June is Pride month, but Utah’s annual parade and festival have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of our Alone Together series, we asked members of the LGBTQ community what Pride means to them, and how they are commemorating it this year.
Mark L. Lawrence
Lawrence came out in 1978 and mentioned specifically that he lives on Salt Lake City’s Harvey Milk Boulevard, the street named for the late gay rights activist.
“I've happily celebrated Pride since the early 80s. This month canceling the celebration was a no brainer kind of decision. My generation dealt with its own deadly virus decades ago … To my brothers and sisters, demonstrating for greater equality and justice at this moment: the Supreme Court just issued the ruling on whether sexual identity is protected under federal anti-discrimination law. It is. SCOTUS has again pushed on that towards justice and it's happening again in this month of Pride.”
Whetten lives in Salt Lake City and came out four years ago. He says Pride is always a special time for him.
“Every year during Pride I try to always make a point to go to the festival and the parade. This year, however, I decided to mark Pride by participating in the joint Pride and Black Lives Matter march. And I think that's going to go down as one of my all time favorite Pride experiences, because I think it went to the root of what Pride is and how it started, which was a march demanding equal treatment and equal rights for marginalized people.”
Smith lives in California, but is visiting Utah. He said he’s been to the Salt Lake parade and festival before and has always been impressed by it.
“I think it's appropriate to defer everything because of COVID. I think I will miss the actual parade and then all the after parties. But with the Black Lives Matter movement, if we can't celebrate everyone, then we don't need to celebrate anyone.”
Utah’s 2020 Pride parade and festival are currently scheduled for September 26 and 27.
Elaine Clark is KUER’s news director. Follow her on Twitter @elaineclarkday