Inclusion and acceptance the name of the game at recent tea party

Photo courtesy of Matteo Martines

TAYLOR COUNTY—June has become known as a time to celebrate diversity, as it has been chosen as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month.

To celebrate the month, Taylor County Pride recently held a Pride Picnic in the Park event, that organizers revealed was not only a great time, but it was a smashing success.

“The group wanted to do something fun to kick off our celebrations this year, so we began brainstorming,” said Taylor County Pride organizer Matteo Martines. “Holding a tea party was actually the idea of Ashlie Clark. She asked if I would be interested, and I, of course, was!”

Through their conversations, the two decided that the theme of the gathering would be none other than Alice In Wonderland.

“Ashlie, who was previously a Disney cast member, brought the tea party to a whole other level. She had these wonderful topsy-tipsy serving dishes and snack trays that went perfectly with the theme,” he explained. “And Gigi Collett helped add to it with decorations and hats for everyone to wear.”

Martines revealed that Collett also lent a helping hand with the party’s music selections.

During the afternoon celebration, guests enjoyed a tasty selection of tea sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, cookies, cupcakes, scones, tarts, salad, pasta salad and mixed fruit. They were also privy to a story reading by none other than the White Rabbit, Miss Sophie Martines.

“Sophie read the book Pink Is for Boys, and she did a fantastic job,” expressed Martines.

Attendees, in addition to enjoying one another’s company, were also treated to a craft that will hopefully help put smiles on the faces of community members.

“For the craft we painted rocks, and Lisa Wotring was a great help with that portion of the day,” Martines disclosed. “Everyone who painted one is taking them home to dry, and then they will hide them around Taylor County to be found and hidden again.”

And while Taylor County’s Pride group is new to the scene, only forming last year, they have already made their mark on the town and their presence known.

After noticing that the LGBTQ community had little to no representation, Martines sought to make a difference with the creation of a group designed specifically for those who wanted to celebrate the special community.

He began conversations with some family and friends, and before long, a group was created on Facebook to discuss options for celebrations locally, as communities across the nation celebrated Pride Month.

Last year, the organization held various gatherings including a potluck dinner, book readings, participation in the Christmas parade, and they even held a small-scale Pride parade of their own.

“We will be holding another Pride parade this year, and are really excited about that. It will be slightly different than our caravan parade held last year,” Martines revealed. “We really hope that supporters and allies will come out to help us celebrate!”

The 2022 Pride March is slated to hit the streets of downtown Grafton on June 25, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

“We will meet up at the Taylor County Public Library’s parking lot, then walk through town with signs and pride flags,” he explained. 

Following the conclusion of the parade, participants and guests are welcome to gather in Toad Hall for further celebration.

According to the Library of Congress, the designation came as a way to honor and commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, New York, deemed as the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement across the nation.

Common celebrations during the month include Pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, concerts and special memorials held for those who fell victim to hate crimes or lost their lives to HIV or AIDS.

LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world, and now Taylor County will join those ranks with their own celebrations.

Martines shared that to learn more about Pride, please visit the LGBTQ Foundation (https://lgbt.foundation), a charitable organization that provides acceptance, support and advice. Additional information can also be found from sources such as GLADD at, https://www.glaad.org or The Human Rights Campaign at https://www.hrc.org.

To find more information about the Taylor County Pride group, please contact Martines via Facebook messenger. 

Photo courtesy of Matteo Martines

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