Fifth annual LGBT picnic designed to foster community
Craig Bratwurst and hamburgers sizzle on a grill while friends and family members bask in the early June weather.
These common summer sights likely will take place at a group barbecue this weekend.
Derrick Gorbet hopes this common summer gathering helps develop something else.
The LGBT Pride Committee will host its fifth annual event starting at noon Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park's east shelter. The annual event allows members of Craig's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to find support, both among themselves and others.
"More than creating acceptance and community, it's more or less creating a community for ourselves to have," said Gorbet, Pride Committee activities director.
"With that growing community, hopefully people won't feel like they have to hide," he said.
Last year was the first time the group publicized the event. It was also the first year some of the area's LGBT population formalized the committee.
The response to last year's event "was actually a lot better than I thought," Gorbet said.
Event organizers planned for about seven people to attend.
In the end, however, more than 20 people came to the picnic last year.
The turnout was a far cry from similar events in the past, which had drawn about four people, Gorbet said.
The majority of last year's crowd consisted of friends and family members of locals belonging to the LGBT community, he said.
Those numbers contradicted Gorbet's previous belief about the attitudes of some residents to the LGBT population.
It was a belief he was happy to surrender.
"It showed me that more people are willing to accept us than what I originally thought," Gorbet said. "I think with those numbers, I was able to show anyone who was LGBT that they aren't alone."
This year, Gorbet is keeping his expectations high.
"I have invited at least 35 people," he said. "I'm being an optimist this time."
Like last year, entry to the event isn't limited to the local LGBT population.
"It's (open to) anyone who's open-minded enough," he said.
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org