JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A southern Indiana man is launching Jeffersonville's first-ever gay pride festival through a new non-profit called Jeffersonville Pride.

"Our mission is to encourage every single citizen of Jeffersonville to have pride in themselves and to encourage them to treat people like people," Evan Stoner told WDRB.

The college freshman says he was inspired to launch a pride festival in southern Indiana after being bullied.

"I was called offensive terms, derogatory terms. I was physically threatened," said Stoner.

Clark Memorial Hospital has stepped forward as the event's first major sponsor.

Stoner says feedback is mostly positive and says negative comments only inspire him to do more.

"We're talking to people about our mission. We're telling our vision. We're sharing what we want this community to be and know it can be," he said.

Jeffersonville Pride says it is working alongside Southern Indiana Equality to discourage hate.

Stoner even has the support of Jeffersonville Republican Mayor Mike Moore.

"You know, I teach my kids every day. I've given them a sentence I hope they live by. Everyone deserves to be happy. Quit judging everybody," Mayor Moore told WDRB.

Moore says he will welcome a pride festival with open arms.

"You know we're not living in the 1950's anymore and I think we all need to become a little more tolerant of our neighbors and our friends," said Moore.

Stoner says the event will be open to everyone.

"No matter who they are and who they love, Jeffersonville supports us," he said.

The festival is set for June and details are still being worked out but Stoner says the parade will go down Spring Street and the festival will be at Big Four Station.

"We'll have entertainment. We'll have music, food, drinks, all types of fun festivities all throughout the night," said Stoner.

To keep up with Jeffersonville Pride, click here or here.

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