ASHLAND, Ore.– Southern Oregon celebrated with pride today as thousands gathered in Ashland for the annual Pride parade. This year, the parade celebrated 50 years since the Stonewall Riots an event that marked a turning point for LGBTQ rights.
Saturday was a day to be proud in southern Oregon. With float after float, thousands celebrated their pride in Ashland for the annual SO Pride Parade.
“Not only is it ok to be queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, but we can be proud of that,” said Dr. Audrey Lehmann, a therapist participating in the parade.
“It’s not something that has to be hidden or be ashamed of because it is normal,” said Denise Cardinal, who was in attendance with her granddaughter.
With festivities happening throughout the day and into the evening, there was a lot for people to enjoy and be proud of.
“I thought I was gonna cry cause it had been really draining for me to kind of be secretive about it and not be who I was per se,” said 17-year-old Elowen Palmehn, a local from Ashland who had recently come out to her parents. “Just telling her I was actually gay – it was really a release.”
A parade full of warm embraces and hearts full of love, this year’s parade celebrated triumphs and tribulations.
“I do get teared up. As a therapist, I’ve worked with parents and grandparents that just want what their transgender kid wants,” said Lehmann. “Even at five and we didn’t see that 40 years ago. so that’s what moves me the most for sure.”
But all the while, the day was about never forgetting what it means to be proud of who you are.
This year was the 9th annual parade. The theme was called ‘Honor the History, Forge the Future.’ Events will continue throughout the night on Saturday at several restaurants and bars across Ashland. If you would like to learn more, you can find events on the SO Pride website.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.