LGBTQ+ community marches in Short Creek after threats over participating in Fourth of July celebration

Around 30 participants attended a pride march that followed the community’s Fourth of July parade.

(Celesta Millett/Short Creek Pride March) People participate in Short Creek's first pride march in Hildale on July 3, 2021.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community held the first pride march in Short Creek today — an area made up of the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., known for its polygamous community and ties to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

According to a news release, LGBTQ+ individuals asked to be represented in Short Creek’s Fourth of July parade, and were originally allowed entry before the lineup of the parade was released.

“Parade organizers began getting threatened and decided it would be best that the LGBTQ+ community members not participate in the parade,” the news release stated. “Instead, LGBTQ+ members decided to create a Pride March and were given a permit to do so along with a police escort. Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Short Creek feel underrepresented and simply want to participate in the 4th of July celebrations like everyone else.”

Carol Chatwin, a spokesperson for the march who is from Short Creek, first got involved with the march after her friend Jordo Phleps posted an idea about the LGBTQ+ community participating in the July Fourth celebration on Facebook.

“[It felt like] very mixed emotions [today],” Chatwin said. “I was very, very excited. I was really happy to be making history in our town, and making a big impact on people’s lives here. I was also very scared because … according to the organizers, the Fourth of July celebration organizers, they were receiving death threats from both sides, about letting us in. So it was pretty crazy, and so we felt like we were going to be a target.”

Local police and volunteer security helped escort about 30 participants through the march, Chatwin said, which followed about a block behind the July Fourth parade.

“We’re here to share our love, and ... we’re also here to show the community, the LGBT+ group in this community, that there’s a safe place for them and that we love them,” Chatwin said. “It is OK for others to disagree with our choices and our actions — although that’s not going to stop us, we’re going to show our colors.”