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Give Back NH: Queen City Pride

Scott Cloutier & Chloe LaCasse are organizers for Queen City Pride
Scott Cloutier
Scott Cloutier & Chloe LaCasse are organizers for Queen City Pride

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment that spotlights New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition.

June is National Pride Month, and to celebrate Give Back New Hampshire is giving voice to Manchester's Queen City Pride Parade and Festival --both happening next Saturday. What started as a local block party between friends, has grown into a beloved annual event that welcomes thousands of participants.

NHPR's Emily Quirk spoke with organizers of the festival; the following is a transcription:

The Queen City Pride festival features family activities, live performances, food vendors, and a lot dancing.
Queen City Pride
The Queen City Pride festival features family activities, live performances, food vendors, and a lot dancing.

Scott Cloutier (Director of Communications): We're all sort of forced into a box when we're born, right? It's a blue box or a pink box. And sometimes I want to be in a purple box... or I don't want to be in a box at all.

I am Scott Cloutier, he / him/ his. Those are the pronouns that I prefer. And I am the director of communications for Queen City Pride.

Back in 2018 — actually, it might have been a little bit earlier than that— when Robb Curry and Kyle Davis opened their restaurant Madear's on Hanover Street in Manchester. They had just, you know, been a very open place to go for the LGBT community.

And they saw that there just was not any pride events. So they went out into the community and said, Hey, what can we do? And let's start with just blocking off this small section of street on Hanover Street and have a little block party. And they did. And it was very, very successful. And then it slowly grew into what it is now. It's exciting.

Restaurateur and co-founder Robb Curry is joined by a young festival participant
Queen City Pride
Restaurateur and co-founder Robb Curry is joined by a young festival participant

Chloe LaCasse: I'm Chloe LaCasse, she / her pronouns— and I am the director of community outreach at Queen City Pride.

A week from today, June 18th, starting bright and early, (you know bright and early for me anyway), 10:00 AM is Queen City Pride's first parade and then Pride at Arms Park. It's going to be an incredible day. It's going to be a long day. Hopefully the weather is with us, but there's going to be everything from the Scouts will be there. And we're going to have drag time story hour with a couple of local queens, which is always fantastic and just lots of dancing and food vendors. And just again, literally in this case, waving your flag, whatever color flag that may be.

Cloutier: So what we're trying to do is show people that there is a safe space for you no matter who you are, how you represent yourself, you know who you love. You can come out and feel support from a group of people that is just lots of fun and lots of love.

LaCasse: You know, with the unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ youth, trans kids, specifically non-binary kids, you know, we really, really have made a full hearted attempt to make sure that those folks and their families are seen.

Um, and for me, I'm trans and to be able to support folks who have just come out, who haven't started hormone therapy, who haven't started, you know, transitioning socially and to really, really support them and say, 'hey, I've done it. It was difficult. You know, we're here... you know, tell me your story and I'll tell you mine.'

Cloutier: And I think if we just continue to bring more allies into the community, we'll see more safe space business locations, more people, you know, pushing for more representation that is diverse in their business or their community or their different cultures in the community. But it is a really great event. And, you know, the community comes together and wraps around us for this, and that's what it's all about.

_______________________________________________

Where/when does the parade start? Find out, here.

You can find a full listing of Queen City Pride events and more information about the festival, here.

Or donate directly to Queen City Pride initiatives by clicking, here!

Queen City Pride

Before becoming Program Director, Quirk served as NHPR's production manager. During that time she's voiced and crafted the 'sound of the station,' coordinated countless on-air fundraisers, produced segments for Give Back NH, Something Wild, New Hampshire Calling, and developed NHPR's own NHPR Music vertical with features such as Live from Studio D, and long-loved favorites like Holidays By Request.
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