File photo

Charleston Pride Week kicks off Sunday to offer eight days of activities to educate, celebrate, honor and advocate the importance of the Lowcountry’s LBGTQ community.  

On November 12, Charleston Pride will hold its first free festival in two years. It will be noon to 6 p.m. at The Refinery (1640 Meeting Street Road) and will include a curated selection of live entertainment, a variety of vendors, local food trucks and more.

“After being on hiatus for a couple of years through the pandemic, we know that the work around building community and sense of belonging between the queer community in the Lowcountry and the state isn’t the same when it’s all virtual,” said Domenico Ruggerio, executive director of We Are Family. “So being able to gather in person, celebrate the community in person and celebrate love is something that’s really exciting.

“I’m excited and our youth here at We Are Family are excited to take part in not only the festival but events throughout the week. We will have a tent at the festival and we’re really excited to be able to see everyone and just have a good time with folks.”

Another local leader in the LGBTQ+ community, Sunshine Goodman, president of Alliance for Full Acceptance, echoed Ruggerio’s sentiments.

“After years of not having [the festival] and dealing with a pandemic and going through all that we’ve been going through the last couple of years, I think it’s an exciting time,” she said. 

“With the adversity that we’re facing and with politicians directly aiming their laws and legislation toward the trans and the LGBTQ+ communities, I think that it’s a marvelous time for us to show that even with all of that, we can come together. We can celebrate. We want to celebrate our lives. We are here. We’re not afraid of those things, and we are willing to fight,” Goodman said.

In the week that follows, Charleston Pride also offers these events:

The Real Rainbow Row Walking Tour
Literary Discussion on LGBTQ+ Representation in Media
Charleston Pride Presents Magic Mike Monday
LGBTQ+ Karaoke Night
Nacho Mother’s Taco Tuesday with DJ Four5 of the Dance Doctors
Patti O’Furniture’s “On The Back Deck” Happy Hour Drag Show
Game Night: Arcade, Bowling, and Trivia
LGBTLOL: A Night of Stand-Up Comedy
Therapy Thursdays Drag Show with Dr. Brooke Collins
Prism Party with DJ NattyHeavy
Drag Me to Brunch

“Really looking forward to the LGBTLOL,” Ruggerio said. “That’s always a fun event to be able to highlight some of our local talent and just have a night to laugh. We have some really great, talented comedians and folks in the community here in the Lowcountry and South Carolina. Anytime I get the opportunity to see them perform is always a blast.”

Charleston Pride secretary Kimberly Brown added, “Having the opportunity to celebrate Pride in person with our community this year, especially after the isolating and challenging years of the pandemic, shows how the LGBTQ+ community is is defined by resilience, strength, courage, and love.”

The mission of Charleston Pride is “to promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community by educating society, honoring our heritage, advocating for our culture, and celebrating our diverse society,” according to the organization’s website. “Our purpose is to highlight the uniqueness and diversity of our community through distinct events throughout the year promoting our history and culture.”

For more information about Pride Week events or to purchase event tickets, visit charlestonpride.org.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.