Druid City Pride open for everyoneBy Niles Bernabe | 01/24/2018 10:03pm
Over 100 people showed up at Icon on Saturday for the first Miss Druid City Pride Pageant where Genesis Leland Hughes was crowned Miss Druid City Pride Pageant.
“It was a great night for LGBTQ+ people in the community,” said Russell Howard, director of Druid City Pride. “We were all able to come out and be together and celebrate something fun.”
Druid City Pride is a fairly new nonprofit organization founded in March 2017. They advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in West Alabama. Led by a seven-member board, anyone is welcome to be a part of the organization.
“Outside of UA, the only LGBTQ+ organizations that were available in West Alabama were private organizations,” Howard said. “So when we decided to form the organization, we did it with the mindset that we wanted something for everyone.”
The pageant’s venue, Icon, is Tuscaloosa’s only nightclub oriented towards the LGBTQ+ community with shows and entertainment from drag queens. Icon has worked with Druid City Pride many times to host Pride events for the community.
“Coming up in February we’re also hosting the Pink Party with lots of entertainment and music,” said Kyle Richardson, owner of Icon. “I would say that the LGBT community here is quite big considering the size of the city. On a busy night we can see 100-150 people throughout the night. We have very loyal clientele that I love being around.”
Because Tuscaloosa is a college town, the LGBTQ+ is made up of both college students and people who live and have careers here. In the past, not many opportunities have been available for members of the LGBTQ+ community to get together. Druid City Pride is trying to provide social events for both college and local LGBTQ+ community members.
“In my limited experience of the whole town and gown divide, I think there is a sizeable population of locals – that happens in college towns a lot,” said Hunter Stewart, a graduate extern at UA Safe Zone, but who does not speak for all of Safe Zone. “In towns like Tuscaloosa, there's multiple community resources that are not as well known as they should be, especially within UA. West Alabama AIDS Outreach is a great resource out in the westside of Tuscaloosa.”
Druid City Pride holds events every month for people to meet others in the LGBTQ+ community. Druid City Pride will be holding LBGTea and Coffee at UPerk on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 3-5 p.m.