This Mississippi town tried to ban Pride — but organizers refused to back down and ultimately won.
Starkville’s City Council has approved every parade permit for at least four years, but when a local LGBTQ+ group wanted to host the town’s first Pride Parade, their application was denied.
“We were like, ‘Man this is sh*t. What are we gonna do? How do we — how do we have Pride now?’ Not knowing what was gonna happen the next day,” stated parade organizer Bailey McDaniel.
The following day, the story was all over national news, and caught the attention of prominent civil rights lawyers, including Robbie Kaplan, who was instrumental in taking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Under the threat of a lawsuit, the city council reversed its decision and the parade moved forward. An estimated 3,500 people marched in Starkville Pride, making it the largest parade in the town’s history.
“So many people became aware of Starkville Pride, that New York Pride, LA Pride, all of these people were coming to Pride,” said McDaniel. “All of a sudden, out 150 people maybe was turning into thousands of people.”
Starkville Pride has become an official nonprofit and is already planning its 2019 parade.