Draped in a transgender flag, Cain Schleuning was overwhelmed with emotion as he looked out among the sea of revelers at Catalina Island’s first-ever Pride celebration on Saturday.

It was Schleuning’s first Pride celebration too.

Schleuning, 19, grew up in a conservative family on the island and worried that he might not be accepted in the small town of 4,000 people he calls home. But on Saturday, as he watched the community celebrate together, those fears fell away.

“All of this really shows that people care and they’ll accept me for me. It’s just lovely to see that I’m not alone,” Schleuning said.

The vibe in Avalon, which sees about a million visitors annually, was particularly joyous on Saturday as several hundred locals and day trippers gathered in the cobblestone courtyard in the town’s heart to celebrate LGBTQ people. Pop hits blasted over the speakers as attendees waved Pride flags and danced.

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