COLUMBUS (WCMH) — More than half a million people are estimated to have attended the annual Pride Parade in downtown Columbus Saturday.
Organizers said this year’s parade participation increased by 5,000 people from last year, bringing the total number of participants to nearly 13,000.
Young, old, women, men, pets — everyone came out to support the LGBTQ community in Columbus, including Susan Knorr, who has been riding in the parade for over two decades.
“This is such a beautiful event,” Knorr said. “This is about love and equality and being treated right and just about being able to be myself.”
Rick Harrison, who helped organize this year’s parade, said he was in awe of how far the city has come as far as acceptance of the LGBTQ community over the years.
“The first year, people had bags over their heads,” Harrison said. “It was a block long. We didn’t see the kind of support that we have (now).”
One of those supporters at this year’s Pride Parade was Blaize Yager, a transgender man who said it wasn’t until recently that he felt comfortable in his own skin.
“It’s amazing people can come together for such a thing that America has been against for so long,” Yager said. “We’ve come so far, but we are a long way to go, but we’re getting there step by step.”
Each step taken in the parade symbolized how much closer to inclusivity of the LGBTQ community Columbus — and the nation — is getting.
Pride organizers hope next year’s event is even bigger, but are thrilled to be able to call 2019’s Pride a major success.
“Each year the parade grows more and more,” Harrison said. “It’s a great example of why central Ohio is such a great place.”