The organiser of what was to be the city of Wausau, Wisconsin’s first ever pride parade, has cancelled the event, becuse some of those involved feared for their safety after a backlash from the community.
Daxx Bouvier said in an interview with Daily Herald Media, that he had cancelled the event, due to take place on Saturday, because of negative comments from a Wausau City Council member, and articles in the local media.
He said that people who were to take part in the parade had voiced concerns for their safety. In a letter given to the city on Tuesday, he confirmed the cancellation of the event, reports the Wausau Daily Herald.
“I do feel a great sense of loss for the LGBT community,” he said. “Canceling the parade has set Wausau back 30 years in the way people think about the gay community.”
Dave Nutting, a City Council member, had said at a meeting earlier in June that those opposed to the event should boycott the parade, or if they did attend, they should turn their backs on “deviant-behaving individuals”.
On Friday, city officials had said that Bouvier had not provided proof of an insurance policy for the event, but he said he had a policy written, but that he had not wanted to have to re-write it, if they city had said he needed a larger one.
The organiser, Bouvier, normally lives in California, but also owns a home in Wausau. He went on to say that he had no future plans to attempt to organise pride events in the city.
An unrelated event will actually take place at the same-scheduled time as the cancelled pride parade, an Equality March, arranged by Shannon Thomas.
“No matter what event it was, the message always is to promote equal rights for all people in our community,” she said.
Those attending the March for Equality are encouraged to bring balloons of all colours, in order to represent the rainbow flag.