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Thousands flood uptown streets for Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade

Thousands of people are in the Queen City this weekend for the annual Pride festival.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Thousands of people filled uptown Charlotte for the annual Pride Festival and Parade this weekend.

Carolinians got a chance to celebrate culture and diversity during Sunday's sixth annual Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade. People lined the streets holding rainbow flags and celebrating the Queen City's LGBTQ communities.

People who attended Sunday's parade said Charlotte has come a long way in becoming an accepting city.

“Twenty years ago, you would have never seen this," said one festival-goer. "People used to hide who they were and had to hide what they were. That’s not cool. You should be able to be who you want to be, express yourself how you want to and just be treated equal.”

People at the festival say North Carolina still has some room for improvement. An NBC Charlotte Defenders investigation uncovered serious equality issues for same-sex victims of domestic violence. The paperwork required to file an order of protection only includes the wording, "husband and wife," which excludes same-sex couples.

As a result of the investigation, a local lawmaker is promising to file a bill that would make sure the state's laws are more inclusive.

Organizers tell NBC Charlotte the festival brought out an estimated 165,000 people this weekend.

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