LGBT groups rally to save Cleveland Pride after execs cancel event over ‘changing social climate’

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Following a decision to cancel the official Cleveland Pride celebration, defiant LGBT groups say they plan to hold the event anyway.

The 28th annual Pride event had been set to take place in Cleveland, Ohio on August 13 – but the event was cancelled under mysterious circumstances last week.

Cleveland Pride CEO Todd J Saporito said: “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.”

Though the reasons for the cancellation is unclear, the references to a secure environment and “changing social climate” appear to suggest security concerns.

But local LGBT groups have vowed not to give in, and the LGBT Cleveland Community Center says it will now hold a Pride event on the same day.

A statement says: “After last Thursday’s announcement made by Cleveland Pride Inc. that the annual Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival had been cancelled, Cleveland LGBTQ Leaders joined together to move forward with a new event that will take place on Saturday, August 13, 2016.”

“Phyllis Harris, Executive Director of The LGBT Community Center, Cleveland City Councilman, Kerry McCormack; State Representative, Nickie Antonio; City of Cleveland and Dept. of Economic Development, Kevin Schmotzer and members from the following organizations: The LGBT Community Center, Plexus, HRC Cleveland Steering Committee, GG9, Stonewall Democrats, Stonewall Sports Cleveland, WH2, Dare2Care, Margie’s Hope and Equality Ohio are excited to announce that we will celebrate the LGBTQ Community, loud and proud, in Cleveland.

“We will have a safe and secure environment in which to celebrate and we will show the world that Cleveland’s LGBTQ Community Rocks. Please stay tuned for more details on location, times, entertainment, etc. Cleveland will unite and will celebrate our community and diversity on Saturday, August 13, 2016.”

A number of Prides have faced extra security measures after Orlando, with Paris Pride restricted to a shorter, locked-down route.

San Francisco Pride also introduced tough new security rules, locking down a ‘secure zone’ in the centre of the city amid fears of copycat attacks.