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Denver’s Pride Parade in Colorado, USA, witnessed a heartwarming display of acceptance and growth as a self-proclaimed “recovering bigot” donned a rainbow garland and held a sign that read, “Recovering bigot. I am sorry. Free hugs.”

A TikTok user captured several heartfelt moments of embrace between the man and fellow Pride-goers, sharing the powerful message of acknowledging past discriminatory beliefs and expressing genuine remorse. The TikTok user remarked, “To own up to your discriminatory beliefs and say: ‘I hear you, I see you, and I’m sorry,’ is top tier. Everyone could learn something here.”

@ooh_lalalivia WATCH UNTIL THE END!!! Thank you sir for owning up to prejudices & saying sorry! I wish everyone could learn something here. My heart is so full seeing the community so accepting of his apology. #denverpride #prideparade #denverprideparade #lgbtq #lgbtqcommunity #lgbtqally #loveislove ♬ original sound

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Numerous individuals came forward to express their own experiences with previously holding anti-LGBTQ+ views and found inspiration in the man’s act of solidarity.

One person expressed, “Welcome to the good side, sir,” while another tearfully shared, “I was raised ultra-conservative and didn’t start having my own views and letting myself see more than one side until about a decade ago… I’m sobbing.”

A photograph of the man’s sign circulated on Twitter, prompting one user to highlight the significance of Pride as an opportunity for making amends. In response, a woman shared an image of her Pride outfit, featuring a sign that read, “I was quiet far too long… I am sorry for the harm the Church has caused you.”

Denver’s Pride Parade held particular significance this year as it marked the state’s first Pride event since the tragic mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ bar in Colorado Springs, in November. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, recently pleaded guilty to 53 charges, including five counts of first-degree murder and 46 counts of attempted murder in the first-degree, and received a lengthy prison sentence of over 2,000 years.

Survivors of the Club Q shooting were honoured as grand marshals for the Pride parade, symbolizing resilience and the courage to fight back without fear. Club Q bartender Michael Anderson believed the event would serve as a “beautiful display” of strength and vigilance.

Denver Pride reported an impressive turnout, with over 500,000 people in attendance, highlighting the continued growth of support and celebration within the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

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