LAFAYETTE, La. — For the first time in a few years, Lafayette became home to a Pride event. It was an afternoon aiming to celebrate, educate, and inspire inclusion.
The rain didn’t stop members of the LGBTQ community and allies from spending Saturday in Downtown Lafayette.
“It feels like a larger community,” said Cait Marshall. “You see an array of different queer people and different identities and stuff like that, and that’s really fun, you don’t see that in everyday life in Lafayette.”
Windows were decorated with colorful designs, showing support for the day-long event. Plus, activities like tie-dying and raffles raised money for organizations.
Some attendees said they’re pleasantly surprised.
“We’ve lived here our whole lives, we never thought we’d see this in Louisiana,” said Alex Angers.
Free Mom Hugs is an organization aiming to advocate for the LGBTQ community and start conversations. They had a booth at the event and a representative says days like this are crucial.
“It’s just all about recognition,” said Leigh Jossi. “People see that they're accepted, and unfortunately in this community, it hasn’t always been that way. There's been a struggle for acceptance and being treated equally. So, to have a day where we are celebrating the diversity of the community, I think it’s important.”
Acceptance and education, something many members of the queer community value.
“I just think when I came out and I was 14 and I was one of two gay people I knew, and the only information I could find was on the internet,” said Marshall. “The fact that you have older queer people walking around having conversations with the younger queer community, it’s so important. It’s important to see older queer people to prove that you can make it there.”
A lot of businesses donated parts of their proceeds to local and state organizations advocating for the many different causes within the queer community.
Attendees hope this can happen again next year, and many are even hoping for a parade.
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