JQ Kirkland, the chair of operations for Rocket City Pride says they, "put it on to show diversity and show it's okay to be who you are and accepted. And we love all and want to let people know that we have a safe place."
Kirkland shares events like this one bring the LGBTQIA+ community together where they can celebrate who they are and feel supported.
"We need to let the community know that they're accepted for who they are. And they don't have to hide who they are. The suicide rate across our community is ridiculous. It's just because people are scared to be who they want to be. And that's not okay," Kirkland said.
According to 'The Trevor Project's' 2022 national survey on mental health of LGBTQ youth:
- 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year.
- Their data also showed those who felt supported reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
Huntsville resident, Dannah Mullanphy who is bi-sexual, says she was excited to attend the pride festival, "it makes the community welcoming, and it also explains why we're the number one city to live in the nation right now.
She added, "I feel it's important because it gives young people and old people a new a chance to just embrace their identities and make it so that we know we're safe in Huntsville."
The festival held several organizations and community resources who came to share their support.
Kirkland says she's thankful for the community's help in putting this on and hopes everyone feels seen, "nobody should be turned away just because of who they love or that they love somebody that's the same as them. It's okay. Love is love."