Statement: Charlotte Pride’s ongoing commitment to accessibility

On Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, Charlotte Pride was contacted by WJZY Fox 46 Carolinas regarding concerns expressed by two festival attendees who are hard of hearing. Our two patrons said they were unable to see the sign language interpreter during a concert at the stage. The following statement was issued:

Charlotte Pride has striven to be inclusive of the entirety of our LGBTQ community, including efforts since at least 2007 and every year since then to create fully accessible experiences for all of our attendees.

Festival information posted to our website in the lead-up to the event stated:

“Charlotte Pride strives to provide an accessible experience for all our attendees and participants. Accessible restrooms, VIP Lounge and stage viewing area will be provided.

“Sign language interpreters will also be available for portions of festival entertainment and for Flourish-A Celebration of the LGBTQ Arts. Interpreters provided generously through Fluent Language Solutions.”

Regarding the concert in question, sign language interpreters were instructed to make an announcement on stage prior to the concert informing our deaf and hard of hearing patrons that they should come to the VIP area to the right of the stage in order to better see our interpreters. Stage security was instructed to allow any hard of hearing individual into the normally restricted VIP viewing area.

For various reasons, interpreters are not normally allowed on stage during our headline performances, including the presence of dancers and back-up crew, the more elaborate production required for headline performances and stage security concerns. This has been the case over several years.

Charlotte Pride is committed to diversity and accessibility and we are proud to say that our annual event is one of few, if any, other Uptown street festivals and fairs that has made this kind of ongoing commitment to accessibility.

Charlotte Pride does hear the concerns. We value the feedback and think it is important feedback. We are willing to discuss potential improvements and better solutions for future events.

# # #