For a second year, several hundred people gathered Sunday on the lawn of the Historic Howell Courthouse to rally for LGBTQ+ rights and awareness, followed by a march through downtown streets.
The Pride Rally and March was again organized by the Pride Alliance of Livingston, which is part of the Livingston Diversity Council. People of all ages gathered to display their support and allyship for the LGBTQ+ community.
There were two keynote speakers for the event. The first was Emile Patterson, a trans male who talked about his thoughts of suicide as he tried to navigate the bigotry and ignorance against the LGBTQ community. Patterson said he was able to learn to love himself thanks to supportive teachers and others and wanted to remind everyone about the old and new meaning of pride.
“Pride was and still is a protest,” said Patterson. “While we should still take time here to celebrate how far we’ve come, know and keep in mind that we still have a long way to go. We are still being hurt and threatened and that many who don’t stand with us or have made attempts to hurt this community also attempt to silence us. Stand here and know that we can not let them silence our pain and we will not let them silence our joy.”
Also speaking was Lindsey Yoakum, who spoke about growing up in a small town that lacked diversity and feeling very isolated and alone, but proud now to be a 26-year-old woman happily out of the closet and married to her wife.
“The world needs more authentic and brave souls to walk this earth and to let their true colors shine through, creating space, community, and safety for others to do the same,” said Yoakum. “So today I’m asking you all to step into who you are to honor the work that has been done for equal rights and the work that still needs to be completed to be courageous in your authenticity.”
Participants then marched through Howell’s Downtown, as cars honked and passersby waved, before the march concluded back on the courthouse lawn.