MANCHESTER, NH — Congressman Chris Pappas graduated from Central High School in 1998. In those days, he was one of more than a thousand students, and, Pappas said, he didn’t know anyone who was openly gay.
Fast forward 21 years to Saturday, June 15, 2019. Gay marriage has been legal in the Granite State for 10 years, and Pappas (New Hampshire’s first openly-gay representative to Congress), wearing khakis and a kelly green polo shirt, spoke at the first-ever Queen City Pride Block Party.
“It’s important that everyone feel welcome here in the Queen City,” he said, “and there are a lot of queens here, by the way.”
Pappas offered his thanks to activists who, he said, have put themselves on the line fighting for LGBTQ issues and acceptance.
“Keep flying your flag,” he said “Keep showing people who you are.”
The block party, which was expected to run from 2-10 p.m. Saturday, drew hundreds of celebrants. Hanover Street was closed off from Union to Pine streets to make room for the event.
Political campaigns were out for visibility with supporters of Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Joyce Craig running booths and passing out swag. Also present were a variety of event sponsors, ranging from Cafe La Reine to the Libertarian Party to the Young Dems to Human Touch Massage to DoubleMidnight Comics to Neon Bomb to Athena’s to the 1st Congregational Church to the ACLU to the Manchester Fishercats (soon to be the only game in town).
Organizers Rob Curry and Kyle Davis, owners of Madear’s on Hanover Street, were on hand with a charm offensive, chatting up everyone in sight. Pride celebrants enjoyed themed cocktails and beer and musical performances by Lorencia Slan and Queen City’s own Jasmine Mann. Drag performances were offered by Sadie LaRue, Mizery, and Nomi Malone.
Pride events are usually held in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots and near-perfect weather Saturday made it easy to spend a few hours in the sun. Pride grandmothers and grandfathers, Pride parents, Pride couples, Pride teens and kids, and several Pride dogs were in attendance, many of them wearing rainbow-bedecked T-shirts, hats, and hair.
New Hampshire’s Rural Pride was held in Claremont today, but there’s still a lot of Pride to go. Portsmouth Pride is set for June 22, and Nashua Pride is scheduled for June 29 (same day as the White Mountains Pride Festival).
Below, photo gallery of the Pride Day block party by Jeffrey Hastings/Frameofmindphoto.com.