LGBT groups will participate in Provo Freedom Festival

The Freedom Festival parade will be on July 4, 2018. Four LGBT support groups will participate after they were initially denied a spot in the parade. (Ernie L. Thornton)

Four LGBT support groups will participate in America’s Freedom Festival at Provo after initially being denied entry.

Provo Pride, PFLAG, Mormons Building Bridges and Encircle are all LGBT support organizations that will participate in the Freedom Festival parade. Queer Meals, who originally sent in an application, opted to not participate in the event.

The LGBT groups met with Freedom Festival chairpersons on June 14 to discuss their parade applications after not being admitted into the parade. Festival Director Paul Warner released a statement before the meeting saying the groups’ application denial had nothing to do with prejudice or discrimination.

The Festival firmly stands for equal opportunity. However, the parade is a Fourth of July celebration of America, not a special interest-oriented parade,” Warner said.

Brianna Cluck, a PR representative for Provo Pride, said the groups discussed the issues on June 14. 

“Originally they said that our entry was not high-quality and did not fit the themes and purposes of the Freedom Festival,” Cluck said, “They were concerned that our logo had a rainbow on it.” 

Tara Catmull, an executive assistant over parade entry, stated that the initial entries missed the purpose of the parade event.

“Our pre-parade is supposed to be about entertainment and getting the crowd excited. A bunch of people just walking had no real entertainment aspect. Their original applications did not have the patriotic side of things that we were looking for,” Catmull said. “They had much larger numbers than we were looking for, and some of the verbiages on their signs were just not in line with celebrating the Fourth of July.” 

Ultimately the LGBT groups were offered a second chance at applying, keeping the parade entry requirements in mind.

“We met with them and explained the things we needed to have changed. We finally came to a conclusion of what would work for both sides,” Catmull said.

The compromise on the part of the Provo Pride organization included the following: changing the color of their t-shirts from bright, multicolored shirts to red, white and blue shirts, adding multiple United States flags to their displays and reducing the number of participants that will walk with the organization during the pre-parade.

“The parade compromised by letting us in after they denied us, and (they) let us make our own banner that included our logo,” Cluck said. 

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