Members and supporters of the LGBT community took over the Idaho Capitol steps June 18, marking national Pride Month and celebrating the last hoorah of Boise’s 22nd annual Pride Week. The rally, hosted by Boise Pride, drew a large crowd that covered the steps and spilled onto the adjacent park across Jefferson Street. Some churches were also represented at the rally in support of the LGBT movement.
A rainbow made of balloons served as a backdrop for the speakers, who talked on pride in one’s identity and in their efforts as activists for equality. State Sen. Nicole LeFavour, the only openly gay senator in the Idaho Legislature, rallied the group to move closer to the steps.
“Now that’s beautiful!” LeFavour said to the sea of people. Many wore shirts that had a Pride support slogan, some were dressed in costume and still others pumped picket signs that read “Born This Way” and “Love is Love.” Religious groups shook banners, proclaiming acceptance and open congregations.
The Southminster Presbyterian Church attends the rally annually, and this year, the members came in T-shirts that invited those hurt by the church to receive a personal apology.
“A few people [wanted an apology], but most said that I didn’t do anything to them personally,” said Southminster Pastor Marci Glass.
Speakers, ranging from young students to experienced activists, told stories and personal manifestos for the day’s importance. Each championed past successes, such as same-sex marriages in some states and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but each reminded the crowd there was still work to be done.
“We eat too much, we drink too much and we’re looking for a Yankee Doodle Dandy to take home to Mom and Dad,” said stand-up comedian Matt Bragg, referring to both homosexual and heterosexual communities.
“The Capitol behind me is a symbol of pain,” said LaFavour, referring to the seemingly failing sticky note campaign—people write their stories and expression for equal rights on a sticky note to be placed on the doors of the Legislature. While the notes were always taken down by security guards, LeFavour challenged everyone to bring their sticky notes and stick them all anywhere in the Capitol building when the Legislature was in session.
“This building needs a conscience,” she said.
Pride Week is Boise’s contribution to National Pride Month, celebrated to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York.
“This is why I love Pride more than Christmas, seeing people so comfortable and open with who they are.” said Kat Davis, a graduate of Borah High School and an activist for the Gay Straight Alliance.
Following the rally, people filed onto Jefferson and grabbed hold of the Gay Pride flag to march through the streets of Boise to Ann Morrison Park for the Pride Festival. The parade was followed by a local radio station truck that blared “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.