‘Pride is not political,’ Wilton girl scouts host LGBTQ event at Trackside

WILTON — Several motivated local Girl Scouts worked diligently for the past year to bring Pride to Wilton Thursday evening in a culminating celebration.

Girl Scout Troop 50798 hosted a get-together in recognition of Pride month at the Trackside Teen Center, with both state and local officials in attendance.

“Pride hasn't really been organized in Wilton,” said McKenna Rooney, 13, one of four girls who chose to make their community service project in relation to the scout Silver Award be focused on LGBTQIA+ acceptance and awareness. “.So we decided to do this.”

According to Emma Halliwell, parent co-leader of Troop 50798, in pursuit of their Silver Award — which includes 50 hours of community service — the girls set out last year to bring Wilton into alignment with other area towns.

“The girls have also been a part of the #WiltonCTPride effort,” she said, “and when they realized that the town of Wilton had refused the requests to raise a Pride flag or issue a proclamation in support of Pride, they got together to do even more.”

Along with encouraging many local businesses to display Pride stickers and allow windows to be decorated to honor the initiative, McKenna, Annabelle Shultz, 12, Charlotte Halliwell, 13, and Reagan Hurley, 12, encouraged Trackside to host Thursday's event.

“Last year, there was nothing happening in Wilton,” Charlotte said, hoping next year it will expand.

She and others expressed disappointment that the town had refused to allow a banner commemorating the month to be displayed in front of Town Hall.

“We were expecting it would be easier in this day and age,” she said.

Annabelle said that — along with offering a social get-together that included free food, stickers, temporary tattoos, music and more — the purpose for the event was to help remove some stigmas and encourage education.

“There are so many people that don't know what it is or are negative about it,” she said of Pride.

Like the other scouts, Reagan was pleased with the result of their work.

“We're working for our Silver Award,” she said, “and you need to put 50 hours toward it and make a lasting impact.”

Vanessa Elias, cofounder of Wilton Pride, said she was amazed by the girls' efforts and applauded the importance of this first-time event.

“Pride is not political,” she said. “It is a human issue ... As humans, our biggest need is to be seen, heard and loved for who we are.”

These efforts, she added, make that possible.