Lovettsville residents frustrated after council rejects pride month proclamation

On the first day of Pride Month, there’s disappointment from some Loudoun County residents after the Lovettsville, Virginia, town council chose not to take up a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month.

The motion, introduced by council member Renee Edmonston last Thursday, was met with silence from other council members.

“So the motion will die without having a second,” council member Christopher Hornbaker said. His statement was followed by audible groans from community members.

“What is wrong with you?” someone shouted.

Resident Caitlin Keefe thanked Edmonston for her involvement in the proclamation and condemned other lawmakers for not seconding the motion. She said she had not received any negative feedback from council members after working on the proclamation with them.

“On May 15, I sent an email to all town council members asking for concerns and involvement in this — no response,” Keefe said as she expressed her disappointment.

“I have never been so disappointed, and so dismayed at people that are my neighbors — that represented this town. And may I remind you, you represent all of the town, not just the ones that are on your same level with your values or your beliefs.”

Resident Cheryl Frye spoke about a transgender teen who lived in Lovettsville that died by suicide a few years ago.

“He didn’t feel that this town valued the LGBTQ community. And you’ve proved him right again tonight,” she said.

Frye pointed to statistics as a reason for her disappointment: “Research consistently finds that LGBTQ young people report lower rates of attempting suicide when they have access to affirming spaces. Why isn’t our town one of them? Having at least one accepting adult can reduce the risk of suicide attempts among our young people by 40%.”

“A pride proclamation can be a small pebble and its waves of hope to the LGBTQ community in this town can be huge,” Frey said through tears.

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress 24/7. It can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

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