FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Tuesday marks the first night of National Pride Month, and with many celebrations canceled last year, people are looking forward to this year’s plans.
Nikki Fultz is the executive director of the Fort Wayne Pride Festival.
She says when the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, it was difficult for many.
“For the LGBTQ community, isolation is definitely a factor in people’s mental health and feeling lonely, especially young people who might not feel accepted,” she said. “It’s very important that people feel this sense of community and we know that pride is one of those places.
She says, this year the festival is back and scheduled for July 23rd and 24e.
AJ Lorenzini says that for him the month is not just about pride, but it is a celebration of their identity.
“Being able to celebrate who you are in a world that doesn’t always accept you,” he said. “Pride for me is not just accepting who you are, but celebrating who you are.”
Lorenzini is a board member of an LGBTQ + education and rights advocacy group called GLSEN.
“I know that every LGBTQ + person, who for one reason or another has to suppress who they are,” he said. “It’s like a big weight. And when you can celebrate it instead, it’s really powerful.”
The Human Rights Campaign reports that the state of Indiana is “a high priority for achieving basic equality,” which is one of the lowest rankings. The website says Indiana lacks policies that would protect LGBTQ + rights.
Lorenzini says they have come a long way, but there is still work to be done. He says it’s all about education.
“Sometimes people just don’t always know about it, so it’s important to publicize the kind of policies that really affect people’s lives.”
For the full schedule of Fort Wayne Pride Festival events, click here.