HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The 3rd Annual Grand Strand Pride Event will return Friday in Chapin Park to kickoff 2023 Pride Month.

This has been a point of controversy in Horry County, however, since the council’s decision to rescind a Pride Month proclamation last year.

It has been about a year since Horry County council rescinded the proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month in Horry County.

Several council members at the time told News13 they either did not know the proclamation was on the consent agenda when they originally approved it, or did not know what it meant but approved it anyway.

Councilman Johnny Vaught also told News13 that residents had reached out to the council saying that the proclamation did not reflect the views of the conservative majority.

“It was a wakeup call,” said Terry Livingston, co-founder of Grand Strand Pride.

And what started off as a celebration quickly turned into a peaceful protest. However, the county did not change their decision.

“The entire counties say isn’t as open as the city of Myrtle Beach,” Livingston said. “So where you may feel safer within the city limits here, you know, you’ve crossed to the other side of the county and the comments of hatred toward you increased drastically.”

In 2021, Myrtle Beach recognized June as Pride Month, and co-founder Terry Livingston said they will not stop there.

“This year, we took a little bit different approach. And we sent out the same request to many of the cities along the Grand Strand,” he said. “So, we reached out from North Myrtle Beach all the way down to Georgetown, and even out to Conway. We’ve gotten some response back, [but] at this point, you know, nothing’s happened.”

Livingston did say one city he could not name said they are considering recognizing June as Pride Month.

“Most of them, if they’re going to announce it in June, they’ll wait till June,” he said. “So, you know, maybe next week, we’ll hear some responses from the other cities.”

Livingston will address the crowd Friday at the 3rd Annual Grand Strand Pride Event in Myrtle Beach in hopes of spreading the word about LGBTQ+ rights and recognition.

“We need to recognize that, you know, diversity is good,” Livingston said.

News13 did reach out to all county council members. Some have not responded, while others have said the topic has not been discussed.

Livingston said they are looking to revisit the issue of recognizing Pride Month in Horry County this year and hopes the county council is willing to talk.

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