The board of directors for Cleveland Pride recently announced that the 28th annual Pride parade, rally, and festival have been canceled. It's the first year the celebration will not take place since it started in 1989.
President and CEO of Cleveland Pride, Todd J Saporito released the following statement:
"We have been entrusted by our community to create a secure parade and festival environment for our LGBTQ brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends and allies. 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. Therefore, we regretfully cancelled our 28th annual parade, rally and festival this year."
Although Saporito offered his apologies, the local LGBT community is not pleased. Just last week, Mayor Frank G. Jackson of Cleveland passed a nondiscrimination ordinance including LGBT residents.
Ken Schneck, Cleveland local and producer/host of the nationally syndicated radio show, This Show is So Gay, expressed his disappointment with the cancellation. According to Schneck, the celebration had already been rescheduled due to the RNC before it was cancelled.
Schneck commented on the cancellation:
"There is much to celebrate here and much community time needed. For so many individuals in our Cleveland LGBTQ community, Cleveland Pride is either their first opportunity or only day the whole year to be both out and their fully realized selves. For all of us, it is an opportunity to be visible and to be together. Of course we can experience pride every day of the year, but the cancellation of this one day of pure and utter community is a deep, deep loss."
Schneck is not the only one to express his disappointment with the way Cleveland Pride has been handled. Locals have recently started a petition to remove Saporito from his position. The online petition has already amassed more than 700 signatures within a day.
Saporito has not responded to requests for comment on the cancellation or the petition.