The organization behind Southern Utah’s annual Gay Pride celebration has said that the two day event will not take place this year.
Instead, the group will put its efforts towards opening a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in St. George, to serve people from Utah’s Washington County area, Southern Nevada and such Northern Arizona cities as Beaver Dam.
“We feel that a center is essential and will help people on a day to day basis rather than having a party two days a year,” said Anne Golibersuch, president of Southern Utah Pride Association, Inc., the organization that has run the Southern Utah Pride Festival since 2002.
This year, SUPAI plans to hold monthly fundraisers, apply for grants, and solicit private donations to make the St. George Center a reality. Fundraiser themes so far include events for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day and the summer solstice, as well as a gay prom.
Golibersuch said she envisions a community center structured along the lines of the Utah Pride Center in the Salt Lake City and the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, which serves Las Vegas and surrounding cities.
“We want to be a total resource center, have youth groups, empowerment groups … and fit it to our needs [as] a much a smaller town,” she said.
So far, SUPAI has raised over $3,500 for the center, and is hoping to bring in more money as the year continues.
“It may take us a little while, it may take us more than a year, but we are dedicated to opening a center here because it is so needed, us being a much, much smaller community than Salt Lake and Vegas, for instance. It seems to me that it’s so much more intolerant here,” said Golibersuch, noting that the festival has had difficulty attracting “big sponsors.”
She added the group would revisit the festival after the center’s founding.
“We’re not writing off the festival,” she said.