This past weekend C-U celebrated their 10th anniversary Pride Fest celebration. It began in Lincoln Square Mall in 2010, and has now exploded into downtown Champaign with a three day extravaganza. There were parties, drag shows, lectures, activities for kids and teens, a street fair and of course the ever popular parade. When Pride first happened in C-U, there were no civil unions for same sex couples, same sex marriage was not yet federally recognized, asking about (and honoring) people’s pronouns was not a part of everyday conversations, at least in the broader community. Standing in the midst of the Saturday’s festivities, it feels like you’re in this wonderful bubble of love and acceptance, and it’s clear how far the movement has come since Stonewall, 50 years ago this year.
However, there are still battles to fight. There are still LGBTQ+ adults, teens, and even children who turn to suicide. The American Medical Assocation has declared the killing of black, transgender women an epidemic. The administration is trying to ban transgender soliders from serving. The Supreme Court is about to decide if employers can legally discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And there are still battles over damn wedding cakes.
So, let’s continue our love and acceptance and support (and listening and advocating and voting) beyond this weekend, shall we?
Photos by Eric Frahm