Pride Weekend celebrated in the Capital Region

(Photo Credit: Lexi Nahl, NEWS10 ABC)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Pride Weekend in the Capital Region and that means a whole lot of fun mixed with activism.

A rally kicks off the annual parade, but this is not just about the optics. It’s about the people.

“In my daily life, in my professional life, in my field there are not a lot of trans gender women, so when I come and here I feel like I’m not alone,” said Stepehanie Slominski, who attended the event.

But, Stephanie did not always feel so included. Just fourteen years ago, she struggled with self-acceptance and a dangerous drug addiction. It was the Albany Pride Center and the people she found within, who helped her find the courage to get clean and begin her new life as a Trans woman.

“I think the addiction was focused on my identity. Not being comfortable with who I felt like I was forced to be and who I felt like I was.  I ended up going to the pride center and I somebody walked me around, and I ended up coming back,” Slominski said.

The key to happiness Stephanie said is authentically being yourself.

“It’s like when you’re musically inclined. You know these people didn’t just wake up one day and decide they want to play the guitar. They’re musically inclined since they were children,” Slominski said.

This day hits close to home for so many people. Nicole Mattooa came with her openly gay daughter Emma to stand in solidarity

“It’s a huge privilege to be able to be here. The fact that we are allowed to be here to see other people around that support the same thing is great. It gives me a lot of hope for what my daughter will have in the future,” said Nicole Mattooa.

About 25,000 people are estimated to come out for the biggest Pride celebration Albany has ever seen, and today they came with their loved ones to celebrate progress in their community.

“I take pride in my community. We are a wonderful group of people and I remember when this parade started there were like five little cars and floats and stuff and look! Look how many people are here today,” said Duchess Ivanna, Pride event attendee.

A post party for the event began at 5 p.m. at Waterworks Pub, with musical acts as well this evening which are part of the celebration in Washington Park.

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