Summit County LGBTQ communities celebrate Pride Month
Rain did not stop LGBTQ community members and allies from celebrating Pride Month in Frisco Sunday, June 26. Over 100 attendees gathered at the Frisco Historic Park for this year’s festivities.
Emily Carisch, who organized last year’s Pride march, welcomed people after marching down Main Street. During the march, onlookers cheered, and rainbow flags were waved from Fifth Avenue all the way down to the park. Carisch said that celebrating Pride meant advocating for queer people in places where being LGBTQ is not safe. Recent legislation in other parts of the country limit access to gender-affirming health care and, in some cases, has made it a felony.
“We need to be heard, to be seen and we need to be loud,” Carisch said. “People in Florida, Texas, Arkansas, (and) Oklahoma cannot be themselves. We are here today for the people in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Utah and Wyoming who cannot access safe and necessary health care.”
Carisch added that the LGBTQ community and allies can make substantial change when working together — whether it’s at the polls or celebrating the town’s second Pride march.
“The last few weeks of working on this event has shown me so much love in the community,” Carisch said. “Look at us. There’s so many people right here, right now celebrating love and joy and happiness. People have reached out to me asking, ‘What is it? What can I do to help?’ You guys showed up here, and it’s amazing. We’re here for each other (and) we’re here for ourselves.”
Sunday’s march capped the weekend’s Pride celebration in Summit County. On Saturday, June 25, Silverthorne hosted a day’s worth of events, including Pride-themed yoga, mural painting and a charity drag show in the evening. Sunday’s festivities also featured face painting and bracelet-making for all who were celebrating.
Milo Parrish, who is transgender, said that to him, Pride means being able to be proud of who you are despite laws that prevent progress or others who may try to stop you.
“I think fear is a very dangerous thing,” Parrish said. “It inherently begets violence, and the thing that people are scared of when they think of a queer person (is) a young girl kissing another girl or a young man looking in the mirror and knowing that he is not the gender he was assigned at birth. They fear that because it is inherently revolutionary — to say that we can change a construct such as sexual attraction or gender the way it has been written and prescribed throughout history, especially through a Christian nationalist state. If we can change that, what else can we tear down?”
Michael Ward, a teacher in the Summit County School District, said students will have a chance to have an LGBTQ teacher in high school because of his class, which is something he did not have until college. Ward added that having representation of different identities in schools allows for students to feel represented in their everyday lives.
“As you go out today, as you finish up your day, whatever (Pride Month) means to you, remember that if you feel alone, look around again,” Ward said. “There are so many people here. There are teachers here, there are community leaders here, there are parents here, there are business owners here, (and) there is so much support in this community. If you just look around on those days where you don’t feel connected, where you don’t feel like you have a community, make sure you’re following our social media and look back at the pictures of today. We want to continue these kinds of events. We want to build a community, and we see the demand for it. Just know that you’re not alone.”
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