Crista Sorenson was known to most in Logan, Utah’s LGBT community as the driving force behind Logan Pride and the Logan Pride Center. She died Wednesday, April 1, a week after a massive stroke at the age of 44.
During her week in the hospital, family and friends were not allowed to visit because of restrictions due to the coronavirus. The family, however, was able to see her the day she died.
Sorenson was one of three original directors of the Logan Pride Foundation, which hosts the Logan Pride Festival and just this year opened the Logan Pride Center directly across the street from the Logan Tabernacle.
“The stars really aligned for this to all come together,” Sorenson told the press during the January opening of the Center. “This is a phenomenal house. It is a welcoming, inclusive place where we can all interact.”
Sorenson helped Logan Pride grow tremendously over the past four years.
“It is important to be involved and help make my community into what I want it to be,” Sorenson said during the open house.
“For a good while, Crista WAS Logan Pride,” Logan Pride President Christa Nova Cannell said. “She was a workhorse who relentlessly supported and advocated for Cache Valley’s queer communities. She brought together a vast number of LGBTQ folx and allies during her service on the Logan Pride board.”
More than that, Cannell said, Sorenson was a friend.
“She met everyone at their level, with kindness and compassion and openness,” Cannell said. “As a community, we’ve lost a leader and a friend, and that makes the tragedy hit twice as hard.”
“Crista was an impossible-to-miss energy. She was boisterous and jovial, and every room she walked into got a little bit easier to exist in,” Cannell continued. “She literally sparkled. That sparkle was something that drew us in and made us all feel like we belonged.”
“A few days a week, I would sneak across campus to the USU Inclusion Center just to drink coffee next to her,” Cannell said. “She brought me into the world of queer community organizing, and empowered me to get real things done for my community.”
Sorenson’s family agrees.
“Crista used her ‘stick it to the man’ mentality to enact real change within the community she loved and cherished as her home,” Crista’s daughter Kathryn Sorenson wrote on Facebook. “Everyone she met she respected and unconditionally loved. She was the most accepting, encouraging, and warm individual this world will ever know.”
Sorenson was born and raised in American Fork, Utah, and moved to Logan to attend Utah State University. She was passionate about conservation, community gardening, and helping others. She helped manage the Cache Valley Gardener’s Market as well as the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection that works with refugees from Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia who ended up settling in the area almost a decade ago.
“Beyond all of the many things she was involved in outside of the home, she loved to garden, cook, and take care of her children,” husband Cory Wilkinson told the Herald Journal. “She was a true joy to be around.”
“My mom is the most genuine, caring, and the strongest woman I’ve ever known,” daughter Betty Brown posted on Facebook. “My mother had the biggest heart and only wished for kindness and love for everyone, even if they may not ‘deserve’ it. Mom spent her life helping others and spreading positivity to everyone who needed it. Of course, my mom had flaws, and she decided to put everyone before her and heal others without being able to heal herself.”
“I remember when I first meet Crista Sorenson, it was the day we formally formed The Pride Coalition of Utah. Her spirit and strength will always be something I aspire to as a leader and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Harrison Spendlove. “She was never apologetic for being true to herself and for being an outspoken, direct, and unwavering voice for what was right.”
“Crista Sorenson knew and truly understood what it meant when we say love is love,” wrote Adam Spencer-Aguillon. “A rainbow never dies, it just keeps shining on in different ways with its rays.”