Reported By Women: ‘What does Pride mean to you?’


Reporting by Kate Ducey and Lauren Lewis. Photography by Lizzy Geraghty and Chelsie Walter.

We asked Cincinnatians of all genders, sexual orientations, races, religions, ethnicities, and cultures one question at the 2018 Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival last Saturday: “What does Pride mean to you?” As rainbow flags flew through the rain and dancers pranced through the streets, smiles beamed while we dodged through crowds and heard their answers.

From love and happiness to acceptance and freedom, each and every answer was woven together with a common thread of celebration. People came together not to tear each other down, but to lift one another up. And above all, to cherish their colors and what it means to be human.


"So I recently came out about a year and a half ago, and to me, it's a celebration of me being able to exist. There's a lot of – in my opinion, at least – opposition to the folks being able to be gay. Still to this day. And I don't think that's, you know, right. So I come out to support not only myself, but my boyfriend, my friends, all the people that are gay and feel like they need a voice. So that's why I think Pride is important." –Gage Woolley 

“Pride, to me, means being able to be whoever you want to be and having the world come together to love everyone for their differences.” –Sammie

“My brother. The love. Just everything. Fabulousness. And just being comfortable in your own skin, and showing everybody that no matter what you look like, who you love, what you are, you're loved and you're wanted.” –Amber McCulley


“Pride is exactly what this is: the community coming out, and we're all supporting, and everyone is here for it. Nothing else is happening; we're all having a good time. That's what Pride is. Cincinnati Pride, gay Pride, black Pride, all types of Pride. We're all out today, we're all enjoying it: especially for the gay Pride. Let's go!” –Caley Marshall

“That’s so hard because it means so many things. My first reaction is love. One of my sons is gay and the first thing I thought when he came out to me was that he will be loved.” –Betsy

“It means celebrating the people who have the courage to be who they are despite what society wants them to be.” –Kelly Beischel 

“Oh, it means everything for me, honestly. It means just being proud of who I am, fully enjoying who I am as a person and just living my best life.” –Andy Girmann

“Pride is really important to me as black person of queer identity. Because, especially in the black community, we're so downtrodden on by our families and the sanctions that we have on the black community. So Pride to me really means being yourself and everything that you want to be.” –Kayla Lennon

“What Pride means to me is a time where you can set your differences aside and come together with the people you love to appreciate every human on this earth. Sexual orientation or preference doesn’t matter. We are all human.” –Aidan 


“To me, Pride is an inclusion of everyone. To me, Pride is about celebration and acceptance of self. A recognition that you are worthwhile and valuable. I'm proud not because I'm bi, but because of how being bi shaped me into being the person I am today. I'm proud of what I've fought through and what I will continue to fight through because of my orientation. I go to Pride for all the people who are too scared to. I go to Pride – sorry, this is important – I go to Pride to celebrate who I am and who others are. I go to Pride to celebrate how proud I am of what I've gone through. I go to Pride to remember the history of the community, and to remember that I am allowed to love who I am and I shouldn't be ashamed to make a bunch of noise for the world to hear.” –Tyler Gilkey

“It is a day full of expressing who you truly are without any judgement” –Anna C.

“It means you can be your best self, you know? Just get to be your best self, live your best life, be happy about it, and share it.” –Alyssa Sterling

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