This weekend is the 15th annual Pridefest in Mankato. Organizer Jessica Flatequal remembers when the celebration first started, it was small and controversial. She says, “Every year we’ve just grown a little bit, not only in support but in attendance and in sponsorships…. Mankato has really come a long way.” A Saturday morning parade and the festival in Riverfront Park following it commemorate victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Flatequal says the shootings were a wake-up call. She says the GLBT community “can festoon our rainbows and celebrate who we are, but we really still need to get out there and use our feet and our voices to make sure that people hear our real stories and how human we are.” On June 12th a 29-year-old man killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando.