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Davis, California

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Davis community celebrates Pride Month with ninth annual festival

Davis Pride Festival featured vendors and live performances


By CHRIS PONCE city@theaggie.org


Content Warning: This article contains discussions of transphobia.


On Sunday, June 4, Davis held its ninth annual Pride Festival, which is the largest event hosted in the city to celebrate Pride Month. The event was kicked off with the annual “Run for Equality” at 8 a.m. and followed by a community fair from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and music festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There were 125 exhibitors and vendors at the fair this year and a large turnout of families, students and Davis residents. According to Wendy Weitzel, the event’s public relations contact, an organizer estimated that more than 5,000 people attended this year’s Pride Festival.

A local band from Davis, Noise Violation, was one of the opening performances. Amirah Tulloch, one of the bass drummers for the band, talked about the festival.

“It’s amazing, I had no idea it was this big,” Tulloch said. “I was never able to go to Pride before. This was my first one in Davis and I think it’s so beautiful, there are so many people, so many things. I had no idea there was a race — just the amount of activity is so overwhelming and so cool. It’s exciting to see. It’s so cool to see we have such a vibrant community here.”

Mayor Will Arnold spoke at the welcome portion of the festival, thanking the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC) for its work organizing the event.

“On behalf of the city of Davis, we are so pleased at this incredible turnout, so thankful for the work that the Phoenix Coalition does and so proud that the city of Davis is a co-sponsor of this event,” Arnold said. “That this is an event we support not just as a community, but officially as a city.”

Arnold also noted the recent stabbings in Davis and asked those in attendance to take a moment of silence to honor the lives lost in the community. He then addressed recent  anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. 

“We don’t need permission […] because we all belong and we all deserve love,” Arnold said. “So for those who continue to work against that idea, who continue to protest that simple concept. While yes, those folks deserve love too because we all deserve love, I want to ask this question rhetorically. If anyone has any discomfort with this beautiful event we’re having today, who do they think doesn’t deserve love? And more importantly, what the hell gives them the right to be the judge of that?”

Allie Synder, an organizer in Davis who has been advocating for “detransitioning,” attended the festival with a small group of other individuals. The group held a small demonstration called “Celebrate DeTrans Courage” during this year’s Pride event at which they told the stories of individuals who have “detransioned.” Synder claimed on Twitter that members of Antifa were present at the event and that they allegedly slashed her friend’s tires. Synder also shared photographs of individuals at the event who she believes are members of Antifa.

DPC founder and City Councilmember Gloria Partida spoke about recent anti-trans events held in Davis.

“We are on our 10th year and the reason that we are the Davis Phoenix Coalition is because we are rising out of the ashes of hate,” Partida said. “This organization was started because of a hate crime that happened to my family. My son was a victim of a very brutal hate crime 10 years ago, and this is what has come of that. And so today we are still battling many of the issues that we’ve been battling for a long time for the LGBT community, and they seem to have risen again. There’s a lot of anti-trans sentiment going around right now, but looking at everybody here, I know that we’re going to overcome that.” 

One of the booths at the festival was “Free Mom Hugs.” a group of moms who attend Pride to give hugs and affection to LGBTQIA+ individuals. Terri Schneider, a member of the group from Vacaville, talked about her experience at Pride. 

“We’re just here to support the community,” Schneider said. “I mean literally there’s so many people that have been exiled from their families at such a horrible level that we felt, and the people who started this, moms give us hugs, why not just have a mom stand there and hug people? I mean we miss mom hugs, even dad hugs, we have free dad hugs as well. […] You’re hugging someone that you don’t know and it doesn’t matter, we’re humans and everybody needs that now and then.”


Written By: Chris Ponce city@theaggie.org