Boise Pride Fest draws crowd and hope for further progress

BOISE - Hundreds of people from all over the state were in the City of Trees Saturday to stand together in support of equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer community.

Boise's Pride Parade keeps getting bigger every year. The LGBTQ community converge, along with their friends and family, and feel a sense of unity. They just wish every day could be like this.

"When you say you're getting gay married, or something. It's just marriage, it's just love like everybody else," say Jasper Schultz, who advocates for equality for all. "We don't want anything different, we just want to be respected."

Some of the festival attendees Six On Your Side talked to says the event represents their history and that it's also a way to create awareness that coming out is not an easy path to take.

"When you hate yourself enough," says Rukia Bliss, a Nampa resident. "You don't need everyone else hating you too."

Idaho's only openly gay legislator currently in office had a booth set up at the Capitol Park festival. He thinks having other lawmakers get to know him is helping the LGBTQ community's cause.

"As they [Idaho legislators] get to know that we are here and that we're just like everybody else.. we love the same, we hurt the same, we bleed the same," says Rep. John McCrostie, representing District 16 Seat A (D). "We all work together to try to make our communities better places."

Rep. McCrostie is already preparing for the next legislative session. He will keep working to get a statute passed to ban gay conversion therapy in the Gem state. He says it increases rates of suicide among teens.

In addition, he also wants to amend Idaho's HIV criminalization law created in the late 1980s when not as much was known about the virus and its transmission. Like others, McCrostie is not giving up hope either that the Idaho Human Rights Act will one day include the words sexual orientation and gender identity.

"As someone who is transgender, it [the Add the Words Movement] speaks to me on a really personal level," says Cade Kendall, who just wants to feel more safe in general. "So, I would really enjoy it if it got passed."

The two-day festival ends Saturday night with a Pride Street Party that starts at 10 p.m. along 8th and Idaho Streets.

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