MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Grand Strand Pride, the local LGBTQ+ advocacy organization held their first event tonight in over a year and a half.
In May, Myrtle Beach City Council declared June as Pride month for the first time and organizers wanted to celebrate that.
“You see yourself in the community and that your community accepts you, they welcome you,” said Adam Hayes, a volunteer with Grand Strand Pride.
Co-Founder of Grand Strand Pride, Terry Livingston, said he’s glad Myrtle Beach is starting to become inclusive because he remembers a time when it wasn’t. “I would come to Myrtle Beach to vacation from upstate South Carolina and my now husband and I would go to check-in and the front desk would immediately tell you no vacancy, and you would go to the next place and check it out and they’d say no vacancy even though the sign out front would say vacancy. So, it became obvious that they only booked to traditional families,” Livingston said.
Livingston said he’s glad that now they’re inclusive. “City council has acknowledged that all citizens in the city are important, so it’s really exciting.”
“This proclamation represents so much for our local LGBTQ+ community and surrounding areas. It represents inclusivity, acceptance, and a willingness from our City’s leadership to make Myrtle Beach a welcoming place for all,” reads a post from Grand Strand Pride’s Facebook page.
The Pride event held at Chapin Park from 6-9pm had music, dancing, and free COVID-19 vaccines.
Those who celebrated at the event said it’s more than just a gathering to them. “Because I’m gay and my family is actually supporting me and they’re all coming down here to help,” Michael Masiello said.
Masiello’s family said, “I’m glad that Myrtle Beach supports each individual and the uniqueness that everyone has to offer to the community.”
Livingston said there will be more Pride events in the future so to check out their Facebook page at Grand Strand Pride for updates.