Wichita, Kansas News, Weather, Sports – Wichita Pride Parade getting younger
“We’ve come a long way in the past 50 years,” Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, told those gathered in front of the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse Sunday afternoon before the annual Pride Parade. They were gathered to celebrate the progress they’ve made in gaining acceptance to be themselves.
Sunday was Wichita’s 14th annual Pride Parade and hundreds gathered to join the celebration. Participants say the event was about living their true lives and fighting for equal treatment.
“I’ve came every year since I was tiny,” said Trinity Daniels. “And it’s just a way to spread love and a way to feel like you’re a part of something. And it’s community. It’s happiness.”
Trinity is one of dozens of teens who joined the crowd downtown, celebrating their differences and what makes each one of those on parade unique. This year she brought her best friend along..
“I wanted to bring my best friend because she’s going through a lot right now and she just needed it,” Trinity explained.
The presence of so many youth in this crowd is no surprise for Thomas Witt..
“I’ve been watching this crowd every year since 2005 and instead of it getting older, it gets younger.,” he announced to those gathering. They greeted his announcement with cheers. He says more youth are showing up every year.
“It’s important for people to be able to live authentically,” Witt said. “And being able to step out and say, ‘This is who I am!’ and ‘I am proud of who I am!’ and ‘I am not going to hide!’ is very important. Especially for younger people who are just coming to terms with their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Trinity and her friend Jessica agree that’s a big reason why they showed up this year.
“It brings us together and it lets us know , like, you’re not alone. And there’s other people in this world like you,” Trinity said. “Just like you.”
“Basically about happiness and having a good time,” said Jessica Cady. “Spreading joy and love.”
“I see what I believe are two truths,” Liz Hamer with GLSEN Kansas told the crowd. “Courage is contagious and we are stronger together.”
Organizers say events like Sunday’s Pride Parade are helping their community find more acceptance in Kansas. They say 50 years ago the LGBTQ+ community suffered regular police raids, public humiliation and loss of jobs for going public with their sexual orientation.