This couple organized their small town’s first Pride to make it safer for their growing family

NELA Pride founders Meghan Proffer and her wife
NELA Pride founders Meghan Proffer and her wife Photo: Amanda Buchart

Megan Proffer, who lives in remote Northeast Louisiana in the small town of Monroe about a hundred miles from anywhere, had been with her wife for over ten years when their growing family inspired an idea colored by a rainbow.

“After ten years of fertility treatments, my wife and I were finally expecting our first child,” says Proffer, “and we realized that the area that we lived in was even worse than we thought for queer kids and kids of queer parents, so in 2023 we set out to change it.”

“In just five weeks, we were able to organize and host the very first Pride Festival in our area in over a decade. We had over 60 booths, 1000 attendees, resources, entertainers, a drag show, and so much more — all of this in rural, Southern, conservative Northeast Louisiana.”

“We raised almost $20,000 for our event.”

NELA Pride founders Meghan Proffer and her wife
Amanda Buchart NELA Pride founders Meghan Proffer and her wife

“Since then, NELA Pride has become a nonprofit, and we’ve hosted training workshops for adults who work with queer kids, created a safe-space initiative for local businesses, had the first queer Mardi Gras float in our area, and so much more.”

Proffer is particularly concerned about resources for queer teens and their parents in the area.

“We have parent meet-ups because a lot of times, if you have an LGBTQ+ teen, a lot of those parents don’t know how to deal with that. I mean, I don’t even know the terminology and the language and everything, so we have meet-ups with those parents to support each other and learn how to support your child to make sure that our LGBTQ+ youth have a place here in Northeast Louisiana.”

“Starting NELA Pride reminds me that one person can make a difference. One person can start a movement. It just takes one.”

“Today, we’re gearing up for our second annual Pride event, and we can’t wait!”

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