded numerous phone calls and website inquiries for local LGBTQ information or support
- Improved relationships with local elected officials
The 2010s have also given the group some big challenges:
• In 2014 the group took the lead against the policy writers at the South Carolina Department of Revenue for inequalities against same-sex married couples in the state. Although they lost the case at the time, the policy was changed one year later.
• In 2016 the group was outnumbered by an angry mob of 500 at an Horry County School Board meeting while standing up for transgender students
• Also in 2016 the group mourned together the killing of 49 LGBTQ victims at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
• In 2017 the group was the target of a bomb threat at our Business Expo and Gala. But working with both the local police and the FBI, the suspect was arrested and is currently in jail.