Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wyoming Towns Hold First Ever Pride Celebrations Nearly 20 Years After Matthew Shepard's Death

Almost 20 years after the violent murder of Matthew Shepard, Wyoming towns Laramie and Casper both held their first Pride events just a week apart.

The first Casper Pride celebration was held from June 8-11 and included a free film festival, "Pride in the Park" festival, a drag revue (held at straight bar Backwards Distilling Co. as there are no gay bars within 50 miles of Casper), and yes, a Pride march on the same day as millions of Americans observed the Equality March in Washington, D.C.

Just a week later, 115 miles down the road, Laramie also held its first Pridefest on June 23-24.

Speaking to Wyoming Public Media, Pridefest organizer Robert West called the event a "momentous occasion."

“There is still this perception Wyoming represents what happened 20 years ago with Matthew Shepard. And I think Laramie and Wyoming have a long ways to go to be fully inclusive and accepting of LGBT people, but it’s important that this Pridefest is happening in Laramie to show that there has been movement; there has been growth,” West said.

“While this is a great time to celebrate with our potluck in the park and our drag show and our dance night, those are great events and they’re definitely important, it’s also important to know where we come from. And to know that violence against queer bodies and LGBT people is a still a huge reality not only in Wyoming and America but across the world,” said West.

(h/t NewNowNext)

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