ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- On June 28th, 1969, violence erupted on Christopher Street as Police assaulted LGBTQ bar go-ers The Stonewall riots lasted until July 3rd and one year later the first official Pride parade marked the brutality.  

“We wanted to bring Pride Festival back to Elmira,” said Jenny Monroe Church Council President at Park Church, Elmira. “It has been about ten years since it has happened.” 

Pride Festivals take place worldwide every June. Sometimes the events are extravagant like in Tel Aviv, Israel, or major U.S. cities like Chicago and Manhattan. Even wholesome, smaller gatherings in Elmira’s Wisner Park.

“Pride is about a celebration of the way you love, and it doesn't matter to us who you love. So, it is a celebration of the LGBT lifestyle. Plus, all the vendors here are in support of that lifestyle.” 

Whether your community is based in a: religious house of worship, community groups, artist, friends, or family; pride is about positive self-expression. 

“I am a senior at Corning-Painted Post High School. I come from a rainbow family,” shares Jae Edinger- Vanatti. “I have several moms more than I can possibly count.”  

Jae had a complicated transition. At one point Jae was, female then non-binary, before coming out as male, before going back to nonbinary. Jae transitioned as a male two months after beginning testosterone. 

“I actually only came out as male in June of 2022,” added Edinger-Vanatti.  

June is a time for neighbors of the Southern Tier to gather with Pride to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.  

“We’ve come far,” preached Pastor Gary Brinn, The Park Church, Elmira. “We serve in the military; we are afforded basic civil liberties in most states. You can see same-sex couples on the Disney Channel and Hallmark Christmas movies, and still, we are not safe.”  

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