PRIDE in the Big City

Thousands of people attended the Pride 2019 Festival in the Capital. Some of them traveled here from far and wide to experience acceptance from a community outside their own.

From a small town in Oklahoma, Joshua Manning was among the attendees excited by how different the parade was from his own experiences back home.

“I bought a pansexual flag today because people here recognize that it is something that’s valid. Nobody questions it. Back home we have people who don’t think my partner and I have a right to have kids and be a parent.”

Lexi Rafalko, whose preferred pronouns are they, was visiting from Scranton, Pennsylvania to attend Pride and be immersed by local gay culture. While born male, Lexi considers themselves as gender fluid but most frequently identifies as female. Lexi described the struggle with dating due to heteronormativity within the LGBTQIA community, “I mostly date straight males and I’m often playing the role of the girlfriend in the relationship. I know who I am but it’s hard to educate them so they understand.”

Despite the wind and rain, Joshua, Lexi, and countless others came together to celebrate people living their truths. Marshmello DJ’d and the crowd danced and cheered because for so many being in this environment and being able to be themselves without judgment was liberating.