GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Hundreds attended the town’s first PRIDE event on Sunday.
It all began with a Guilford mom who wanted to understand her 16-year-old son better.
“My child came out to me a little over a year ago and I realized I knew nothing about the LGBTQ community, and I had a lot to learn,” said Sarah Celotto. “”Although Guilford is an amazing, incredible, accepting town, my child still had some difficulties. I needed him to know that he is loved and he is accepted and I needed him and his friends to know that and I needed the whole community to know that.”
She said Guilford is very accepting but anti-LGBTQ plus legislation in other states can be discouraging for youth here.
“They’re hearing the political agenda that’s really going against them and I know that’s hard on them,” she said. “I want them to know that that’s a very small piece of it. There are so many people here that love and accept you.”
Families listened to live music and shopped for goods from local vendors. A mile long pride flag laid across the middle of the town green. Guilford resident Scott Seitz said it’s part of the world’s longest rainbow flag.
Seitz has been to PRIDE events all over the country. He was concerned about safety, but the event was peaceful. Guilford police were posted on the town green making sure crowds were safe.
“This is joyous, happy, loving, giving and I’m so thrilled we’re here,” he said.
Marilyn Mather and Katherine Ahern have been married for three years. They said the sight of kids in PRIDE shirts and rainbows reminds them of how far society has come.
“It’s not always been an easy travel through the years of moving forward in this lifestyle and coming out,” said Mather.
Celotto said the event will come back next year and the years to come.