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Springfield, Massachusetts, to host its 1st pride parade

Springfield, Massachusetts, to host its 1st pride parade
Springfield Pride Parade Organization founder and CEO Taurean Bethea. (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, is set to bring in Pride Month by making history.

On June 4, the city is hosting its first Pride Parade in the city’s 170-year history, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting from the Springfield Technical Community College and wrapping up at Court Square/City Hall for a reception and celebration.Springfield Pride Parade Organization founder and CEO Taurean Bethea spoke to rolling out about the historic event.

What are you looking forward to seeing in the parade?

I’m really looking forward to seeing the kids in the parade unit. What our organization is doing is we’re inviting all the LGBTQ+ groups, within the community and in the local high schools, to march with us. Our goal with this parade is to make sure that these kids are seen, and they feel supported, and know that the city has their back. And the response we’ve been getting thus far, is awesome.

When you see pop culture talking about Zaya Wade and criticizing some of the things she’s posted on social media, like a photo kissing her boyfriend, how do you feel about that?

I believe her parents did a great job because they supported her. If she wanted to do what she did, she had a full support from her parents, and I think that’s the best that you could possibly do is just support your child. Whatever decision they make, and just make sure that nothing changes, you will love them the same no matter what, and just communicate and understand how they feel. The biggest thing is the communication and truly understanding how that child is feeling because a lot of a lot of kids are just really angry inside. … So with them supporting her, and her transition, she must have felt so amazing that she doesn’t have to be fearful and she could really live and be her true self.

When was the first time that you felt supported?

When I came out, because I came out late, and I came out when I was 33. … I was afraid because I thought I was going to lose my identity. I thought coming out as gay, people would think I would turn into this different person, like I couldn’t watch football anymore. I couldn’t drink beer anymore, and I was nervous about that.

The reason I came out is suicide rates were up in like youth of the community of Springfield, suicide rates, depression. My reasoning for coming out was to show you won’t lose yourself, and you could still be out and proud and still be an impact on the community. … That’s when I felt supported, when I announced I was gay back in 2017.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.

Check out photos from Springfield’s 1st Pride Parade:

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