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Wisconsin communities Stockholm and Aniwa are among the smallest in the world to host Pride Month events



Wisconsin communities Stockholm and Aniwa are among the smallest in the world to host Pride Month events

June is Pride Month, and Wisconsin is the logical home to two of the smallest communities in the world to hold events that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

With a populace of only 64, Stockholm in western Wisconsin’s Pepin County is back this Saturday hosting Lake Pepin Pride. It is the smallest Wisconsin village and logical probably the little community in the world to hold Pride festivities.

The Motorama Auto Museum close to Aniwa, 30 miles east of Wausau, has Central Wisconsin Pride from June 17-19. Aniwa’s populace is 243.

“This is so important because I want our trans community, I want our queer community, in general, to know they are loved, and we’re going to love you,” said Lake Pepin Pride organizer Jennifer Lindahl.

She said a letter was written to Stockholm village leaders last year attempting to stop the event, which Lindahl said contained inaccuracies and was fruitless. The primary year went off smoothly without any debate.

There’s an explanation Stockholm was picked for Lake Pepin Pride. Every one of the 64 occupants is Twin Cities transfers and about half of the inhabitants are individuals from the LGBTQ+ people community, as Alan Nugent.

“This is about being who you really are without fear and being able to be that person every day of your life, not just on weekends or evenings or when it is safe,” he said. “It should be safe all the time.”

Nugent and his husband have lived in Stockholm and have owned several businesses nearby beginning around 2004.

Ty Yule is a Minneapolis author who will be a keynote speaker at Lake Pepin Pride. He said there’s been a new development to hold more pride festivals away from major cities where they’ve been held for a really long time.

“Small town prides are a relatively new phenomenon,” Yule said. “I think one common thread that I found going to a bunch of small towns prides last year was that after the George Floyd uprisings, the more progressive members of smaller communities basically found each other while they were organizing Black Lives Matter marches and then the next year decided to have a Pride(fest) in towns where they hadn’t before.”

Yule distinguishes as a trans man. He composed a series of magazine articles the previous summer in view of visits to several small-town pride festivals across America including Stockholm and Aniwa.

He said the magazine series was motivated to a limited extent by the way that lease is so high nowadays in significant cities that it’s become challenging for LGBTQ+ youth to move from a small town to bigger cities, as he was able to 30 years ago, to find a sense of community.

“Prides used to be the domain of major cities,” he said. “There’s so much cynicism, so much capitalism. There’s infighting and everybody’s drunk. I don’t enjoy that environment as much as I used to.”

Travel Wisconsin lists 17 Pride festivals in Wisconsin between June and September.

After Stockholm and Aniwa, the following smallest event is in Viroqua on June 18. The southwestern Wisconsin city has a populace of around 4,500.

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