3000 people showed up to celebrate Pride in the Mississippi town that banned it

The March 24, 2018, Pride march in Starkville, Mississippi. Instagram/@heymrlittle

This past February, the town council of Starkville, Mississippi, voted 4-3 to reject a permit for an LGBTQ pride march.

The group Starkville Pride started taking legal action against the town of 25,000, and, several weeks later, another vote was held and the application was approved.

With almost 3000 people attending, Starkville Pride this past Saturday was the largest parade ever held in the town.

“I never expected to have this many people,” Mayor Lynn Spruill, who was supportive of Starkville Pride from the start, said. “This would never have happened if we didn’t have the controversy, so I’m almost grateful for the controversy in the sense it became something more than it ever would have been and it became something we can be very proud of, with no issues associated with it.”

The day started with a Queer Art Market in a park, which also served as the starting point for the parade. The marchers were led by organizers Bailey McDaniel and Emily Turner, who held a banner.

“Emily and I were there, and Emily’s parents came, marched in the parade, and after the parade they had ally buttons on and it just brought me to my knees,” McDaniel said. “Every other person in the parade has some kind of moment like that.”

“I feel like Starkville is so much better for this,” she added.

Of course, there were a few protestors at the event. The Starkville Daily News identified them as the Consuming Fire Fellowship, a Mississippi church that often protests in the street with outrageous signs. They’re like the Westboro Baptist Church’s little cousin.

McDaniel said that the police maintained order.

“I’m thankful for Starkville Police, they were amazing,” she said. “We took a huge group photo after. Chief [Frank Nichols] was on our side.”

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