On Friday, June 1 and Saturday June 2, the city of Dayton held its annual PRIDE festivities.
The month of June is all about celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. On June 26 of 2015, the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
The community has been through so many tribulations on the road to earning their rights as people. They still face many prejudices today, but they are a tight knit group of people that are very supportive of each other.
The PRIDE celebration kicked off on Thursday, May 31 at the Dayton Metro Library with an airing of the documentary “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.” The movie examines the life and work of Armistead Maupin, author of the book series “Tales of the City.”
His book was also turned in to a PBS mini-series, and the story is a classic. It recounts the story of Maupin’s evolution from a conservative farm boy to a gay rights activist.
On Friday, June 1 the celebration began with an “Affair on the Square.” This took place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with beer, food trucks and performances from the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus and The Rubi Girls.
Following this was a .5K Bar Crawl from Courthouse Square which was called the Fruit Loop, where participants could grab a drink from all the local bars.
Next, the Saturday events began early with a breakfast served at M.J.’s on Jefferson Street at 9 a.m. Lineup for the parade began at 11 a.m. at Cooper Park on the corner of 2nd and St. Clair. The streets were filled with rainbows and many people who were happy and excited for the celebration.
Eric Lawson works for Synchrony Financial, a group who was prevalent on the streets of the PRIDE parade and festival.
He said, “We are a financial company here in Dayton, we have been around for many, many years. This is our second year joining the PRIDE parade and we are very proud to work for a great company, and we are very proud to be who we are.”
The parade began at noon, and ended at Courthouse Square where participants were greeted with a community festival that went on until 4 p.m. There was a children and youth section, as well as a section with family friendly entertainment with face painting and a bouncy house for kids to enjoy. The east end of the festival hosted a car show featuring new and classic cars.
BriTe SiGnal Alliance, Sinclair’s own LGBTQ+ student led club, was also in attendance with their own booth in the square, offering stickers, buttons and information on their mission of celebrating diversity, and advocating for proper treatment of LGBTQ+ students on campus.
Charlotte S. Eakin, President of BriTe SiGnal Alliance, shared her thoughts on the event: “I’m glad we’re able to have a day where we all come together under one single banner,” Eakin said. “Where we have a single day that no matter what bigotry or discrimination we may be facing, we all come together as one people to enjoy life. It was a wholesome experience.”
The highlight of the event is always on the Main Stage, where people gather to hear shows performed by local bands. Several energetic attendees lip synced to popular songs to the delight of spectators.
To finish off the weekend, the 3rd annual Spikes and Heels Kickball Tournament was held. It invites people of all athletic abilities to come play or cheer on their favorite team.
In honor of the celebrations this month, a Main Street crosswalk is painted with a vibrant rainbow. There will be many PRIDE celebrations happening across the country this month.
“Pride is an extremely important space for LGBT people to realize they’re not alone,” Jayci Lawson, BriTe SiGnal Alliance Vice President said. “Walking in and being able to see so many people like you is a crazy emotional feeling because I’m so used to being in a world not made for me.”