A barbecue and other events are planned this week to celebrate LGBT pride, build bridges and strengthen ties in the community, and to have fun.
“I really want to just get everyone together,” said Jay Chavez, who is organizing the events.
“We need to stand together,” he said, adding that doing so is especially important in light of the deadly shooting last month at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The community barbecue planned for July 16 in Kennewick will be a highlight of this year’s events, Chavez said.
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It’s planned from noon to 4 p.m. at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex, 2901 Southridge Blvd., in Kennewick, with softball, kickball and volleyball, water balloons and carnival games, among other activities. Food will be served. Admission is free.
A party will follow that night at Out and About, 327 W. Lewis St, Pasco.
I really want to just get everyone together. We need to stand together.
Jay Chavez, organizer
India Ferrah, who appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race, will be on hand, and a Gay Columbia Basin Pageant is planned, with all welcome to compete.
Other events during the week include:
▪ A drag show at 10 p.m. July 13 at Out and About. The event is for people 18 and older, and will be hosted by Tatiana Rexia.
▪ Latin night at Out and About on July 14, with Vida Amoré y Las Divas Latinas set to perform.
▪ A skate night at Rollarena Skating Center in Richland on July 15. Hours are from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Cost is $5, including skate rental. Rollarena is at 849 Stevens Drive. A house party follows at Out and About, with dancing and more.
▪ A “Whips and Weenies” event at Out and About on July 17, including a potluck and barbecue, karaoke and an auction. Hours are from noon to 8 p.m.
Mid-Columbia Pride usually organizes Pride festivities in the summer, but organizers announced in the spring that they’d be taking a break.
Chavez decided to step up. “Growing up in Tri-Cities, there aren’t a lot of places to go if you’re gay, bisexual, transgender. You need a sense of community,” he said.
Pride festivities increase visibility, Chavez said. “That’s important for LGBT people, and also for allies (to) get to know us,” Chavez said.
Chavez hopes the events draw many people. “This has all happened in the span of a couple months. I’m really proud and happy that so many people have come together to help me out,” he said. “I want to welcome everyone to come. Be positive, be loving. We invite love, not hate.”