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RaYnbow Collective prepares for Provo pride event Saturday

By Ashtyn Asay - | Sep 2, 2022

Evan Cobb, Daily Herald file photo

A BYU student hoists a Pride Flag during a protest asking for changes in the honor code at Brigham Young University on Friday, April 12, 2019, in Provo.

On Saturday, the second annual Back to School Pride Night will bring a little color to Kiwanis Park in Provo.

Back to School Pride Night will begin at 10:30 a.m. with speakers and poster making in the park before a pride march at 11 a.m. Marchers will walk around the block with the entire route being just under a mile long.

The day-long festival will also feature live music from local and touring bands, over 80 vendors, an art show, and sweepstakes, but perhaps the most important element organizers hope to have present is a welcoming atmosphere.

Back to School Pride Night is hosted by the RaYnbow Collective, a Provo-based nonprofit organization with the mission of creating and identifying safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff at Brigham Young University.

“It’s really inclusive, so we encourage Provo community members to come join, anyone who is queer is welcome, anyone who has family members who are queer, or if anyone’s just curious to come check it out,” said Maddison Tenney, founder and executive director of the RaYnbow Collective. “We worked really hard to make sure it’s safe with Provo police, and that it’s really family friendly.”

The RaYnbow Collective’s goal for this particular event is to connect LGBTQ+ friendly businesses, students, and community members. The event drew attention last week when BYU, after originally agreeing to hand out pamphlets containing LGBTQ+ resources to incoming freshman, opted instead to trash the pamphlets.

Included in them was a list of events, the first of which being the Back to School Pride Night. Tenney told The Salt Lake Tribune a flyer for the event was also removed.

Back to School Pride Night will also feature a family-friendly drag show with performances from 12 drag queens. According to Tenney, the stage names of the performers, as well as the show’s music, have been adjusted to make this event appropriate for all ages.

“We say family-friendly because it really is family-friendly. All the songs are only clean versions, there’s going to be nobody in nudity or partial nudity, we’re following all the state and county guidelines for that,” she said. “If you enjoy clowns or you enjoy the circus or Disneyland and talking to the princesses, it’s that vibe.”

Although the response from those who have heard about the event has been mixed so far, Tenney hopes that Back to School Pride Night, which is also sponsored by Equality Utah, will be a positive experience for anyone who chooses to attend.

“I think that when people feel scared about this event, it’s just because they’ve never been to a pride festival, or they’ve only been to pride festivals in other locations. But also I have been so incredibly humbled and amazed at the community that has come out and supported us,” she said. “We just want everyone to come and be kind.”

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