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‘It’s more important than ever to be able to celebrate pride,’ says LGBTQ+ advocate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — LGBTQ+ advocates warn this Pride Month is more important than ever to remain visible after legislation targeting their community passed in Indiana.

Advocates across central Indiana said Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and a chance to live authentically, but with recent legislative changes, this year’s celebration is a chance to make a statement.

“It’s more important than ever to be able to celebrate pride and to be proud of who you are, and to know this is a culmination of all of the things that have happened in a fight to be comfortable in who you are and to celebrate that,” said Alan Witchey, the Damien Center president and CEO.

Advocate site legislation banning gender-affirming care for youth and instruction on human sexuality in Pre-K through Grade 3 as attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

“Over 75% of Hoosiers are supportive of LGBTQ people, so I think it’s not unusual that we see that support,” said Chris Paulsen, the Indiana Youth Group CEO. “I know our legislature falls behind that and isn’t speaking for the people.”

Greenwood Pride is a newer group in central Indiana, and members are creating a family-friendly space to celebrate Pride Month.

“There’s a lot of hate going around. In Greenwood, we are so blessed we have very few negative comments coming our way,” said Suzanne Fortenberry, the Greenwood Pride executive director. “This is a place kids can go and see there’s nothing wrong with you. There’s people out there like you and the visibility of this is really important.”

Advocates note positive progress has been made and they plan to continue fighting.

“It used to be a safe haven and a place where you can go, but you might still be nervous about. Today, you’re not nervous, you’re not scared you’re going to get attacked, and you know that it is a safe place to go,” Witchey said.

Many advocates are happy to see allies at the parade supporting friends, family, and the LGBTQ+ community because Pride was not like that when they first came out.

The Greenwood Pride Festival will be on June 3 from noon to 6 p.m. at Woodman Park. You can learn more on their website.

The Indy Pride Festival will be the following week on June 10 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Military Park. The Indy Pride Parade will be on June 10 from 10 a.m. to noon. You can learn more about both events and purchase tickets for the festival on their website.

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