WINCHESTER, Va (WDVM) — Winchester’s second annual pride parade featured several guest speakers. Joan and Janie Drinkwater were the first gay couple in Winchester to win a custody case.
“We got a phone call in 1997 that our grandchildren were removed from their home for physical abuse and we had to fight the court system here in Winchester to get custody and ultimately, we finally won,” said pride parade speaker Joan Drinkwater.
The Drinkwater’s believe the pride parade shows just how far the city of Winchester has come.
“In ’97, ’98 things were very conservative, things are more open now. We fought a very hard battle. The judge did not want to give us custody. He asked out attorney, do you understand exactly what you’re asking me to do? You’re asking me to award custody to two gay women,” said Joan Drinkwater.
Some vendors say they’ve seen a lot of growth since last year’s parade.
“I would say this year it’s a much bigger turnout. When I first got the venue list, I was completely blown away because last year it was just this front area right in front of the courthouse, there wasn’t really much on the mall and this year it’s both sides of the mall,” said Starbucks Pride Alliance Network member Sean Higdon.
Mayor David Smith, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and Miss Winchester Pride 2019, Stephanie Micheals also made appearances.
“There’s more acceptance in a relatively conservative area than people realize,” said Starbucks Pride Alliance Network member Shannon Fischer.
After the parade, there was an after party with Miss Winchester Pride and her court of divas at Brewbaker.