Pride: Unique, Beautiful and Authentic Frederick

Pride: Unique, Beautiful and Authentic Frederick

By Dr. Andi Overton

The Partnership is thrilled to introduce Voices of Downtown Frederick – a blog series highlighting the many communities that help make Downtown Frederick special. This month’s blog celebrates Pride and is written by Dr. Andi Overton.

Pride (Noun): 1. A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired

June is here, which means you’ve probably noticed the rainbow flags on most street corners, and you may have seen the advertisements for the best festival held in town (that’s the writer’s humble opinion) over on the creek and happening in just a few days. While there is historical context on why some of us who identify with one of the (many) letters in the gay alphabet, confusingly known as “ LGBTQIA+,” celebrate June as Pride Month, I can certainly assure you it’s more than a singular individual-identifying celebration labeled only for “gay folx”. Colloquially known simply as Pride, Pride Month celebrations recognize the culture, history, and community contributions that LGBTQIA+ folx provide all year! That’s right, we are not just out and proud in June–our community contributions are all year long! Also, June is a GREAT time to remind folx that non-straight people REALLY do throw THE BEST outdoor summer festivals filled with happiness, authenticity, and even a wedding or three tossed in for good measure. Look, I would bet every dollar I have and every trucker baseball hat I own (far more than the dollars I have, for sure) that you will not find a better family party than Frederick Pride.

Walking up and down Downtown Frederick streets, the pride flags that are in window dressings and hung from flag poles can be seen (clutches pearls) THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE YEAR–symbolizing that celebrating Frederick’s diverse population of awesome people is a 365-day event–and us non-straight folx are part of the diverse make-up that makes Frederick so very special. While we routinely see the celebratory fruits of such labor in June at Pride, I assure you we happily exist the other 11 months of the year, too, just like everyone else. Like everyone else, we pay taxes, argue over insurance rates, attend community meetings, teach kids, drive our busses, own the house you might be renting, and even, gasp address your ills in the mental health and medical communities, among a multitude of other incredible industries. We visit restaurants in the city, get ice cream with our families, walk our pets down picturesque tree-lined Downtown Frederick streets, and exercise out in Baker Park with our friends. (We are FIERCE on the pickleball court.) We even drink beer at Bushwallers, visit Deliza Cafe for coffee and connections, walk our dogs past the Magoo’s Spaceman, and celebrate with a show at the Weinberg with other Fredericktonians who love a good theater production. Yes, even the straight friends. Frankly, some of us don’t even like the good ol ROY G BIV flag and just prefer to be our authentic introverted selves quietly sipping tea at an outdoor cafe off Market Street each month–even during the Pride one. You know, we exist in our own way enjoying all that Frederick life has to offer.

Just like everyone and anyone else.

Pride Noun: 2. Consciousness of one’s own dignity.

Frederick has not always been perfect when celebrating diversity and making equitable and equal decisions for its residents and visitors; all cities, even the third-largest one in Maryland, can feel narrow to those from any group historically marginalized and under-represented. Change is uncomfortable for most people, especially when entire groups who are unapologetically and authentically (as it should be) conscious of their dignity (i,e PROUD) ask for recognition of the same. Historically, that recognition has not always been authentic or even remotely present. Change is hard, especially when it is routinely misunderstood.

This is why Pride in Frederick and across the United States is such an important and now uber recognizable fun time–it is the celebration of us–ALL OF US–no matter who you are, who you love, who loves you, from where you come, where you go, where you work, your name, your biological sex, the gender with which you identify, or even the horse you rode in on. Pride tells you that you are loved, you are capable of love, and most folx would relish the opportunity to have you come into our space and show us your authentic selves. Even if you are straight and cisgendered. In fact, especially if you are straight and cisgendered. Pride says, “you be you, always.” An authentic, beautiful, perfectly imperfect Fredericktonian.

Dr. Andi Overton is the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for Woman to Woman Mentoring, the Vice Chair of the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership, Member of the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the DEI Committee for the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, and all around authentic out-and-proud gay woman. 

Dr. Andi Overton