Mill Creek Parkway mural

Artist and Moab Pride member Cali Bulmash created this mural in honor of Moab teen Lily McClish as well as LGBT activists Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. [Photo by Zach Tilford / Moab Sun News]

Five years ago, when Cali Bulmash decided to move to Moab, they had a clear goal in mind. 

“I knew I had to help connect and create queer community,” they said.

As a genderqueer person, they wanted to build an environment that felt safe, not only for themselves but other trans and queer folks living in rural communities.

Bulmash got involved in Moab Pride but struggled with how much time and effort the volunteer board required. Then, in 2017, local teen Lily McClish died by suicide. Read The View column by McClish’s mother Molly, “Lily’s Hope” in this edition.

“There are so many unfortunate intersecting factors that led to this tragedy,” said Bulmash. “Those of us who work on Moab Pride’s initiatives recognize that one of these factors is a lack of support for LGBTQIA youth in our schools and community.” LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allies.

For the last three years, Moab Pride focused on supporting teens and combating bullying in Grand County through art, outreach, safe spaces, and inclusive, all-ages community events.

The group provides weekly Rainbow Clubs for middle and high school age students, holds seasonal all-ages dance parties, and hosts periodic workshops for the community on topics such as consent and storytelling.

Moab Pride is now looking for new volunteers and community members to help support “inclusive communities where everyone's differences are celebrated,” as Bulmash describes Pride’s vision.

Moab Pride is holding an open visioning session on Saturday, March 7, at 9 a.m. at the Seekhaven Chapel (81 N. 300 East, Moab). Community members are invited to attend and find out how to support Pride, become involved and help create a welcoming Moab. Lunch will be provided.