Pride Myrtle Beach faces backlash over weekend festival at Valor Park

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:39 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Both Myrtle Beach Pride and city officials are taking a stand against hate after Myrtle Beach’s annual “Pride in the Park” celebration received hateful messages ahead of their event this weekend.

One resident posted to Facebook that she called the city to complain about the event’s drag queens, according to screenshots seen on the Pride Myrtle Beach Instagram story.

Pride Myrtle Beach said they deal with hateful messages every day, but the Valor Memorial Garden event is supposed to be a celebration of joy and community.

“It’s an opportunity for the LGBTQ community to come out celebrate, and have time together in a safe space,” Craig McGee, president and CEO of Pride Myrtle Beach, said.

McGee said anyone who attends the event, even those who sent hateful messages, will see happy people and family-friendly fun.

“Hopefully if they do come out, they’ll learn something from the event,” he said.

This is the third year Pride Myrtle Beach has hosted the event.

McGee said he wants all attendees to learn there is a strong community here. He said marginalized groups might not look for necessary services if they don’t feel like they belong. This event is one way to bridge that gap.

“After this event is over, they know they can go to those businesses, go to those healthcare organizations, go to those people, and have a support system,” McGee said.

A key part of the event, McGee said, is visibility.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes about the LGBTQ community and visibility helps us to counter those stereotypes,” McGee said.

Myrtle Beach Director of Public Information Mark Kruea said the city stands by its LGBTQ community.

“If it’s not your cup of tea, there are lots of other things for you to do along the Grand Strand,” Kruea said.

The City of Myrtle Beach Police Department will have officers present at the event. More information on “Pride at the Park” can be found here.