Despite Political Tensions, Pride In Rural Appalachia Was Bigger than Ever by Mountain Talk published on 2022-07-22T19:56:34Z After the reversal of Roe V. Wade, many LGBT people fear that same-sex marriage and transgender rights could be up for scrutiny on the national level. Meanwhile, state legislatures are passing restrictive laws curtailing LGBT rights. At the same time, rural Pride celebrations have proliferated. After a COVID-19 hiatus, Pikeville Pride returned to Eastern Kentucky, accompanied by new celebrations in Harlan, Ashland, and Breaks Interstate Park, among others. For Mountain Talk, WMMT traveled to Pikeville and Breaks Interstate Park to speak with people about the tense political atmosphere in Kentucky around LGBT rights, as well as the increasing acceptance many have found in their personal lives as rural queer folks. Interviews in Pikeville include Emma Lowe, an organizer with Pikeville Pride; Cara Ellis, who helped found Pikeville Pride in response to a neo-Nazi march in town; openly queer high schoolers Rachel Daniels and her sister Isabella; mother and ally Paige Lewis, and more. Interviews at the Breaks include organizer and musician Pierceton Hobbs, same-sex marriage officiant Debbie Counts, and her son Reece Cumbo, among others. Music is "Move Up a Little Higher" by Earl Gilmore, from June Appal Recordings. After that, hear sounds of a past Pride, from the Archive: Rae Garringer speaks with performers and attendants at the first-ever Pikeville Pride.