APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- Apex plans to host the first of what is planned to be an annual Apex Pride Holiday Celebration on Saturday afternoon.
The event comes a week after a drag show in Moore County drew protests before a massive deliberate power outage. Government officials have not established motives for the attack, but the attack has spurred concern throughout the LGBTQ community.
DeAnna Conard, the co-founder of Apex Pride, said the incident did cause her group to increase some of its safety plans for Saturday's event.
"It did put safety protocols a little higher up on our priority list," she said.
There with be a police officer at the Apex Senior Center during the event and volunteers will be available to escort attendees to and from the parking lot. However, Conard said given the incident in Moore County, it is even more important that the event takes place.
"All year long, it is important to stand up for what you believe in and to be a strong ally, and I think that the worst thing that we can do is to cancel or to back down to bullies, we don't back down to hate," she said.
According to a recent report by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), there were 124 incidents of anti-LGBTQ protests and threats targeting specific drag events in 2022. The highest number of targeted events happened in North Carolina and Texas.
"Unfortunately, much like the pain of wearing high heels, I now know the risk of the work and the job I do but it is not something that is new. It has gotten worse," said drag performer Raafe Purnsley (Stormie Daie).
Purnsley said he received threats years ago during the first pride event he hosted but feels the violence nationwide getting worse.
On Saturday, Purnsley will read for the Drag Story Hour.
"It's not lost on me that this is one of a few chances I've had to read since all of the protests and the awful act of domestic terrorism," Purnsley said.
The Apex Pride Holiday Celebration will give the LGBTQ community and supporters the chance to come together and celebrate the holiday in a new way.
"This is not your regular Christmas, not your average Christmas, this is a Christmas for more people. This is a Christmas for people who are different," Purnsley said.
Saturday's event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the Apex Senior Center. Santa will be in attendance and crafts and snacks will be offered.