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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 22
Rainbows in the rough: Centralia launches Gay Pride in Washington
Section One
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Rainbows in the rough: Centralia launches Gay Pride in Washington

by Katrina Duall - Special to the SGN

On May 26, 2011, in the small hub city of Centralia, Washington, a group of 50 gathered to celebrate the Fifth Annual Lewis County Pride Event, hosted by the Centralia College Gay Straight Alliance, in the Campus Clock Tower Square. Although it was a Thursday and grey clouds lingered above, there was no stopping this party, as the GSA was prepared with heavy-duty tents and chairs for everyone to lounge in.

A small affair with lots of variety, empowering speeches from local community leaders, and a couple of testimonies of personal struggles and accomplishments set the tone for the day: Together, we can do anything!

GSA members John Camenzind and Tygh Stephens worked the microphones and kept the crowd engaged. Entertainment was provided by Mr. Gay Tacoma 2011 Rychard Le Sabre, Empress Katrina Duall, and the Mukana Marima Band of Olympia. Community organizations such as MetMeds Pharmacy, Mpowerment Olympia, Equal Rights Washington, and the Timberland Regional Library provided information booths about their services and support programs. The GSA also provided fresh-popped popcorn, spun cotton candy, and Drumstick ice cream bars to snack on - after all, a Pride celebration is nothing without that 'good ol' schoolgirl feeling. Also, had you forgotten your rainbow paraphernalia, the GSA offered free T-shirt tie-dyeing.

The highlight of the event was the annual crowning of Mr. & Ms. Gay Lewis County. This year's recipients are Tyler Kershaw and Karen Ermert. These titleholders become the face of the Centralia GSA for the year and are responsible for helping establish ties in the community with businesses and other locally supportive groups. The GSA plans to make things bigger and better in the future by possibly moving the Pride celebration to a weekend, and to a more public location.

We all look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the GLBT community of Lewis County. The overwhelming ratio of heterosexual supporters to community members was interesting and inspiring - a sign to me that there is a lot of good and positive energy brewing, giving us all hope that where there are grey clouds, you will also find rainbows!

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