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Pride flag raised Saturday in Watertown

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WATERTOWN — Hundreds gathered outside city hall to see the Pride flag raised Saturday in honor of Pride Month.

The flag-raising kicked off several Pride events throughout the day, including “Out in The Park” at Thompson Park from noon to 3 p.m., which had a beer tent, vendors, bounce houses, face painting, food and a color run. A traveling drag show arrived downtown Saturday night. Fireworks concluded the festivities at the Watertown Fairgrounds.

Jeff Cole, a member of Watertown Pride, was emcee at the flag-raising. Watertown joins Clayton, Alexandria Bay and Cape Vincent in the monthlong LGBTQ Pride celebration.

“We’re making this a regional Pride destination for people all over this country and Canada,” Mr. Cole said to the crowd. “We are doing it because of you. Your support is what keeps us going. Thank you to each and every single one of you. Happy Pride and we’ll see you up at the park.”

One of several speakers outside city hall was Owen Gilbo, an equal opportunity specialist with the state who came to represent Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul.

“I’m a very out and proud trans man,” Mr. Gilbo said. “I share that because there are those out there that think we don’t exist, there are those who wish we didn’t exist and there are those who just don’t understand. More importantly, I’m out because it’s important for people to see trans people and realize just who we are. We’re just human beings. Transgender identity is not my favorite identity. No. 1 identity is grandpa.”

He read a proclamation from the governor’s office, saying the state is honored to unveil the newly renovated Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Brooklyn, which is named after a transgender woman of color who helped lead LGBTQ activists during the Stonewall uprising of 1969 in Manhattan.

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