TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A revitalized pride festival is expected to come to Twin Falls this year, giving youth LGBTQ individuals a renewed sense of belonging.
For about 5 years, Southern Idaho Pride has aimed to represent the LGBTQ community through education, representation and celebration. One of their biggest events is the annual pride festival in Twin Falls, which the pandemic forced to be virtual last year.
“We made it happen, but it was not ideal,” said Southern Idaho Pride President Cory Smith. “We are so excited that we are finally able to get together this year and finally see each other again.”
Canceled events and virtual celebrations have impacted a massive number of Idahoans, and for some youth, their support network has been not as easy to access.
“I think the youth in our area, the LGBTQ youth have had it the hardest,” said Smith. “To not be able to see that they're not alone I can only imagine how hard it has been.”
For some, the pride festival serves as more than just a celebration, including transgender woman Emily English who presented herself as female for the first time at the festival two years ago.
“It was fantastic, I was comfortably invisible,” said English. “I was able to be myself when no one cared.”
The pride festival will be returning this year in person on July 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Southern Idaho Pride is also currently searching for additional vendors and community sponsors for the event. Businesses interested in reserving a vendor space can visit southernidahopride.org to find out more information, and those who would like to sponsor this year's event can visit the same site.
“As we get vaccinated it is a gift to reconnect with people who speak your language,” English said.