(WETM) – Just hours away from the LGBTQ+ mecca of the East Coast. Here in Upstate New York, pride celebrations are few and far between even in 2021. Pride month occurs in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred at the end of June back in 1969 right in New York City. Pride Month is in place to draw attention to issues the members of the community still face to this day. Here in the Southern Tier it wasn’t until 2019 when a pride celebration came to Corning, drawing thousands.

“There was no pride event, festival going on. So I started with the other two cofounders. We were just like yeah maybe we should start a pride festival. But that was in 2019 and two thousand people showed up,” said Corning Pride Council Co-Founder Hannah Jones.

Corning Pride brought hope to many LGBTQ+ youth in the area before everything came to a screeching halt as the coronavirus shut down the country.

“We did do virtual via the pride council last year but we were all kind of in shock,” said Jones.

As we begin to rebuild there is light at the end of the tunnel as pride celebrations are back this year in the Southern Tier.

“There isn’t a lot of people doing this in a rural area. So I would say it is highly important because our youth are marginalized in the LGBTQ+ community and they are separated,” said Jones.

“We are thrilled to be able to highlight pride and some of the artists to be represented in our collection. And also givve kids an opportunity to think about what this holiday means to the people who celebrate it,” said Executive Director of the Rockwell Museum Brian Whisenhunt.

The Corning Pride Council is looking towards a second full blown festival by 2022, showing nothing, not even a global pandemic, can stop the progression of the LGBTQ+ advancements in our great nation.