Onlookers wave rainbow flags Saturday as the Pride parade marches down U.S. Route 202 in Unity. About 50 people walked from Field of Dreams park to the Unity Public Library in what organizers hope will become an annual celebration of Unity’s LGBTQ+ community. Dylan Tusinski/Morning Sentinel

UNITY — About 50 people marched through Unity on Saturday for the town’s second Pride parade, in what organizers called a strong showing for the town’s LGBTQ+ community.

The parade began at Field of Dreams park, where marchers gathered beneath a sign at the entrance reading “everyone is welcome.” The crowd walked about a half-mile from the Field of Dreams to the Unity Public Library, where they were met with live music, ice cream and free floral bouquets.

Organizers aimed for a smaller, more community-oriented feel at this year’s pride parade, and according to Jean Bourg, Unity Public Library director and event organizer, they succeeded.

“It’s a little simpler this year. Last year, we had a whole month of events and this year is just a parade and a party at the library afterwards,” Bourg said. “We wanted it to be more local and friendly.”

Marchers lead the Pride parade Saturday down U.S. Route 202 in Unity as part of the town’s second Pride celebration. Organizers hope it will become an annual celebration of Unity’s LGBTQ+ community. Dylan Tusinski/Morning Sentinel

For Unity resident Lilah McFadden, this year’s march was an important show of strength for Unity’s LGBTQ+ community after a push from some residents to remove Pride decorations from town property.

Ahead of Unity’s first-ever Pride celebration last year, some residents circulated a petition seeking to ban Pride decorations on town property after the town painted four crosswalks with rainbow colors. More than 90 residents signed it, with some saying on social media they questioned, or outright opposed, the event and the LGBTQ+ people it celebrated.


Though town officials would eventually reject the petition and Unity’s Pride celebrations would continue as planned, that push from residents is why this year’s parade is so important, McFadden said.

“It’s about bringing Pride to Unity, to a place that it hadn’t been before,” McFadden said. “It’s about being here and letting other LGBTQ folks know they’re not alone, no matter what they might think.”

Pride month is celebrated each year in June in recognition of the 1969 Stonewall uprising that began on June 28 that year when police raided a New York City gay bar named the Stonewall Inn. Police had raided the bar many times before, but on that night, patrons decided to fight back by protesting and rioting for several days afterward.

A rainbow heart drawn in chalk and a garden flag reading “LOVE IS LOVE” are seen Saturday from a resident’s front lawn as a crowd of about 50 people march down U.S. Route 202  in Unity during the Pride parade. Dylan Tusinski/Morning Sentinel

Many attribute the uprising with beginning the current LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Bourg chalked last year’s petition up to growing pains ahead of the town’s inaugural Pride celebration, noting that this year’s parade went ahead without online vitriol or hourlong debates at the town’s Select Board meetings.

Organizers are planning for the Pride parade to be an annual event in Unity, Bourg said.

“The first time a town, a small one, does a Pride event, it’s often a little bit messy,” she said. “After that though, they become routine, yearly celebrations.”

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