MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee Pride brings out more than a thousand people every year. Many have told 8 On Your Side the celebration is needed now more than ever.
“We just wanted to come out and support everybody,” said Alexis White, who attended Saturday’s event.
Vendors, food and drag queens were all a part of this year’s festival, as crowds packed Rossi Park.
“It’s really just to show that everyone is different and that we are all one big community,” Loralyn Rust said.
“Don’t be afraid to be who you are. People are going to love you know matter what. You’re perfect in everyway,” Limara Jett said.
Although this is a time for fun, organizer Craig Kaplan said they provided support materials for adults and children at different booths.
“To understand more of who’s out there to help them. Understand where they can go for resources,” Kaplan said.
He said the information is vital for children, especially in the LGBTQ community, as the legislation known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill heads to the Florida Senate for a vote.
“That bill will set a very dangerous precedent if it is passed,” Kaplan added.
The bill restricts discussion and instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in public school classes, from kindergarten through third grade.
Kaplan told 8 On Your Side a law like this will be detrimental to students who identify with the community.
“Teachers are supposed to be there to nurture students, to help them grow,” Kaplan said. “If they can’t address real issues, then that’s saying there’s a second class of citizens. This isn’t the turn of the century.”