The Utah Pride Center reminded everyone where the gay rights movement started during its annual festival Saturday and Sunday.
People of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and orientations congregated in Washington Park to celebrate their identities during the 2019 Utah Pride Festival in Salt Lake City. This year’s festival commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, under the tagline, “Exist. Resist. Persist.”
The festival is reported to have brought nearly 35,000 people to SLC, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Organizations and groups across the valley turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Salt Lake Community College students and faculty marched in the parade on Sunday morning, with the SLCC Community Writing Center holding a table at the festival.
Mary Keinz, SLCC’s veteran accessibility coordinator and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ hearing committee, organized the college’s involvement this year.
“This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve walked,” she says. “Any staff, student, family at SLCC is welcome to join us.”
Community is an essential aspect of Pride that is seen vividly while on the sidelines of the parade. Being a spectator can be an uninvolved experience, but the marchers at Pride make sure there isn’t a dull moment.
From the dancing go-go boys riding on a unicorn-themed float to the legion of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) members toting long pencil-shaped balloons and marching to their own beat.
Events like the Utah Pride Festival offer a warm environment that welcomes everyone with open arms. But older generations of the LGBTQ+ community will remember a time when gay rights were nonexistent.
The festival was one of multiple events organized by the Utah Pride Center that honored the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of public discourse and outbursts after police descended on a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. The rioting lasted for six days and is considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement in the United States.
Photos by Ashley Stenger