- Harrison Berry
- Holly Colwell (far left) gives Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline materials to a PrideFest attendee.
The morning began with a Pride rally and parade at the Idaho Statehouse. That's where, months before, the Idaho State Affairs Committee held a bill that would have added the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to Idaho's human rights law. It was the 10th year since the beginning of the Add the 4 Words and the first year "adding the words" had been granted a hearing by the Legislature.
Since then, members of Add the Words Idaho have been touring the state raising awareness on the issue.
Emilie Jackson-Edney told Boise Weekly that during the Add the Words hearing, some legislators had talked about "compromise"—adding religious exemptions to the bill to placate concerns that extending workplace, housing and public accommodations protections to LGBT people would impinge on the free practice of religion. But for Jackson-Edney, "adding the words" doesn't need to be that complicated.
- Harrison Berry
- Madelynn Taylor at the Boise Weekly booth at Boise Pridefest
Nearby, members of Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and Aids handed out HIV test packets while another group offered safe sex kits, including condoms and lubricant, to passersby.
As much as Pridefest was a celebration of Boise's LGBT community, it was also a chance for service providers to reach out to that community. Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline volunteer Holly Colwell said that the hotline and the LGBT community intersect in a way that has brought volunteers like her to the Pridefest every year.
"Gay people are disproportionately ostracized, and they're really, really alone," Colwell said.
The rate of suicide among transgendered people is especially high, with an estimated 50 percent of trans teens having at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday, according to the national Youth Suicide Prevention Program.
When BW spoke with Colwell, she said that she had spoken to approximately 50 people about the hotline.
"There's just a lot of interest," she said.