FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) –The second annual Illuminate Our Pride event will be in Downtown Fresno this weekend. It is the first time the event will be celebrated in person following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food trucks, vendors, artisans, and musicians will set up along Fulton Street.
“It’s been a big month for Fresno, with all the flag-raising and Pride celebrations, and we wanna just continue with that,” said Jennifer Cruz, manager at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. The organization provides support groups, mental health help, among other programs.
Attendees will also hear from speakers who will address inequities that the LGBTQ+ community faces in the Central Valley.
“We want to remind city leaders…we have a lot of work to do around housing, mental health, and healthcare needs. The goal and purpose of this event is to raise those voices,” Cruz added.
Advocates say members of the LGBTQ+ community still experience discrimination in Fresno, adding that the city is also behind the curve in services like gender affirmation care. Transgender patients often travel to the Bay Area or Los Angeles for treatment.
Illuminate Our Pride is free to attend, but donations are accepted. Part of the proceeds will go towards the center’s transgender and gender nonconforming medical needs fund. The money raised will cover patients’ doctor’s appointments out of town, costs of certain procedures, and other needs.
“A lot of the time behind pride is trauma, and a lot of folks here in the Central Valley don’t have access to resources, which is one of the reasons our center is so important,” said Emily McKay Johnson with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. “A lot of people see Pride celebrations as people just going out and having fun, but it’s really folks going out and being themselves, regardless of who they love, and what they look like, and what their gender identity is.”
Illuminate Our Pride is a family-friendly space. The center will provide an air-conditioned conference room for kids to color and relax from the heat. Additionally, Fresno County will be providing an incentivized vaccine clinic.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center is located at 1252 Fulton Street, in Downtown Fresno. The event is 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday.