Druid City Pride celebrates Equality on the River


Katie Sumera, Contributing Writer

“It’s very important [that] we don’t have to hide anymore,” Erin Murphy said while attending Equality on the River, a mixer for the LGBTQ community in downtown Tuscaloosa. 

Murphy is a junior at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She was born and raised in Tuscaloosa and is back for the summer. It was easy to tell that she was proud to be there supporting her community.

Hotel Indigo’s rooftop bar, where the event took place, was the place to be Saturday night. Flocks of people attended the mixer. The delicious food was definitely a draw for the crowd, but the company was the primary reason for the fun-filled evening. The event was an outreach program for the city of Tuscaloosa and gave LGBTQ people an opportunity to meet and mingle with other members of the community and give each other support.

This is the fourth year that Druid City Pride has put on this event in order to recognize the LGBTQ community during Pride month. This event is important because many people who are LGBTQ feel marginalized many of times and don’t always feel they belong. In 2017, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) poll found that 55 percent of LGBTQ Americans have experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“[At] this [event], I get to chill,” Russell Howard, the event’s coordinator, said. “I get to meet people. I get to interact with the LGBTQ community as a peer.” 

This event allows LGBTQ Tuscaloosans to have a place to go where they can feel represented, have an outlet to connect and feel accepted.

Howard, the director of Druid City Pride, has been with the non-profit since its inception in 2014. He anticipated that around 100 people would show up and help commemorate this event and show their support.

Imberli Vontrell, Miss Druid City Pride 2019, was there in her crown and sash talking and advocating with everyone she met. She talked about how she loves seeing the LGBTQ+ community members joining together to celebrate Pride month. She also mentioned the support being given by the city. 

“It’s nice to be able to see a business like [Hotel Indigo] being able to accommodate for events for Druid City Pride,” Vontrell said.

Pride month is a way to bring attention to communities that at times are denied basic human rights, specifically the LGBTQ community. Events like Equality on the River help spotlight these issues in a positive manner. Not only did Hotel Indigo offer food and a safe atmosphere this weekend but they brought people together to offer support and acceptance to one another.