LANSING, Mich. — It's LGBTQ pride month and there are heightened concerns about security at local parades.
Michigan Pride is hosting its annual celebration in Lansing this weekend.
Last weekend, several people were hurt after a BB gun caused panic at a parade in Washington, D.C. And a little closer to home, Neo-Nazi protectors disrupted the motor city pride celebration in Detroit.
Michigan Pride told me they have increased security to make sure people are safe this weekend.
Frank Vaca has his gear, his flag and is more than ready for his 7th Lansing pride festival.
"I'll be wearing something light. I'm hoping it's wonderful weather short sleeves, shorts, not too short uh but yeah"
Frank says he wouldn't miss it for anything. Not even a little bit of hate, or fear or violence will turn him away.
"Fear will not reside in my area of pride. I long since shamed myself for being gay and i'm not going to have it anymore."
Freedom from fear for the more than 5,000 expected attendees is exactly the type of safe space Leigha Faith says Michigan Pride is working to create.
"The world stage is much different than it was a few years ago and maintaining respect and dignity for those who disagree is something I hope that our community continues to have."
So this year Michigan Pride is taking extra security measures.
"We're going to have plain-clothes guards, uniformed guards LPD on site, the LPD will also be at the parade and rally keeping everyone safe. Just lots of eyes and lots of protection and being proactive rather than reactive."
Lansing police told Fox 47 while they don't have any particular concerns about the festival, they will be out and alert around the area.
Lansing police say they want people to follow their normal advice for large events. If you see something say something, and never take matters into your own hands, contact police.
Leigha says she worries so that attendees don't have to and the focus can return to the reason for the celebration--inclusion and pride.
"Our right to celebrate here will not be thwarted. We will continue and we will have fun and we will celebrate love and we enjoy and invite everyone to come down.
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