14th annual parade, pride festival in Conway dedicated to late founders of 'Pink House'

14th annual parade, pride festival in Conway dedicated to late founders of 'Pink House'

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- This year was a bittersweet return of the LGBT March.

Pride colors filled the streets of downtown Conway for the 14th annual parade and pride festival. It was extra special as they dedicated the event to the founding pair who both died in the last two years. 

A pink house, on Robinson Road, has been around since 1910. Those a part of the LGBT community in Conway call it a safe place and where they start the Conway gay parade every year.

Justin Rawls is the son of the late founders and gay activists Robert Loyd, and John Schenck said the parade is a way to remember his fathers.

"Remembering our fathers, that's the whole main reason for this pride this year,” Rawls said. "A lot of people look at this house as a beacon, everyone knows it as the pink house."

Rawls said his father lead the way for many in the LGBT community, opening doors for gay rights and equality, even being one of the first gay couples to marry in the state of Arkansas.

"We're looking to remember our dad John and Robert and what they've brought to the community," Rawls said. “They’ve done so much where I can be here on this front porch in full drag."

The parade hopes to spread the message of equality.

"There's a lot of hatred from a lot of different groups right now,” a marcher said.  “And I wanted to support one of the groups that I am in with."

As feet hit the pavement, memories of its founders are still fresh on their minds, remembering the two men who impacted their community.

"We're here, and we will be treated the same as everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else,” Rawls said.

The parade ended at Simon Park. This year they held a moment of clapping and cheering instead of the normal one minute of silence.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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