Over a weekend filled with parades, a small group of marchers made history in the small towns of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.
About 30 people attended the first LGBTQ + pride event in the border community known as Short Creek, home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS).
“It’s still pretty crazy how much they are excluded from the rest of the world. They are working on it and I’m glad they are, but we are helping them take action, ”said Carol Chatwin, organizer of the Short Creek Pride event.
Chatwin grew up in Short Creek, a predominantly polygamous community that has always been controlled by FLDS church leaders.
I didn’t think it would ever happen there. I’m so happy to be a part of this monumental moment for Short Creek, ”Chatwin told 2News.
The pride march received a police escort from the town marshal and security volunteers just after the July 4th parade.
Chatwin says most of the people on the parade route were supportive, but some waved rude towards the group and yelled at them.
“We had a handful of people who chose not to walk with us because they were scared for safety reasons,” she said.
Chatwin added that LGBTQ youth in Short Creek may be excluded if reporting to their polygamous families and the teachings of the FLDS church is tough on LGBTQ people.
“Their families tell them it’s wrong. There are tons of people who are gay, lesbian, transgender, ”she said.
There is still a large FLDS presence in Short Creek, but the church influence on the city’s government operations declined.
A new mayor was elected to the town of Hildale a few years ago and she says 2News her goal was to make the community a place that people from all walks of life could enjoy.