Rochester’s Pridefest began in 1998 under the leadership of Gay and Lesbian Community Services of Southeastern Minnesota (GLCS) and was held every year for nearly the next two decades.
In the past year, GLCS passed the planning of Pride over to a diverse group of LGBTQIA residents that came together to form a new nonprofit organization named Rochester Pride. Rochester Pride is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQIA identities in our city. Our board, made of elected community members, strives to build upon the past twenty years of Pride as we look forward to the future.
According to the Williams Institute, an estimated 230,000 Minnesotans, or 4.1 percent of the population, identify as LGBTQIA. While Minnesota has made strides toward protecting those identities, the U.S. as a whole is seeing many of those legal protections stripped away. It is more important than ever to celebrate and foster understanding of gender and sexual minorities in these divisive times.
There are other Pride celebrations in Minnesota, but no other city has as rich an international population. As Rochester continues to grow, new opportunities to refashion this city as a welcoming, inclusive place for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations are presenting themselves. We welcome all individuals, organizations, and businesses who are interested in participating as a sponsor to do so. The generosity of the wider community will be critical for Rochester to have a successful Pride in 2019 and to affirm that all are welcomed and valued within our community.
The Rochester Pride Board is made of community members with a range of gender and sexual identities, who were all elected by the members of the group in late 2018. If you are interested in joining a committee or serving on the board in future years, don’t hesitate to reach out!