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Organizers Say #PrideIntheCLE Shows the Unity of Cleveland's LGBT Community

photo of Phyllis Harris

Organizers are calling the "Pride in the CLE" festival over the weekend a success. They say it shows the great working relationship between city leaders and the LGBT community.

The event was put together in less than two weeks, following the cancelation of the annual Cleveland Pride Parade. Its organizers had cited safety concerns.

Instead, "Pride In the CLE" started with hundreds of people marching over the Detroit-Superior Bridge to Public Square on Saturday. A small performance stage, food trucks and information tables were set up, and co-organizer Phyllis Harris is already looking forward to next year.

“We’d like to come together again as organizations and groups and talk about what worked and what didn’t work. And we want to hear from the community on whether or not they want this to happen again.”

Harris, who is executive director of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, says the city’s special events committee was very easy to work with, and their support for “Pride In the CLE” makes her proud to be a Clevelander.

Cleveland Police say there were never any credible threats to the Pride Parade, and they were able to easily adapt their previous security plan to the new event on Public Square.

Harris says the event shows the unity of the LGBT community in Northeast Ohio.

Phyllis Harris on #PrideIntheCLE

“This is not the first time we’ve done this. We came together in advance of the Gay Games. It was a similar [process of] getting people around the table. There’ll always be naysayers and we just stay focused on the way forward and we came together and got this done. And I think we’re able to show that Cleveland is our home and we want to be visible in Cleveland and we’re not afraid. And we’re willing to put in the work.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.