Equality events

Dayton’s Pride celebrations

By Kate E Lore

Photo: A float rolls down Third Street during the 2012 Gay Pride Parade in Dayton; photo credit: Bill Franz

Rainbow, sparkles and all things fabulous; this is what you might typically think of when you hear “Pride Weekend” and “Gay Pride Parade.” How about love, support, equality and acceptance? This Pride Weekend is about more than showing off, and it’s more than just a celebration limited to the gay people of Dayton. In fact, the more heterosexuals support these events, the more their purpose is achieved. Gay pride is about embracing the people who have been ignored, looked over and sometimes hated in our society that caters to heterosexuals 365 days out of the year. The LGBTQ community is not asking you to convert or change your fashion choices – even if you really should. They gay people of Dayton are simply throwing a weekend to celebrate their culture, which often gets hidden and overlooked in the far corners of our city. These individuals are brave enough to throw a massive public party and forgiving enough to invite everyone, despite all the years of being excluded themselves.

After riots and protests started in 1969 between Philadelphia and New York City, the first ever Gay Pride March was held in New York City June 28, 1970. It covered 51 blocks from Christopher Street to Central Park. In 1971, gay rights activists applied for a march in the city of Columbus. They were denied for several months before the officials finally agreed. In 1973, Cincinnati held its first ever Gay Pride Parade with 70 people participating. That same year Columbus had 150 people for the first regional Pride Parade. By 1985, the Columbus Pride Parade had 3,000 marchers. Cleveland hosted its first Gay Pride Parade in 1990, Toledo in 1995 and Akron in 1996.

In June 1999, the rainbow flag was flown from a Statehouse flagpole in Columbus. “This was the first time in Ohio and only the second time in the nation that a rainbow flag had been flown with official sanction at a state capitol. At the pride parade, Chuck Spingola climbed the pole and cut down the flag. He handed the flag to Toni Peters who set it on fire. Chuck Spingola felt that flying the rainbow flag at the Statehouse was “… sanctioning sin and encouraging people to go to hell.” Spingola and Peters were convicted of criminal damaging. In response to this incident, a state board adopted a policy that says only U.S. and state of Ohio flags can be flown on state property, unless approved by the governor.” [“Outlook” (July 8 – 21, 1999); The Toledo Blade (August 4, 1999); Gay People’s Chronicle (March 24, 2000)] Despite that huge setback and disappointing display of hatred, all across the country, rallies, parades and marches continued to pop up and grow every year.

Dayton had its first ever Pride Celebration in 1986. In 2002, we had our first Pride Parade and that tradition carries on today. Dayton is starting to develop an annual tradition that is filled with celebration, fun, parties, gorgeous costumes, acceptance and love.

Gay Pride Day officially starts at 9 a.m. with a fantastic breakfast being served at MJ’s Cafe. Line up for the Pride Parade starting at 11 a.m. in Cooper Park on the corner of Second and St. Clair downtown. The parade begins at noon and is led by Grand Marshals: Adam Hoover of Marriage Equality Ohio, Kim Welter and Elyzabeth Holford of Equality Ohio.

Masque nightclub, 34 N. Jefferson St., will open at noon with free admission and drink specials all day long. The main stage will feature local drag queens, kings, singers and dancers.

At 8 p.m. Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus present their concert “Turn It UP” at the Victoria Theatre. At 10 p.m. Masque will present a stage show featuring the winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 5, Jinkx Monsoon, along with Season 5 contestants Alaska and guest hostess Penny Tration. A meet-and-greet with Alaska, Jinkx and Penny will follow.

There are also events running throughout the week. On Friday, May 31, Masque is having “Ab Fab Friday-The Pride Edition,” which features the Masque Wrestling Team of male dancers, with emcee Montana McDaniels and the official Mr. and Miss Ohio Gay Pride from Columbus, all beginning at 11 p.m. On Sunday June 2, Masque will hold a fundraiser at 10 p.m. for the Dayton chapter of GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

June 15 is the Annual Pride Dinner at the David H. Ponitz Center on the campus of Sinclair Community College starting at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour and business expo. This event is headlined by the hilarious Poppy Champlin. To reserve tickets the website, daytonlgbtcenter.org and click on the “Pride Dinner” tab.

The movie “I Do” will be showing at the Neon Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. This special screening is $9 for general admission, and $7 for Greater Dayton LGBT Center members.

Celebrate acceptance and have fun embracing this fun colorful culture. You don’t have to participate in order to support. All that is being sought here is an end to hate and maybe some equality.


Dayton Gay Pride Weekend officially begins Saturday, June 1 at 9 a.m. The Pride Parade begins at noon, lineup starts at 11 a.m. at Cooper Park, on the corner of Second and St. Clair Streets in downtown Dayton. Events continue throughout the day at various locations. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Kate E Lore at KateLore@DaytonCityPaper.com

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