Small Town Pride

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

The movement for LGBT rights took a huge step forward last week when both the US House and Senate took steps to end the discriminatory policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. While we celebrate the huge advances toward equal rights for all, it's equally important to recognize large steps on a much smaller scale. There are many battles to be fought in the fight for equality, and sometimes it's easy to overlook smaller pockets of hope.


Bakersfield, California is a small, conservative town. Compared to giant city-wide events like Los Angeles Pride, Bakersfield Pride was far more intimate. The festival was held at a small park grounds with a stage and some picnic tables. The lines weren't blocks long; the celebration was laid back and casual, with some informal emceeing and performances by some local LGBT groups. Bakersfield Pride was a true opportunity for people in the area to show their solidarity for one another and enjoy their community together for just one day; to exist together in one place. There's no West Hollywood in Bakersfield, and in such a conservative area, it can sometimes be hard to feel like you can be unapologetically yourself. Being different in any small town can be hard.

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We felt so fortunate to have a chance to spend so much time meeting and talking with many of our Bakersfield participants. It was a welcome change of pace from our normally hectic shoots, and hearing the stories we did reminded us just how important visibility is in small towns like Bakersfield. Those people in Bakersfield will now sport their NOH8 photos with Pride, and their photo will bring the issue of equality to the forefront of those they know; and we couldn't ask for more.

Soon, everyone in Bakersfield will know what NOH8 stands for; and we were just glad to be a small part of it. Thank you to everyone at Bakersfield Pride for making us feel welcome!







Thank you Adam and Crew for being there

Brock Neeley 12/30/2010 16:32

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