Wendy runs the South Main Book Company in Salisbury. She's been a sponsor of Salisbury Pride since the beginning.
Wendy identified as straight for most of her life. At 55, she realized she might be different.
Many of Wendy's relationships with men have been fraught. It was difficult for her to explore her identity, and she eventually came out while married. (This clip includes mention of sexual assault and violence.)
It's not easy to be the talk of the town. Wendy got tired of men asking her to explain her life after she came out.
Meeting Lauren was all it took.
Beth Meadows is the president of Salisbury Pride. She's always been out. Beth has lived in Salisbury for years, and she says that the city was very different when she first arrived.
For Beth, food is love. She's worked in the grocery industry for her whole life. Her new job at Food Lion brought her to Salisbury.
Food Lion helped out in a big way to fund the first Salisbury Pride. Beth says that the company has changed a lot over time.
When a friend invited Beth to the first Salisbury Pride planning meeting, she wasn't sure Salisbury was ready.
On the day of the first Salisbury Pride, close to one hundred protestors threatened the celebration.
Today, people in Salisbury can talk about being gay. Beth thinks Salisbury Pride has had a big impact on the city.
Mike is a straight ally. He's a PFLAG dad in Salisbury.
When Mike's daughter came out to him, he was shocked. He worried that he might not be able to walk her down the aisle someday.
Mike looked for ways to support his daughter, but there weren't any options to get involved in Salisbury. Heck, he only knew one gay person in Salisbury. Then he found PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Through his work on the Salisbury Human Relations Council, Mike helped to host celebrations for many different groups in the community. If Salisbury can have those events, Mike thought, why not an LGBTQ Pride?
Mike worked for Food Lion in Salisbury from 1975 to 1991. He says they've changed over time. Food Lion was always a big sponsor of PFLAG, so he knew they would help out with Pride.
Mike expected only a few hundred people at Salisbury's first pride celebration. Instead, close to 2500 showed up. Since that day, Salisbury Pride has been important to the community.
Justin Murdock and his husband were the first same-sex couple to marry in West Virginia. He's the co-chair of Mayor Williams' LGBT Advisory Committee.
Justin's family has a long history in Huntington and Wayne County. When Justin was in middle school, he thought he could ignore his identity to make his family happy.
Justin married his ex-wife when he was 20 years old.
There wasn't much of a movement for marriage equality in West Virginia when Justin thought about marrying his partner for the first time. He wanted to change that.
Justin didn't think that his grandma approved of his relationship with a man. But then he saw her newspaper clippings.
Even though it took a while, Justin pushed Mayor Williams to support the LGBTQ community in Huntington.
Bernice and Jacqui are engaged to be married. They met through a church advertisement.
For Jacqui and Bernice, Huntington's second annual Pride Picnic is a big deal.
Sometimes, it's hard to find other lesbian couples in Huntington. But being out and proud is important to Jacqui and Bernice.
For years, Jacqui tried not to be gay. It was difficult to navigate being proud of being black and proud of being gay.