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Eugenia Kutsch-Stanton: What I love about PrideFest and the LGBTQA community

What I love about the LGBTQA community in Des Moines and Capital City Pride is their embodiment of inclusion and diversity. The LGBTQA community is composed of every age, race, religious and socioeconomic background Des Moines has to offer. This small familial microcosm supports its members and is welcoming to everyone.

There are dedicated groups that promote different attributes of the community and address concerns that are unique to the LGBTQA community. Groups such as the Women's Cultural Collective (WCC) and First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) serve in social and mentoring roles. Organizations like One Iowa and Equality Iowa are on the frontlines ensuring policy enables everyone to be their true selves and love who they want to love without fear of retribution. There are leather groups, youth groups, family groups, AIDs awareness and prevention groups — the list goes on. There's room for all.

The LGBTQA community of Des Moines is also bursting with talented artists. The Des Moines Gay Men's Chorus has been entertaining the community for over 20 years. We have painters, photographers, decorators, designers, chefs, musicians and of course those gifted in the art of drag.

The community is extremely charitable and politically involved. I have attended fundraisers for puppies and for vets. It has been my experience that not only has the community been generous financially; they are also very generous with their time. The Capital City PrideFest (CCP) is a great example of how, for over 30 years, volunteers have given countless hours to present the celebration that promotes inclusion and diversity. Throughout that time CCP continues to evolve and grow as the community evolves.

PrideFest is a time to highlight the talent of the community. We see more families and diverse attendees, which are opportunities to educate and have open conversations about inclusion. The Des Moines LGBTQA community along with CCP are a part of the accolades that have been bestowed on Des Moines as of late, and I am glad to be a part of it and can't wait to see it grow.