Saturday, June 17, 2017
Parade Step Off @ 10:30 AM at Goodale & High
in the Short North Arts District
The first Pride march in Columbus, Ohio was held in June 1981. Only 200 people were in attendance, and some even wore bags over their heads to conceal their identities. This year, we celebrate the 36th Year of PRIDE in Columbus.
In 2016, we were joined by over 200 unique marching contingents, representing a vast array of non-profits, community organizations, corporate sponsors, small businesses, political candidates and activists! Over 10,000 people marched in the parade and an estimated 500,000 attended Pride. Help us celebrate and recognize our 36th PRIDE by joining us!
Grand Marshal Information
Be Strong. Stay Proud.
This mantra has been said many times here at Stonewall Columbus over the past year. Thirty-six years ago this June, three young gay activists staged a civil rights march through the streets of Columbus to draw attention to the discrimination that was happening in our city. We honor their legacy and assume their mantle as we take to the streets once again this year. In the state of Ohio, our community can still be denied/evicted from housing or fired from our jobs just because of our sexual orientation or gender identity, so it is important for us to stand up and let our voices be heard. We stand ever firmly behind our LGBTQ community and all of our communities that demand inclusion, full enfranchisement and equality before the law.
This year, in lieu of a Pride Grand Marshal, we recognize a group of brave individuals as our Community Honorees: the LGBTQ refugees who have fled their homelands for fear of persecution or death and now call Columbus home. Through our own refugee program, and in partnership with Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) and other local non-profits, Stonewall has worked diligently to support LGBTQ new Americans. After landing in Columbus with few or no resources, Stonewall assists through the creation of an Emergency Relief Fund and with connections to our great Central Ohio LGBTQ community.
Reports of government officials kidnapping and detaining gay and bisexual men in Chechnya continue. While LGBTQ people in Chechnya are being tortured, held in unofficial state prisons and even killed, Chechnya’s leaders deny the allegations: “’You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,’ Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov told the Interfax news agency. ‘If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.’”
The horror in Chechnya is not an isolated event. A gay rights activist in Uganda was arrested and detained for speaking out against their President in April. David and Roscoe, two gay Ugandan refugees who now call Columbus home, fled from their country after being charged with the “Promotion of Homosexuality” and facing life imprisonment or even death. Two Iranian lesbians narrowly escaped their country after being forced to leave following death threats. One of the women in unable to show her face to this day for fear of retaliation against her or her family back home. As we look to this current crisis of violence and injustice in Chechnya and the world at large, we ask our community to continue to advocate for and support these important collaborations between LGBTQ and refugee resettlement organizations.
Together we will move forward. Together we will hold on to hope. We are all connected to one another and together we will fight for justice. After 36 years of hard work in Columbus, we know the great strength, resilience, and dedication of our community. Be strong, stay proud, and march with us, for ALL of us, this June.