OutOxford will host its first Pride Picnic event at Lamar Park on June 24 in honor of Pride Month, which is held every year during the month of June.
OutOxford was founded in 2017 with a goal to educate and connect the Oxford, Ole Miss, and LGBTQ communities together. OutOxford hosts numerous LGBTQ focused events throughout the year to create safe social environments for those within the gay community as well as those who just want to the support the community.
OutOxford hosts an recurring event throughout the year known as “Code Pink” at Proud Larry’s. The Code Pink nights often have different themes including a “Babadook Bash” for Halloween and a “Rainbow Birthday Bash” theme for Pride Weekend back in May. The Code Pink parties cost $5-10 to attend and all of the proceeds go to OutOxford to help promote more events, such as the upcoming Pride Picnic.
“Code Pink cultivates a place for goers to be openly confronted with queer culture in Mississippi,” OutOxford co-director Blake Summers said. “I enjoy planning a club-style event and collaborating with performers, DJs, and drag queens, but OutOxford intentionally honors that the LGBTQ culture is more than nightlife. We are a community of people that want to feel accepted, safe, and act as contributing members of Oxford.”
The Pride Picnic will consist of various picnic games, including kickball and other activities in a “family reunion” fashion in order for attendees to create lasting bonds with one another. The picnic is open to the Oxford public and OutOxford welcomes ally support. OutOxford often incorporates allies of the gay community within its events so those within the LGBTQ community can get to know other advocates for the community.
“I’ve always had a passion for supporting the LGBTQ community,” student and ally Kate Vana said. “They have it rough, especially in the South, so I want to help any way that I can. I think it’s important for people to meet those within the LGBT community because it breaks down a lot of barriers and helps you realize that we’re really all not that different from each other.”
OutOxford is working to reach out to different local businesses for item donations for the Pride Picnic. OutOxford has received all of the fundamentals for a typical picnic including watermelons, loaves of bread and more.
“This might be many peoples’ first Pride event ever too, and that excites me,” Summers said. “I hope older generations come, and are proud as queer Mississipians.”