The 2010s have been a busy and exciting decade for Grand Strand PRIDE. 

The excitement includes:

  • Countless social gatherings, including happy hours and holiday balls and dinners
  • Celebrating together the victories of marriage equality court cases in 2013 (Edith Windsor), 2014 (Bostic case brought marriage equality to SC) and 2015 (Jim Obergefell)
  • Formalizing our organization (which started in 2006) into a public charity as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of South Carolina in 2014
  • Organizing the Coastal Business Guild in 2015
  • Hosting five Business Expos, four Galas, and a PRIDE in the Park
  • Bringing Jim Obergefell and Greg Louganis to Myrtle Beach
  • Fielded numerous phone calls and website inquiries for local LGBTQ information or support
  • Improved relationships with local elected officials

The 2010s have also given us some big challenges:

  • In 2014 we took the lead against the policy writers at the South Carolina Department of Revenue for inequalities against same-sex married couples in the state.  Although we lost the case at the time, the policy was changed one year later.
  • In 2016 we were outnumbered by an angry mob of 500 at an Horry County School Board meeting while standing up for transgender students
  • Also in 2016 we mourned together the killing of 49 LGBTQ victims at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
  •  In 2017 we were the target of a bomb threat at our Business Expo and Gala.  But working with both the local police and the FBI, the suspect was arrested and is currently in jail.

Grand Strand PRIDE has accomplished much for the Myrtle Beach area, especially for an all volunteer organization.  But our ability to continue isn’t sustainable without public support, in the form of both monetary donations and volunteers.  And in 2019, we hit roadblocks with both.  A major fundraiser event was cancelled after a large part of our community called for a boycott and convinced others not to purchase tickets as well.  We have also been actively seeking volunteers to serve the organization and its programs, and we still don’t have the minimum number needed to sustain the organization. 

The cancelled fundraiser was to start a fund for a future PRIDE Center in Myrtle Beach, a place where we could gather, young and old, and support each other.  The Center was also to be the home for the Coastal Business Guild and their monthly meetings.  But those responding to a social media poll stated a Center wasn’t needed.  Yet we still get requests for more and more free events and happy hours, but those come at a great cost to the organization since we have to rent event space and cannot bring outside food and drinks into the venue. 

Grand Strand PRIDE is not alone in this predicament, it is a nationwide issue.  Maybe the reason for the decline in interest in LGBTQ advocacy organizations is because we have accomplished so much in this decade.  After all, many never dreamed we would have marriage equality by now.  But don’t forget in South Carolina we still lack workplace protection for the LGBTQ community and we also have no hate crimes legislation, just to name two issues.

Regardless of why, the Board of Directors has extensively discussed the current environment we are operating in and have decided to cease operations of Grand Strand PRIDE effective December 31, 2019.

It has certainly been an awesome run for the last thirteen years and the end of the 2010s seems to be a perfect time for us to retire the organization. 

Best wishes to everyone for a happy new year and we look forward to seeing you OUT and about!

Steve & Terry

December 30, 2019