The Norman Pride festival and parade that took place over the weekend was an excellent example of our local community coming together to celebrate what makes us who we are.
It affirmed Norman's motto of "Building an Inclusive Community" by publicly celebrating our LGBTQ+ community and creating spaces and events where Normanites could come together, interact, have fun and learn more about each other and a variety of organizations. The long list of supporting businesses and churches affirmed substantial support in the community for Norman Pride, but it was the people who participated in the festival and parade, often adorned in rainbow flags and sporting buttons with supportive phrases who made Norman Pride truly meaningful.
While Norman is often considered a progressive city, our community has not been immune from hateful rhetoric launched at LGBTQ+ Normanites; consider the controversy in 2010 surrounding the Norman City Council passing a proclamation naming October Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. The proclamation generated such hateful comments that a local gay teen, Zach Harrington, committed suicide a week later. It took six years before Norman was able to pass another LGBT History Month proclamation.
It's impossible to know how many hearts and minds have changed in the past nine years, but to go from the 2010 controversy to holding a pride festival across three days on Campus Corner and in downtown Norman is welcome progress. We hope that Norman Pride will continue to grow year after year in our City of Festivals.