In Pa.’s epicenter of the Civil War, a growing sense of LGBTQ pride

The downtown business district in Gettysburg, Pa. (Image via Flickr Commons)

With Gettysburg LGBTQ activity in higher profile than ever before, as evidenced by a growing annual Pride series of events and recent advocacy for a Gettysburg Borough nondiscrimination ordinance, our partners at The Central Voice asked well-known local activist Chad-Alan Carr for an update.

Central Voice readers may remember Carr from the days of The Black and White Party held at the now-closed Club XS. The HIV-related benefit raised more than $100,000 in its seven-year run. The Central Voice was a sponsor each of those years.

CV: Tells us about Gettysburg Pride.

Carr: Gettysburg Pride is now three years old and will have the 4th Annual Gettysburg Pride Fest on May 29-31, 2020.

CV: What makes your event the same or different from Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster Pride events?

Carr: Our previous Pride festivals have been a little different than most events. Because we have such unique shops here, we don’t really do the typical “tent city” Pride booths. Rather the businesses here all get involved in some way, by sponsoring and hosting special events, or offering great discounts. In downtown Gettysburg, Lincoln Square is flooded with Pride flags.

CV: So, your event is more than a one day-one location event?

Carr: In the past, we have had a bar crawl, a family picnic, a drag show, a dance club takeover, cabaret night, a march, presented Hedwig And the Angry Inch and more.

CV: How the mix-up, smash-up work?

(Image via The Central Voice)

Carr: Our first Pride was just a bar crawl on a random Thursday night. We thought a couple of dozen friends would show up. 75 LGBT people and allies came out to celebrate that night and the second year was even bigger with more events.

In 2019, we decided to have a Peace March for our third year of Gettysburg Pride. We stopped counting at 480 people – adults, children, people with dogs on leashes. Lots of colors and lots of love. The energy was incredible as we marched up and down the main streets of historic downtown Gettysburg.

CV: For 2020?

Carr: 2020 promises to be even bigger. Especially after the HBO queer documentaries pilot episode is released sometime in Spring 2020. It features Gettysburg and stars Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka from RuPaul’s Drag Race stardom!

CV: Is the effort to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance in Gettysburg a project of Gettysburg Pride?

Carr: Yes. It’s way past time for Gettysburg to be on the right side of history.

The Central Voice, the LGBTQ newspaper for central Pennsylvania, is a publishing partner to the Capital-Star. It is used here by permission