WASHINGTON CITY — Members of the LGBTQ+ community, their families and supporters came together Saturday evening at a park in Washington City for the Family Night event hosted by Pride of Southern Utah.
The event is one of many the group is holding during this pride season and is seen as a way to help members of the community get to know each other while also celebrating the equality they’ve achieved over the years.
“A lot of people are new to St. George, so this is where they’re coming.” Katie Perkins, executive director of Pride of Southern Utah said at Pine View Park in Washington City. “They saw, ‘Hey, where’s our community, where can we find friends?’ so this is one of those events where they can get that footing in St. George.”
The Family Night event, geared at being an all-ages affair with games and bounce houses, was one of several events being held during September.
Instead of a large event taking place over the course of one day – such as the 2019 Pride Fest in St. George that had 3,000 attendees – Pride of Southern has spread out the events in order to keep groups smaller due to pandemic concerns, Perkins said. While Pride Month is primarily held in June, activities in southwest Utah are held in September due to the summer heat, she said.
As far as the goal of helping to bring members of the LGBTQ+ community together and spreading awareness, that was playing out for two different families attending Saturday’s event.
Emily Roberts, of St. George, who identified as being transgender, said she brought her young children to Family Night to help them see more of the community their mother was a part of.
“I’m trying to expose them to the LGBT community so they can know they are a part of it as well,” she said.
Nearby, fellow St. George resident William James sat at a table as his daughter spoke with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. James brought his daughter to the event as a way to help her understand her own identity and connect with others.
“I’m trying to get her to circulate more,” he said. “She’s questioning what she is. Right now she calls herself binary.”
As the evening progressed, a popular activity at the event was the creation of buttons displaying personal pronouns, LGBTQ+-related flags, or individual messages written with markers.
Lisa Wucherpfennig, Pride of Southern Utah’s director of operations and communication, said their button-making booth had been very popular during a 2019 pride festival held in Salt Lake City. They made 3,000 buttons over two days, she said.
“It’s a little, subtle way to show your support of acknowledge who you are in the community,” Wucherpfennig said.
Pride of Southern Utah is hosting the following events during September as well
- Sept. 12: Lake Day at Quail Lake from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | 5300 West, Hurricane
- Sept. 17: Scuba Night at the St. George City Pool from 5:30-8:30 p.m. | 250 E. 700 South, St. George | RVSP to attend
- Sept. 19: Interfaith event at Highland Park at 7 p.m. | 1250 Highland Parkway, Washington City
- Sept 25: Dragalicious (21+) at Silver Reef Brewing Co. at 7:30 p.m. | 4391 Enterprise Drive, St. George | Event sold out
Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies also have a chance to celebrate pride through having a rainbow flag placed in front of their homes for Southern Utah Pride Week.
The flags are a part of Project Rainbow, a campaign to promote LGBTQ+ visibility and support. Money from the flag rentals – which runs $15 – is pooled into a grant fund that community LGBTQ+ groups can apply for.
The flags will be set up between Sept. 19-26. Pride of Southern Utah is looking for volunteers to help with setting up and retrieving the flags.
“We will desperately be needing volunteers to help pull this monumental project off,” a post on the group’s Facebook page states.
Interested volunteers for Project Rainbow can apply here.
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