Organizer hopes virtual Pride celebrations bring more participation

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – More than 800,000 people come to celebrate Pride in Columbus, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration will still be virtual.

City leaders were outside Columbus City Hall Tuesday, turning on rainbow lights that will illuminate the building for the entire month of June.

Like many of the other Pride celebrations this month, the hall lighting was held virtually.

Organizers with Stonewall Columbus made the decision in February to make the biggest events an online experience to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Stonewall Columbus’ Executive Director Densil Porteous said there are some benefits to having a virtual event this year.

By having it online, it potentially opens the event up to greater participation and the message of Pride might also be seen by even more people.

That, he said, will help the organization’s mission for equality.

“What we’re seeing is an understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQI community across not only central Ohio, but the country, and understanding of changing hearts and minds and acceptance, which I think is what we want,” Porteous said. “And as we continue to fight for equality and inclusion in all of these spaces, I think we’ll just continue to see those numbers grow.”

There will be several, smaller in-person events held all month long. The plans for some of those events are still coming together as COVID-19 health orders across the state expire.

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