FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — The Pee Dee now has its first LGBTQ advocacy group.
Pee Dee Equality was founded in October with help from the diversity board of the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation.
“We just saw a need, and there wasn’t anything else like it,” Kristen Lowe, the organization’s co-founder and board chair, said.
Lowe said the nonprofit group intends to provide support to members of the LGBTQ community by offering access to inclusive doctors, lawyers and churches as well as promoting acceptance.
“We want to be the organization that can help you find the information you need and provide resources for you,” Lowe said.
Since the group was founded, it has donated to the Gay-Straight Alliances at Wilson High School, Francis Marion University and Coker University, Lowe said.
“We’ve gotten a lot of people who are concerned about pushback,” Lowe said. “Historically, we have been quite a conservative area, but I think Florence is ready.”
Lowe said she was partly inspired to take action by her experience growing up lesbian in Florence.
“There wasn’t an organization like this for me when I was coming out and trying to find my place in the world,” she said. “I’m really excited to be part of an organization that can provide that support, whether it be for a child, an adult or even family members.”
Florence has grown more inclusive over the past few years, Lowe said. But there is still work to be done. In June, the group plans to organize the Pee Dee’s first Pride Month events.
“Florence is a growing city, and with that growth comes more people, more diversity and more need for understanding,” Lowe said. “We want to be an organization that can meet the needs of that growing diverse population.”
Donations can be made to the organization on the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation’s website. Anyone who wants to get involved can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.