BANGOR (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- They came out by the dozens Saturday morning to march and to stand on the street and show solidarity for those marching.
Portland celebrated Pride last weekend, and this weekend, downtown Bangor is decked out in the colors of the rainbow.
Bangor Pride Week culminated Saturday morning with the Pride parade through downtown and a festival at West Market and Pickering Square.
For marcher Gia Drew, it all started for her eight years ago in Portland, Maine, in 2010.
"I was very scared,” says Program Director at Equality Maine, Gia Drew, of her first Pride parade. “I had never been in a Pride parade. Never attended one; never marched before. I had just started meeting other trans people in Portland, Maine, at that time."
Drew's first experience marching in a Pride parade is a day she remembers as if it were yesterday.
“I remember lining up and then turning the corner, and there was this huge crowd of people cheering, and I think my heart exploded,” says Drew. “It was pretty special."
Now, Drew works with Equality Maine, creating visibility for trans people "coming out" in the public eye.
"I think the visibility piece is really important,” says Drew. “Whether it's people marching in Pride, or just people standing on the side to see LGBTQ people, you know, being proud about who they are, really makes a difference in people's lives."
"It's great seeing so many people here,” says Health Equity Alliance Medical Case Manager, Krystal Mudgett, of the turnout Saturday.
"I think the reason that I march now is to let people know that it's great to be yourself,” adds Drew. “You should have pride in who you are."
Drew marches now to support other people, just like her eight years ago, who may be scared or nervous about taking part in Pride for the first time.
"[I march] to support them in their first march and their parade, and to see them smile and feel great about themselves, is really so important,” says Drew. “You never know what's going to happen at a Pride parade and march so it's important to show up because you don't know what's going to happen."
The LGBTQ community says they have a lot to celebrate right now.
Last Monday, the state of Maine announced it will begin allowing a non-binary gender designation on their driver's licenses and state ID's.
"That designation would be an 'X,' rather than an 'F' or an 'M,’” says MaineTransNet Program Coordinator, Oliver Jones. “That's really important to the trans community. There are many people who do not identify as either male or female and this would allow that reality to be reflected on their identification."
In addition to the licenses initiative, an anti-conversion therapy bill is making its way through the state legislature as another initiative supporting safety and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.