Homer’s first pride parade took place Saturday. Nearly 300 people marched from Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love Park to the Grace Ridge Brewing Company to celebrate Homer’s LGBTQ community.
WKFL park was filled with rainbow flags, bubbles and signs saying, “Love is Worth Fighting For” and “Queer and Still Here.”
It’s Falcom Greear’s first pride parade, and he says it’s amazing.
“I'm homosexual and I love everyone in this community,” he said. “I never knew how many people really cared about pride.”
He hopes the parade leads to more people in Homer accepting those in the LGBTQ community.
“What I hope comes out today as people who aren't marching with us, walking with us, will see that we are the same,” Greear explained. “We are not we terrible, we are the same, and I hope they accept us for who we are.”
Saturday’s event came after three Homer City Council members refused to attend a meeting earlier this month because of a mayoral proclamation declaring June as “Homer Pride Month.” The council members who declined to attend the meeting said the declaration was divisive and did not represent the entire community’s views.
The meeting was canceled, but Homer Mayor Bryan Zak read the proclamation outside of city hall despite the opposition.
Michelle Melchert was saddened by the three council members’ decision, and she says it’s important for the community to recognize the LGBTQ population.
“I think we are a loving community,” Melchert said. “Everybody says, “Oh, I’ve got that gay friend,’ But when it comes to actually standing up and representing, it's difficult here. It's just nice to see the force and the supporters and (pride) P-flag.”
Several elected officials also participated in the event, including members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Homer City Council. Homer Mayor Zak and state House Rep. Paul Seaton also attended.
Even people from outside of Homer came down for the march.
“So reading that about the council members not coming to meetings or not being happy that Homer pride was being announced and happening was pretty sad,” Bhavisha Bhalsod, who lives and works in Anchorage, said. “We wanted to come and support.”
Some participants worried about counter protests, but the march went as planned. Several marchers were also surprised by how many people showed up to support the LGBTQ community.
Homer resident Danny Bolton was happy to see the support.
“I did not expect to see such a big turnout,” Bolton said. “It is wonderful. So much support and solidarity, and everybody is so kind and nice. So many cars honking horns and people waving. It turned out to be a real blast.”
The parade ended at Grace Ridge Brewing Company where many celebrated at a fundraiser for the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic.