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Arkansans went to Pride with a purpose this year after recent legislation

Arkansans went to Pride with a bigger purpose this year.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Northwest Arkansas celebrated pride with the 19th annual Pride Parade in Fayetteville down Dickson Street on Saturday, June 24.

Over 100 different organizations walked in this year’s parade despite the high heat temperatures.

With recent attempts for restrictions on drag shows and gender-affirming care for minors, this made this year's pride even more important. Arkansans came to the parade with a purpose.

Bridget Smith came to this year’s pride parade in hopes to support one specific community, the transgender community.

“I support especially the transgender community which in my opinion people are trying to commit a genocide of them,” said Smith.

When asked specifically about the attempt to restrict minors and businesses from drag shows, Smith said at its core it has to do with transgender people.

“In essence, it’s not about drag. They’re going after the drag queens saying that so they can back door in taking away transgender rights, eliminating trans people,” said Smith. “Basically, arresting them for existing.”

Some attendees said they were hesitant to come at first. But that didn’t stop people as Dickson Street was lined with crowds.

“This is my first pride ever so I’m really happy to be here,” said Alyx Raphael.

Drew Dufrane said he hopes people can come to pride “To be ourselves and we won’t get judged.”

“The LGBTQ community is accepting of whoever you are,” said Silas Rowe when asked about people who may be new to the community.

Smith was excited to be at pride this year but still aware of the state of the world.

“Love is love but Pride isn’t only about love and this year we love everyone but I’m pretty angry,” said Smith.

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