Attendees at this year’s Pride Festival in downtown OKC described it as an empowering experience as they worked to spread LGBTQ awareness and embrace their individuality.
Despite the cancellation of the Pride parade due to weather, OKC Pride Alliance vice president Ryan Tomlinson said that didn't put a damper on the weekend.
“We want to host this event as a way to not only celebrate how far the queer community has come in terms of equality and rights for everyone, but there's still a lot that needs to be done,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson said healthcare is a huge issue in the LGBTQ community, along with access to several other resources.
Several booths at the festival were there to answer any questions about the community.
Free Mom Hugs Oklahoma chapter leader Cammeron Kaiser said their booth provides advice to parents with kids in the queer community and helping anyone who did not have the best experience coming out to their parents.
“The suicide rate is astronomical and we do not want to lose any more of our babies,” Kaiser said. “The more acceptance, the more visibility that we have, the greater the impact is.”
Holly Walters traveled to Oklahoma City from Broken Arrow. She said this festival is to combat issues like the growing suicide rates and to embrace love of all people.
“All you see is nothing but love and that is something that I find very hard being myself, being a lesbian, is that I can't even be my own self in my own home, so we're here to change that,” Walters said.
Walters said Pride to her means being whoever you want to be.
“I'm here to preach that all day and night,” Walters said. “Yeah, I’m this person and if you don't like that, move along.”