National Coming Out Day will be celebrated at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks on Commercial Street from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, with an Open House. Light refreshments will be served. An Outdoor film sponsored by APO will be shown from 7:30-10 p.m. in the GLO parking lot.
Following this event, the Springfield community-wide celebration, "Fall into Pride" will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Park Central Square, downtown Springfield. The LGBTQ event will feature live music and other entertainment celebrating the diversity of the Ozarks. Jennifer Scott, host of 105.1 Bob-FM, Springfield’s only out lesbian radio DJ will be kicking off the festivities and hosting throughout the day.
The entertainment line-up includes Branson gospel artist Brian Pendergrass, local singer/songwriter and America's Got Talent finalist Jake Wesley Rogers who will be performing from 1-2 p.m., Springfield's manic Midwest pop group Modern Epic will take the stage from 2-3 p.m., Springfield's bi-racial lesbian rap artist RK will be performing her first studio album from 3-3:30 p.m., mixed entertainer Lucky Yang will be on stage from 3:30-4 p.m. and in closing from 4-5 p.m. the 2013 Springfield Pride Court will entertain with drag performances of both today's Top 40 and many throwback tracks.
Stephanie Perkins with PROMO, Missouri's statewide organization advocating for LGBT equality, will be speaking on the importance of LGBT History Month in October and a brief mention of local Springfield community history. In celebration of National Coming Out Day weekend a door will be located near the park pavilion that people can “come out” through.
Around the square, many different churches, university organizations and local businesses will have booths and giveaways throughout the day. All weekend long activities continue at Martha’s Vineyard, Touché and Mix Ultra Lounge serving area patrons with daytime hours for Pride as well as evening themed events. AIDS Project of the Ozarks downtown location on Park Central West will also be open both Friday evening, Oct.11, 2013, and again on Saturday evening for testing and health services.
Pride increases public awareness of the LGBTQ community and helps to eliminate homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination, according to Michael Landers, Pride spokesperson. "Our mission is to celebrate and promote the history, diversity, and future prosperity of the Greater Ozarks LGBTQ Community. As a family celebration, we invite you on behalf of our family, to Fall into Pride and National Coming Out Day 2013, Landers said.
Area organizer and GLO Board Member, Charles Abernathy stated that, “In recognition of National Coming Out Day, the Greater Ozarks Pridefest Committee is glad to have our rescheduled festival fall during this weekend in October. It falls on the same weekend of GLO’s 17th Anniversary of servicing education, and advocating for a diverse Ozarks that everyone can feel safer in. This will be a great event for the Springfield community.”