On June 24, the first Pride Visalia event was hosted in downtown Visalia. This rural community in the Central Valley of California, an area sometimes refered to as the "Bible Belt" of the state, is in the heart of Congressional District 22, a seat occupied by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes. Yet more than 2,000 people showed up at the Old Lumber Yard to show their pride and support the local LGBT community.
The family-friendly event included 35 vendors and organizations, nine food booths, two drag shows, and a kids’ zone — which was hosted by four local LGBT-affirming churches. The celebration even included a same-sex wedding on the main stage. A long term couple, with their adopted daughters at their side, said "I do" after 13 years of being engaged. Major sponsors of the event were yhe California Endowment and Equality California. The event raised money and awareness for its organizer The Source LGBT+ Center. The Source is the first of its kind LGBT+ Center in Tulare and Kings counties. The center has been open since May 2016, and this was its first Pride event. Given the success of the Visalia Pride and community support, the board of directors at The Source says it is already looking forward to Pride Visalia 2018. The great photos here were taken by Dean Jackson and are © The Source LGBT+ Center. Follow the Source on Facebook for more information.