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The Lafayette sign is painted in honor of June as Pride Month Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette, La.

In light of the recent proclamation declaring June Pride Month in Lafayette, businesses in downtown Lafayette have decided to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with their own Pride event. 

Local businesses in downtown are decorated with rainbows, flags, and portraits of influential people in history that were members of the LGBTQIA+ community. SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange, a locally owned outdoor gear & apparel store in downtown, as well as other local businesses, have collaborated with each other to bring Lafayette a full day Pride event.  

"We wanted to organize the event to help create community and provide a fun, safe space where people of all ages can be together," the owner SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange, Wendy Dorfman said. 

Dorfman has only been living in Lafayette for about two years, but she noticed right away that Louisiana seemed to be resistant towards certain topics, beliefs and lifestyles saying that "it's like the 1950's," for her. This way of life is not new to Dorfman seeing as she has been out and apart of the LGBTQIA+ community for almost 30 years, yet most people within the community, including Dorfman, can agree that the constant resistance and bigotry towards LGBTQIA+ is tiring. 

The goal of Pride is to be all inclusive, accept all walks of life and to provide a safe space for those who are not accepted by their family, peers or society. Dorfman hopes that this Pride event "can be really diverse and offer people a chance to meet each other, get to know each other and have a good time." 

The Pride event will be a free, all day affair Saturday starting at 11 a.m. with a kickoff in Parc de Lafayette with PFLAG Lafayette, an organization that unites parents, families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. The event includes activities such as live music, Pride bracelet making at Deuxieme Vie, tie dye at SugarWolf, Pride Day Drag Show at Beausoleil Books, speakers at the Acadiana Center for the Arts and many more activities and specials at participating businesses. 

"It's starting in the morning and kind of running throughout the day, so there's a chance for LGBTQ youth to get involved and see what that community looks like," the owner of Sans Paquet, Brandi Comeaux said. "Oftentimes, a lot of Pride events are not always kid friendly, so this was going to have like an aspect of just that whole family, everybody's invited, everybody's welcome, family feeling that sometimes these events miss the mark on." 

SugarWolf and other downtown businesses are hosting a raffle as well on Saturday. People can participate by going to SugarWolf Outdoor Exchange on 501 Jefferson St. between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and dropping their name and email in the raffle entry box. More information can be found on SugarWolf's Facebook page or the Downtown Lafayette Pride 2021 Facebook event page

"Primarily, the important thing to note is that our goal is to crate a safe and inclusive space where the LGBTQIA+ community can feel visible and seen," Comeaux said. 

Email Hana Maung at hmaung@theadvocate.com