PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Pride month is coming to a close, but local members of the LGBTQ+ community are still out in full force making their voices heard.
The annual ‘Gay the Hathaway’ March for Social Justice took place Sunday on the Hathaway Bridge.
Over 200 people showed up for the annual gay rights march, but this year looked a little different.
“We have made it a march for social justice so that it would be all-inclusive because while LGBTQ rights are on the list as being an oppressed community or a disadvantaged community, there are others in the neighborhood that need a place to speak up so we have made it not just Gay the Hathaway, but Gay the Hathaway March for Social Justice,” LGBTQ+ Center of Bay County President Michele Smallwood said.
The crowd waved flags, held signs and made their voices heard.
Steven Sain attended the march to show his support for the community.
“A lot of people in my life, my friends and family are people that are part of the community and I think it’s incredibly important that when you have people that are adjacent to that you have to show your support and tell them that you’re here for them, even if you are not necessarily part of it,” Sain said.
Protestors were particularly fired up because of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
They worry this paves the way for other landmark cases to be overturned, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
“For this court to overturn something that has been established in our country for more than 50 years that is our indicator that they are going to be coming for other populations that are oppressed or don’t have the voices that other populations may have,” Smallwood said. “That’s why it’s important for us to all come together and make sure that we are standing together and fighting together for these causes.”
“I think it’s important to show that we do exist, that allies exist, that gay people exist, trans people exist, and that they are not boogeymen,” Sain said. “They are normal human beings that deserve equal rights, equal protections, and the same love, caring, and understanding that the rest of the community gets.”
Smallwood said she hopes the march continues to get bigger and bigger every year.