MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Neither the heat nor the threat of severe storms kept people from Twin Cities Pride on Saturday.
In fact, people came out in record numbers.
On the second of a three day celebration about 100,000 people visited Loring Park to take pride and raise awareness.
“About 48 percent of all homeless youth identify as LGBT specifically queer and trans because that's the language young people use for themselves, is queer and trans,” said Shay(den) n. Gonzalez, the Executive Director of Reclaim!, a nonprofit that supports young people.
“Compared to their heterosexual counterparts queer and trans youth have a much higher instance of self-harm and suicide, and it happens pretty regularly, so our work in doing therapy is really taking care of young people from a place of love so we continue to live,” said Gonzalez.
Jackiie Gates couldn't imagine being anywhere else this weekend.
“It's the one time I fit in,” said Gates. “I find it important to be here every year. I don't believe that Orlando made a difference for me. I know a lot of people were scared to come after that, but I'm like if they're going to shoot we're in a park. I'm not afraid of them. You're not going to scare me into not doing something I do every year.”
“Every person makes a difference,” said Symmieona Williams. “Every person should be treated equally, so to be here whether you're lesbian or not, it's just to show that you care and appreciate people.”
“Especially after the Orlando shooting, I think it's awesome for us to come together,” said Lexi Dunham.
At noon, Twin Cities Pride organizers displayed a banner for visitors to sign to honor the victims of the orlando shootings.
“It's super important to pay tribute to all the victims and to let their friends and family know that we stand together with them and are supporting them,” said Melissa Stalowski.
“We're going to make sure all of them live through us, and go out and make sure that their lives aren't wasted on this tragedy because they're not they're going to be remembered forever,” said Katherine Roloff.
A half a million people are expected to attend Pride throughout the weekend.
On Sunday, the Twin Cities Pride parade starts at 11 a.m.
Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis will also be hosting a bingo event with TIF Dynamite and DJ Lady L at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The fundraiser will benefit Reclaim!