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St. Pete Pride celebrates Family Day at Straub Park

The event was catered toward LGBTQ+ youth, families and allies. Families that attended hoped kids were able to see how different families can look.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Pete Pride organizers held an LGBTQ+ Youth & Family Day event Saturday as part of the ongoing celebration.

Families at the event hope it gives children a chance to learn about Pride, and the diversity of identities and families that exist.

"I don't want to ever want any of my kids or grandkids to feel like they can't be who they are," Helen Sheaves said.

The family event started last year and organizers said they saw huge success. St. Pete Pride President Tiffany Freisberg said it gives families a chance to have important dialogue about the spectrum of identities that exist.

"We didn't even think about the fact that it would be LGBTQ youth bringing their parents," Freisberg said. "So that was really, really cool."

While activities and music played throughout Straub Park, families hope kids know there's a message of acceptance behind every rainbow sign. As a transgender parent, Jemma Cooper is hopeful that children are exposed to the diversity of identities and family makeup through the event.

"I was one of those kids who had no visibility," Cooper said. "The fact that we can give kids that opportunity. It's absolutely that's what we're here for."

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Cooper is also the COO of The FitzLane Project, which supports underprivileged transgender youth in the Greater Tampa Bay Florida area.

Families said the world doesn't fully accept LGBTQ+ kids but at Straub Park, they are loved.

"Who she loves means nothing to me because I will always love her no matter what, and I look around me and what I see is happiness," Sheaves said of her granddaughter.

The event builds up to the weekend finale of Pride: The St. Pete Pride parade, the largest in Florida and will be held on June 25. 

RELATED: St. Pete holds 'Stonewall Reception,' honoring origins of Pride

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