Mid-Missouri Pride Fest

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Everyday I’m in Missouri, I’m forced to confront the assumptions I made before moving here.

Columbia is a blue liberal dot in the middle of a red ocean with two large liberal cities on the lateral borders.

Recently, I got to report and write an article for an interesting community event for the Columbia Missourian.

Mid-Missouri is not what you’d expect a Pride-Fest to happen, much less have a 14 year history of putting on the event.

What was even more surprising was the amount of young people attending. The political climate of the past couple of months seems to have inspired many young people to take charge in their communities to make change.

Jessie Mattingley, 17, lives in Hallsville. Jessie, who prefers the pronoun they, started Hallsville high school’s Gay Straight Alliance, an organization to “educate, advocate and support the LGBT youth.”

The big event was the drag show.

Jason Thomas Kerr, 11, who performs under the stage name Susan B. Anthony, was first on the stage. Jason has performed since age 8, and said performing at PrideFest means he can be around people who are like him.

“It can make you nervous at first, but then when you’re up there, you’re not nervous anymore,” he said.

It’s always fun getting to report on assignments like these. They’re like soup for the soul.