LBGTQIA+ Celebration

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On a beautiful Sunday, hundreds of people gathered on the Town Green for the third annual Suffield LBGTQIA+ Pride celebration, presented by ABAR (anti-bias anti-racism) Suffield. It was a day for affirmation, learning, reflection, encouragement, joy, and love. Dozens of flags encircled the green, representing a component of the LBGTQIA+ community. Community organizations and vendors staffed 25 tables. The Pride table offered everything from key fobs to blankets; T-shirts with pride-related messages and free copies of the CT Voice Magazine Summer 2023 edition, in which Suffield Pride was featured. At the Kid’s Table, there were games, coloring pages from Little Lamdbda Books, and books from author Sonny Dean; a giant pink unicorn roamed the grounds, greeting everyone and dancing.

Photo by Beth Chafetz
Manning the ABAR booth on the Green at the Pride celebration on June 11, Andi Prusi, left, and Amy Healy, are at the table, and Leila Prusi stands in front. It was a beautiful day.

The formal program, emceed by Reverend Justin Cox from the Second Baptist Church, featured speakers, music and dancing. Highlights included addresses by Carrie Firestone and Dr. Anna Marie LaChance, a performance by Lady Gaga Tribute Artist Nickie Fuller and original songs by Amber Dawne. Others at the microphone included Robin and Jack Henrie, Ash Richardson-White, Christina Vega, Tytannia Lockhart, Aamahri Nicholson and Kristen Kling and Suzanne Richardson-White.

Author Carrie Firestone gave an update on the dangerous reality of book banning across the United States. She encouraged attendees to support authors, librarians and readers by following @UABookBans and buying and amplifying LGBTQIA and BIPOC stories. Dr. Anna Marie LaChance addressed her remarks to the Transgender population, saying “I thought it would be nice to have a speech written by one of us, for all of us.” She noted the rise in support for the trans population in the mid-2010s and contrasted it with the current rising hostility in political, educational and legislative spaces. She encouraged living an authentic life, emphasizing that this makes the world a better place. “Transitioning has made me a better teacher, a better mentor, and a better human, because it showed me the change I was capable of, and what anybody else can be capable of too.”

ABAR Board member and Suffield Pride Organizer Jill Adams remarked that this was the biggest crowd and the most vendors ever, and they are looking forward to next year. If you are interested in knowing more about ABAR, they have a Facebook group you can join. And if you are interested in resources about any aspect of the LGBTQIA+ community, the Kent Memorial Library is a great place to start. 

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