The Sioux Falls Pride Festival, held once each year, will include a parade for the first time since its conception. Over the four years of its existence, the festival itself has increased its attendance from 600 to over 10,000. The parade will include a walk and 33 floats, with additional events following on Friday and Saturday.
In South Dakota, four bills against transgender people have been proposed during the past year. One that was rejected would limit the ability of transgender athletes to compete. Thus, the parade is considered a win for the LGBTQ community.
Adam Jorgensen, the communications associate for the ACLU of South Dakota, stated that it’s vital for members of the community to be able to share their stories. He himself came out as gay at the young age of 7. Jorgensen believes that there are many South Dakotans of varying ages still hesitant to come out due to social pressures.
He added that the organization received many positive messages from LGBTQ members still hiding who they are. They state that just seeing people at the festival being themselves is an inspiration for them to do the same.
Cody Ingles, a parade-route coordinator, shared his unique perspective. Namely, he moved from Indiana to Sioux Falls to work for a church. Once officials gained knowledge of his sexual orientation, he was fired. He stayed in Sioux Falls regardless and stated that he’d wish that religious groups would become more open towards LGBTQ people.