by Robert Bell
10TH ANNUAL CONWAY PRIDE
1 p.m. The Pink House (1605 Robinson Ave.).
A lot can change in a decade. When longtime partners John Schenck and Robert Loyd and other organizers of Conway Pride held their first parade 10 years ago, it was largely a protest march against the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that makes gay people second-class citizens.
According to Schenck, in subsequent years, they faced protesters, a City Council meeting to decide if the event was "divisive," and even tons of cow manure spread on the streets outside of their house. He noted that last year, there were 800 attendees and not even one protester. "I think this really shows how much Arkansas has changed over the last nine years," he said via e-mail. "And I would like to think that myself and my husband of 38 years have helped move this community in to the present."
There will be music, vendors and of course the parade, and The Lantern Theatre is producing "The Laramie Project" as well. This year's event promises to be another great celebration for the LGBTQ community and their allies, and another milestone in the march toward equality.