St. Johns community celebrates pride month

Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 11:58 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - People across Mid-Michigan are showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community during this year’s pride.

In the city of St. Johns, hosting a pride festival is a young tradition. It was just last month that the Clinton County Board of Commissioners declared June as pride month in the county. But to those celebrating, its message is well known.

“We’re here to protest but also celebrate at the same time,” said drag performer Crystal D’Light. “Protest that we deserve to have our voices heard. We deserve to have equal lives to everybody else, but celebrate, too, all the obstacles we’ve overcome.”

Many people in the crowd were celebrating pride in their hometown for the first time. While it’s a common celebration for big cities, it’s only year three for St. Johns. Local members of the LGBTQ+ community said it’s good to see the city taking a step forward.

“I think it’s really great that St. Johns does this, and has a whole pride festival to celebrate,” said pride attendee Izzy Smith. “Because I just think it’s really inclusive.”

Some people who were born and raised in St. Johns, like Nicole Herring, are feeling the same way as Smith. Herring only recently moved back to town after leaving for another state, in hopes of find a more open community. As someone who’s bisexual, Herring said it was hard to feel welcomed growing up in her hometown, but she’s surprised, and pleased, to see the social change that’s taken place.

“I think this town is definitely changing for the best. It’s wonderful. I love it,” she said. “I feel more comfortable and open here being myself.”

Organizers said the St. Johns pride fest is more than an afternoon of food, games and entertainment; it’s an event meant to inspire LGBTQ+ people to love themselves.

“Think about all the positive and goodness that can come out of really loving yourself and loving the people around you,” said organizer Andrea Ryan. “That’s what this is about.”

Pride fest has come and gone in a single afternoon, but the celebration of acceptance never stops for the people it impacts most.

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