NORTHPORT, N.Y. -- You don't need to go to New York City these days to celebrate.
The Pride events are coming right to the suburbs. Every year, it seems more and more towns are participating.
"I have seen an explosion over the last few years," said Peter Yacobellis, Executive Director of Out Montclair.
Yacobellis and his team put on New Jersey's largest Pride event. He says in recent years, an increasing number of LGBTQ+ events, including Pride festivals, have been held in suburban regions. It's a trend he believes is critical to increasing visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people.
"I think we were conditioned to believe we could only find acceptance and a good way of life in the city," said Yacobellis. "As we have grown up, and many of us have gone out to the suburbs, it's about creating communities that reflect our values"
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Like a beacon in the sky, for the first time, Northport on Long Island raised a rainbow Pride flag in front of their town hall this year. They're celebrating Pride month and all the LGBTQ+ members in their town.
"As a transgender person, it's a welcoming experience," said Ethan Soda, who is a senior at Northport High School.
Soda says this makes him feel more connected to his hometown, especially since most of the village is participating.
"This feels like your own little bubble and it's personalized to you," said Soda.
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This year, the main Pride event -- Long Island Pride -- will be in Huntington.
"It's indicative of the community we have here in Huntington," said Edmund Smyth, Town of Huntington Supervisor. "It's a very accepting community"
These celebrations are also reminder that it takes true bravery to be your authentic self, and to give thanks to the allies who support.
"Reality is, the LGBTQ community is everywhere, and so support should be everywhere," said Susan Steinberg, chairman of the Mahwah Pride Coalition. "If you don't see it, you don't believe it can be, you can't live it."
Here are just a few of the Pride events going on in the Tri-State Area in the coming weekends:
- Freeport, June 10
- Huntington, June 11
- Northport, June 17
- Greenport June 24
Rockland and Westchester
- Yonkers, June 10
- Rye, June 10
- Nyack, June 11
- Peekskill, June 24
- Montclair, June 10
- Maplewood, June 11
- Mahwah, June 11
- Oakland, June 24
- Norwalk, June 10
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