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A historical account of GLBTQ Pride in Greater Cincinnati...40 yrs!

posted Jan 29, 2013, 5:06 PM by michael.chanak@cincyglbt.com   [ updated Nov 18, 2013, 9:58 AM ]
Chris Good June 11, 2000 - he brought back the full slate of Pride events, rally, parade and festival after a five year absence.


From the May 2003 issue of "Greater Cincinnati GLBT News".....

Cincinnati's First Pride Parade
by Bruce Beisner 
(Changes and additions to Bruce's article are noted!)

Thirty years ago last month, gay and lesbian Cincinnatian's held their very first Pride Parade. Over the past 3 decades, the event has grown, declined, disappeared, and been reborn. As you march with thousands of other people this June, remember that it all started with a little noticed, but very important, happening back in April of 1973.

Following the Stonewall Riots and the growth of the anti-Vietnam War movement, "hippie" culture began to strongly take hold in the Cincinnati area in the early 1970s. Out of this "leftist" and "druggie" crowd came the city's first gay organization. The Cincinnati Gay Community, or CGC, was established in 1972 by a small group of die hard activists. Among the founding members were Michael Weyand, Terry Flanigan, Carol Kipp, 
 Dick Jasinski (sic correct spelling is Richard Jazwinski), Ronald Carter and Jack Ferguson.  (Note from Michael Chanak: Terry Flanigan and Jack Ferguson are now deceased.  Also, a Karl Owens has been mentioned as involved in the first event.)

(Note from Michael Chanak: Various estimates regarding the attendance of his first event range from 12 per Ed Hicks founder of Gay Beat, and the founder of Gay Noveau in Cincinnati both out of publication,  interviewed the late Terry Flanigan who attended.  Other  accounts claim upwards to 40 individuals all men is unconfirmed.  Michael Chanak has been able to verify that Phebe Beisner, Vic Ramstetter, Carol Kipp and Debbie Arapa attended parts/or all that the first march.) 

The CGC advertised in the University of Cincinnati's newspaper and soon had over 200 people attending their regular meetings, which were held at St. John's Unitarian Church. The group was made up of mostly gay white males many of whom were college students, although a handful of women and African Americans became involved. CGC sponsored theater productions and social activities and sent speakers to sexuality education classes at UC and Miami University. About a year after it was founded, the leadership of CGC decided to build on their successes with a Pride Celebration on April 6, 7 and 8, 1973 which would include a parade
.
The first ever Cincinnati Pride Celebration began on Friday night with a spaghetti dinner at St. John's Unitarian Church that was attended by over 150 people. Following a brunch on Saturday morning at the popular gay dance club Badlands, the first Pride parade stepped off from Washington Square Park in Over the Rhine. Having secured a parade permit, about 70 people marched with signs and banners through downtown to Fountain Square. 

In a 1986 presentation to the UC Gay Academic Union, Terry Flanigan recalled that "there was much heckling along the route," and that "while press releases were sent to all the local media, only WCPO- Channel 9 covered the event, and their coverage was very brief and really didn't capture the spirit of the day at all,"

Following the parade there was a rally on Fountain Square which featured live music, political speakers, and several theatrical skits.

Although privately a friend of many gays, Cincinnati Mayor Theodore Berry, the city's first African American mayor, refused to publicly issue a proclamation of this first Gay Pride Day. It would be years before the event would receive official recognition from the City government.

On April 15, 1973, gay and lesbian activists held their first "Red Shirt Day" at the Kings Island amusement park. On May 8 of that same year, about 150 people participated in the first state wide Pride march in Columbus.

Despite the success of Cincinnati's first Pride Parade, the CGC fell apart amid heated disagreements only a month later.

A  Xavier University senior Ryan Goellner wrote an extensive history piece in December 2011 as a capstone project, which quotes various resources, and states:

The Beginning of Gay Pride in Cincinnati

These political firestorms, however, did not simply manufacture themselves in a vacuum

in Cincinnati. Rather, they were the product of decades of buildup of the GLBTQ movement

as both a cultural and political idea. “Gay Pride” in Cincinnati started as a march and a rally;

it was a protest against inequality and discrimination that drew on the model of the civil rights

movements of the 1960s, built off of the nation-wide unrest of the 1970s, and eventually

generated its own socio-political movement in the 1980s. The gay pride movement in Cincinnati

began in the early 1970s, and attempted to build off of the controversy and success of the

Stonewall riots and New York City Pride. A small group of dedicated activists in the early gay

and lesbian movement organized the Cincinnati Gay Community (CGC) in 1972. The CGC

began drawing activists from around Cincinnati, most notably from the University of Cincinnati.

Their early organization resulted in the first pride celebration in Cincinnati from April 6 to 8,

1973, which culminated in a parade through downtown to Fountain Square. Terry Flanigan, one

of the founding members of the CGC, “recalled that ‘there was much heckling along the route’”

of the parade of 1973, and that only a small local team from Channel 9 covered the story.32 The

1973 pride parade and the events surrounding it emulated the beginnings of pride in New York

after the Stonewall riots. Cincinnati pride started as a vanguard movement intent on making itself

seen and heard, as well as battling the stigmas attached to the GLBTQ community.

After the 1973 parade, the CGC quickly disintegrated, and pride fell by the wayside

until it was revived in 1978 by the Greater Cincinnati Gay Coalition (GCGC). 

(His research report is attached herein, see below).


Center note: By the mid 1980s Pride was organized by the Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition (GCGLC). In 1993, GCGLC became the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati, now located in Northside and online at cincyglbt.com.  

Pride continued under the mantle of the Center from 1993 through 1995 but Cincinnati's passage of notoriously anti-gay Issue 3 (Article 12) in November 1993 had a chilling effect on the local Gay & Lesbian community activism. Small Pride events were held locally during 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, including a Pride Festival at Lunken Playfield in Mt. Washington, but no Gay Pride Parades. Attempting to provide Gay & Lesbian visibility in CIncinnati during the traditional Pride season, the Center continued to sponsor "Aware on the Square" every June .

GAY PRIDES IN CINCINNATI (This is a work in progress! Write us with updated facts!)  We acknowledge the kind work of Phebe Beiser, Bruce Beisner and Michael Chanak who helped to compile this information!

1973 April 6, 7 & 8 - Cincinnati Gay Community - Washington Park through Fountain Square. Parade April 8th.

1978 Proclamation by mayor Gerald (Jerry) Springer signed June 24 

1979 June 30 – Rally at Fountain Square = Proclamation by mayor Bobbie Sterne (10th anniversary of Stonewall) (Greater Cincinnnati Gay Coalition)

1980 Sunday, June 22  -   L/G Pride Day (Greater Cincinnnati Gay Coalition)

1981 ?                               (Greater Cincinnnati Gay Coalition)

1982 Sunday, June 20 L/G Pride Day on Fountain Square (Greater Cincinnnati Gay Coalition)

1983 ?                                 (Greater Cincinnnati Gay Coalition)

1984 “Gay Pride Week” June 9-17  (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1985 June 7 - Rally & Parade. Gathered at City Hall and marched to Fountain Square (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

Edward Hicks, one of the founding members of Gay Beat, and founder of Gay Noveau (both out of print) offers:  I'd like to mention the 1985 parade and rally, led by Kirk Prine and a woman whose name, to my embarrassment, I have forgotten. She may have been a U.C. instructor. Kirk told the coalition flatly that there was going to be a march even if he were the only one. He and his colleague worked their butts off, giving up many personal hours to the organizing of what was the first march in some time — though I don't know how much time. One reason this all sticks in my mind is that, like Kirk, I wore a shirt and tie. Maybe even a jacket. Another reason is that in January of 1985 I had launched The Gaybeat, and we were on fire. We had run a three-part interview with vice squad commander Lt. Harold Mills, and were covering the murder trial of Robert van Hook. Jonathan Mesinger made this cool banner for the parade: red, white, and blue, in a good way. I still have it.

1986 June 7 -  met at City Hall and marched to Fountain Square for Rally (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1987 June 6  -  Rally at Fountain Square, no Parade [focus on March on Washington, pr and collection of donations for this] (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

 G. Rich Thies adds (February 4, 201):  I know that your account of history states that in 1987there was no parade but I was there and there was.
 After meeting on fountain square we marched from fountain square to the dock where there was the first gay pride festival behind the dock.  Patti Herrmann arranged it all and was the director of the march and festival.  It is where I first met her.  Later that year she became a member on the board of SHARE Inc, the first group for people affected by HIV/AIDS of which I was the first director.  I would remember this event because I met the infamous Ms. Herrmann on that date during that parade and festival.  

1988 June 18 - March & Rally for “G & L Rights”  (Greater Cincinnnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1989 June 10 - Pride Rally (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1990 June 9 - Rally at Fountain Square, Parade to Sawyer Point (Greater Cincinnnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1991 Sat, June 15 - L & G Pride Day (Greater Cincinnnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1992 June 13 - Rally at City Hall, March to Fountain Square (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition)

1993 June 12 - March begins at City Hall, Rally at Fountain Square (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Coalition) Pride Marshal - Michael X Chanak

1994 June 11 - Rally at Bicentennial Commons, Parade marched through downtown. Festival afterwards at the Dock. (Gay & Lesbian Community Center Cincinnati).

1995 June 17 - Fountain Square rally, march to the Dock for festival in front parking lot (Gay & Lesbian Community Center Cincinnati)

1996 8 events in 3 days  - “Pride and Cultural Fest” (all kinds of events, but no rally or parade)  (Gay & Lesbian Community Center Cincinnati)

1997 “Aware on the Square” held from 12-1 Thursday, June 5 (Gay & Lesbian Community Center Cincinnati)

1998 “Aware on the Square” held on Tuesday, June 23 (No parade)  (Gay & Lesbian Community Center Cincinnati)

1999 June 6 -  Rally at City Hall (No parade/No festival) Michael Blankenship organized rally at City Hall

2000 June  11 -  Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival at Hoffner Park (Chris Good - Chair - and independent committee - Michael X. Chanak - Senior Advisor) Honorary Pride Marshal: Peaches LaVerne.  Pride Marshal: Dr. Shane Que Hee. 

2001 June 10 -  Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park (Ken Colegrove - Chair -  and independent committee -  organizers)
Hononary Pride Marshal: Peaches LaVerne.

2002  June 9  -  Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park (Ken Colegrove - Chair -  and independent committee -  organizers)
Honorary Pride Marshal: Peaches LaVerne. Pride Marshal: Scott Knox.

2003  June 8  -  Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festiva (2 days) at Hoffner Park (Ken Colegrove - Chair -  and independent committee -  organizers)
Honorary Pride Marshal: Peaches LaVerne.  Pride Marshal: Scott McLarty.

2004 June 13 - Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park (Ken Colegrove & Debra Randal l- Co Chairs and independent committee -  organizers)
Queen Mum of Parade: Peaches LaVerne.  Pride Marhshal: Kathy Laufman.

2005 June 12 - Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2days) at Hoffner Park (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Community Center - organizer). Pride Marshal: David Crowley.

2006 June 11 -Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park  (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Community Center - organizer)

2007 June 10 - Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park  (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Community Center - organizer).  Pride Marshals: Marian Weage and Dr. Ronn Rucker.

2008 June 15  - Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park  (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Community Center - organizer). Pride Marshals: Rev. Paula Jackson, Vic Ramstetter, Phebe Beiser, Worley Rodehaver and Dr. Larry Wolf.

2009 June 14 - Rally at Burnet Woods, parade to Northside, festival (2 days) at Hoffner Park   (Greater Cincinnati Gay & Lesbian Community Center - organizer, Bill Abney - Pride Chair).  Pride Marshals: Cheryl Eagleson and Dr.John Maddux.

2010  July 4  -  Cincinnati Pride, parade, festival on Fountain Square (Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce), Pride marshals: Doris Marks Callis, Karen Aronoff-Holtmeier, Michael Cottrell and Randy Bridges.

2010  August 14 - Northsiders Pride in Northside (Dan Wells - Independent committee)

2010 October 3 - First ever Northern Kentucky Pride (Organizer Patti Herrmann)

2011 July 9  -  Northern Kentucky Pride Goebel Park Covington, Ky. Worley Rodehaver honored for journalism contributions to local GLBT community.

2011 July 10 -  Cincinnati Pride, downtown Cincinnati Fountain Square, Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce. Pride Marshals:
Megan Neal and Rusty Lockett.

2011 August 13  - Northsiders Pride - Hoffner Park, Hamilton business district. Dan Wells organizer.

2012 June 30 - Cincinnati Pride, downtown Cincinnati - Sawyer Point, organized by Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce. Pride Marshals: Adam Hoover - Marriage Equality Activists, Lynne Lefebvre - long term volunteer, board member PFLAG and Chris Seelbach - first openly gay Cincinnati Council person.
 
2012 July 1 - Northern Kentucky Pride - 7th & Bakewell Streets, Covington Ky
 
2012 August 18  - Northsiders Pride in Hoffner Park. Organizer is Dan Wells.

2013 - June 29 - Cincinnati Pride, downtown Cincinnati - Sawyer Point, organized by Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce.  In light of the fact that 2013 marks the 40th year of the first pride march in Cincinnati, the living pride marshals who have been honored in the past - were featured in a rain soaked parade.

2013- July 22 - Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce incorporates the pride committee as "Cincinnati Pride, Inc" as a non-profit in the State of Ohio. Incorporating trustees: Cathy Rogers, Shawn Baker, Anthony Phillips, Michael Cotrell, and  Melissa Riley.

2014 - May 31 - Cincinnati Pride, downtown Cincinnati - Sawyer Point, organized by Cincinnati Pride, Inc. Marshals to be announced.
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michael.chanak@cincyglbt.com,
Feb 15, 2013, 11:01 AM
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michael.chanak@cincyglbt.com,
Feb 5, 2013, 4:48 PM
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michael.chanak@cincyglbt.com,
Feb 4, 2013, 7:14 AM
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