Farmville Pride: Here’s why we need this in Central Virginia

Published 2:27 pm Sunday, January 28, 2024

Let’s talk about Farmville Pride. My life consists of eighteen years growing up and coming of age in the sun and shadows of Farmville, eighteen years away gallivanting from New York to California, and six years cementing my roots again in the community I call home. To say that I have adventured and seen the many faces of the country is an understatement. 

My proudest accomplishment during these decades is founding Farmville Pride in April of 2018. Now many may ask, why does Farmville require a non-profit supporting the LGBTQ+ citizens of Central Virginia? Why must we have to provide our allyship to this group? The answer is buried in the question. Look around: several states, for example, are currently in the process of banning life-saving gender-affirming care for minors. 

The LGBTQ+ community has been under attack for too long. I would ask, what should be our definition of a decent society? Should it not be one of love? What creates fear and hate? The hate that caused Nazis to brand thousands with pink triangles and send them to concentration camps? It is the distrust of “the other.” It is easier to create myths and generate lies than to seek truth about persons we do not understand. 

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The LGBTQ+ people of Central Virginia are not “the other,” we are your brothers and sisters, neighbors, doctors, a kind ear at the grocery store, and a friend when you are looking for comfort. We are human and we are here in the heart of Virginia.

Farmville Pride provides more than a safe space every month at Three Roads Brewing, we provide visibility and hope for those who feel shame to hold their partner’s hand because they do not know what long stares, sharp whispers, or even violence this could trigger. We provide a supportive collective that stands together and stands tall.

Farmville Pride has grown in the past few years and strives to grow further. We provide paid and unpaid internships for the Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College LGBTQ+ community as well as mini-grants for student’s needs annually. These initiatives also have helped bring the community together with these two institutions and the institutions together with each other. We have participated in the Farmer’s Holiday Market, the Heart of Virginia Festival, and the Farmville Jaycees Christmas Parade. We have fed the community with our free potluck picnics on Wilck’s Lake Island and First Avenue Field. We are partnering with the Virginia Children’s Children Book Festival and the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts to provide LGBTQ+ resources and programming to the region. We also are developing a gender-affirming clothing swap, Euphoria’s ApparELLE, in honor of the late Elle Stockton. 

Farmville Pride is here to stay and we solicit the love and support of every member of the community. Even as small as a hearty “I stand with your community” or wearing a “Protect Trans Kids” t-shirt. Because it is our community, it is my community, and I long for the day when my husband and I can hold hands with the same confidence that most people take for granted. And, most importantly, I look forward to the day when everyone can live fully and freely without their medical needs and their true selves being debated. Farmville Pride looks forward to a future of empathy, knowledge, and love. 

Farmville Pride works to create spaces to support LGBTQ+ people in Central, Virginia.

Consider joining us at one of our monthly gatherings that meets every third Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at Three Roads Brewing. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or by clicking here.

Stephen Marion is a playwright, producer and founder of Farmville Pride who can be reached at info@farmvillepride.com.