Nashua shows support for LGBTQ community

NASHUA – Dressed in the colors of the rainbow, supporters and members of the LGBTQ community marched from Elm Street Middle School to the Nashua Public Library during the second Nashua Pride Festival and Parade on Saturday.

Despite an initial blast of hot, humid weather, a 20-plus minute downpour didn’t damper the spirits of the thousands of members of the community who took to the streets to help promote equal rights for all.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took part in the parade.

The support didn’t just come from those who marched through town, but also from those cheering on the side as well as the businesses that decorated and hung flags to encourage the marchers.

“I think it’s a good idea. I think Nashua has a large gay community, so I think it’s perfect,” said Brian Hughes, who came down from Manchester with a group of friends to participate in the parade. “The businesses look absolutely supportive.”

Hughes, who said last year he and his friends went to the Portsmouth Pride Parade, decided this year they wanted to try something different.

He said he was glad to see a city that is supportive of the gay community; however, he said there is still a ways to go as far as wide-spread acceptance goes.

“We have a long way to go,” Hughes said. “I just think there are a lot of bigots out there, and there should be a lot more acceptance, but there isn’t.”

Angel Cora, a Nashua resident and a member of the gay community, said that the parade shows a growing acceptance of diversity in the city – a city which he sees coming together with events like the Pride Festival.

“Everyone’s coming together now,” Cora said. “I love it. It just shows a lot of diversity and people getting together as one (community).”

While participating in the parade, both this year and during last year’s inaugural event, Cora said he noticed a much larger outpouring of support. He was grateful for all the hard work of those who organized the event.

“Last year, the parade was smaller,” he said. “I think that everyone that is a part of this did a very great job this year.”

With exponential growth in only its second year, the Pride Committee was able to lengthen the parade’s route to a little under a mile long. Members of the committee said the outpouring of support really shows how welcoming of a community Nashua has become.

“I think that Nashua is headed in a positive direction toward equality and acceptance of the LGBTQ community,” said Megan Caron, the event coordinator of the Pride Committee, who works as the director at the Arlington Street Community Center. “So, we’re happy to see everyone here.”

“This is about four or five months in the making,” she added about the extensive planning the committee did for the event. “We’re all really proud of how it turned out.”

With many of the presidential campaigns showing up to show support of the LGBTQ community, including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, the only major candidate actually in Nashua partaking in the festivities was Bernie Sanders.

A fervent supporter of the LGBTQ community, Sanders made the Pride Festival his first stop during his visit to Greater Nashua, where visited three locations while campaigning in the first-in-the-nation state.

“We’re here to celebrate human equality,” Sanders said prior marching in the parade with not only his supporters, but those who where marching in support of diversity, equality and acceptance.

Sanders continued his tour of the Nashua area with stops in Hudson for the opening of his Nashua Field Office at 77 Derry Road, and in Hollis at Alpine Grove, where he spoke at the Hillsborough County Democrats Grassroots Awards Dinner.

Mathew Plamondon can be reached at 594-1244 or mplamondon@nashuatelegraph.com, @telegraph_MatP.