The city of Mankato held pride events over the weekend to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. South Central Minnesota Pride hosted the events.
On Friday, Sept. 9, there was a karaoke event called Queeraoke at Loose Moose Saloon. The following day, Sept. 10, South Central Minnesota Pride had a pride parade and a pride fest at Riverfront Park. Then to conclude the weekend, they had a youth party at Wow!Zone on Sunday
Pride events are essential for the LGBTQ+ community because it helps show the members of said community that the city of Mankato has their backs no matter what.
Senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Storm Novak, marched at the parade on Saturday with the Stonewall DFL, or Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, which is an organization that works for a safe and equitable Minnesota by electing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied Democrats to public office in Minnesota and party office in the Minnesota DFL. They spoke about why these events are essential to the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s important for visibility and to encourage a sense of community and welcomeness, especially with a marginalized group, like the LGBT community,” said Novak. “It endorses an atmosphere around town, as well as to people that are present here that they are welcomed, and they are respected, and we want them to be here.”
Novak said that Pride is important to them because it represents a “sense of welcomeness and ability to feel like I’m accepted within my local community.”
Senior at MNSU, Gaby Sanchez, marched with the Maverick Machine in the Pride parade, and spoke about what Pride means to her, “Pride is accepting who you are and not letting anybody tear you down because of it.”
When asked why she was at the event, Sanchez said, “It’s a reminder of where the first Pride started because the first Pride was quite literally a riot. And it’s evolved from a riot to celebrating who we are.”
Pride events are not just for college students and adults, they are for everyone. High schooler Kate Laven marched with Centenary United Methodist Church. Laven is among the many youth members at her church in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Pride means to me, just a giant celebration of being who you are,” said Laven. “It doesn’t matter who you love or what gender you are. You are human.”
This was Laven’s second pride event after coming out. She spoke on what it meant to her, “I’m so, so happy and so excited. So it means a lot of being able to just show everyone who I am.”
Without these events, they would not know what their community is.
“If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t know who my community is. I wouldn’t know my best friends, who are gay in my community,” said Laven. “Seeing so many adults and children here is amazing because it just shows there are so many more gay people than most people would think.”
Header Photo: Mankato hosts Pride annually as a celebration of queer individuals as they celebrate with a parade, local food trucks and shows. The celebration is open to the public. (File Photo)
Write to Lauren Viska at Lauren.Viska@mnsu.edu