Thousands gathered to celebrate the 42nd Utah Pride Festival from June 2 to June 4 at Washington Square Park and the Library Plaza in Salt Lake City.
Rainbows, rainbows and more rainbows filled the streets of Salt Lake City Sunday morning as spectators and float riders cheered and whooped, celebrating what they all had in common —pride for the LGBTQ community.
Thousands marched and danced through the streets waving multicolored flags, representing the entire spectrum of the queer community. Drag queens waved atop decorated trucks filled with dancers in rainbow patterned speedos. Booths were scattered around the grass at the festival grounds. Music filled the air from three stages where DJ’s and musicians entertained the ever-growing crowds. The Spice Girls’ Wannabe could be heard at least once every hour. Although temperatures reached the high 90’s, there were no signs of slowing down.
Spectrum: Queer Student Alliance was there representing UVU during the parade. Members of the club waved rainbow flags alongside the transgender flag and held signs reading, “UVU: Where U can be U.”
Chelsea Peahl, a member of Spectrum, said the club helped her find a safe zone for herself and helped her to create one for others through the club’s safe zone training. For students who are part of the LGBTQ community, it was significant for them to see the support from their university. Clubs like Spectrum provide a source of comfort for those who need to feel that sense of belonging at UVU.
“All I know is that while I was there all I felt was positivity and happiness and seeing people come together of all different ages, different sizes, different personalities and obviously very different genders and sexualities. I thought it was really cool that we could all get together and celebrate loving the way we are,” said Veronica Martinez, first time Pride attendee and UVU student.
Provo has its own parade and festival, which started five years ago when a group of people wanted to bring what Salt Lake City had to those who could not make it to the Utah Pride Festival. In 2013, Provo Pride held its first parade in June and its first festival in September.
“For me it’s always been important to show solidarity, to show support, to let people know. I have a lot of friends who are in the LGBTQ community and, especially since I have lived in Utah, I’ve just noticed that there’s always a need for Pride, a need for them to feel themselves, to feel they have a safe space to just be able to talk to somebody and just ‘hey this is me,’ and feel like it’s okay,” said Jessica Donaldson, Provo Pride treasurer.