Monday, June 27, 2011

My Home State Pride

Most of you know I am from Ohio and how I feel about some of the people and actions against the LGBT population there.
This month is Pride and I have had the pleasure of attending many wonderful Pride events across the state in the last 30 or so years.
The state capitol is Columbus were I attended my very first Pride parade. WOW! What a rush to be surrounded by so many gay people! There was only about 5,000 people at my first event but it sure felt like a million.
AIDS had just hit the fan and we were being blamed for it. During the speeches was an airplane with a banner that read, "AIDS was Gods curse on Homos" and protesters lined the streets with horns, whistles, and signs that said some nasty things. Half way thru an address by some politician came a bomb threat. We did not move. We stood firm and continued.

I remember walking on the outside edge of the parade because I was not afraid to be seen or filmed for the news. The protesters were scary and we were told "Do not engage any action with them no matter what."

When Cleveland started their own Pride parade my friends and I were eager to go. Cleveland was closer and cheaper to stay over night. Also we had more friends who could get there.
Cleveland was a more family friendly Pride. The next year we took the kids and they had a blast. That was the year I had the moving pleasure of meeting Judy Shepard. She spoke of her son and the trial. She stood strong while half of us were choking down the tears.
I don't remember seeing protesters so much but I did stay to the edge to protect those who still needed to blend in with the crowd.
Over the years the crowd of LGBT and friends have grown to amazing amounts and keeps growing.
This years Pride in Cleveland will be this weekend and I hope it goes without a hitch.
Happy Pride Ohio !

(That is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the background)

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