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Thousands celebrate acceptance, love at Indy Pride

For thousands who came downtown, Indy Pride marked a chance to celebrate.

INDIANAPOLIS — Tens of thousands of people came out to Mass Ave for Indy's Pride Parade - followed by the festival. It was fun day, but it also took on a much bigger meaning.

"Out of adversity comes growth. And so many people come out to support us. And year over year, it's more about families, it's really about everybody coming together," said Bill Leshorn, Pride of Indy Bans. 

For Jarron and Tyler Lincoln, Indy Pride holds a special meaning.

"Brought us together through marriage, and we have our 1-year-old now, so I wouldn't change anything about it with the love and support we have from our family and friends," Jarron said.

Businesses, IMPD, the Indianapolis Fire Department, and plenty of four-legged friends showed their pride.

Indy Pride selected the parents of transgender youth for this year's Grand Marshals.

At least 25 families were in the parade, like the Clawsons.

"Being here is really special to us. It's so nice to be able to celebrate with our friends and community, as opposed to worried about the attacks and worried about how we're going to handle them," Beth Clawson said. 

The Clawsons have been advocating against legislation at the statehouse impacting their 10-year-old transgender daughter, Kirin.

"It's really nice. Not just I need it, but every trans kid in this community needs it," Kirin said.

There was a longer parade route this year and more people participating.

"The first parade that we ever did, we didn't have any money, so we were playing drums on trash cans, so we've really come a long way," Leshorn said. "Not only have we come a wrong way as an organization, but the parade has come a long way."

The Pride of Indy Bands witnessed the growth firsthand after getting its start 18 years ago.

"I think it's just really important for the community. Music brings everybody together. It's a wonderful day. There's families, there's music, there's fun. It's fantastic. We love it," Leshorn said.

The festival continued until 11 p.m. at Military Park.

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