‘Visibility is important;’ Park City marks Pride Month with flag-raising
As Park City greeted Pride Month with a ceremonial flag-raising, LGBTQ leaders and supporters talked about what’s important to them during this month of awareness.
Spirits were high at the raising of the Pride Flag ceremony at Miners Hospital Wednesday. The audience cheered often as speakers praised the representation the LGBTQ community has gained in Park City, and many said Pride Month is an important time for recognition and celebration.
“Look around and see these people,” said Bob Bussen, a retired priest more commonly known as “Father Bob.” “These are dynamite people, incredibly, incredibly talented people, and very giving people and a lot of fun to be around.”
He especially enjoys Pride Month because it coincides with the arrival of summer.
“It's nice to have a month that we can celebrate,” he said. “It's even better that it happens in the summertime and Park City, so we can party and we can get to know other people, and other people can get to know the community.”
He also called attention to homophobia and resistance to the gay community locally and statewide.
As an emergency department nurse manager for Intermountain Healthcare in Park City, Nate Rowley wanted to support the community on behalf of himself and the hospital.
“I think there's more visibility than ever, and I think it's important for the kids these days to have an outlet and more allies in the area and have a voice in the community,” Rowley said.
Locals who spoke included Park City LGBTQ Task Force members Cami Richardson and Joe Urankar. Park City Mayor Nann Worel and Councilmember Tana Toly also addressed the crowd.
Equality Utah Programs Director Will Terry discussed working for LGBTQ representation at the state government level. This week, the organization joined a lawsuit against House Bill 11, which bans transgender girls from playing school sports.
U.S. mogul skiers Hannah Soar and Tess Johnson said they attended the ceremony because they spend so much time training in Park City and want to stay current with its LGBTQ community.
Soar, who competed in the 2022 Olympics, said recent legislation around transgender athletes has drawn her attention. She said such laws focus too much on competitive results and not enough on kids enjoying themselves.
“I think at its core, that's why youth should participate in sports — building camaraderie, community and just learning like good life skills in a general sense,” she said. “I don't think it's to win Olympic medals. At that level, I still support transgender rights, but as far as youth goes, I think it's absolutely unnecessary to take them out of sports.”
She and Johnson agreed they’d prefer an environment where people are welcome to compete as they identify, even if that meant they’d have to face stiffer competition.
In other Pride Month news, the Main Street trolley was wrapped with Pride colors, and more events are planned throughout the month.