49th Annual Iowa City Pride Celebration

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) Live music. Dancing, and showing support, hundreds came out to celebrate pride week on Saturday.

“I’ve seen all these wonderfully dressed people, I’m seeing all my supportive friends,” said Jim Baker of Iowa City.

But for Baker and many others, it hasn’t always been easy. He came out to his family and friends around five years ago,

“At the time I was living in a house with three other guys,” he said. “I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable.”

This year’s pride is to honor what many call the first step to LGBTQ rights, the Stonewall riots. Police raided the Stonewall Inn in 1969 which was an LGBTQ friendly bar. That raid led to riots.

Those who help put on the vent every year say it is important to look back and remember how the community has gotten so far.

“It’s especially important in the last couple of years with the hatred going around especially towards the transgender community,” said Christine Hawes, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Iowa City Pride event. We wanted to focus on standing up for the overall sense of love and rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

While Baker doesn’t condone violence he said the Stonewall riots are an important part of history.

“What lessons can I learn from the riots,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on at the moment.”

He said the support is still needed this weekend every week.

“It’s great to be feeling safe and represented,” he said.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Iowa City Pride Festival.