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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Pride’ coming back to Spokane’s streets, with a welcome for all

OutSpokane handed out 1,000 rainbow flags during the city’s Pride Parade 2017.

This year, the organization is adding to the mix with Pride flags for transgender, bisexual, pansexual and asexual people.

“It just makes Pride a more complete experience,” said Michael Jepson, board director for OutSpokane.

The massive rainbow flag that starred in last year’s parade will be back, too.

The 2018 theme is “Pride: Now More Than Ever.”

Jepson said it’s meant to highlight the work that still needs to be done for full LGBT rights. Much progress has been made since Spokane’s first march, in 1992, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender marchers were relegated to the sidewalk and wore paper bags on their heads to avoid recognition.

Jepson pointed to the fact that “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, where someone accused of assault or murder argues they lost self-control after sexual advances from the victim, are legal in 48 U.S. states.

“Our trans siblings are still being discriminated against and being used as a political football and we just need to keep our game up,” Jepson said. “Yes we can celebrate, but also remember we’re nowhere near the goal.”

The parade kicks off at noon Saturday, starting at the intersection of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Stevens Street before winding through downtown.

It will end at Riverfront Park so people can migrate to the Rainbow Festival, held until 6 p.m. in the Lilac Meadows, the same location as last year.

A family area will feature more face-painters than last year, Jepson said, as well as three bouncy castles, a climbing wall and petting zoo. All-ages dancing kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Lilac Bowl, and will be followed by fireworks at 10 p.m.

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