Stonewall's Legacy Lives On
Press Releases
Friday, May 31, 2019 08:00 AM

In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided a dive bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn. The raids triggered a spontaneous rebellion for gay rights. This rebellion would come to change the course of history for LGBT+ people, both in New York and throughout the world. Fifty years later, participants from the Stonewall Riots will celebrate the progress they helped forge. It will also allow them to memorialize their fallen Stonewall Veterans. 

In Orange County diversity, inclusion and equity are at the heart of our system of values – our core beliefs. Inclusion means creating a culture within our communities that acknowledge and value difference. It’s a culture in which services are provided with sensitivity and respect, and one that encourages residents, visitors, and students to participate in ways that take advantage of their unique strengths and talents.

Thirty years ago, Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg made history when he became the first openly gay elected official in the South. Today there are 13 openly-LGBTQ individuals serving in elected office in North Carolina. In three decades, the social and political climate in the state has dramatically evolved.

Close to home, from 1995 to 2004, Carrboro was led by Mike Nelson, the first openly gay candidate elected mayor in North Carolina. Then in 2009, Mark Kleinschmidt emerged victorious in his campaign for mayor of Chapel Hill

Mark Kleinschmidt became the third openly gay man to hold mayoral office in the state, following Nelson in Carrboro and Elic Senter in Franklinton. Today Kleinschmidt serves as Orange County’s Clerk of Courts. An attorney, he is the former board president of North Carolina’s ACLU chapter and a former board member of Equality North Carolina.

Carrboro's current mayor Lydia Lavelle is the state's first openly lesbian mayor. Lavelle and photographer Alicia Stemper were married on October 25, 2014 at the Carrboro Town Commons, two weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina. Lavelle and Stemper had a commitment ceremony in September 2004. 

Working alongside Lavelle is Carrboro Alderman Damon Seils, a longtime leader in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community at Duke, where he has worked with students, employees, alumnae and administrators to promote equity and inclusion for gender and sexual minority communities. A native of Texas, Alderman Seils was born in the Rio Grande Valley and was raised in Austin. He attended college and graduate school in Washington, DC, before moving to Carrboro.

 Celebrating 50 Years

The largest event will take place in New York, and is being celebrated as WorldPride 2019/Stonewall 50. Throughout New York City more than 25 different events for LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied and allied people) will take place throughout the entire month of June, celebrating “Millions of Moments of Pride.”

During the month of June, North Carolina communities will celebrate Stonewall50 in many different ways. Events are planned for Carrboro, Charlotte, Asheville, Wilmington, and the Outer Banks. For a full calendar, look here:

To quote Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator:

"There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it's now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are." 

Which is another reason to attend Orange County’s celebration of Pride Month in 2019. 

Carrboro's Gay Pride Week 2019 Line-Up Includes:


June 1
Pride Piper March & Proclamation
Start at Weaver Street Market, March to Farmers’ Market, 9:00 am 

June 4
“Celebrate Pride” Open Mic Night
The Oasis in Carr Mill Mall, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

June 6
“Breakfast with an Expert” - featuring May Lavelle
Century Center, 9:30 am 

June 7
LGBTQ Art Walk
Come to Town Hall. We’ll have arts and crafts for kids (of all ages) and LGBT-themed art
on display, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

June 13
“Coffee with a Cop” - Discuss LGBT Issues
Market Street Coffee, 8:30 am

LGBTQ Readings
Town Hall, 7:00 pm 

June 15
Latinx Festival
Town Commons, all day

June 19

June 26
Pride Month Close Out Party with Food Trucks - DJ, Dancing, Food Trucks, Fun
Town Commons / Farmers’ Market, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm