PARK CITY, Utah — For many members of the LGBTQ+ community in Utah, 2023 has been a challenging year.
But as the pride flag rose at Miner’s Hospital on June 1 to honor the beginning of Pride Month, it served as a reminder that many members of the Park City community are still striving to make the area a more loving and accepting place for all.
“Park City just really wants to lean in and be an incredibly supportive community. We’ve discovered this bubble of allies and organizations that open their doors to us at all levels,” said Joe Urankar, a co-chair of Park City’s LGBTQ+ Taskforce. “I think everyone sees what’s happening and wants to be part of the solution… and focus on how do we as a community just care for each other, regardless of the minutiae of our identities. You know, we’re all just people who live here together.”
The LGBTQ+ Taskforce was formed by Park City Municipal in 2021 to evaluate and address the needs of local residents. The group hosts social events, advocates for LGBTQ+ causes, collaborates with local governments, and more.
The Taskforce will host several activities throughout Pride Month, open to all members of the public.
Living Library: Saturday, June 17
Six members of the LGBTQ+ Taskforce have volunteered to be “checked out” as part of this living library event, which will be held at the Park City Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants can register for one of six 45-minute sessions where they will be able to have one-on-one conversations with their “book” in a safe, judgement free environment.
Cami Richardson, a 68-year-old trans woman who came out in 2016 full-time, serves as a co-chair on the LGBTQ+ Taskforce and often fields questions from locals seeking clarification or guidance on LGBTQ+ issues.
“Over the years, I’ve had many people stop me at the grocery store and tell me that their son or daughter is confused and asked if I would talk with them. I have made those calls, so I think it helps when they can see someone as old as me being able to come out at 63 to make a difference,” Richardson said. “People who we are featuring are community members, and they all have fascinating stories about how they found themselves. There’s a holistic approach where the whole community is a part of this event.”
For more information on living library volunteers or to register for a time slot, visit https://www.parkcitypride.org/events/livinglibrary.
Letters to Parents: Saturday, June 24
Letters to Parents is the first Pride Month event hosted by the Park City High School Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Members of the GSA will read anonymous letters from queer youth all over Utah addressed to their parents.
“They have been having conversations about their relationship with their parents, and trying to figure out how to communicate themselves,” Urankar said. “There’s been a gap in what they feel they can say to their parents. So these these letters came up as an opportunity to speak more freely and openly about the experience that they’re going through and the effect of their identity on their parents, and of their parents beliefs on them. Hopefully we break down some some barriers in understanding each other.”
This event will be held in the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium from 12-1 p.m.
Pride Picnic: Sunday, June 25
The annual Pride Picnic will feature music, lawn games, and booths from local organizations. Attendees are expected to provide their own food and drinks.
“The pride picnic is going to be a social event, and a safe space for our community to come together and just have some fun,” Urankar said.
The event will kick off at at City Park’s South End Pavilion at 10 a.m. with a yoga class from PC Yoga Collective. The picnic itself will begin at 11 a.m., and end at 3 p.m.
Fourth of July Parade: Tuesday, July 4
For the third year, the LGBTQ+ Taskforce will march in Park City’s annual Fourth of July Parade. Participants will meet on Swede Alley at 9 a.m., and march in the parade until 12 p.m. To sign up to participate, visit https://www.parkcitypride.org/events/july4.
“We’ve gotten upwards of 75 people, and so we’re crossing our fingers that they can bring it up to 100 and just be able to be a part of the community and create that visibility,” Urankar said.
For more information on the LGBTQ+ Taskforce and Pride Month events, visit https://www.parkcitypride.org/.