COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The biggest event in Central Ohio may be different because of the COVID-19 health crisis, but organizers hope it will reach more people than ever before.
The Columbus LGBTQ Pride Parade will kick off Saturday, October 3 with a series of virtual and small in-person events.
“For us, we saw it as a really great opportunity to be able to launch something that would help us celebrate pride whenever someone wanted to,” said Densil Porteous, the interim executive director of Stonewall Columbus.
The parade typically attracts upwards of 500,000 people to downtown Columbus in June.
Stonewall Columbus postponed the gathering to October 3 to follow health and safety restrictions.
In July, the organization announced it would instead host alternative socially distant events.
“Our community has been through a lot of adversity before and the wonderful thing about the ‘digital divide’ is actually in this moment it’s bringing us together,” Porteous said.
October is LGBTQ History Month. Saturday, viewers can watch online highlights from previous parades and learn more about advocates throughout history.
Throughout the month, the Stonewall Columbus building will begin slowly reopening to the public, hosting several performances, small gatherings and a display of LGBTQ artifacts.
Porteous stepped into his current role in June as the organization searched for new leadership to navigate tumultuous times and promote diversity within the LGBTQ community. The new interim executive director said he’s hoping to provide a platform for a wide range of voices and highlight issues affecting people of color.
“Within our community, we’re seeing a disparate number of black, trans citizens who are impacted — not only by COVID-19, but also by the systemic racism that continues to happen across the country,” he explained.
Porteous hopes to raise awareness about LGBTQ issues and bring pride top of mind throughout the year.
“Pride is 365,” he said. “We don’t stop celebrating, we don’t stop holding onto our identity once June ends.”
Here’s a list of PRIDE events happening during LGBTQ History Month:
- Pride Parades of History & Lift Yourself Up
- Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Drive: Remember our history; vote for our future!
- Lambda LitFest: A Weeklong Celebration of Queer Black Artistry
- Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus “VOX MASKED”
- National Pride Stride 5k/10k
- The Big (Queer) Table: Where do we go from here?
- Ohio History Gay Trivia w/ Ken Schneck
- Effen Stonewall Pride
Find more details about the events by clicking here.