Thousands of people gathered in downtown Springfield Sunday morning to celebrate equality and the LGBT community in the area.
Pridefest is the largest LGBT event in southwest Missouri. Last year, more 4,000 people attended. Organizers expected that number to grow this year.
Lawrence Anderson, the coordinator of equity and access at Springfield Public Schools, says Pridefest is about Springfield coming together and celebrating each other.
“It’s not based on as much as what your sexual orientation is, it’s more so on showing that we care and love people and loving each other and we’re going to support that as a community,” Anderson said. “How can we be civilly respectful to each other.”
Pridefest is sponsored by the Glo Center, a gay and transgender resource in Springfield.
This year’s theme was “Act Up, Act Out and Fight ____” to be filled in with any issue affecting LGBTQ people across the globe.
Springfield voters repealed discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people in an April election in 2015.
The Springfield City Council voted by a 6-3 margin to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance the previous October.
Opponents, who centered a campaign on religious freedom and the perceived threat of sexual predators assaulting people in bathrooms, gathered enough signatures to force the City Council to either repeal the gay/lesbian protections or send it to a vote.
The City Council tabled the measure, which automatically sent it to a vote.
The repeal of the protections passed by a narrow 51.4% of the vote.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed most of the content for this story