‘Recovering bigot’ says sorry to LGBTQ+ community with free hugs at Pride march

Man holds 'recovering bigot' sign at Denver Pride

A “recovering bigot” has been praised for giving out free hugs at a Pride parade.

The man was seen at Denver’s Pride in Colorado on Sunday (27 June), wearing a rainbow garland and holding a sign that read, “Recovering bigot. I am sorry. Free hugs.”

A TikTok user captured several hugs between him and other Pride-goers.

“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,” the TikTok user said.

Several other people added that they had also previously held anti-LGBTQ+ views, and that the man’s show of support was inspiring, with one saying: “Welcome to the good side, sir.”

Another said: “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.” 

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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

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A photo of the man’s sign made it on to Twitter, where one user explained that Pride is a “perfect opportunity [to] make amends”.

Commenting on the tweet, a woman posted about her own Pride outfit, which had a sign reading: “I was quiet far too long… I am sorry for the harm the Church has caused you.” 

Denver’s event was the state’s first Pride parade since Colorado Springs was rocked by a mass shooting in LGBTQ+ bar Club Q in November.

Earlier this week, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, pleaded guilty to 53 charges in connection with the attack, including five of first-degree murder and 46 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. He was sentenced to more than 2,000 years in jail by Judge Michael McHenry.

Survivors of the shooting were honoured as grand marshals for the Pride parade, with Club Q bartender Michael Anderson telling local news that the event would be a “beautiful display” of the “strength and vigilance of fighting back and not being afraid”. 

According to Denver Pride, the event was attended by more than 500,000 people. 

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