Local NAACP chapters denounce city’s denial of LGBT parade

NAACP logo (courtesy)
Logan Kirkland
Staff Writer

NAACP chapters in Oktibbeha County recently spoke out against the Starkville Board of Aldermen’s decision to deny the Starkville Pride organization’s special event request for the city’s first gay pride parade.

Oktibbeha County NAACP President Chris Taylor said the aldermen were leaning more so on their religious beliefs instead of looking out for the best interest of the city.

“To be honest, I don’t know what they are thinking,” Taylor said. “I think the Pride parade was discriminated against because of who they are, that’s just the bottom line.”

Taylor said the NAACP has made it a goal to fight against discrimination, which is why he initially spoke at the Board of Aldermen meeting to express his concerns and push for allowing the parade.

Taylor said everyone in Starkville knows someone or has a family member who identifies as LGBT.

“They are discriminating against who that person is, what that person wants to be,” Taylor said. “That’s not right, no matter what their sexual preference is.”

Moving forward, Taylor said they will continue to support the mission statement of the NAACP, which is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Mississippi State University NAACP chapter President DaQuan Phillips said he doesn’t think the aldermen who voted against having the parade thought about what their decision means to those in the community.

“That definitely shows discrimination does still exist. It definitely goes on every single day,” Phillips said. “I feel like it wouldn’t hurt for Starkville to become more diverse.”

As a leader of a minority organization, Phillips said the aldermen need to realize people affiliated with the LGBT community are “normal people”.

“They’re just trying to celebrate their culture and celebrate who they are,” Phillips said. “Don’t be afraid of change. Change definitely brings out the better in the community.”

Phillips said what upsets him from this decision is the younger generation is continuously encouraged to become more involved in the community, vote and to be more than just students.

He said the minute a group tried to be a part of the city of Starkville, they were immediately shot down.

Phillips said the MSU chapter of the NAACP is a partner group with Starkville Pride, because they are under the same umbrella organization.

He said as the litigation process moves forward, their chapter will be looking at ways to partner with them.

“We’re working on some things,” Phillips said. “For the ones who are fighting for the equal rights of the LGBTQ community they do have the NAACP’s help.”