DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of people, many of whom with rainbow flags, lined the East Village’s main street Sunday afternoon for Iowa’s largest celebration of LGBTQ rights.
The Capital City Pride parade served as the conclusion to Pridefest, which took over Locust Street east of the Des Moines River during the weekend.
Many parade participants and observers identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but they all took different journeys to realize their identities. 63-year-old David Cotton said he waited until he was 58 years old to come out as a gay man.
“I was more calm and at peace once I made the decision to come out and be my true authentic self,” said Cotton, who said this was his first time attending Des Moines’ Pride parade. “Yes, there were other ramifications in my family, but for me as a human being, I’m now a better person for it.”
Some in the crowd are allies of the LGBTQ community. That includes Judy Erickson, whose daughter identifies as lesbian.
“Coming out was not easy for her, and with the political climate the way it is today, I feel it’s even more important to support the community,” Erickson said.