Inaugural Pride parade takes place downtown
FARMINGTON — Less than a week after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Farmington's LGBT community held its inaugural Pride parade this morning.
"Not only are we celebrating our pride, but we're honoring our fallen brethren by being out here in the open," said MP Schildmeyer, chair of the Farmington LGBT Pride Committee.
A couple of hundred people marched in the parade down Main Street as families and allies watched and cheered from the sidewalks.
In light of the Orlando shooting, the Farmington Police Department increased its presence at the parade, including positioning officers on rooftops downtown.
"We didn't have a problem with any ruckus," said Kris Moore, a board member of Identity Inc., the nonprofit LGBT organization that operates the downtown community center.
She added that everyone at the parade felt very safe.
"I think it's a great atmosphere and a great day," she said.
There were a few protesters on the sidewalks, including a man who held a sign with a Bible verse from the book of Romans written on it. The man stood on the corner of Allen Avenue and Main Street along with his small white dog, but did not cause any disruptions to the parade.
People of all ages participated in the parade, including LGBT young people like Kayla Moffitt, Iree Herron, Mallory Decker and Casey Pike.
"I really wanted to show pride for who I am," said Herron, a 17-year-old Aztec High School student.
The girls said there is a feeling that they are alone and different.
"I wanted to come out and show others that they're not alone," said Moffitt, a 16-year-old Piedra Vista High School student.
Pike, 16, said she formed an LGBT group at Aztec High School in December as a way of showing her LGBT peers that "there are people like them at the school."
Unlike Pike, Decker and Herron, Moffitt does not have an LGBT group at her school, and she does not know of any other transgender girls at Piedra Vista. She said she wants to show people that "you can be whoever you want to be if you set your mind to it."
Moffitt and Herron have both felt support from their families, and Herron's mother joined her in the parade wearing a shirt that read, "Let's get this straight, my daughter isn't."
Moffitt's mother also encouraged her to march in the parade even after the mass shooting in Orlando.
"My mom told me to stand up to fear and never be afraid of who I am," she said.
Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.