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Pride Month kicks off in San Diego with Oceanside's annual 'Pride by the Beach'

Posted at 11:10 PM, Jun 01, 2024

Pride Month has officially kicked off across the nation and here at home in San Diego. For the next few weeks, events will span the county to celebrate, starting with hundreds of attendees at "Pride by the Beach" in Oceanside.

"It's really important to start the tone," said Roxanne Deatherage, the director of Pride by the Beach.

For the last 17 years, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center has organized the event to uplift and encourage the community as a whole.

"This event has such a community feel on top of a Pride feel," said Deatherage. "It's just an event that makes it that much fun."

From food to family-friendly activities, the event also provides a secure space for everyone to be themselves.

"We just need to have that safe space for them. And give them that extra boost that it's going to be okay," Deatherage said.

Several booths were set up by members of the LGBTQ community and others who identify themselves as allies, including Vanessa with Free Mom Hugs, a nonprofit aiming to empower and celebrate.

"We're there for them. We love them as they are. They're welcome as they are," said Vanessa, a longtime San Diego resident.

Whether attending for the first time or the tenth, participants said welcoming events like these make a significant difference.

"I feel like I can be myself here. Everyone I've encountered here is so nice. This is a place to be comfortable at," said Devin Nelson, a first-time Pride by the Beach attendee.

For those who have attended the annual event for years, one thing remains certain: the event embodies safety and support.

"Everyone deserves to feel loved and safe, to be around people who are just as diverse as they are," said Jannet Alvarez, who lives in Oceanside.

No matter who attends, Deatherage said the event shows that "pride isn't for the LGBTQ community. It's for everybody."

As Pride by the Beach wraps up, more events are set for nearly every weekend leading up to the San Diego Pride Festival on July 20.