MINNEAPOLIS — This year marks the 50th anniversary of the LGBTQ+ festivities here in the Twin Cities.
"It's a time to not only celebrate the diversity of our community, but also look back and see how far we've come," said Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, the medical director of the Gender Health Program at Children's Minnesota.
And as people here in the Twin Cities gear up for the Twin Cities Pride March this weekend, Dr. Goepferd says it's more than a celebration.
"For me, I can still remember the first time I went to Pride when I was 19 years old. There was always something really special about seeing other LGBTQ+ parents with children and now I have three of my own," they said.
The event is returning to the Twin Cities for the first time in two years after being forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Those of us who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community really celebrate our identities all year round, but Pride month is a special time," they said.
Dr. Goepferd says it's a particularly important time for kids and teens who identify as LGBTQ+, many of whom may have recently "come out" and may be worried that they won't be accepted by their family or friends.
"Especially for youth, depending on where they live and who is a part of their community, they may not know other LGBTQ people," they said. "We know that right now young people are in a mental health crisis and we know that our LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately affected by that and by suicidality, and we also know that all it takes is one supportive adult to decrease that by 40%," they said.
It's a space for kids, teens and adults to be part of a supportive community — during a time when many states have introduced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
"We had over 330 bills so far this year," they said.
Pride month is a chance for everyone to look to the past.
"And all of the LGBTQ+ elders and community members before us who fought to get us where we are today," they said.
It's a chance to move forward toward change.
"Pride month is definitely an opportunity to see themselves reflected in the beautiful diversity of our community," they said.
The Twin Cities Pride Festival will take place June 25 and 26 in Loring Park. For more information, visit the link here.
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