Cincinnati Pride 2019: ‘Your found family.’


Reporting by Hayley Champion, Kelsey Johnson, and Olivia Taylor. Photography by Chelsie Walter.  

At this year’s Pride parade and festival, we asked Cincinnatians to tell us what brought them to Pride, the L.G.B.T.Q. folks that inspire them, and what the word “pride” means to each of them. They responded with poignant reflections on their personal journeys with L.G.B.T.Q. acceptance and the history of pride in Cincinnati.


“Ever since I came out like a year ago – I came out over text because I’m weird [laughs] and a little socially awkward – I always wanted to go to a parade because it’s just so many people being themselves. Pride means that we’re standing up and making a difference for what’s right and we’re not preaching anything except love.”


“I’m here with my wife and daughter, and this is our second year together – this is our foster child – so we wanted to introduce her to the community early and let her have that experience with us. Pride means coming together as a community – your found family. And just enjoying being truly and authentically yourself, not being afraid, and just being out there and visible.”


“We believe God's love is for everyone.”

“I’ve just isolated myself for too long and it’s time to be here – out in the open. Good ol‘ bi pride.”


“We believe God's love is for everyone and we have a banner on our church that says, 'No matter what, God loves you.' We believe God's love shines on everyone. Pride is an opportunity for people to express their authentic selves just as God loves them.”

–Janet, Clifton United Methodist Church

“Pride means being visible, being out there, and not being afraid to be yourself.”


“I'm at the Pride Parade today because I love celebrating being gay. The Cincinnati Pride Parade is always great because everyone comes together. The community is here to support each other and accept each other. Pride means getting to be who I am. Shangela and Alyssa Edwards from RuPaul's Drag Race really inspire me.”


“I'm here to celebrate our rights of being a person and being known as a person and not as an abomination. Pride means I'm able to love Jesus, and He accepts me for who I am, and I want people to know that you can have Jesus's love and we can love each other, and we're here to celebrate that. My wife inspires me.”


“I'm here to support my friend, who is gay. This is his first Pride, and he inspires me every day, so we're here to celebrate love.”


“This is my first Pride, and it's really important because it's a space where everyone can come together and be themselves, be open with who they are, be positive and love everyone without the fear of having to hold something back. I really look up to Janelle Monae.”



“To me, the Pride Parade means being able to be myself in my community, because you can't always go outside decked out in rainbow. Ever since I was young, I've been inspired by Tegan and Sara.”


“I work with GLAAD, and I'm very openly androgynous and bisexual. Pride is validation that people can be however they're made. It's so important in this day and age, and I'm really glad that the up-and-coming generation is starting to put an emphasis on equal rights for everyone. At my first Pride, there were a plethora of protesters at Fountain Square, and as the years have gone by, the number of protesters has dwindled significantly. There is so much peace in the midst of it now.”


“I love Pride, and I'm here because I want security and marriage rights just like our straight counterparts. Long live Golden Lions from the old decades – it was just a fun place to be, and having fun is so important, and I love supporting local drag queens and supporting the art of drag.”


[Editor’s note: The Golden Lions Lounge was one of the oldest gay bars in Cincinnati. It closed in 2011.]

“Pride, to me, is about being able to show who you are, and not being afraid to own it 100%.”