‘This is about love’: Unalaskans celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month
Dozens of Unalaskans turned out Friday evening to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Across the country, Pride Month celebrations take place each June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, which started in response to police raids of gay bars in New York City.
Activists say events during the month help raise awareness and bring equal justice and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning Americans.
In Unalaska, people celebrated in the parking lot of the local high school. Kids played corn hole and hopscotch on a rainbow court, volunteers cooked corn dogs and handed out slices of rainbow cake, and guests mingled and answered trivia questions about LGBTQ+ history and issues.
The nonprofit Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence organized the event. USAFV Director M. Lynn Crane said this is the organization’s first large pride event.
“Folks in this community can feel kind of marginalized and alone, if they don't know there are community members that love them and support them just the way they are,” Crane said. “My tagline for this event is, ‘This is about love.’ This is about making sure people know that they are just fine the way they are, and that we care for them and that they're safe with us and that the people in this community love them.”
Crane said the event is also about harm prevention. National studies show LGBTQ youth are four to eight times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers.
“So if just one person sees these balloons and these people gathered here, and it makes them reconsider hurting themselves or doing something that's harmful to themselves, then it will have been a success,” she said.
USAFV provides a variety of services throughout the community including crisis intervention, emergency food assistance and shelter for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.