40,000 people expected at "Pride Charlotte" festival
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CHARLOTTE--The annual "Pride Charlotte" festival kicked off Saturday in Uptown.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community hopes this year's event will be the biggest yet, with an expectation of 40,000 people this weekend.
LGBT community members said it's a weekend to show their pride and celebrate who they are.
For Matt Comer, this year is especially important in North Carolina.
"In May, North Carolina adopted an anti-gay constitutional amendment and a lot of people are really energized and mobilizing after that because it was something that hurt. It hurt everybody," said Comer.
But Comer said it isn't getting them down. He said Pride Charlotte is a time to be strong and ban together.
"I am here to support the LGBT community because I really think that this is a positive, motivating way for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders to come together," said Maquila Wilson.
While street preachers are at the festival spreading their message, they said it's out of love for the LGBT community.
"The most common thing we'll hear from them is you hate us, why are you out here hating us. But no, we love the homosexual. It's loving to warn someone to flee the wrath to come," said Buddy Fisher.
Kathy Baldock sees it differently.
"I came last year and there were only three of us that stood against the street preachers and tried to hand out these stickers, Christians plus gay equals ok stickers, and this year it's grown to 30,” said Baldock.
"I myself am gay and I spent my whole young life, in fear," said Joseph Walraven.
But the LGBT community said in 2012, they have faith that things will start to change.
"The Democratic National Convention is coming in and we're really excited because the Democratic party has for the first time, adopted marriage equality in their platform so it's just one sign that this country is moving forward," said Comer.