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‘Finally, we got Pride in DeKalb’: Dozens take part in city’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month celebration

DeKalb resident Teagan Rangel believes there’s still much to do about liberating the LGBTQ+ community, even in 2021.

“I don’t get to express myself much,” Rangel said. “Whenever I hear Pride Month’s coming, I like to express myself because I can’t really express myself at home. I like to express the most I can away from home.”

Rangel was among dozens taking part in a march that was staged Friday in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which is observed nationally at about this time every year.

The event coincided with a showing of the film “Love, Simon,” along with a post-movie discussion at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb.

Some people at the march donned costumes and festive attire to commemorate Pride Month.

Wearing a non-binary flag ahead of the event was Shellie DeYoung Dunn.

DeYoung Dunn said the movement to liberate the LGBTQ+ community has come a long way since DeYoung Dunn’s days in college at Northern Illinois University.

“We always wished that we got more organized,” DeYoung Dunn said. “There was groups out there, but they were very, very heavily gays and lesbians. Lesbians weren’t represented as well back then.”

DeYoung Dunn has been longing for Pride to come to DeKalb.

“Finally, finally, finally, we got Pride in DeKalb,” DeYoung Dunn said. “I’ve been waiting for one of the [DeKalb County] cities to pick it up.”

DeKalb resident Emily Tsai was excited to be part of the Pride march.

“I’m wanting to meet more people in the community,” Tsai said. “I think with Pride, it brings the community together.”

Tsai said it’s clear that DeKalb’s Pride movement is getting bigger.

“DeKalb has quite an accepting community,” Tsai said. “I feel pretty safe in the community.”

Rangel said this year’s Pride Month brings special meaning to those in the LGBTQ+ community—more recently including Rangel.

“Just this month, I came out as non-binary,” Rangel said. “I’ve been keeping it in for four years. So, I feel very happy to express myself now without hiding.”

Rangel was preparing to walk alongside Maya Joyner in the Pride march.

Joyner and Rangel said they often feel judgment, fear and anxiety about identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

But that’s not the case for either while taking part in the Pride march, both said.

“I feel very welcomed,” Rangel added.


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