This weekend Morgantown Pride will host a virtual block party to create a sense of community while offering support and love in these trying times.
The first block party was held in the real world last April, but this year COVID-19 has moved it to the virtual one, said Morgantown Pride President Ash Cutright.
“Everything we’re hosting is for the LGBTQ+ and ally community,” they said. “If you consider yourself an ally we would love to have you. It’s open and inclusive for everyone.”
The weekend will be filled with panels on topics such as adopting as a LGBTQ+ couple and one from the NAACP.
There will also be activities such as “speed friending,” which Cutright described as “speed dating but to find friends in the LGBTQ+ community,” and the block party’s kick-off event on Friday night — the virtual garden party.
The garden party will be held on Zoom and participants will be able to meet Morgantown Pride’s board members, hang out and chat. Cutright said they and other participants will be dressing up for fun.
A full schedule and Zoom links will be available on the group’s website, morgantownwvpride.org this week.
The Zoom links are open to the public for those who might not be out yet, Cutright said.
Board members will be keeping an eye open for trolls seeking to disrupt the event, but Cutright said Morgantown has a lot more positivity toward the pride community than hatred.
“I’m thankful for that,” they said. “I really love our community here.”
Morgantown didn’t always have such an open and diverse pride community though.
When City Councilman Barry Wendell and his husband moved here 8 years ago, he had trouble finding a gay community he said.
“I’m really happy that it’s happening,” he said. “I’m glad there’s a community now that’s doing all this.”
Openly gay elders like Wendell helped inspire Cutright to start Morgantown Pride, they said.
“I applaud him,” Cutright said. “His confidence helped me get pride going.”
They also cited Delegate Danielle Walker as an influence.
If any musicians want to perform this weekend they can sign up to do so on the group’s Facebook page or website, Cutright said. The performances will be streamed on Twitch.tv and any tips will go directly to performers.
Morgantown Pride shirts, masks and pins are also available on the website and Facebook page.