Yesterday, the City of Laramie officially proclaimed June 2022's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + month. The announcement comes in conjunction with Laramie's 5th annual PrideFest.

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The Legacy of PrideFest

Laramie has a vital legacy when it comes to Pride Month and LGBTQ+ history in Wyoming - it is the first city in the state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual identity and gender orientation. The city passed the ordinance against gender orientation in 2015, and the next city to pass a similar ordinance in Wyoming, Jackson, did not follow until 2018.

In 2017, the first PrideFest brought together individuals of all orientations and gender identities for the first proclamation of PrideFest on Tuesday, June 20. Now, the city comes together to celebrate the accomplishments and legacy of LGBTQ+ individuals of Laramie and everywhere.

Laramie Live had a chance to speak with Daniel Galbreath, Chair of Laramie PrideFest, about the future and legacy of the celebration. Galbreath was candid in recognizing the importance of Laramie stepping up and acknowledging the traumatic past of the Matthew Shephard hate crime that brought Wyoming into the national spotlight.

"[Laramie] is the sight of arguably the most famous homophobic hate crime in American history...but on the otherhand it has this wide community support who are working to make this a good community. We remember why we're doing this - the heart of the PrideFest is the Shepherd Candlelight Vigil. But it's important that we make clear that there is more to Laramie and Wyoming than this, partly in memory of that event."

But, equally important is how Laramie has sought to improve and support the LGBTQ+ community of Wyoming and nationally. Galbreath pointed to the swelling of support from Laramie businesses and residents who join in the festivities.

PrideFest has, in Galbreth's words, grown into a tangible sign that Laramie values diversity. The event lets "people know that they aren't alone and that there are people that care about them...more than just LGBTQ populations. Laramie has grown into a community here that has their back." Similar movements have begun to grow across the state, offering more support for the LGBTQ+ residents of Wyoming.

The Future of PrideFest

Galbreath and the Laramie PrideFest organization envision a year-round presence of PrideFest in the Laramie community. In addition, the future could hold Pride-focused events and LGBTQ+ awareness campaigns throughout the year.

"My vision is to realy build Laramie Pridefest into an organzation that can provide spaces and support for LGBTQ+ community year round."

And Galbreath noted that the festival grows more prominent every year with more local support and visitors from across the country. Laramie PrideFest is a young organization, so resources are a "high" priority for them. Galbreath recommends checking out Laramie PrideFest's website, the Wyoming Equality website, and the Casper Pride site for year-round resources.

2022 Laramie PrideFest Events

PrideFest began on June 1, but several events remain for community members to participate in. Events include the Matthew Shephard Candlelight Vigil, Pride on the Patio, and the Laramie PrideFest Drag Show. For more information on upcoming PrideFest events, click here.

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