COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A festival known as Columbus’ “alternative Pride” kicks off this week, as communities observe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender achievement during LGBTQ+ History Month.

(Courtesy Photo/Columbus Community Pride).

Columbus Community Pride is hosting its annual festival on Oct. 8 in Mayme Moore Park from noon to 7 p.m. Since 2017, the festival has been led by Black, indigenous, queer and trans members of the community, and it offers an alternative to mainstream Pride celebrations.

The festival is being celebrated during LGBTQ+ History Month, observed in October. Since 1994, the commemorative month has recognized the impact of LGBTQ+ individuals in communities across the globe. 

A number of events will lead up to Saturday’s Pride, including a karaoke night, a speed dating event, a youth art and garden beautification space and a burlesque show.

Community Pride co-founder Charlie Stewart said this year’s festival focuses on queer and trans people of color in central Ohio, with the theme “The Future is Queer.” 

“Black queer and trans people have experienced an immense amount of trauma because of state-sanctioned violence, the systems that uplift white supremacy, and racist LGBTQIA+ organizations that center and prioritize whiteness,” Stewart said. 

Stewart said the festival honors and celebrates the community by creating safe spaces for the most vulnerable members to be their unapologetic selves. 

“Our joy and our love is the future because the future is queer,” Stewart said.

Festival-goers will be able to meet with Ohio-based organizations, inclusive healthcare companies and resource groups that focus on queer and trans people of color. In addition, performances throughout the day will highlight Black, trans and indigenous culture with music, dance, poetry, drag and more. 

Organizers said they are also aiming to prioritize community care, safety and education be giving attendees the opportunity to attend initiatives and community-led workshops on topics like trauma and STD/STI testing. 

“It is important to us to cultivate spaces where the safety and celebration of queer and trans people of color are prioritized over profit,” said Dion Mensah, Lead Organizer with Community Pride.

Mensah said this year’s theme rejects the ongoing attacks against trans youth that have occurred across the county. 

Community Pride will be at Mayme Moore Park at 867 Mt. Vernon Ave. on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. Learn more here