Governor declares July 28 ‘LOVELOUD Day’ ahead of music festival

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SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert declared July 28 “LOVELOUD Day” in Utah.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox read the declaration at an event announcing a new LGBTQ+ resource center in Salt Lake City Friday.

Stephenie Larsen, founder of Encircle, came up with the idea for a resource center in Provo two years ago.

“I thought my own backyard was maybe one of the hardest places in America to grow up LGBTQ,” Larsen said.

Their mission, Larsen said, was to bring families together with the the community to help LGBTQ+ youth thrive. She said their LGBTQ+ resource center in Provo has served more than 8,400 people with 800 volunteers over the past year. On July 27, she announced a supporter had bought the organization houses in Salt Lake City and St. George to continue their mission.

“Congratulations to all of you for making this happen. It’s a big deal and you’re saving lives. We love you,” Cox said to the crowd after reading the governor’s proclamation. “You’re not ‘different’ and we love you anyway. We love you, period. Full-stop. End of story. We love you,”

The event comes one day before LOVELOUD brings its festival back to Utah for a second year. The event aims to start conversations about loving, understanding, accepting, and supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds helped launch the festival last year. The 2017 event drew a crowd of 17,000 to Utah Valley University’s Brent Brown Ballpark. This year, the festival has moved to the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, which holds just over 45,000 people.

Reynolds said Friday that he wants the spotlight to be on people who have been focused on LGBTQ+ youth for years.

“This has been such a little effort for me that it’s embarrassing to me that a white, privileged, straight man is now the talk of this LOVELOUD thing and I want to take that spotlight and put it where it should be, which is on people who have done this for a long time and our LGBTQ youth,” Reynolds said.

The festival will feature several bands, including Imagine Dragons and Zedd. There will also be several speakers, including Apple CEO Tim Cook. Loveloud organizers hope to raise $1-million for LGBTQ+ organizations on July 28.

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