May 24, 2023 - News

What to expect at the 2023 Utah Pride Festival

Illustration of a rainbow-striped pixelated heart icon on a computer screen

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The annual Utah Pride Festival is set to kick off June 1, featuring performances by drag queens Trixie Mattel and Monét X Change, singer Vincint and a rally at the state Capitol.

By the numbers: The four-day event in Salt Lake City is expected to draw 150,000 visitors, Ted Nicholls, director of operations and special events for the Utah Pride Center, told Axios.

  • Between 12,000 and 15,000 participants will march in the Parade, scheduled for June 4 from 10am-noon.

Details: The event will be cashless — a first in its more than 30-year history, Nicholls noted.

  • It will also feature one main stage for performers instead of four smaller stages as in previous years.

What they're saying: Nicholls described this year's theme "unapologetic" — "living authentically as your absolute most genuine self without fear of judgment or persecution or not belonging."

Context: The annual celebration of LGBTQ+ Utahns comes nearly six months after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a controversial bill banning gender-affirming health care for transgender minors.

The other side: Last year, the Utah Pride Center faced backlash for allowing uniformed officers to march in the parade, and opponents of the move hosted a separate "Pride Without Police" celebration.

  • The criticism came amid major U.S. cities like Denver, New York City, and San Francisco banning uniformed law enforcement from marching in their parades last year.

Flashback: Pride festivities are traditionally held in June to observe the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement, prompted by police raiding a gay club in New York City.

The latest: In an email, Chad Call, the parade's director, told Axios the Salt Lake City Police Department registered to march in this year's parade, adding there had been "no specific changes discriminating against or between any government agencies in our community."

What's next: "Pride Without Police" will return June 10 at Fairmont Park from 2 to 10pm.


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