Thousands Gather for Boise Pride Festival 2016
Less than a week after the mass shooting at a gar nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Boise's PrideFest took place on Saturday, June 18. Thousands turned out to celebrate the progress made by the LGBT community over the past year and show their support for gay rights and equality.
During the Boise Pridefest 2016 rally at 11 AM, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter spoke at the Idaho Capitol steps, the first Boise Mayor to do so. The mayor cited nondiscrimination laws giving housing, employment and public accommodations protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. "On the one hand, look how far we've come," Bieter said. "On the other hand, look how far we have to go."
The mayor also praised the Add the Words movement here in Idaho, a nearly decade long effort to add the words 'gender identity' and 'sexual orientation' to Idaho's human rights law. "We need the people in this building behind me to also Add the Words," Bieter said. The Idaho state Capitol was lit up in bright rainbow colors over the weekend for Boise Pridefest, thanks to private sponsors and fundraising.
After the 11 AM rally, the Pride parade began and went through Jefferson and Bannock Streets and concluded in front of the Idaho Capitol. KISS FM was just one of the many organizations who participated in the parade. Once the parade was over, the Pride festival began as a variety of different LGBT performers took the stage including American Idol finalist David Hernandez and local pop singer Darian Renee. There were also dozens of various vendors who had booths throughout the Pride festival, including MIX 106 and KISS FM.
Despite the added security put in place during the event, this year's Pridefest was a massive success and proved that even after a devastating tragedy, we can all come together in solidarity and support. As someone who's part of the LGBT community, I found the whole event deeply heartwarming and it made me happy to be out and proud for who I am. As we continue to mourn the loss of our LGBT brothers and sisters gunned down by a hateful human being in Orlando, I realized during Boise Pridefest that even in times of dark sorrow, our spirits can never be broken.