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Come Spring, Cape Girardeau Will See Its First Pride Fest

The Castro/Flickr, License:
Credit The Castro/Flickr, License:

Local nonprofit Cape Pride has announced it will hold the city’s first-ever pride festival later this spring.

Amber Moyers, who heads the board of directors for theLGBTQ+ advocacy group, says the event has been in the works since June 2018. They had hoped to hold the event last year, but Moyers says they ran out of time, and were still in need of more organization before moving forward.

But, putting the event off until 2019 proved to be a blessing, Moyers said, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Civil Rights Movement.

“June of 1969 is when the Stonewall Riots started,” says Moyers. “So we thought, as a group, that the 50-year mark is definitely the place where we want to have the first Pride for Cape.”

She added that registering the group under a501(c)(3) federal tax exemptionalso helped solidify the upcoming event.

Moyers met with a group of people, most on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, as well as friends, allies, and even some parents throughout the community. They discussed the basics like when and where. But they also talked seriously about what they wanted the event to look like: a large-scale Pride Fest like those held in cities, or something smaller, and more manageable?

“We decided to make it smaller in the end,” says Moyers. “We won’t have a parade, like in St. Louis, and we’ll only have a drag show at the after-party.”

They also decided against having alcohol sales, in the pursuit of making the festival a family event.

“We were worried about the potential for fighting, and we want it to be calm and peaceful this first year,” says Moyers. “We plan to integrate these other things in future years.”

The pride fest will take place May 4 in Capaha Park from noon-8 p.m.

In terms of receiving support from the city, Moyers says she was pleasantly surprised to see how gracious they were, and how easy it was to get the logistics settled.

“Some people look at Cape Girardeau and see this town as this conservative little hole,” says Moyers. “But in the end, I think that those who are actually in charge of the city can see that we are a population, and we have our supporters and we have our allies, and we are a population and deserve to be heard and seen in this city.”

The board of directors for Cape Pride consists of around a dozen people, and another dozen assist with social media, networking, and speaking with agencies. Their official Facebook page has nearly 500 followers now, and while Moyers thinks the community is much larger, she says it’s still hard to predict the exact population of the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Statistically speaking, 4% of the population is LGBTQ+,” says Moyers. “So if you take Cape Girardeau -- 30,000 people -- divide that, we’d be looking at about 1,200 people, give or take.”

But, considering allies, Moyers says the LGBTQ+ community isn’t just in the initials.

“It’s everybody around us,” says Moyers. “Because we have to have the support of our straight allies, parents, peers, and all of those people to come together to make it into something big and beautiful, that our community can be proud of.”

Copyright 2019 KRCU Public Radio

Lindsey is a student at Southeast Missouri State University, studying a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a minor in Mass Communication. She spends her time discovering new music, strolling about Cape Girardeau’s antique shops, gardening, and painting. You can see her perform with the Jazz ensembles at Southeast’s River Campus. Au fait with everything Pixar, animated movies and movie scores, Lindsey’s dream career is to be a voice actor, yet as she awaits her big break, she hopes to snatch a job in radio journalism and on-air hosting as a young adult. Or for the rest of her life.
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