200 people attend Pride event in Downtown Tyler

Published: Jun. 13, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Around 200 people came together Sunday, decked out in the colors of the rainbow to celebrate and show support for those in the LGBTQ community in Tyler. The downtown square was filled with people, LGBTQ-owned businesses, and performances.

“It’s so much more than I expected. This is beautiful; this is what I wanted us to have,” said Raynie Castaneda, who organized the Downtown Tyler Pride event.

The Tyler chapter of Free Mom Hugs was also present to show support and acceptance.

“It’s been amazing. We even had a man here earlier giving free dad hugs,” said Cheryl Chambers with Free Mom Hugs. “We’ve had people that have cried on our shoulders, laughed, and given out tattoos and it’s been great.”

Because June is Pride Month, two of Sunday’s attendees said they wanted to go to a Pride event this month, and when they heard Tyler was hosting one, they knew they had to come.

“It’s just really nice to see somewhere in my hometown where people like us can gather,” Camren said.

“I’ve never been to one, so it makes me happy to see all the people that agree and support what I believe,” Lydia said.

It was an afternoon of performances, hugs, and celebration in the name of love.

“Love, so much love, so much community. People feeling comfortable to hold hands with their partner,” Castaneda said. “people telling me that this is their first Pride, and I’m so glad that it’s here. Everybody has been so wonderful. This is for us. This is because we exist, and we deserve to be out and happy and exist, so this is wonderful.”

A couple was at the event holding signs encouraging those at the Pride event to trust Jesus. They held signs, had their Bible, and had conversations with those who were willing to talk. They told us their main goal was to share the Gospel.

“The message is still the same. They need to repent their sin, and sexual immorality is a sin that God tells us to repent from,” said Phillip, who was sharing the Gospel. “When Jesus came to earth he began to preach and to say repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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