The first-ever Transgender Pride Festival in Utah will be held Sept. 28 in Provo. Presented by Genderbands, which was formed in 2015 solely to fundraise, and eventually pay, for founding President Ian Giles’ top surgery. Today, Genderbands is a local and national nonprofit entity that serves the transgender, gender non-conforming, and other gender diverse communities. The organization is volunteer-lead and executes programming, services, and events on both a local and national scale.
The festival is the new brainchild of Giles, who has felt a need to wholly celebrate in one place the transgender community, particularly in Utah County. “We believe it’s important for the trans community to have the spotlight at times. I especially believe it’s important to host the festival in Utah County,” Giles said, “this is an extremely conservative county with very little LGBT resources and even fewer Trans resources.”
“Trans Pride creates a safe and affirming space for trans people of all gender identities to gather and be themselves, and to recognize the unique experiences and needs of the transgender community,” continued Giles. “We come together to celebrate our trans siblings. We recognize and honor the trans women of color who stood up to defy injustice and launch the LGBTQ rights movement at Stonewall 50 years ago.
“While most LGBTQ Pride events do a great job of celebrating and serving the gay community, sometimes these events fall short of acknowledging and representing gender minorities. We are working to fill that gap by providing visibility to the trans experience and empowering trans people to live with authenticity.
“Genderbands wants transgender people everywhere, especially in Utah County, to know they are loved, important, and not alone.”
The festival will be held at Lions Park in Provo on Sept. 28, from 4-8:30 p.m. The event is free, family-friendly, and dog-friendly (on a leash). There will be food trucks, vendors, and even mermaids. And the festival is sponsored by Utah Pride Center: Transaction and Rebirth OBGYN Gender Center.
Following the festivities at the park, an after party will commence at City Limits Tavern in Provo starting at 9 p.m, with DJ Toda spinning hot hits, and following at 11 p.m., will be a drag and burlesque show. There is a $5 cover at the door and is a 21+ event.