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Charlotte Area

Parades, Parties And HB2 Bring Crowds To Charlotte Pride

Diedra Laird
Charlotte Observer
The Fifth Third Bank contingent moves up North Tryon on Sunday during Charlotte's annual Gay Pride parade.

A record number of people came uptown this weekend for Charlotte's annual gay and lesbian Pride Parade & Festival.  

On Saturday, the revelers came early, and they came dressed in their finest.

But attendees had more of a political edge this year. House Bill 2, the state law that overturned an update to Charlotte's civil rights ordinance that included protects for LGBT people, may actually have encouraged more to attend. 

People like Marsha Tegard, a 61-year-old transgender woman here for the first time.

"Well, it's not Sodom and Gomorrah for all you church people out there. It's like normal people and they're nice and they're having fun. And you know, you're safe in the bathroom with me and the people that I know," Tegard said.

She was referring to a section of the state law that bans transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. 

House Bill 2 brought out not only opponents of the law, but also supporters. Mayor Jennifer Roberts was shouted down Saturday by a group of protesters with a portable sound system in the back of a pickup truck parked nearby. They eventually were told to leave by the parking lot owner, and given refunds.

The annual Charlotte Pride parade was scheduled Sunday afternoon. 

Adding to the weekend's political theme was a new art installation unveiled at the McColl Center. The exhibit features an artistic response to HB 2, and it's only visible - where else? - in the bathrooms.