Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Thank you for supporting UPR’s fall member drive! We are still working on the final stretch to reach our goal. Help us get there! GIVE NOW

Utah's LGBTQ+ community celebrates with annual Pride Parade

This past weekend, the nonprofit Utah Pride Center held their annual Utah Pride Festival in Salt Lake City celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. On Sunday, the last day of the festival, the morning began with the Pride Parade. According to Utah Pride, the parade is the largest event of its kind in all of Utah.

With 180 participating community organizations, universities, public departments and private corporations, the parade lasted over four hours. The procession, which ran through Salt Lake’s downtown area, included floats, biker groups, marching bands and rock bands.

During the parade I talked to Kent Frogley, who served on the Utah Pride Center’s board for 11 years. Frogley remembers when Salt Lake City’s Pride festival was a small event organized by a volunteer group in the early 2000’s.

“They came to us and said, 'Let's talk about collaborating on how we could bring the resources together.' And so we took the parade on as a program officially of the Pride Center," Frogley said. "The Pride festival now attracts 100,000 people over the course of the weekend and it started out as a get-together in a park 45 years ago.

"Every year is different. And it's great. You see how much support the community is providing, the people that come out to support it, people who are allies of the community, people who are members of the community," he said. "And you look at even the corporate sponsorship which continues to expand. People saying we want LGBTQ+ people, we want to support them, they're part of what makes the planet an amazing, diverse place."

Frogley said that the money the Pride Festival generates helps support the Pride Center’s programs. These programs include outreach and mental health programs that support the LGBTQIA+ community.

The police were a visible presence at this year’s parade. Frogley said cost of security has substantially increased from last year.

“Anybody who's paying attention to the political dialogue in the country recognizes the headwinds against LGBTQ individuals," Frogley said. "The cost of security at the Pride Festival skyrocketed from $60,000 in past years to more than $300,000 this year because of threats to the community that are fed by the divisiveness that we find in the country."

During the parade I also talked to Alex, a young trans woman living in Salt Lake City. She said last year was her first time attending the Pride Festival.

“It gets bigger every year. This has been a blast. It's very lively. You've got a lot of people that are way more accepting than you probably think that are here in Salt Lake," Alex said. "I think there are a lot of people in your everyday life that you don't always see showing their true colors. But out here, people are out here to be who they want to be."

Alex said it’s important to remember that pride really started as a protest.

“It’s kind of come away from that a little bit. But I think that is really the core of what all this is. It’s a protest for us to show that we’re here and that we do matter and that we have rights, and that we are a targeted community out here," she said. "And that is why this exists. And it’s awesome to see that we’ve got this amazing community out here that is accepting, but we still have so much more to work on. And I really hope that people don’t take away the meaning of pride from the LGBTQ community. I really think that that needs to be deep focus on what pride is all about.”

Max is a neuroscientist and science reporter. His research revolves around an underexplored protein receptor, called GPR171, and its possible use as a pharmacological target for pain. He reports on opioids, outer space and Great Salt Lake. He loves Utah and its many stories.