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Delaware Pride festival draws largest crowd in history for 25th anniversary

The Delaware LGBTQ community celebrated the 25th annual Pride Festival in Dover Saturday.

The Green became a rainbow as community members and allies gathered for food, drinks, musical performances, and browsed through rows of small businesses and organizations.

Carm Evans sat at a tent for the Tree of Life Church, which welcomes and affirms all identities. Through studying scripture, Evans does not believe the Bible condemns anyone.

“That’s the conclusion that we’ve come to and we are really thrilled to share with people that information," Evans says. "And to help them read scripture in ways that really are powerful for them and that lead to us being a blessing in the world and making this a little bit more like heaven on earth.”

In an overall celebratory atmosphere, some still voiced worries that their rights are at risk.

Sheri Kohl knew she was gay when she was a teenager, before Stonewall, but was closeted for almost a decade before she felt safe enough to come out. Now she worries things could go backwards with a conservative Supreme Court majority.

“It’s taken us a long time to get here," Kohl said. "It was Stonewall that started it but it’s been a long time coming. And hopefully we can keep our rights. So there’s always a chance for things to change again, and with the things that are going on in the world right now, it’s a little bit scary.”

Kohl adds turnout for the festival is higher than she’s seen before, and believes there is enough support from people and organizations to protect LGBTQ rights.

Delaware Pride Vice President Amanda White says this year’s festival is even bigger than it was pre-pandemic, letting others know they are not alone, and banding together to show support for LGBTQ rights is strong.

“Just because the Supreme Court rules something at one time it can’t be changed later," White says. "But if we can get it enacted into laws and even if we can get it into an amendment, once we get it into an amendment that’s it. So it’s better to go that way than the Supreme Court, I mean we’ll take it any way we can get it, but we need people to go vote.”

Dorian Vega is a trans-masc drag queen, and says Pride is one of the only times a year they don’t feel they need to be tucked away in the shadows. And while Vega is happy to be themself at Pride, they still encounter what they describe as “nasty” people in everyday settings.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.