The region’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is indeed proud. Each year, Cleveland Pride offers a daylong focus on that vast group and its myriad local allies. Via a lively parade, rally and festival, the organization hopes to shine a bright spotlight on the people who make up the community and the rights for which they’re advocating.
The event will run from noon to 8 p.m. June 29 at Voinovich Park, just north of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
With a trifecta of aims related to “awareness, education, and knowledge of the queer community,” as the group’s organizers outline it, Cleveland Pride lends volume to a population often underserved in voice and reach.
“Cleveland is one of the more affirming and accepting cities, which may be contrary to what people understand,” Todd Saporito, Cleveland Pride board president and CEO, says. He adds that the LGBT community has seen a growing sense of support from all corners of the region, including local politicians and faith-based organizations.
The parade will step off at West 3rd Street and Rockwell Avenue. The route will wind across downtown - turning right onto Lakeside, then heading north along East 9th Street to Voinovich Park. Given the fact that the event is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, spectators can expect even more verve than usual.
“While our celebration will focus on the 25-year history of Cleveland Pride, we are capturing the sense of our culture back in 1989,” says Jon Brittain, director of the 2013 Cleveland Pride Parade Planning and Logistics Committee. “We ask all parade marchers and spectators to bring back to life where they were in 1989 when our founders called to our community ‘Out of the Closet’, the first gay and lesbian rally in Cleveland.”
Parade participants and spectators will gather as early as 10 a.m. along the route. As the parade moves across town, it’s sure to be an enlightening juxtaposition of vibrant support and banal opposition. Cleveland Pride garners a wide swatch of LGBT opponents each year. In recent years, however, Cleveland Pride participants - both gay and ally - have shielded the event from ignorance. By donning massive angel wings, a barrier is formed to block hate speech from infiltrating the parade and other events of the day.
Be a part of the joy and the heartfelt look toward a different future. All are invited.