By Isabelle Flener
Alton Pride celebrates the belief that people deserve to give and receive love. They hold the annual celebrations to vocalize their joy of consensual love- sometimes yelling and cheering. It is a place they gather to protest the criminalization of non-straight people and their relationships. Many use it as a place to express themselves safely.
Pride is about consensual adult relationships, expression, and sexuality.
This is undoubtedly what the Alton Pride Festival provided the LGBTQIA+ community of Alton. For the first time ever, everyone could come together and genuinely enjoy being prideful.
“Putting together Alton pride festival was our way of letting people know we exist, love, and are here for our community,” Kacey Crawler, Director of Marketing and Social Media of Alton Pride, said Saturday. Also, that we have so many exciting things coming, including a youth program!”
“Alton pride festival represents years of hard work and remarkable dedication from all the amazing people on the Alton Pride board, and none of it would be possible without the community backing us up,” Crawley said. “Pride is about being your authentic self!”
The Alton Pride Festival was filled with the utmost pride from vendors willingly sharing their creations, information or free goodies. There was tasty food to go around, plus local bands and drag queens and kings performing exceptionally. All of the attendees were proud of being themselves.
Lewis and Clark were proudly represented by our very own Pride Club during the festival. “This festival means a whole lot, a huge amount of elder LGBTQIA+ members fought so hard to be here,” Gabe Ahlien said. “They have protested, died and dedicated their lives to experience a day like this in their own community. Being able to witness them here celebrating finally delivered them some justice.”
“This is the only event most people in the LGBTQIA+ community in Alton can undoubtedly show their true personalities without potential threat of being harmed, harassed or bullied,” Ahlien said.
Pride Club has a student lounge in Caldwell 1329, Ahlien said.
“Our club occupies what we believe is the best student lounge on campus. We have a bunch of awesome amenities for all to enjoy. Our ultimate goal is to create what we consider ‘The Safe Space’ for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender to come hang out safely and have fun. We want everyone to feel loved and welcomed,” Ahlien shared. Pride Club puts on an activity every Thursday from 3-4pm.
To get involved in Pride Club please contact Steve Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gabe Ahlien at email@example.com.
To get involved in Alton Pride please visit AltonPride.com to find ways to volunteer and help.