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Tens of thousands line streets to celebrate at Denver Pride Parade

Pride is a chance for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate and reflect on progress
Denver Pride Parade 2023
Posted at 4:38 PM, Jun 25, 2023

DENVER — About 100,000 people lined the streets Sunday morning for the Denver Pride Parade.

It was a chance to celebrate and reflect on how far the region’s LGBTQ+ community has come.

Like many people, Maya Scott-Donegan learned new things during the pandemic and made an important discovery about herself.

“When I found out that I wasn’t straight, it was during the pandemic so there wasn’t like any events for me to go to, so I just wanted to be here to be around other queer people,” said Scott-Donegan.

She and her family drove from Ft. Collins to attend Denver’s pride parade.

“I’m excited to be around other people who are like me and to see how many of them there are,” said Scott-Donegan. “You don’t always realize how many people are part of the community.”

The Denver Pride Parade is a chance for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to celebrate each other.

That celebration was on full display for over two hours Sunday as the parade made its way from Cheesman Park down Colfax Avenue.

Organizers estimate 100,000 people attended the parade.

They say over 500,000 people are attending PrideFest at Civic Center Park this weekend.

Tens of thousands line streets to celebrate at Denver Pride Parade

Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech served as one of the parade marshals.

Kniech was the first out LGBTQ+ member of the city council when she was elected in 2011.

Because of term limits, she’s leaving the council next month.

“It’s bittersweet to be saying goodbye,” said Kniech.

As she looks back, Kniech has mixed emotions about the progress made and the challenges that remain.

“We have seen gay marriage become legal during my time in office. I couldn’t marry my partner when I was first elected, and now I have a wife, and we are able to have our relationship recognized,” said Kniech. “We’ve seen our country come to accept gay marriage, but we’ve also seen this incredible backlash where in many cases it’s less safe to be out in our country. We’ve seen transgender individuals see their identities be erased so there is both pain and challenge and violent and attacks at the same time we’ve seen moving forward.”

This is why she and others say events like the pride parade and pride festival are so important.

“Pride is one collective story of joy and celebration,” said Kniech. “And we know that the stories will uplift.”

While Kniech will be leaving the council, two more out members of the LGBTQ+ community, Darrell Watson and Shontel Lewis, will be joining it.

"I’m so excited to welcome them and to pass the mantle off to them as they break new ceilings," Kniech said.

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