Beyond the rainbow; ‘Discover Pride’ celebration supports LGBT community

Balloons in the colors of the rainbow are released at "Discover Pride" at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, Sep. 16, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Town Square Park was adorned in rainbow flags and banners Saturday during the Southern Utah Pride celebration. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, their family, friends and supporters all gathered for the second annual fest which carried the theme “Discover Pride.”

Linda Stay shows off her rainbow hair and eye lashes at “Discover Pride” at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, Sep. 16, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

It was a theme with meanings as varied as the individuals who attended the event, Stephen Lambert said. Lambert is the chairman of Southern Utah Pride and one of the event’s main organizers and biggest champions.

While planning the festival, Lambert said, the feedback he got about the theme was that it touched people in different and very personal ways. For some, discovering pride meant finding pride in their community or learning to love and accept themselves.

For Lambert, discovering pride means that he can be his authentic self, he said, while helping others on their own personal journeys in the LGBT community and beyond.

“Discover pride, to me, means that I can use my talents and my abilities to help share the love of everybody … and to bring together an entire community of individuals that can show support.”

Dozens of people messaged Lambert their gratitude to him for creating a space where they could feel loved and accepted, he said.

“I would say the festival is more about support than anything else, that’s really what it means to me” attendee Kyle Braeburn said, “and just knowing we have a big community here and we are not alone.”

Finding that community is particularly important for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders living in Utah, a state where the predominant religion and the major political figures often oppose legislation that the LGBT community proposes would allow for more equality.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with the majority of the Utah Senate recently filed their support for a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s reception on the grounds of his personal religious convictions. The case is being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Belly dancers perform during “Discover Pride” at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, Sep. 16, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George New

But despite opposition from the LDS church as well as other religions, Lambert said acceptance has come a long way.

“We’ve come a long way as a society,” Lambert said. “It’s amazing to me that we can do something like this in a community and have so much love and support.”

Advocacy groups including the Mama Dragons, Equality Utah and PFLAG – parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays – set up booths at the Discover Pride event where they were able to reach out to members of the community and provide important health screenings, suicide prevention information and other services … including free hugs.

Those hugs were doled out at the Mama Dragons booth where Liisa Frei, a member of the LDS church and mother of a gay son was volunteering her time and sharing her message of hope and support.

She had her first inkling that her son might be gay when he was very young, Frei said. Though she was not sure where the idea came from she decided that she would learn all about same-sex attraction and try to understand what it meant to be gay. Even if her son was not gay, she said, someone’s child was, and that child would need love and support.

Frei’s son came out as gay when he was 23, she said. He had served a two-year mission for the LDS church and Frei said she was afraid for him, especially in the LDS culture.

“In our culture I was really worried about things that I had heard said about LGBT individuals or towards them,” Frei said explaining why she joined the Mama Dragons, “and I just wanted to foster greater love and acceptance and understanding between both groups.”

The Mama Dragons dole out free hugs at “Discover Pride” held at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, Sep. 16, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

So many people, youth especially, in the LGBT community assume that they are not loved or could never be loved for who they are, Frei said. She encouraged others to work harder at reaching out and showing acceptance.

Saturday’s festival was the second official gay pride celebration held in St. George. In 2016, the event was held at Vernon Worthen Park in June when the LGBT community and their allies typically celebrate Pride month.

That 2016 event was sparked by two high school students who felt St. George should have a gay pride celebration particularly in the aftermath of a shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people and injured 53 others. The 2016 pride event was thrown together in the space of only 10 days, Lambert said. But even in such a short amount of time, the community quickly rallied behind the idea and nearly 1,000 people attended.

Organizers began planning this year’s iteration of the colorful festival in May, Lambert said. In addition to the gathering at Town Square Park, several other events surrounding “Discover Pride” took place over the space of three days, including a “Paint Nite” gathering, a neon rainbow dance party, a burlesque and drag show and an interfaith pride service and pancake breakfast.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • Nancy September 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    This was such a wonderful event. I was at the Interfaith breakfast in the morning at at a booth in the afternoon and evening and everyone was friendly, supportive, and chatty. It represented the very best of what our community can do and be: loving, inclusive, and able to recognize the value of difference. I look forward to doing it again next year.

  • Amber September 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    So proud of our community! This event is about showing love for fellow beings and I FELT the love! We are all in this together and the more kindness and compassion we can show the better for all of humanity! LOVE WINS! Thank you southern Utah!

  • Diana September 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Pride was so Awesome!!! Can’t wait for next year. 🙂

  • Melynda September 17, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Beautiful gathering. Beautiful people.

  • aaron September 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Yes, you people behave all, love and roses, but when. You completely disagree with their viewpoint, the nastiness comes out with vitral and vinegar. You people are hypocrites, better agree with their status quo or your a racist. And since when do equal rights mean you can take rights from others, just to make your disgusting lifestyle ok to everyone else. I bet you would not go to a Muslim cake baker, and ask him to approve of your gay marriage. But somehow it makes it ok to go after the Christian baker to make him. Somehow approve of yours, when you know full well how a Muslim would think of a gay marriage. Stop shoving down your backward lifestyle down are throats.

    • think4urself September 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Calm down, vitriol and vinegar. you’re gonna go into cardiac arrest.
      The simple answer is love. Out of all the bakers the Christian baker should be the one to lovingly bake a cake for a gay couple. After all he is a follower of Christ, right??? The Jesus I was taught would bake a thousand cakes for a thousand gay couples. Jesus would never have had a religious self righteous attitude. People who call themselves ‘Christian’ need to follow the example of Christ better and with more LOVE. Love thy neighbor as thyself…even if they’re gay. He commands his followers to LOVE.

      • aaron September 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        You never, answered my question, if you went to a Muslim baker would he make a cake for you. Especially for a gay wedding. It’s always all about the christens, I saw a hidden camera show where a guy posing as a gay couple went to a Muslim bakery. Asking for a gay wedding cake, and here’s the funny thing there was absolute crickets, when it came to the media outrage.

        • comments September 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm

          It’s more of a hatred towards white people than it is xtians. moslems are only very rarely white people so they get the right to not bake homosexual cakes. I don’t understand how moslems get to terrorize the world and they get a pass. strange times

        • comments September 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm

          moslems and gays are both groups that we are told are “oppressed by the evil white race and christian patriarchy”. man oh man, if only these gays knew how good they got it here in the US. Know what they’d do to gays in a muslim countries like Saudi or pakistan? You’d probably be castrated and either stoned to death or have a rope tied on your ankles and be dragged to death behind a truck. got to love them innocent little peaceful moslems.

      • comments September 17, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        think4urself, why the double standard with muslims tho? why do muslims get a pass?

        • think4urself September 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

          Unfortunately because there are bigots in every religion, owners will continue to refuse service.
          If a Muslim bakery somewhere has refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, it’s as simple as that couple apparently didn’t take the issue to court.
          Honestly I don’t know why a gay couple would want a bigot to make their cake anyway. They should just go find someone who is good with it and go on with life.

    • Rainbow Dash September 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      “…..And since when do equal rights mean you can take rights from others, …”

      Uh huh.

      Tell me, “Aaron”, Which “rights” have you lost?

  • 42214 September 17, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Aaron makes a valid point. You support the progressive agenda or you’re a racist and a bigot.

    • think4urself September 17, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      It has nothing to do with a progressive agenda. Being a bigot is a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.
      If people were more tolerant, which means showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with, (aka being open minded and unprejudiced and frankly just making a stupid damn cake for a gay couple) the world would be a better place for every one.

      • 42214 September 18, 2017 at 7:14 am

        You say being a bigot is a person intollerant of another’s different opinion. So why don’t you honor and respect the baker’s opinion. It’s because you don’t like his opinion, therefore it is wrong, therefore it is bigoted, therefore you are a hypocrit.

        • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

          The baker violated Colorado’s laws about civil rights by discriminating against same sex marriages. He is now trying to frame it as a free speech issue which will be taken up by SCOTUS. Hard to know how that will go.

          Your logic is wrong about bigotry. The baker is allowed to have and personally practice prejudiced religious views. Those aren’t currently being infringed or impuned. What is being infringed is the ability of a licensed business to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation. Personal liberties are not the same as the ones we regulate businesses with, hence why we no longer allow things like segregated lunch counters.

          I can tolerate an individuals right to be bigoted (though I will still critique it) while holding businesses accountable to higher standards. There is a distinction.

          • 42214 September 18, 2017 at 6:34 pm

            I was directly addressing think4urself’ s definition of bigotry, not Colorado’s business licenses. What’s the difference between an individual and an individual business.

        • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 7:48 pm

          The definition of bigotry is generalized but accurate and the definition of civil rights violations is relevant. The baker’s business was sued successfully because he illegally discriminated. The issue of tolerating his personal opinions is little more than a red herring as his business is separate from his personal opinions. He can do as he pleases personally without being held to legal concerns about discrimination. When he chose to run a business in the public sphere he chose to abide by the laws governing such enterprise, which includes equal protections in Colorado no matter sexual orientation. He clearly recognizes the weight of this law as he no longer makes wedding cakes.

  • Chelle September 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for being there to record the story and to take such amazing pictures! I have only been to our first Pride last year and this one this year, but I’d say we had as amazing show as you’d find elsewhere in the world! We may be small, but we’ve got heart and we’re all part of the LGBT family across the world! Maybe next year, we’ll have a parade and you can bet I’ll be in it! Who else is with me?

    • comments September 17, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      thank goodness its chelle and not chel. LMAO 😉

      • Bob September 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

        It’s a good thing you can hide behind your online alias, someone needs to knock you back to reality. You are so angry, maybe you need to go to the free hugs booth to help you get over your homophobia and Islamophobia. I know a good therapist, just ask and I will get you scheduled. Otherwise go back to the hole you climbed out of, progress always wins so you better get use to use it.

        • comments September 18, 2017 at 3:36 pm

          hi bob! lmao 🙂

          • comments September 18, 2017 at 3:36 pm


          • ladybugavenger September 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm

            Bob is the reason I can’t call you Bob anymore…

          • Real Life September 18, 2017 at 6:34 pm

            You and Ladybug are killing me!

  • JferKennedy September 17, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    This event wasn’t about being homosexual or bi- sexual or anything like that. It was about a community coming together and showing love and understanding toward one another. We all live on this planet. We all are pretty awesome humans! Each one different and each one beautiful!!! This event was so fun and the colors beautiful. It was so nice to see SO MANY loving, caring, FABULOUS faces! The entertainment, venders and food trucks were over the top! And that Affegotto coffee truck! YUM! Thank you to the many many people who put this together.

    • ladybugavenger September 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Huh? It’s totally about being gay, bisexual, tranisexual, and all that stuff

      • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm

        Pride and its local events are never just about being LGBTQi+. Many posters here actually went to this gathering or have gone to others. You might benefit from listening to them.

        If you care about respecting others then you might consider refraining from the use antiquated and mean spirited phrases like “trani”. The accurate and compassionate term is transgender.

        • ladybugavenger September 19, 2017 at 6:27 am

          I call the transmission in my car trani. Do you think my car is offended?

          You’re too much b&f. You are trying to change me by calling me mean spirited because I said trani lol. God doesn’t make mistakes- boys have penises , girls have vaginas and marriage is between a man and a women. Y’all are just playing God and spreading a false “love and hope” carry on and enjoy your parades.

          • ladybugavenger September 19, 2017 at 6:41 am

            Right or wrong everyone needs a support group, everyone needs to be connected to something. Our connections are different-that’s all. I hope you get all the help and support you need in this life and I hope you feel whole and not empty. No need to call me names or make assumptions because I’m not in your group and I dont believe the same as you. Have a blessed day!

          • bikeandfish September 19, 2017 at 9:41 am

            Never called you mean-spirited. I called the term tranny mean-spirited because of its well documented use as an insult. I actually appealed to your better angels to avoid such language because I think you claim to care about people.

            No matter your thoughts of God, we know human defined sex and sexuality has never matched biological complexity. Even the binary of male and female doesn’t account for the number of people born intersex, ie with bodies that don’t fit into our binary labels. Its happened throughout human history. Up until recently a doctor could make a choice surgically without even the parents consent.

            The reality is life is complicated. We can choose to respect human dignity and show compassion even if we embrace different paths. Isn’t that the heart of Jesus’s teachings and the biblical spirit of free will?

  • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Thanks to all of the people celebrating inclusion and respecting the diversity in our community. You make us stronger. Can’t wait to see this happen more and more.

  • aaron September 18, 2017 at 10:59 am

    What, is it with you people you always say your inclusive, and all but once you disagree with. Your agenda all bets are off you guys are such hypocrites. You say all this rainbows and roses stuff, but still you guys never answered my question. What gives your movement the right to take away other groups rights just to justify, your backwords lifestyle. Since when is it equality when you have to have special specific rights to have others approve of what you want.

    • An actual Independent September 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      YOU never answered a previous question. What rights have been taken away from you? Absolutely none. You can still spout drivel all day and nobody is going to stop you. You can still get together with like minded individuals and you can still call everybody else weird. You can even pretend you have all the answers for everybody.
      What you cannot do is stop others from being themselves, and from freely engaging in whatever legal, non destructive behavior they choose.
      If you’re missing a big stick, I think I know where it went.

      • ladybugavenger September 19, 2017 at 6:48 am

        The only thing taken away was the sanctity of marriage. God says, marriage is between a man and a women- so by careful calculation God was taken out by this change- not the first time God has been taken out in the name of equality. But you can’t take him out of my life and I do say the name Jesus at work- not fired yet! So you’re right in a sense that I’m not affected it’s just a harder fight in this world to spread the good news. Jesus came to save the world not condemn it. Have a blessed day!

        • An actual Independent September 20, 2017 at 6:57 am

          OK. So you haven’t lost any right to do as you believe, you can still spread the news, and you can still have your sanctioned marriage in your church. You’ve explained that you lose nothing, and nobody can take it away from you. That doesn’t explain why you feel the need to deny others their happiness. And please don’t blame it on God. I’ve read the Old and New Testaments. I don’t remember the part where Jesus looked down from the cross and said “I can’t handle this. Ladybug Avenger is in charge now.”

          • ladybugavenger September 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

            So, you have accepted Jesus in your heart to be your Lord and Saviour?

            If not, then you have no authority to use the Bibleb(God’s word) against someone who has. If not, then you are using the Bible as a weapon and not to encourage to stay on the right path. That’s not how the Bible is to be used b&f. Once you know God- there is a fear that if you do something or don’t do something- God will judge you and throw you into the lake of fire. The Jesus you speak of is not the Jesus of the Bible. Your a sinner b&f and must be saved. That’s the Jesus of the Bible. Accept Jesus in your heart b&f then you can keep me on the right path❤️

          • ladybugavenger September 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

            In no way am I stopping you from parades and such. You haven’t seen me on a protest line with a sign protesting anything. I would never stand in public with a sign (that might be because I have a fear of crowds lol)

            I say, carry on. If I met y’all individually in person- I’d probably get along with you and like you and our differences. You may have read the Bible, but have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

          • ladybugavenger September 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

            God Almighty won’t interfere with your choice. God will let you go as far as you want. God will not force you to love Him. What kind of God would he be if he didn’t give you a choice. You can turn this world upside down and destroy one another- God won’t interfere with your choice. God is a loving God not a forceful one. You want to accept his love? Then you gotta accept Jesus in your heart. The only way to the father is through the son- but you know that, you’ve read the Bible.

            Oh and the devil knows the Bible too- chapter and verse. The devil knows exactly where he is going and he is going to take as many people as he can down with him. The devil still thinks he can win. But he won’t- but you know that you’ve read the Bible. So which side do you stand on? The father of lies? or The father of love. The father of love wants obedience not sacrifice. It’s your choice. ladybugavenger won’t interfere with your choice- I’m just here to enlighten.

            Have a blessed day!

        • An actual Independent September 22, 2017 at 12:45 pm

          Said I’ve read it. Never said I believed it. And it makes no sense when people want to quote the Bible and use that as proof that the Bible is true.
          The Bible for me is an interesting collection of fictional stories. And a small group of guys got together in the 4th century to decide which books were to be included in it, and which books weren’t. Hardly seems to be a divine proccess.

  • mctrialsguy September 18, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    A Gay community public party to show your sexual persuasion, and to let children see the perversity. That should only be between you and your psychiatrist. Homophobia is a word that homosexuals made up and called others that do not agree with their sexual perversity and their personal phobia. Keep it behind closed doors and not in public. Are you exhibitionists(?) , is that really it? St. George is going down with their standards, crime is “way up”, sad…very sad, used to be a great place! It will be just light San Francisco soon….with perversion on every street corner, naked parades, and so on….

    • aaron September 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm


    • comments September 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      got to agree. They’ve taken it way past wanting acceptance and equality. They want public demonstrations of perversion and probly a lot worse

      • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 7:58 pm

        Being able to publicly demonstrate is about personal liberty which is an issue of equality. Pride parades came into existence after police conducted unconstitutional raids on Stonewall Inn against its gay, lesbian and transgender patrons. Almost 40 years later, the relevance of their celebrations still exists given the content and tone of comments here. Having a festival to celebrate their community is critical in towns like St George.

    • sirbaugh September 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Robert, I can’t believe I’m friends with someone like you. Well, not anymore.

      • 42214 September 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        Breaking up is hard to do, poor baby. You need a hankie?

  • comments September 18, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    If someone came into your bakery and requested a satanically themed cake you couldn’t deny them it because it’d be religious discrimination. If someone wanted a bestiality-themed or pedophile-themed cake could you deny them that I wonder. cake makers will have to get out of cake decorating and just sell the cakes as blanks I think. I don’t know why a homosexual wedding cake has to be so different from… you know, a normal cake? What is it that turns a cake into a homosexual cake?

    • bikeandfish September 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      It wasn’t a themed cake. The baker simply refused to sell them any cake after finding out it was for a same sex marriage. They never had the chance to discuss design.

      • comments September 19, 2017 at 12:10 am

        bike&fish, do u know why the institution of marriage was begun in the first place? It wasn’t so a set of homosexuals could mooch of each other’s gov’t or employment benefits. Man, this world is going to hell. I’m not even religious and don’t really consider myself an xtian, but I can recognize societal decay and the celebration of immorality. And leftists encouraging children to pursue transsexualism. Dark is light and light is dark. Again, I’m not even religious… but this could well qualify as the end times. A post-xtian society turned into a degenerate hedonistic society. The void left by the absence of Christianity may well be filled by moslemism. We’ll see how well the gays and hedonists are treated in that society.

        • comments September 19, 2017 at 12:14 am

          and who cares about a frickin cake. It’s not even the point. They can bake their own homosexual cake if they want it. Everyone’s got an oven at home.

          • bikeandfish September 19, 2017 at 10:21 am

            Who cares about a lunch counter, they can just eat at home? Why do women care about working, they have enough to do at home? Such sloppy logic has always been used as a road block to equality in history.

            Its not just about a cake anymore than it was just about a seat on a bus.

  • Whatteverrr September 19, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    can’t you plant a tree or something that will last and not end up polluting the oceans even more?


    be who you wanna be but the balloons are lame


  • Redbud September 20, 2017 at 1:37 am

    I have to agree with ladybug. God did not make mistakes, you are either a man or a woman. You can inject hormones, change your name, and have all the surgery you want, but you will never change to a different sex no matter how hard you try. Imagine the shock a tranny will get in the afterlife when their private parts go BACK to the same type they had at birth. That will be the OH … moment where they go, OH WAIT, I REALLY AM A MAN!!! That would kinda suck to find out you lived your whole life a lie, right? It’s ok though because you don’t have very many people fooled, and you never will !!!
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • ladybugavenger September 20, 2017 at 11:03 am

    It’s simple! Jesus said, He who is not with me is against me and He that does not gather with me scatters.

    Did you here that? If you’re not for Jesus, you are against Him.

    Very simple, isn’t it.

    So who are you against? Well, if you haven’t accepted Jesus than you are against Him.

    Soooooo, you arent against me and I shouldn’t take any offense to anything you say about me. I’ll try and remember that 😁

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