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More than 1,000 attend community-building ‘Pride Without Police’ event

Jun 11, 2023, 10:31 AM | Updated: 10:33 am

SALT LAKE CITY — To the beat of a local queer band, people browsed booths in Fairmont Park Saturday filled with small, local business owners and activist organizations.

A painted sign sat next to the pavilion where people danced and rocked out to the music.

“A LOCAL MOVEMENT” it stated. “Participants should leave with a better understanding of local organizing efforts and clear ways to be INVOLVED.”

At the heart of the movement: Celebrating queer identities at Pride Without Police.

“We recognize that you can’t have a strong movement without a strong community,” Izzy, an organizer for Pride Without Police said. “We support each other, we love each other.”

Izzy explained that Pride Without Police began three years ago, as a way to reject what many see as corporatized Pride celebrations.

Thousands of Utahns gather for 33rd Pride Festival

The first year, Izzy said about 60 people showed up. This year, they estimate that more than 1,000 people attended.

The event is free to attend, features free food and entertainment, and vendor booths highlight small, local, queer artists and business owners.

Many booths also feature local organizations fighting for causes and LGBTQ rights. Izzy spoke about points of unity for the event, the first of which is agitation.

“Living in Utah, we have much to fight for. We have much to not be complacent about,” Izzy said. “We have very little rhetoric from our corporate pride on that.”

They talked about getting away from corporations and getting back to the grassroots movement and fight that started Pride 54 years ago, with the Stonewall Uprising in 1969.

“Stonewall, the riot, was mostly started because of the police. A huge thing was enforcing dress codes,” they said. “They have a different name for it now, but it’s come back … and this is a clearly just plain attack on trans people in our community.”

Tents at a park

Pride Without Police estimates more than 1,000 people attended this year (KSL TV)

Izzy explained how another point of unity for Pride Without Police is intersectionality, making sure marginalized groups within the queer community are included and have accessibility. The event also aimed at creating solidarity and building community.

Izzy expressed that they wanted queer people to know they’re not alone, and that there’s so much hope.

“But it requires action, and it requires doing hard things,” Izzy said. “We can only do all of those through community building, by prioritizing the most marginalized among us. By doing that, we all become free.”

Pride Without Police 2023 was organized by Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid, Armed Queers SLC, and Wasatch Tenants United.

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More than 1,000 attend community-building ‘Pride Without Police’ event