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LGBTQ festival adds to event lineup

By Richard Yeakley
June 11, 2015 at 4 a.m.

GLBT Pride Festival Saturday, June 21, 2014, Heritage Plaza. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Longview's second annual LGBTQ Pride Festival is looking to ratchet up the scheduled entertainment when it takes place June 13 at Heritage Plaza.

"One of the biggest things is that we are going to have more variety of entertainment," said Mallory Waugh, a secretary of PFLAG Longview (formerly known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The group organizes the event.

Waugh said in addition to the doggie drag show, regular drag show and DJ that performed in 2014, the festival will include soul singer Penni Candi and a performance from the Hydrogen Child Band.

The Hydrogen Child Band is made up of five Shreveport natives Ansley Rimmer, Clyde Hargrove, Chris Rimmer, Jason Mills and Hali Kha. It was formed in 2010 and has had several lineup changes and a name change. The band mixes electronic textures with rock 'n' roll, according to its website.

Waugh said the festival is important to help Longview's LGBTQ community be visible.

"I think it is important for people who are struggling with their own identity to understand that there is support out there for them. There is help out there for them if they need it," she said.

Last year, she said, a woman in her 70s was moved to tears by the ability to be publicly honest about her orientation. Waugh said the event is open to everyone and is designed to be free and family-friendly.

"I have had a very limited negative response about the event," Waugh said. "I think there is just an increased awareness, especially as we have more celebrities that are becoming honest with who they are."

Guests at the event will included openly gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

"It is important that the younger people see role models," Waugh said.

Often, she added, gay people have been told they would be unable to secure a good job, have a career or be successful because of their orientation.

"Particularly for people who have been hurt and told those negatives; it is just not true," Waugh said.

The event will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Heritage Plaza, 219 E. Methvin St., in downtown Longview.

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