Rural Pennsylvania Group Hosts First Local LGBTQ Pride Gathering in Elk County

Sue Kerr
8 min readOct 27, 2019

This is how it works — or it should work. A group of local folks create a safe space to celebrate and affirm their LGBTQ neighbors. In this case, a 40-year-old pansexual mother of two set up a visibility event in a park in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. People came, made connections, joined the Facebook group. And the world kept spinning, only with a little more rural glitter.

Ledcat and I just took a driving trip through this region in September so I was thrilled to be able to ask informed questions. They describe this as a “Show Up” event, but it seems very much in the tradition of grassroots Pride events.

I spoke with that woman about her efforts. And I was damned impressed, enough so that I began contacting other rural organizers to find out what is happening on the ground level in regions without Pride events or incorporated LGBTQ Organization. Stay tuned for that series. And keep your eyes on Elk County.

Your Name: Joleen Genevro
Your Age: 40
Your affiliation with this event: Fed up, proud, mom…aka…planner. This “meet up”, “Show Out”, event was my brain child. I’m not really sure what to call it exactly.

How do you describe your identity? My identity I would say is Pan Sexual, however, it was my daughters who taught me that there was a label to how I identify. See..I would always say “I just like people”…if I was interested in someone, it didn’t matter to me if they were a guy, girl, or otherwise. I was and am attracted to people. However, I am married to my soul mate, my husband has accepted me as I am from day 1. He’s never tried to change me.

Tell us about this event, the first ever public LGBTQ pride event in Elk County. This is how this event came about. On Oct 12 2019, I was walking around the “Diamond”, which is the center of town here (Editor’s Note — in St. Marys, PA), and on the Diamond was a small group of people. They had signs posted all over the diamond, they said things like “pray for the end of abortion “ “1man+1woman=God’s marriage”. Now I have to say that I’ve seen these people before with various signs. If they are a part of a group I do not know, but after they walked around the diamond a few times, they stopped in the…

Sue Kerr

I blog @ & tweet @pghlesbian24 GLAAD named us OUTstanding Blog in 2022 & 2019 National Media Awards Also I ❤soaps, cats, dogs & genealogy She/Her