AUSTIN, Texas — LGBTQ+ advocates hope to see big crowds pack downtown on Saturday for the annual Austin Pride parade.
This year, organizers say attendees should celebrate with purpose because it may be more important than ever to show up.
The Austin Pride parade is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ events in the country.
“I'm excited,” Joe Anderson, Jr. said.
He was one of the estimated 400,000 people who showed up for last year's parade.
“You can expect a lot of love,” he said. “Dancing, glitter, rainbows.”
Anderson is the director of community engagement for Texas Health Action. He said this year's parade is more important than ever.
“It does feel like there is an attack on our community,” he said.
Since the last parade, several bills aimed at the LGBTQ+ community have passed at the state level and received Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.
“It hit homes for me because I’m a native Texan," he said. "[But] it also lights a fire to have future generations not have to deal with what we're dealing with.”
Anderson said he knows he's not the first.
“I stand on the shoulders of giants, who dealt with the same things before me,” he said.
He vows to continue to fight for his rights and the rights of those who will follow him.
“There are so many youth whose families abandon them because of their identity,” he said. “And I saw a kid break down in tears just from that hug. There's someone there to wrap their arms around you and a community of people ready to tell you that you are loved, affirmed and protected, whatever identity that you have.”