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Salt Lake City Library during 2006 Utah Pride Festival

The Utah Pride Festival is a festival held in downtown Salt Lake City in June, celebrating Utah's diversity and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations. The event is a program of The Utah Pride Center. It includes the state’s second-largest parade [1]. In 2004 an estimated 50,000 people attended, the largest since the festival began in 1977 when the "Salt Lake Coalition for Human Rights" sponsored a three-day conference. The 1977 keynote speakers were David Kopay, the first NFL player to come out of the closet, and Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, an ex-Mormon who was the first out gay person ever to appear on the cover of Time Magazine. Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons (then called "Gay Mormons United") was also founded during this conference, on June 11, 1977. [2]

However, in 2005, the first year in which an admission was charged attendance at the festival was between 15,000 and 20,000. Some have attributed this decline to patrons not wanting to pay for the festival. [3] Utah Pride organizers, however, argue that 2005 was the first year in which an accurate method of counting the attendance were employed, and that the numbers did not reflect a drop in attendance. [4]

Aspects of the Utah Pride include the Parade and Festival, a film festival, Dyke March, interfaith service, 5K charity run and related parties and receptions.

Participation in the Festival cuts across a broad spectrum of Salt Lakers. Past speakers during the celebration have ranged from Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who was quoted in support of same sex marriage, to Rep. Jackie Biskupski, the state’s first openly gay state legislator.

History

Utah Pride Festival History
Year Dates Festival name Theme Estimated attendance
1977 June 10-12 Human Rights 400
1983 A Day in the Park
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001 June 7-10 Utah Pride Embracing Diversity
2002 June 1-2, June 5, June8-9 Utah Pride
2003 Be Yourself Out Loud
2004 June 11-13 Utah Pride Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!
2005 June 8-12 Utah Pride Equal Rights. No More. No Less. 15,000 - 20,000
2006 June 1-4 Utah Pride Pride, Not Prejudice 20,000[5]
2007 June 1-3 Utah Pride United for Equality
2008 June 6-8 Utah Pride Come Together
2009 June 5-7 Utah Pride Festival Pride. Voice. Action.

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