Lake Tahoe Pride celebrates Pride Month
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — While the month of June hosts the welcoming of the summer season, it’s also recognized as Pride Month, and local organization Lake Tahoe Pride has been actively celebrating being a pivotal organization in the South Lake Tahoe community.
Founded in 2010, Lake Tahoe Pride is a safe, welcoming group for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as friends, family, and supporters. The organization was founded with the intention to find safe spaces within the South Lake Tahoe community for the LGBTQ+ community to hang out and enjoy themselves in welcoming, local establishments.
Since its inception, Lake Tahoe Pride has grown and rooted itself as a needed organization in South Lake Tahoe that provides community and wellness through inclusive events year-round.
“I got involved in [Lake Tahoe Pride] last year,” said Stephanie Kao, Lake Tahoe Pride organization member. “I got involved because I was looking for a community and really looking for a queer/trans group because it’s a bit isolating living in South Lake Tahoe.”
Since Kao has become involved in the local organization, Lake Tahoe Pride has been ramping up their events schedule for 2023, creating a collaborative, safe space for people to come and be involved in Lake Tahoe Pride.
“We are actually creating a space where folks can come and hang out, and it’s really exciting,” Kao said. “The space is mainly through the events that Lake Tahoe Pride is hosting.”
Lake Tahoe Pride is working towards building foundational relationships within the Lake Tahoe community. One of the first events to kick Pride Month off earlier this June, the organization worked with the city of South Lake Tahoe on painting the LGBTQ+ flags on the crosswalks and sidewalks in Midtown South Lake Tahoe, near the Idle Hour.
“Being able to be a part of bringing those painted flags to fruition was a huge accomplishment for our organization, and a really fun, unique experience,” Kao said. “We were really involved in the entire process from start to finish – picking out the right paint colors and making sure the representation was properly showcased in the crosswalk paintings of the flags.”
In addition to the collaboration between Lake Tahoe Pride and the City, the organization has been partnering with other standout organizations in the Tahoe Basin, including the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Rim Trail, for collaborative community events.
“We really believe that these local partnerships with other organizations are vital in our community,” Kao said. “We are trying to partner with everyone to be more involved with the community. We are always proactively looking for safe spaces, and when patterning with these organizations, they help support finding those safe spaces for everyone.”
Along with local organization partnerships through events, Lake Tahoe Pride is always advocating for new individuals to join them at their locally hosted events and get involved.
“It’s a delicate, touchy time right now in America, there’s a lot of political charge around queer/trans issues,” Kao said. “If you’re an individual and want to be a supporting ally, we are always advocating for people to come to our events to come talk to us and get to know us. If you don’t know a queer or trans person and just want to learn about who they are, our events are a great, positive space to be in and support. Anybody can come join our events as long as you come with an open mind and an open heart.”
Previous events that have been open to the public that Lake Tahoe Pride has hosted include several climbing meetups, a paint and sip night, drag bingo at local business Flatstick Pub, a bike ride, and more. While Pride Month has pushed the organization to host many events over the past few weeks, Lake Tahoe Pride continuously hosts their weekly mixer event, every Thursday at Sidellis Brewery.
Closing out Pride Month on a positive note, the group will be hosting their biggest annual fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at Sidellis Brewery, then 8 p.m. to close at The Turn for those 21 years of age and older, to raise money for the Lake Tahoe Pride Equality Scholarship, a part of the Lake Tahoe Community College scholarship fund. This scholarship was initially introduced to LTCC in 2013, and 10 years later, is still promoting equality and provides additional opportunities to several students.
Lake Tahoe Pride initially established the scholarship fund after the organization’s founders graduated themselves from LTCC who were then inspired to give back. All the money that is raised at the annual fundraiser is donated to LTCC’s endowment fund, getting the money back to the hands of the students who are awarded with scholarships through the community college.
While Pride Month is acknowledged nationally throughout the month of June each year, the modern American landscape has been reigning down on the queer/trans community overall; however, Lake Tahoe Pride is proactively working towards creating strides in the South Lake Tahoe community to continue to grow and become a staple organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.
“It’s definitely a hard time for a lot of queer/trans people, over 400 bills have been introduced in state legislators in 2023 alone so far,” Kao said. “Right now, we know that politicians are really targeting and weaponizing LGBTQ+ rights, and we really live in a bubble living in South Lake Tahoe where we don’t encounter a lot of that – but that pushback in the local community is still evidently there. We want Lake Tahoe Pride to be available to folks to feel comfortable. We want to be a space for people to be free to express themselves.”
Looking forward to Lake Tahoe Pride’s additional growth, the organization is eager to continue to further root themselves as a pillar organization in South Lake Tahoe.
“We know we are a strong community, and we want to be involved, so that’s why we are working towards building those fundamental relationships in the community,” Kao said. “We want to enhance the lives and quality of life for everybody here in Lake Tahoe. The core of our organization is to provide a supportive, inclusive space for all.”
For more information and to get involved in the Lake Tahoe Pride organization, as well as more information on the scholarship fund event at LTCC, visit https://www.laketahoepride.org/
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.