Thursday, June 4, 2020

Thousands attend Pride Festival at Capitol building and Old Town this weekend

June 17, 2019
<p>Two people embrace during the 2019 Michigan Pride Rally at the Michigan Capitol on June 15, 2019.</p>

Two people embrace during the 2019 Michigan Pride Rally at the Michigan Capitol on June 15, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The 30th Michigan Pride Festival was held by the Capitol and in Old Town in Lansing on Saturday. Residents from all over the state gathered at the Capitol building to support and celebrate the LGBTQ community for Pride Month.

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After the event in Lansing ended, people went to Old Town and continued their celebration.

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Lansing residents David Edmonds and Brian Martin shared how they felt being at Pride.

“We can kind of hang out here and be ourselves today and not to worry too much about people being judgmental about it. It’s a happy day today for me. Everyone is in a good mood; there wasn’t really any drama,” Edmonds said.

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Lansing resident Jordynne Walker has attended the Lansing Pride Festival the last three years to support her friends and herself and to create connections with people in the area.

“Pride is one of the most amazing things I have ever been to. With having a family that’s not extremely accepting, having ... people to be accepting that’s one of the most amazing things I have ever had. ... My mom is personally not supportive, so having the moms around, all the love is great, all the love, in general, is amazing," Walker said. "I love it so much. I can’t really explain the feeling; it’s something that you have to be in to really understand, you know. Pride is one of the greatest things for the gay community. It’s perfect."

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Lansing resident Joanna Wedding came to the event to support her daughter.

“I came here to support the community. I think they are very underserved, and I'm glad to see all the love and support they give here at Pride,” Wedding said.

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Angela Demas, an Okemos High School student, said, “I feel really represented. I am pansexual. I came here with my friends today; we are all parts of the LGBTQ community."

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Hunter Jones is a junior at Michigan State studying nursing. He said Pride is a "really good experience."

"Everyone gets to be who they are. There is no judgment around. There are lots of free hugs, also ... lots of free stuff. It’s fun to celebrate who I am; it’s fun to celebrate with people who are like me, it signifies how far we come as a community and every year it turns out to be bigger and bigger, which is really cool too.”

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Lansing resident Sabrina Branni described her feeling being at the event as “proud" and "safe.”

“We are always are part of the community, but this month, this event is really about celebrating that. This time and this place are really comfortable to talk about it and be open about it whereas it’s just another day, it’s always about gauging how comfortable other people are with this part of your life," Branni said. "You never want to hide it, but you always gauge if people are gonna be okay with, if there’s an appropriate place to talk about it, and you don’t have to worry about that here. You can just be yourself without having to constantly wonder what’s okay to talk about.”

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Emmi Keeler and her girlfriend Scarlet Yorks had their first Lansing Pride experience Saturday.

“I feel really good, and excited to be here,” Keeler said.

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"I attend the event because this is to be shown. I usually go to various Pride events around the country. It’s kind of a hobby. I enjoy this because people come out for them, and everyone is happy and smiling. I can’t find the right word to use, they are feeling free and not hiding anymore," Lansing resident Gerry Fortuna said.

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Lansing resident Felix Partridge attended the event with his 2-year-old sister Vibeke Kongstad.

“We’re having a good time here. I like being surrounded by community,” Partridge said.

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“I feel really accepted and I love how it’s getting really progressive these days, and I feel so safe being here. I was really happy Pride is so big this year. I’ve been to some of the protests, and I feel like a lot of people are getting burned out ... making sure their concerns are heard,” Lansing resident Mejo Scenga said.

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