(NEW YORK) -- Brooklyn Pride held its first-ever youth-exclusive pride event yesterday. Children and young adults showed up decked out in pride flags of all kinds, many jumping up and down with excitement.
Vee Lin, 12, who goes by all pronouns, waved a Progress pride flag that they had just bought just before entering the event. They expressed excitement about the chance to meet other LGBTQ+ kids.
“Not everybody is always cool with people being like gay and trans, so it's cool having a bunch of people who are around who are queer,” Lin said.
Sunday marked six years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The anniversary comes amid an uptick in violence towards people at pride events nationally. Over the weekend, 31 alleged members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were detained and charged with conspiracy to riot while heading to a pride parade in Idaho.
Instead of expressing defeat or fear, parents and performers have shown up to support the future of the LQBTQ+ community. Organizers Cam and Victoria Moore said this youth pride event offers a safe space for queer youth in a world where the political climate is ever-changing.
“To me, rules are changing, laws are changing, and you know we can't stop everything," Victoria Moore said. “It takes time, and this, I feel, is just a part of that. We want to show the kids come on out, have fun with their peers, and we adults care about you.”
The two hope to give a voice to teenagers like Desmond Napoles, 15, who goes by she/they pronouns. Napoles performed her original song “Be Amazing” at the event, hoping to empower the teenagers in the audience. After her performance, she approached the microphone with this request.
“Make sure to fight for your rights and be yourself always no matter what anyone says, because we have gone too far to have our rights taken away.”