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Utah Pride celebrations expected to be biggest, safest yet

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 31, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Pride Celebrations begin June 1, with this year expecting to have the biggest turnout to date.

Co-CEO of Utah Pride Center Jonathan Foulk said last year 150,000 people participated in the weekend-long event.

“This year's pride theme is unapologetic and especially at a time like now we have to own who we are and we have to be loud and be proud and that's what pride is all about," said Foulk, "Especially at a time, like now with all the anti-drag and the legislation that's going on here in Utah and across the country, we really need to show up and we really need to be proud, be loud and be queer."

Executive Director of the nonprofit Project Rainbow Jacey Thronton said it's particularly important to create a safe space to celebrate and come together in a year she says has not been easy for the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s a very difficult year to be queer in the state of Utah," said Thornton. "We continue to be underrepresented in a lot of positions of power in this state. We also don’t have all the legal protections that our cis, straight friends have."

To her, pride is about what the community has accomplished in fighting for equality.

“Pride isn’t about just celebrating ourselves, it’s about celebrating how far we’ve come," said Thornton, "That we can be married to our spouses. We can be parents to our children. And so we know as we lean into our community, that’s where we find safety and wholeness.”

Salt Lake City Police Detective Dalton Beebe Said officers will be participating in the parade and have a booth, and in addition, will be behind the scenes looking out for people's safety.

There will be plenty of officers visible. Some that you may not be able to see. But once again, if there’s anything anybody needs, give us a call," said Beebe.

The Utah Pride Center is also ready with a clear bag policy and metal detectors.

Above all, Foulk said the goal is to make sure everyone has a great time and can be unapologetically themselves.