Guest editorial: Celebrating Pride in Park City |

Guest editorial: Celebrating Pride in Park City

Karen Hammerman
Park City LGBTQ Task Force

June is Pride month and thanks to Park City Municipal and the Park City Council, the LGBTQIA+ community in Park City and the surrounding communities have been given a voice due to the formation of an LGBTQIA+ Task Force. The task force, along with partners in the Park City community, have several events planned for this summer. These include a Park City Pride picnic on June 26 at Miners Park from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will also be marching as a group for the first time ever in the Fourth of July parade on July 2 at 11:00 a.m. So if you, family, or friends are a member or ally of the LGBTQIA+ community please feel free to join us at the June 26 picnic and march with us on July 2.

With the strong backing of Mayor Beerman and the Park City Council, the task force has been busy. You might have noticed Pride banners flying on Main Street, posters in retail outlets or the electric buses featuring a Pride message. The group has been meeting monthly and has been in the process of forming a cohesive group that hopes to expand opportunities, be more visible, and unify the community. As marginalized minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals have fought for acceptance, equality, and opportunities for decades. The formation of this task force is critical to move forward in a spirit of cooperation, unity, and most importantly love and kindness.

Park City has always been on the cutting edge in making a difference in people’s lives and this task force will continue that process. Many Park City community members have shown the strength to be fully accepting of those who are LGBTQIA+ and our hope is that these numbers will grow.

For those not familiar with this term, LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The community is united by a common culture and social movements that generally celebrate pride, diversity, and equality.

Gallup’s latest update on LGBTQIA+ identification finds 5.6% of U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQIA+. What does that mean in Summit County? In 2019, the total population of Summit County was 42,150 people, which means that some 2,360 Summit County residents are likely to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community in Summit County.

Individuals who are LGBTQIA+ are your friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers. But life has not always been that easy for them. For example, including here in Utah, the transgender community has been under attack in many states that are trying to pass laws prohibiting transgender youth to participate in sports and be denied healthcare. These actions are not constitutional and require advocacy groups, supportive politicians and the court system to help combat these efforts.

LGBTQIA+ teens are one of the highest risk groups for suicide, family rejection, and homelessness. High school students who identify as LGBTQIA+ are five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual peers. Local organizations like Encircle, Park City Pride, Wasatch Back LGBTQIA+ coalition, Utah Pride, Equality Utah and the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) High School groups in the Park City area are making great strides in supporting their community members and helping to educate families.

During Pride month, please reach out to someone who is part of this incredible, loving and kind community. Also consider coming to the Park City Pride Picnic on June 26 and marching with us in the Parade on July 2. You can get additional Parade information by emailing Happy Pride!

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