After A Cancellation, Cleveland’s LGBT Supporters Are Taking Pride Into Their Own Hands

After the annual event was abruptly cancelled by organizers, who mentioned security concerns, the city’s LGBT community is gathering to host a replacement occasion, the Executive Director of Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center informs BuzzFeed News.

Last Thursday, Cleveland Pride, Inc. revealed that Cleveland’s 28th yearly Pride celebration, scheduled for August 13th, would be cancelled due to concerns surrounding “the altering social environment”– but LGBT supporters are determined to host an occasion in its location.

“Because of the changing social climate, Cleveland Pride did not have enough time to engage in the development of awareness programs and training that we believe is critical in today’s environment,” president and CEO of Cleveland Pride, Inc., Todd J. Saporito, stated in the declaration. “Therefore, we regretfully cancelled our 28th annual parade, rally and festival this year.”

The occasion had already been rescheduled once to accommodate for the Republican National Convention, which was kept in Cleveland throughout the week of July 18th.

Kerry McCormack, councilman for Ward 3, informed that the decision to cancel hadn’t involved city authorities. “The city safety forces, government and people were prepared, excited and very supportive of this event,” he stated.

In wake of the cancellation statement, some of Cleveland’s LGBT supporters– consisting of Phyllis Harris, the Executive Director of The LGBT Recreation center of Cleveland– are working intensely to prepare a replacement Pride occasion.

After A Cancellation, Cleveland's LGBT Supporters Are Taking Pride Into Their Own Hands2

In a phone interview on Monday with BuzzFeed News, Harris described that she and her employee called much about the decision behind the cancellation as the general public does. “We came together with a representative from Cleveland Pride, Inc., who shared the news with us,” Harris stated. “We asked why, and we got the same answers that everyone else got in the press release.” She included that a lot of the groups present at that conference asked if there was anything they might do to change the decision– and they were informed no.

With less than three weeks to go till August 13th, Harris and numerous other groups, such as the HRC Cleveland Steering Committee and Stonewall Democrats, are rushing to create an alternate event (and offer it a name). “It’s effort, however, we are Clevelanders; we are happy, we are peaceful, and our team believes our city will keep us safe,” Harris said.

A public details officer with the Cleveland PD told BuzzFeed News the department would show up anywhere a group requested their existence, though they are not straight involved in the planning of any brand-new Pride events. There were no recognized reputable hazards to the Pride occasion at the time of the original event’s cancellation, she stated.
The cancellation at first sparked reaction and confusion from the LGBT community. Many people found it difficult to think the city might pull off hosting the RNC and a last-minute parade for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but not the annual pride parade.

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