For the last four years, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations and allies have come together to support the Little Apple Pride parade and celebration in Manhattan. This year, the parade began at Manhattan Town Center at 2 p.m. on April 20, and continued with a celebration at Triangle Park in Aggieville from 3 to 5 p.m.
K-State’s LGBT and Allies and the Flint Hills Human Rights Project are two organizations that come together each year to raise awareness, money and support for those in the LGBT community. Fraternity Delta Lambda Phi and sorority Gamma Rho Lambda were also present to support the members of the LGBT community and their allies as well.
Little Apple Pride is held each year in order to take a stance against discrimination and violence towards LGBT people and to promote self-affirmation, dignity, equal rights, community building and celebration of sexual diversity and gender variance.
Lukus Ebert, co-chair of LIttle Apple Pride and junior in sociology, said that the event’s timing is perfect for prospective freshmen who identify with the LGBT community.
“It is always on Open House,” Ebert said. “It’s to let people know who are thinking about coming here that LGBT organizations are here.”
The Little Apple Pride parade is not only intended for prospective students, but for anyone who is in the LGBT community, those who are questioning and supportive allies.
Melvin Kueser, father of two sons involved in the LGBT community, thinks that it is important for those not in the community to understand who is involved.
“Members of the LGBT are just like any other human being on this earth,” Kueser said. “They want to be accepted; they want to be loved and have families. They are no different than anyone else.”
Little Apple Pride brought in individuals of all different kinds; there were families, professors, supporters and drag queens.
Among the crowd was Leigh Fine, visiting assistant professor in the School of Leadership Studies, and his partner, Matthew Yates, a K-State curriculum integration adviser.
“For me, it is just so amazing to see, for one day a year, the community as overtly welcoming and supporting,” Fine said.
On the other hand, Yates said the event is important to hold every year in order to show people that the issue of inequality for LGBT individuals still exists.
“For the LGBT community in general, it is very difficult to have social change when the people who set the cultural tone don’t know that there exist people who don’t have rights,” Yates said. “It’s a reminder to people that this is an issue that needs to be brought to the forefront.
Nevertheless, Manhattan’s conservative nature continues to change as the years go on. Little Apple Pride and a few other LGBT events did not exist until recently.
“Manhattan has come a long way, especially with the students. I see a generational shift,” Fine said. “However, things are not perfect.”
Although some say Manhattan still has room for improvement, those in the LGBT community want to make sure that every individual knows that they are always welcome in their community.
“It doesn’t matter what community you are a part of, or who you are, you are more than welcome to come here,” Ebert said. “You are loved, and you are an amazing person.”