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OutFront Kalamazoo launches Youth Pride, featuring food, young artists and more

Looking over a landscaped area toward Pride revelers sitting on a low brick wall, left, and walking around. There are a few rainbow flags in the shot. A bike leans on a tree to the right.
Sehvilla Mann
/
WMUK
Kalamazoo Pride in June 2022. Two years later, OutFront is organizing a separate event just for youth.

The LGBTQ+ rights group says the event for 13-to-21-year-olds is the first of its kind in Kalamazoo.

OutFront Kalamazoo is organizing a pride event foryouth and their families this weekend.

The city’s main Pride “was kind of focused on having a lot of spaces for adults, and there was a heavy drinking presence," said Ru Hensley, OutFront’s youth programs manager.

“Because of that we noticed that youth didn’t really feel comfortable being at a pride event made for adults,” Hensley added.

“The main thing that Youth Pride provides is both a secular space and a sober space for youth to be authentically themselves around supportive adults.”

Youth Pride will feature a DJ, food, a quiet room and vendors including young artists. It’s free and takes place this Sunday from noon to 5pm at Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.

OutFront teamed up with young people to plan Youth Pride. Kris is one of those young people. He asked not to use his last name.

“Having something specifically for youth that centers them is important in my opinion,” he said.

Kris added that some vendors at the main Pride event sell “quote unquote adult things, that maybe some youth are uncomfortable with especially if they are on the younger side.”

Corrected: June 21, 2024 at 11:58 AM EDT
A previous version of this story quoted OutFront's Ru Hensley saying that Kalamazoo's main Pride event had several sponsorships from breweries. Hensley says that is incorrect.