MASON, Mich. (WLNS) —- It’s pride month, and today in Mason about 100 people came to celebrate for a picnic hosted by Mason’s Equity Taskforce.
“We are here to celebrate our LGBTQ neighbors and honor them and that goes a long way to feeling in their community,” said Rhiannon Klein, co-founder of the Equity Task Force.
For Rio Conline’s first pride event ever, today’s celebration did just that.
“It makes me feel amazing, it makes me feel special and accepted as I am,” said Rio Conline, Mason Pride Picnic guest.
Lana Hicks, another guest at today’s event she says the month of June is special.
“It makes me feel seen, other months it’s like I’m here but June is like I’m gay and I’m proud,” Hicks said.
The celebration included food, music, face painting and even a magic show.
With some larger pride events moving online or even getting canceled this year, members of the city’s equity task force wanted to take matters into their own hands.
“Mason’s a small town so bringing visibility to the LGBTQ community and having a chance to celebrate,” said Katelyne Thomas, co-founder of the Equity Taskforce. She hopes when each guest leaves they feel, “welcomed and appreciated and valued to be a part of the Mason community. Feeling that they’re accepted within our community and that people leave feeling happy and celebrated. Just some joy.”
For the Equity Taskforce first event like this, organizers are happy to see so many people come out and support.
“We’re amazed, and we’re honored that people feel safe enough to come out and share themselves with. So yeah, very excited,” said Klein.
Several LGBTQ allies were there today, Thomas says it speaks to the type of community members Mason has.
“I think it sends a message showing that you are being an inclusive member of the community, and saying I support you. I’m an ally, you are safe when you’re around me. I think that’s huge and I think that gives an opportunity for allies to say I can be present too,” said Thomas.
Klein has worked with LGBTQ groups for years, and throwing an event like this in Mason is a different feeling.
” [I’m] honored to be here in my community during pride celebrating with the people that I love. It makes me happy to be living in Mason.”
The co-founders of the Equity Taskforce notice the impact they’re making already.
“Just the smiles on their faces made this all reaffirming that we are making a difference in Mason bringing these events make Mason feel like home to people,” said Thomas.
The taskforce plans to host a webinar called LGBTQ 101, focused on understanding what it’s like to be apart of the LGBTQ community.