Columbus Pride Weekend: Peer recovery nonprofit aims to help LGBT community

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Stonewall Columbus is putting on its 37th year of Pride. 

The festival at Bicentennial and Genoa Park kicks off on Friday and the parade will step-off Saturday morning. The parade route is the same as last year. 

But, besides celebrating pride, there will also be resources for people who need help.

“It was very quickly after I got sober, I had this passion and burning desire to do this,” said executive director of Type-R Recovery Matt Schmid. “We strive to help everyone be drug free, but we have a heart for the LGBT community.”

This year will be the peer recovery non-profit’s first time at the pride festival, hoping to spread awareness and get feedback from the communities they serve. He said they also help people suffering from addiction find treatment. 

“In the LGBT community, they have a 12.2 times more likelihood to use methamphetamine and 9.7 times more likely to use heroin,” said Schmid. “A lot of that is due to the traumas that are associated with being LGBT and coming out or just suppressing it and not knowing how to deal with those feelings and that’s what we’re hoping to address.”

Pride coordinator Sabrina Boykin said the festival will have plenty of resource booths including Type-R Recovery, support groups, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, adoption services and Columbus Public Health, among others. 

“I think it’s really important that we know as a community we have a lot of resources available to us and it’s okay to use them,” she said. “It’s okay to celebrate who you are and be proud of who you are, but it’s also okay to ask for help.”

Helping to unite the community for common good is the Harmony Project.

“They volunteer together. They learn together,” said Boykin. “They educate together and they sing together.”

Instead of a grand marshal this year, the organization is being recognized as community honorees. 

“They don’t care where you come from or what you do for a living,” she said. “They don’t care what you look like or who you love. They’re there to sing and to give back.”

Boykin said new this year to Pride is an amateur drag show contest, kayaks on the river and a revamped family area called “Growing Up With Pride.”

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