If you’re busy this weekend — or if you haven’t heard — it’s time to step out loud and proud on Fayetteville Street for Out! Raleigh 2019.
This Saturday, more than 60,000+ people are expected to celebrate LGBTQIA+ visibility in the Capital City. On this special day, all communities will feel the thrill and excitement of Raleigh’s most affirming and welcoming festival all year.
While you’re debating your options, let me tell you why you should attend — and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the event.
Why Attending Out! Raleigh 2019 Matters
Whether you know it or not, Out! Raleigh isn’t the only event this weekend. Now that North Carolina’s queer culture is starting to flourish, there are similar events like Southern Fried Queer Pride in Durham all weekend long. It’s easy to get confused as why two LGBTQ events are running at the same time.
But — hear this — any LGBTQ event in North Carolina is not a competition. Rather, it’s a victory for queer people statewide.
10 years ago, a small group of folx from Raleigh dreamed of a street festival geared toward the LGBTQ community. Before Out! Raleigh, no one knew what it was like to be surrounded by thousands of like minded, like identified people walking down Fayetteville Street past hundreds of vendors, all of whom are affirming — and soak this in — supportive of the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
Of course, there were bumps along the way. (Coordination is difficult.) But let me tell you, Out! Raleigh was started for the right reasons. And I see any LGBTQ-focused event as another opportunity for queer folx to find fun, food, and friends right in their own city.
3 Reasons to Attend Out! Raleigh 2019
I’ve been to Out! Raleigh for five years now, and let me tell you, this event is like a gay glittering beacon of hope after a long winter and a brutal time spent in the heteronormative jungle. (Just kidding.)
But really, we all need to experience exhilaration as queer folx in public once a year. Attending Out! Raleigh (especially downtown) is like a beautiful unicorn fart at 11 a.m. — a shocking jolt of joy that shows the world that we can get a permit and put on the best family-friendly and inclusive street festival Raleigh has ever seen.
Here are my three main reasons to attend Out! Raleigh this Saturday, May 4, 2019.
1. You’ll See Queer Folx.
Duh. (It’s called Out! Raleigh after all.)
While this event is for the LGBTQIA+ community, all are welcome! Doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, nonbinary, or whatever. Allies are a part of the community too and we want them to show up!
2. You’ll Have Fun.
One of the main factors to consider is how much fun you’re going to miss if you don’t go. But know this: If you think Out! Raleigh is a bacchanal — and you only want to drink and act crazy — save it for the after party.
Did I just type that out loud?
No, seriously. If you’re expecting intoxication and debauchery then yes, Out! Raleigh will disappoint.
I’m not just saying that because there won’t be awesome craft beer and live performances. But Out! Raleigh is a family-friendly event. It’s always been a place for kids and even people who prefer not to drink.
That’s why you should expect to live it up at The Green Monkey, Ruby Deluxe, The District, or Legends afterwards. Or you could even head on over to Durham for House of Pentacles Movie Night! at The Mothership.
3. You’ll Walk Away Inspired.
Since I’ve attended Out! Raleigh, I haven’t been able to shut up about all the friends I’ve made. I’m pretty sure all the staff members and volunteers have all been rolling their eyes behind my back.
But I don’t care! Passion is contagious, and I can’t keep mine in.
Out! Raleigh is also a place where you can not only meet friends but LGBTQ affirming organizations. With over 150 vendors along Fayetteville Street, you’re one step away from finding services and employment where you can just be yourself.
If anything will get you inspired, it’s companies with Diversity and Inclusion Strategies.
3 Common Questions About Out! Raleigh 2019
Notice that in the above list, I didn’t say why you should attend Out! Raleigh and not any other LGBTQ events in the state.
Sure, Out! Raleigh is the second largest LGBTQ event in North Carolina. But that’s just it — you should find your community in every city.
So, when you’re considering what to do this weekend, don’t worry about if you’re going to be welcome at Out! Raleigh (unless you’re a total homophobe or transphobe — please just stay at home because we have an action plan).
Here are three FAQs I receive about Out! Raleigh 2019.
1. Who’s Putting It On.
It’s a surprise that people don’t know who organizes this festival. The primary organization is the LGBT Center of Raleigh. Because of hard-working staff members, you get to enjoy a Saturday celebrating your identity openly in public.
Of course, there are many other organizations, sponsors, volunteers, and local businesses who help make Out! Raleigh happen. But the goal is to raise funds for the LGBT Center of Raleigh, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves the LGBTQ community in the Triangle and beyond.
If you think more needs to be done for the LGBTQ community, then get out on Saturday. Yes, this is a fundraiser! It’s all about funding programming and services that help the most at-risk, marginalized individuals. Bottoms up to that!
2. Where It’s At?
Don’t underestimate the geographical location of the event.
Yes, you’ll be in downtown Raleigh, but why exactly is Out! Raleigh on Fayetteville Street?
Unless you’re unfamiliar with downtown Raleigh — and hopefully you aren’t, because the LGBT Center of Raleigh is located on 119 East Hargett Street — you’re missing out on some of the most memorable buildings in the state.
After you enter the festival, walk toward the center and see live performances on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse. Think about it. Live from Raleigh — queer people jamming out on the steps of district court, the trenches of civil disputes.
Maybe you’re not up for marching. But you can definitely clap your hands for equality.
3. What About the Protestors?
If you’ve been to Out! Raleigh in years past, you’re well aware there are protestors. What should you do when you see these misguided dissidents?
DO NOT ENGAGE THEM.
Raleigh police officers will separate the protestors from the crowd. There’s never been violence at Out! Raleigh, but it’s best to leave these troublemakers to Raleigh’s finest.
Better yet, sign up now and Pledge-A-Protestor. You can donate to the LGBT Center of Raleigh and transform any negative energy to good social work.
Find Out More Information
Whenever I talk to people about Out! Raleigh, I try to disseminate information to both people in the community and our allies. But for more detail, navigate over to the Out! Raleigh website.
published on 5/1/2019 • written by Lex Granger