DES MOINES, Iowa — The First Unitarian Church of Des Moines held its third annual Central Iowa Trans Lives Festival on Saturday.

The event is in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, providing a safe space for trans adult and youth to celebrate and show off artistic schools to those in the community.

With certain legislation passed this year by lawmakers at the statehouse, event organizers view this year as more meaningful than previous years.

“I would say it seems like this is more important than ever to have some uplifting positive support for the transgender community,” said Doug Aupperle, organizer for the transgender action group at First Unitarian Church.

“A lot of people are very discouraged right now and it is not just the ones who are speaking up, it is the ones who are speaking up who don’t feel heard and it is people who are still afraid to speak up,” said Sarah Chang, organizer for the transgender action group at First Unitarian Church. “And so many people are just feeling downtrodden, feeling pushed out of the state quite honestly by some of these laws and some of them will be leaving the state.”

The event was free for anyone to attend, featuring arts and crafts for sale, live music, dance, comedy, poetry, food trucks and drag performances. One drag performer talked about what it meant to be a role model for the next generation of the LGBTQ community.

“When I was in high school I actually didn’t really have a lot of representation of trans people, especially trans men or nonbinary people. And it would’ve helped honestly to see more of that and to have somebody that was like me. And to be able to be that for at least some people honestly makes me honored,” said Annie Christ, a drag performer at the festival.