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Inaugural LGBTQ youth pride festival planned for New Castle County

James Dawson, Delaware Public Media

A new LGBTQ festival debuts Sunday in New Castle.

Organizers are calling it the first youth LGBTQ festival in Delaware’s northernmost county.

“New Castle County has the highest population in the state of Delaware. We have the pride festival in Dover, but it didn’t make sense not to have one here,” said DeShanna Neal, a local LGBTQ advocate and festival organizer.

Neal’s daughter, Trinity, transitioned as a child. Trinity came up with the idea for the event while talking with an elected official, who asked how Wilmington or the county could show its support for the LGBTQ community.

“And Trinity was just like, it could have a festival,” said Neal. “Just like, well duh!”

Neal says Sunday’s festival will have food trucks, face painting, performances by the Rainbow Chorale and drag queens, and a speech by transgender rights activist and Human Rights Campaign press secretary Sarah McBride.

Several community organizations and businesses will present wellness, education and employment resources for LGBTQ youth and parents.

Neal organized the festival to cater to young people because she sees them as increasingly socially and politically engaged.

“They are standing up against older generations saying, look, this is the right way. This is the right side of history,” she said.

Neal adds that educating and supporting LGBTQ youth is important because so much of their lives are controlled by teachers and parents.

She says there weren’t many resources for her family when her daughter transitioned over a decade ago.

Neal adds that the event’s goals are intersectional.

“As a Black woman who is queer with a Black trans child, it was also very important to say to show the LGBTQ community of color that we see them too,” she said.


The event is being sponsored by Nemours and co-presented by the FreeLee Foundation.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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