CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This weekend marks the return of Charlotte Pride, the city's gay pride celebration, and this summer is the 50th anniversary of the modern gay rights movement.
But Charlotte does Pride a little differently than most of the country, particularly when it comes to when they celebrate. So why is Charlotte Pride in August instead of June like most other cities?
The precursor to Charlotte Pride started in 1981. Held near the campus of UNC Charlotte, the June event was essentially a secret society. Being there meant you'd risk losing your job or being shunned by friends and family.
Over the years, Pride moved around Charlotte but fizzled out for a few years. At times, anti-gay protesters outnumbered everyone else. In 2001, Pride got more organized, with several gay rights groups bringing back the celebration bigger and better, and with an August date.
Believe it or not, the August planning was a matter of not conflicting with any other Pride celebrations or other summer events in Charlotte.
What started out as a small, secretive gay rights get-together, and was once drowned out by protests, is now the largest parade Charlotte hosts each year, filled with family, friends and allies.