Pride Cheyenne bringing new pride celebrations to downtown

May 20—It's not a competition, but it is a fight.

As the newest advocacy organization in town, Pride Cheyenne is coming out swinging with a string of events in early June celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Thanks to them, and generous community support, Wyoming's capital city is poised to offer a Pride Month celebration similar to those in Laramie and Casper.

Co-founded in 2022 by Stuart Campbell, Pride Cheyenne is doing its best to create a series of gatherings and events that, first and foremost, provide a safe community atmosphere for locals of all backgrounds to have fun.

But its greater purpose doesn't stray from creating a Cheyenne more confident in its diverse community.

"It was my goal to create an organization that focused purely on Cheyenne and its LGBTQ+ community, trying to create a sustainable reoccurring event to celebrate the community here," Campbell said in an interview with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Wednesday. "We've had smaller events that have happened over the years, but nothing quite on the scale of Casper Pride or Laramie Pride."

Early next month, Pride Cheyenne will host three events to celebrate the local LGBTQ+ community — the primary attraction being the return of the Pride Cheyenne Pub Crawl on June 10. Beginning at noon, participants will work their way from Black Tooth Brewing Co. to Blue Raven Brewery, followed by Accomplice Brewing, Freedom's Edge Brewing Co. and, finally, Chronicles Distilling.

To coincide with the bar crawl, Cheyenne Little Theatre players will also host the Pink Paradise Drag Game Night in the Atlas Theatre at 7 p.m.

The newest addition to the celebration, however, is scheduled to occur a week before the bar crawl.

On June 3, Pride Cheyenne will commandeer a section of 15th Street for a street festival, featuring the support of many local businesses and vendors. There will be live music, community art, games and drink discounts from both Freedom's Edge and Chronicles Distilling. An afterparty will be held at Railspur, 707 W. Lincolnway, from 7 p.m.-2 a.m.

While representation in the community is the ultimate goal, Campbell is keeping his sights simple for the Pride Cheyenne Street Fair. Hopefully, the larger impact will come naturally.

"Let's just be outside, go have a party, do some art, have a beer and enjoy the day," Campbell said about the street festival. "I mean, we're always going to be advocating for inclusion everywhere, but we need to create that space here.

"I think a lot of people do get wrapped up on the emotional level of the national dialogue, but I feel like for my vision of what we have going on here is that I can make a bigger difference in my community and not try to change the world."

Inevitably, these events do come to serve a larger ideological purpose for the state. With legislation being passed in states as nearby as Montana, holding more prominent pride events in the capital city puts a face to the need for greater diversity and representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

Perhaps the most significant point of encouragement comes in the participation of so many local businesses in the downtown area. Artists, food sellers and every local brewery are showing support through their participation in the month's events, and that speaks volumes toward community leaders' intent to foster a more diverse community.

To that point, Daniel Galbreath, communications director for Wyoming Equality, sees these events as representing the values that Wyoming was founded upon.

"Moves like the trans sports bill that passed (in Wyoming), attempts to ban books, attempts to deny medically necessary care to young people and tell their parents how to do what's best for their children — those aren't Wyoming values," he said. "Those are coming from out of state, and that is never how we've operated before, and it shouldn't be how we operate now.

"Wyoming is better than that and deserves better."

Pride Cheyenne and Wyoming Equality essentially function as two sides to the same coin. Though each entity operates under its own leadership, Galbreath said that having an "on the ground" organization like Pride Cheyenne as a close partner helps groups like Wyoming Equality bring better recognition to their advocacy programs. Among these programs are the Safe and Healthy Schools Network and the Equality Healthcare Access Project.

The two organizations may have a difference in execution, but their mission is largely the same.

Working together, they can strive to accomplish their goal of making Wyoming communities better for everyone, starting with local representation.

Plus, a good party never hurt anyone.

"Wyoming Equality and groups like Pride Cheyenne, Laramie Pridefest, Casper Pride, and all of our other community partners, are fighting for what Wyoming truly is and has truly always been," Galbreath said. "We're fighting for Wyoming values of equality, fairness and freedom."

Will Carpenter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's Arts and Entertainment/Features Reporter. He can be reached by email at wcarpenter@wyomingnews.com or by phone at 307-633-3135. Follow him on Twitter @will_carp_.