CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Pride returns to the Queen City after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Pride Month is about coming together with your greater LGTBQ + community,” said Benjamin Morano, Cincinnati Pride president.
Cincinnati's Pride parade marches through downtown Cincinnati until it ends at the festival grounds at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove.
Morano said typically anywhere between 100,000 to 120,000 people attend Pride, but he anticipates around 150,000 people this year. He is expecting a larger crowd because they haven’t had Pride in a few years and said people need this event.
“We have a lot of members within the community who don’t necessarily have a support system at home, or in their neighborhood or their greater family so we are offering them an outlet to get together with people who they know are like them and can see people like them,” he said.
Morano noted not having Pride for a couple of years can take a toll on people mentally.
“And same thing with legislation that is being passed," Morano said. "I think the guise that it's under is to help protect people's mental health when in fact it's going to have the negative effect of that because you’re actually making things more difficult for someone who is LGTBQ+.”
With legislation taking aim at the LGBTQ community, Monrano wants LGBTQ+ individuals to know they’re not alone.
“There is a community out there who is willing and open to embrace you." Morano said. "We’ve been fighting this fight for over 50 years publicly. We’ve have not backed down prior, we’re not going to back down now so we want you to feel free to be your authentic self.”
Cincinnati Pride has been an organization for the last 10 years. Morano said the first Pride in Cincinnati was 49 years ago, but he said there have only been between 37 to 40 parades.
“It was sporadic because there was not necessarily a dedicated team or organization that actually took over the festival and parade,” he said
Morano said he hopes everyone enjoys Cincinnati Pride, but they also remember how Pride started as a protest over 50 years ago.
He added it’s important for people to be engaged in Pride events and issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community year round.