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  • MarKei Photo & Video

Columbia Heights PRIDE!

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

Yesterday I was not only the photographer for the 3rd ever Columbia Heights Pride Festival, but I also had my very first booth to promote the relationship coaching that I provide for those who practice ethical/consensual non-monogamy. Couldn't think of a better way to come out to my community about that.

I had an AMAZING day. I talked to so many awesome people and heard their stories:

  • a couple of young teens stopped by and very casually & confidently told me their names, their pronouns, and how they sexually/romantically identify. Then they asked me my name and pronouns. I tried not to miss the beat despite how absolutely in awe I was of these pride-forward young human beings, and I said back to them, "My name is Marie and I use they/them pronouns. Thank you for asking!" They went on to tell me about how their friend wasn't able to attend today because their parents are homophobic. They also show me some pins they made with colors to show how they identify. Growing up in the 80s in a very homophobic culture, I was absolutely BLOWN away by the (deserved) pride and confidence these kids have about WHO THEY ARE.

  • a vendor near me popped by to ask me some relationship questions. We ended up getting into a bit longer of a conversation about living life with authenticity-forward, believing that authenticity leads to inner peace. That conversation merged into another conversation with another person with whom I discussed the concept of escalator relationships, meaning the cultural narrative and expectation of how a relationship should naturally proceed and what's expected, instead of naturally letting a relationship reveal to the participants what it should be for them.

  • later, a trans male teen in a wheelchair stopped by and I had an AMAZING conversation with him through his translator about how he came to know he was trans and how he has always inherently known that love has no boundaries.

To get real with you for a second, most of my life I have experienced myself as generally cis, straight, and monogamous. And that's no surprise since that's the template my sub-culture served to me exclusively. Over the years, as I heal from my narrow inculturation and discover what it is to "be me", I have begun to toss the word "queer" around in my head. I have been to half a dozen pride festivals and I have a large group of queer friends. However, I have never felt like I would be someone who would call themselves "queer" given who I've been up until now. And I honor so deeply what Pride means to folx who identify with that, so I didn't want to be disrespectful in personalizing that term. That said, yesterday and a series of conversations over the last few months has helped me to realize that I do actually belong to this group. We all do. Queer is (for me) a signal that you do not fall into the narrow prescription culture provides for us. I've been concerned that I am not "different enough" to own being queer which is why I've stayed away from it. I certainly don't want to appropriate someone else's struggle. But I've realized it's ALL of our struggle. If we feel comfy in the prescription culture has given us, we may not realize that we, too, have been socialized in a certain way. I don't want to be told who I am. I don't think cishet people want to be told who they are, either. Anyways, just a small soap box I just had to get on for a brief moment. I'm so grateful for everyone who opened their heart and showed who they truly are. I am better for it. I am more human from it.

"Join the annual community PRIDE celebration in Columbia Heights, MN! Each year neighbors and people from across the metro are drawn to this vibrant festival. The carnival atmosphere includes music performances, story tellers, vendor booths, activities, food trucks, and more. All are welcome to attend this family-friendly event!"

Mayor Simula Marquez with the CoHi Pride proclamation
pride merch

pride merch

CHHS GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance)

pride merch

pride merch

The one and only KiKi!

Frost (Mayor's husband) is always at events doing amazing behind-the-scenes work


TransForming Families
Fantastic art by Katie Hieggelke-Rogotzke

More art by Katie Hieggelke-Rogotzke

Pride merch

Pride merch

Columbia Heights Public Library

Pride flag!

pride merch

pride merch

pride merch

pride merch

pride merch

pride merch

coloring on a perfectly normal piece of paper

OVation Choir

Frost keeping the sound sounding good

Mayor Simula Marquez chatting with folx

secret sock picture

vendors chatting with attendees

love wins.

Om. :)

"yes i am gay"

you matter!

pride merch

bucket o' love wins

"gay rocks" by Anwatin Middle School artists

"celebrate" card

in line for some amazing food!

Pride's food truck for the day!


Kiki singing "My Girl"

"talkin' 'bout my girl..."

Wall of PRIDE

amazing art getting purchased!

more of Katie's work

pride merch

pride merch

pride merch

You matter.

"gay rock donations for Anwatin Middle School"

Pride Rock... but like... not Lion King.

pride merch

pride merch

DJ K Reeves

making Pride cards

Pride coloring pages


yes, i said puppy. all dogs are puppies.

Nathan and Barry from Lavender Magazine. Great booth neighbors!

Mistress Ginger doing musical storytime. AMAZING.

the amazing Mistress Ginger!

pride merch

pride merch

Black Lives Matter

Fantastically outgoing young person modeling kickass butterfly glasses

Mayor Simula Marquez and Mistress Ginger

Mayor Simula Marquez and Mistress Ginger

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