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For the first time ever, Wake County recognizes June as LGBT Pride Month

There aren't normally rainbow flags and pins during Wake County commissioner meetings, but Monday was a unique day.

For the first time ever, Wake County leaders issued a proclamation declaring June as LGBT Pride Month.

The proclamation was read by Greg Ford, one of only two openly gay elected leaders within Wake County and one of only 12 openly gay elected officials in North Carolina.

"It means a lot to me personally," Ford said. "Anytime government, representative of the citizens it serves, recognizes individual members and groups I think it makes government more inclusive, more mindful and responsible for all of its citizens."

Pride is celebrated during the month of June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, where members of the LGBTQ community rallied against a police raid on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The Stonewall riots were widely seen as the starting point for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

"There is still much work to be done for LGBT citizens, advocates and allies," Ford said. "Today is a good step in that direction. I'm excited to present the proclamation."

Ford credited Commissioner Jessica Holmes with the idea for the proclamation, but he said all of the commissioners have worked to be allies for LGBT residents within Wake County.

"With this proclamation we challenge our Wake County citizens to move beyond tolerance to a place of love and inclusion," Holmes said. "We stand against discrimination in any form and stand true today, by the Southern statement, 'Y'all truly means all.'"

James Miller, executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, joined Ford at the podium to read the proclamation.

"I am overwhelmed with joy," Miller said. "This is something for people who don't get to celebrate or have a space of their own can give some light to them. And let them know it does get better."

"Things like this matter," Miller said. "Pride matters."

Anna Johnson; 919-829-4807; @anna_m_johnson

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