It’s almost perfect that the sky broke out in rain as the 10th annual pride parade started in Durango, said Jordan Anthony. It almost symbolizes the core principle of celebrating ourselves, he said – we are who we are no matter the weather.
Anthony joined more than 100 people who marched north through downtown Saturday in a celebration of freedom of sexuality. Durango Pride, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming and empowering community for LGBTQ people in the Four Corners, hosted events around the city since Wednesday, joining communities around the world in celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month.
The month of June was chosen as LGBTQ Pride Month in commemoration of the end of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, an event that served as catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States.
Sarah Clark said she’s had to hide her identity in the past because of social constraints on expressing her sexuality, she said. But as she’s gotten older, and with culture and laws changing, she’s gotten more comfortable expressing herself.
“A lot of young people have to fit into a norm to be safe,” Clark said.
Suzanne Alms, who has lived in the region for 27 years, said she has many friends who are gay or lesbian, and although none of her family members identify as such, she’s “deeply concerned” about people’s freedom of sexuality being stripped. She marched to stand with everyone who’s marginalized, Alms said.
“If it can happen to one group, it can happen to any other,” Alms said.
Alex Hughes, who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun, said they’ve always wanted to march in the Durango Pride parade, but they’ve always had class or school. But now they’ve got an internship with the Rainbow Youth Center and, even though they stayed up all night for a student lock-in the night before, they were able to march this year.
“As a trans, gay person, it’s good to show we’re here and that we’re not going to be erased,” Hughes said.
Anthony said a public display like a parade for LGBTQ people gives people an opportunity to celebrate differences.
“Queer folk have always been here – chances like this to be out in the open shows that we exist and we are people,” he said. “Coming from a time of fear, this is how far we’ve come.”