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Huge crowds at St. Pete Pride parade with historic new route and march

Thousands offer support for LGBT community
Posted: 11:32 PM, Jun 24, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-25 08:11:25Z

The crowd at this year’s St. Pete Pride parade didn’t disappoint.

Some 30,000 people attend the parade that made its way down Bayshore Drive as opposed to the usual Grand Central District where the parade took place for 15 years.

“It means a lot”, said Shannon Pease, who attended the event with her family. “It’s nice to feel that it’s a big change especially what’s going on with the world,” she said.

Along with the new location, this year’s St. Pete Pride included the first transgender march before the parade.

“It means everything,” said Nathan Bruemmer, who helped organize the event. "What we have to do as an LGBT community is be fully inclusive by actions, not just by words. So highlighting the transgender voices and recognizing that we need to take a moment this year to sort of look at the work that needs to be done is really important.”

Pease took her 10-year-old son to watch. When asked about what the parade meant to him he said, “Having fun and showing people that no matter who you are you’re a good person.”

While this family showed their support by watching, another group called the Guardian Angels stood by to help.

They’re part of a national non-profit who volunteer at big events, including Gasparilla to stand in when needed.

Some are EMTs, others trained in self-defense.

They were able to help one man who suffered a seizure medical attention during the parade.

“Our goal is to help other people stay safe and not do bad things to each other,” said Raymond Fagnon, a volunteer with the group.

Many from the crowd took pictures and offered handshakes to the Guardian Angles as a way to say thanks.

The night ended with fireworks as the crowds continued their celebration at the restaurants near the waterfront.

“It’s really nice to just see like-minded people,” said Chelsea McGee. “And people who support people who are different from them.”

St. Pete Pride continues through Sunday with a festival along the Grand Central District.

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