On Thursday, July 28, 2016, the Board of Directors of Cleveland Pride, Inc. announced that the annual Pride celebration will be cancelled for 2016. The rally and festival scheduled for Saturday, August 13, 2016, will no longer be taking place.
The reasoning behind it?
Todd J. Saporito, President and CEO of Cleveland Pride, Inc. says. “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.”
Why am I not buying it?
Pride is time for celebration and unity. It’s (supposed to be) a time for inclusion and visibility. It’s (supposed to be) a time for acknowledgement and reconciliation of our differences under this multi-faceted, complex LGBTQ umbrella. It’s (supposed to be) a time to educate, inform and experience our peers and allies of our struggles and victories.
So when the reasonings for cancelling an event that is supposed to be an encapsulation of all these things is because of “changing social climate,” I’m calling all kinds of BS. I’m not picking up what you’re putting down, Todd, and I’m not buying what you’re selling.
Changing social climate is the very reason why there NEEDS to be a 2016 Cleveland Pride Celebration.
We need to discuss, mourn and celebrate the victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting, we need to discuss intersectionality, we need to discuss the over-abundance of Black trans killings, we need to address anti-LGBT legislations, and we need to honor how far we’ve come as a community. Cancelling Cleveland Pride is a step backwards.
But these are the types of things that happen when there is little to no diversity at the table. We need folks from #BlackLivesMatter at the table. We need trans voices at the table. We need Latinos at the table. We need young LGBTQ voices at the table. We need gender queer/non-binary voices at the table. We even need the police at the table. When everything is White-Cis led, things like not taking the time to address pressing social issues facing the more marginalized members of the LGBTQ “community” happen.
So the real reason why Cleveland Pride is cancelled is not lost on us, Mr. Saporito. There are other events like the interfaith unity rally on Sunday, August 7, 2016, at Old Stone Church in Public Square that we could and should attend. It’s just little disheartening that the organizers of Cleveland Pride could not put in the time to address the obstacles of it’s more marginalized members.