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Canyon County celebrates its first Latinx Pride event

Portrait of two men, one with his arm across the other's shoulder, smile at the camera
Julie Luchetta
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Boise State Public Radio
Dani Palomera and George Lopez attend the Nampa Latinx Pride event together.

On the last day of Pride month, aguas frescas, food trucks, music and vendors greeted a diverse crowd of folks outside Nampa’s Hispanic Cultural Center.

Raquel Reyes, the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for the Idaho Democratic Party, is the person behind the very first Latinx LGBTQ pride fest in Canyon County. She organized the event to provide a safe space for LGBTQ people to celebrate both their queer and Latinx identities.

Canyon County has one of the largest Latina/Latino populations in Idaho. Hispanics represent 25% of the county’s population against 12% statewide. More than half of Hispanics in the country identify as Catholic. Queer Latinas and Latinos who also face racial discrimination in the U.S. may find it difficult to come out to their families as well.

“My idea was recognizing the LGBTQ Latino Hispano community because as it is, our culture is not very accepting,” Reyes said. The Latinx Pride is a show of support for those who may feel doubly marginalized, she said.

Portrait of Raquel Sequel wearing a straw hat, outdoors, smiling
Julie Luchetta
/
Boise State Public Radio
Raquel Reyes, organizer of Nampa's first Latinx Pride Fest

Jared DeLoof, the Director of the Idaho Democratic Party, coordinated the event with Reyes.

“LGBTQ people are a part of absolutely every community that exists out there, whether you know it or not,” he said.

People may have abstract opinions about those who identify as LGBTQ, he said, and events that welcome the whole community help fight those stigmas.

“When people see that it's their loved ones, it's a very different situation,” he added. “That's how we change hearts and minds.”

The celebration was also part of a broader effort to promote visibility outside of the LGBTQ community.

Dani Palomera and his partner George Lopez have been together for a decade and own a business in Caldwell. They took the day off to help with the event.

“If we're in downtown Boise, we can hold hands together,” Palomera said. “But if we're in downtown Caldwell, we're in Nampa – there's no way.”

Palomera first wondered why it was necessary to have a Pride event specifically for Latinx folks. Pride is universal, he said. But the previous week, he and Lopez attended another Pride event. Looking around and noticing they were the only two Mexicans in a mostly white crowd, Palomera felt a disconnect.

“Being here and being surrounded by people that are like me, in more than one way,” he said, “it’s a little comforting.”

The couple hopes events like this will make it easier for younger people to feel seen and come out, even in smaller towns with less LGBTQ visibility.

Pride events in Idaho this month made national news when 31 White Supremacists were arrested in Coeur d’Alene for conspiracy to riot. Across the country, a dozen states have introduced legislation that would prohibit discussing the LGBTQ community in school. The reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court has many activists fearing marriage equality, the 2015 law legalizing same sex marriages in the U.S., may be struck down next.

At the Latinx Pride in Nampa, safety and the future of LGBTQ rights were on many people’s minds.

Portrait of Tony Berrow smiling outdoors with make-up and flowers in their hair
Julie Luchetta
/
Boise State Public
Tony Berrow attends Nampa's Latinx Pride

Tony Berrow is a drag queen performer in Boise. Attending the event, they explained being a drag queen in the current political climate can be scary.

“It's a scary time just to be part of the LGBT community in general,” they said, “but it's important that we're here and we stand our ground and we stand for what we believe in because we are people and we deserve love and respect just like anybody else.”

“We shine bright and we're going to continue to, even in the darkest of times,” they added.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.
I'm Richard and I'm a summer newsroom intern. Currently, I am doing stories on a variety of subjects to get a better understanding of different beats. However, I would love to cover stories about diverse issues.