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Seventh-Grader Hopes to Bring Pride to Illinois Suburb

7th Grader Hopes to Bring Pride to Small Illinois Town

Twelve-year-old Molly Pinta is raising funds to bring Pride to her hometown of Buffalo Grove.

Thanks to the efforts of an out gay seventh grader, a Chicago suburb may see its first Pride Parade next year.

After 12-year-old Molly Pinta attended Aurora Pride with her family last month, she decided to bring Pride to her hometown of Buffalo Grove.

Molly started her fundraiser with hopes of raising $30,000 over the next year for the event. In two days, Molly has raised over $6,000, and her family is now collaborating with the Buffalo Grove Police Department to determine the route. Indivisible Aurora, which organized Aurora's Pride, offered financial assistance.

She said she was inspired by Aurora Pride's emphasis on acceptance and equality, and she hopes Buffalo Pride would mimic Aurora Pride's family-friendly nature. Aurura is also a suburb of Chicago.

"Growing up in the closet is hard, but seeing Buffalo Grove support the gay community would make someone in the closet feel seen and accepted, which is all someone needs," Molly said in her fundraising video.

Molly's own coming-out was inspired by Aurora Pride. She told NBC News that after attending the festival, she told her friends, family, and members of her middle school's Gay-Straight Alliance that she was gay. Molly said she founded the GSA for the same reason that she is now working to establish Buffalo Grove's first Pride: to provide a space for people to be their true selves.

Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman praised Molly's efforts to establish the town's first pride.

"I think she really wants to have something very classy, and I think her goals are to educate the community, to bring awareness to the community," Sussman told the Daily Herald. "Here is a girl who wants everyone to be together to respect each other. And for a 12-year-old to say we should all respect each other and care about each other, I think that's very important."

Molly's mother, Carolyn Heyman Pinta, sponsors the GSA and is helping Molly raise funds for Buffalo Grove Pride. She has posted videos on Facebook of Molly discussing her self-discovery and answering questions about her journey. Carolyn said that, through these videos, she hopes to help others learn about the LGBT community and emphasize the importance of Buffalo Grove Pride.

Those seeking to help Molly bring Pride to her hometown can donate to the campaign on Carolyn's GoFundMe page here.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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