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Billings to host first Pride event in almost 10 years - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Billings to host first Pride event in almost 10 years

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Pride parade in Butte, June 2014 (MTN Photo) Pride parade in Butte, June 2014 (MTN Photo)
BILLINGS -

The Big Sky Pride is returning to Billings this weekend after almost a decade.

"We have not had any Pride events in Billings, Montana in nine years,” said Shauna Goubeaux, a member of the Big Sky Pride planning committee.

“In 2008 there was a pride event in Billings, Montana and I think that's part of the reason this is so important," said Goubeaux.

Big Sky Pride is an organization aimed at promoting and celebrating the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

The official kick off for the Big Sky Pride event in Billings was earlier this week, but the main events start on Friday.

"We've tried to make it as open and as much about community and families and everybody being together and celebrating," said Goubeaux.

Close to 70 events are planned for Billings, all to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and bring people together.

"We knew there was a layer of support here in Billings for the LGBTQ community and moving things forward for equality,” said Walt Donges, the president of the Southeast Montana Primetimers, which is an organization made up of gay and bi-sexual men over 55.

Many local businesses are contributing to the weekend by hosting events or just getting involved.

"There are a lot of businesses that stepped up to the plate that really opened their doors,” said Cole Kortum, part of the event planning committee.

“[They] really support what we do here and what we strive for... equality for all, and dignity and the respect of others," said Kortum.

In a weekend packed with events, the big day is Saturday, which kicks off with the Pride Parade dowtown.

"Were lining up at 11 o'clock for the largest rainbow festival, party, parade you'll ever see in Billings, Montana," said Goubeaux.

The parade is a family friendly event that is open for anyone to participate in.

The parade is followed by a rally at the federal courthouse, then a festival at North Park full of vendors, food, and plenty of entertainment for both adults and kids.

“What’s important to us here is families,” said Donges.

“I raised my children as an out gay man, as a single parent, and there were very few resources so it was very important to me through my whole life is to create the opportunities for family here in Billings because I think by identifying as family people we then assimilate the rest of society into the way we actually operate which is not different than the rest of the world. We are virtually the same."

“It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, race, religion, anything...it's just a matter of being on an equal playing field 100 percent,” said Kortum.

For a full list of events click here.

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