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2023 A Look Back: Persistence as Resistance Award

Participants pose for a photo at the Sylva Pride Pageant. Participants pose for a photo at the Sylva Pride Pageant. Sylva Pride photo

This year was filled with slights and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community by local elected officials. But despite the environment, Sylva Pride and Sylva Belles Drag have continued to do their work of celebrating, uplifting and bringing together the LGBTQ+ community. 

In April, lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly introduced a bill aimed at banning drag performance . Two sponsors of that bill were Rep. Mark Pless, (R-Haywood) and Rep. Mike Clampitt, (R-Swain). In August, a Sylva Pride Pageant elicited threats and controversy , and a Jackson County Commissioner referred to the LGBTQ+ community as the “perverted 1%.” 

Still, these two grassroots organizations persist — celebrating the community, providing resources and putting on a great show. For Sylva Pride and Sylva Belles Drag, the very act of persisting in their mission was an act of resistance this year.

As drag queen Marigold Showers told The Smoky Mountain News this year, “There has never been a world without trans people; there never will be a world without trans people … It’s important to know that you’re not alone. That’s really all there is to it.” 

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