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2012 Utah Pride Festival

The whole point of a Pride Festival is for people of all stripes to stand up and shout out loud how proud they are of who and what they are. There should be no shame in sexuality and gender, regardless of one’s identity.

This year’s Utah Pride Festival is jam-packed with dignitaries who know this all too well. The grand marshal of the whole shebang is screenwriter, playwright, director and Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (pictured), best known for Big Love and Milk. Valerie Larabee, winner of the Dr. Kristen Ries Community Service Award, and state Sen. Ben McAdams, winner of the Pete Suazo Political Action Award, will also be honored at a reception at the Leonardo on June 1, along with Pat Bagley, recipient of the Local Hero award.

But the real fun is in the national headliners coaxed into town to help celebrate one of the nation’s most politically conservative states shaking up its dusty hegemony. This year, dance diva Kristine W will take the stage alongside Broadway star and American Idol finalist Frenchie Davis. But the most outrageous performer commanding the spotlight will certainly be the uber-dandy Prince Poppycock.

The fact that the U.S. president can not only believe in equality, but also bravely come out and state as much without committing immediate political suicide is definitely a step in the right direction; pride festivals are doing their job. But the fact that the world still needs public-awareness campaigns like Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better,” which provide a positive outreach to a struggling gay-youth population, is also a testament that such festivals are still desperately needed. (Jacob Stringer)

Date: Jun 2, 2012
Time: All Day
Address: 450 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, 84111
Where: Washington Square