Lighthouse Pride party draws hundreds in support of LGBTQ community

  Valerie Litchfield of Flossmoor, co-founder of Lighthouse,
  a support organization for LGBTQ youth, welcomes
  the community to the Pride Fest on Wednesday,
  June 22. Celebrating with her are Phillip Barker,
  a social worker at H-F High School, and Stephanie
  Wright, co-founder of Lighthouse.
(Photos by 
  Mary Compton/H-F Chronicle)
 

The rainbow came to Flossmoor Wednesday.

Hundreds of people several from outside the Homewood-Flossmoor area flocked to what was billed as the South Suburbs’ first Pride celebration.

  Andrew Calderon from
  Palos Heights holds his
  godson Oliver Calderon
  as they take a photo in
  front of a rainbow frame. 

 

It was a picture perfect day and everyone at the event appeared extremely happy to be there. Overall, the celebration on the lawn of the Community House on Hutchison Road was a strong show of support for the area’s LGBTQ community.

The Pride celebration was sponsored by Lighthouse, the year-old organization founded to support LGBTQ young people and their parents.

Stephanie Wright, one of Lighthouse’s organizers, called the event “a huge success” and said it was a clear sign of “the diversity that we cherish in Homewood and Flossmoor.”

She said people came to the event from Frankfort, Tinley Park, Park Forest, Naperville, New Lenox, Kankakee and Grand Haven, Mich.

  MJ Foster from Homewood
  hangs out with some friends
  during the Lighthouse
  Celebration for Pride.

 

For too long the LGBTQ community and topics surrounding it have been buried and not talked about openly and casually,” Wright said. “Not tonight. Tonight we celebrated together outside on the lawn for the entire community to see and people rejoiced. There was laughter, food, dancing, music, friends and family.

We celebrated the way the Homewood Flossmoor community was able to rally around this event and turn it into something spectacular.”
On Thursday, Wright said the celebration, which was scheduled to end at 7 p.m., kept going until 8:30 p.m.

In remarks to the crowd, Lighthouse co-founder Valerie Litchfield thanked the 14 sponsors of the Pride celebration, all of which came forward to the organization and offered their services. Lighthouse did not solicit any contributions for food, drinks or other party materials, she said.

Until about a week ago, it appeared that the Pride celebration would be a relatively minor event.

That all changed on June 14 after Flossmoor added “LGBTQ” to its list of community services on the village website.

Wright shared the news about Flossmoor’s action on Lighthouse’s Facebook page. Within four hours, there were nearly 4,000 responses to the post. All of the event sponsors came forward after Flossmoor changed its website and the subsequent Facebook post.

Sponsors of the event included Flossmoor Community Church, John Flynn of Baird & Warner, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Blue Island Beer Company, Panda Baby Cookies, Redbird Café, Dunning’s Market, LouLou Belle, Homewood Florist, Anxiety and Stress Center, Upsa Daisy Boutique, Dairy Queen, Grady’s Snack n’ Dine and Route 66 Sodas.

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