June may be ‘the month of Pride’ but this year the Cincinnati parade has coincided with July 4th, leading some conservative leaders to warn residents against traveling Downtown for the traditional holiday celebrations:
“We think its not right for them to invade the Fourth of July, and we’re trying to warn people that if they do go downtown they may be exposed to some deviant behavior,” Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values. “Everything from sex in the streets to topless women.”…”It bothers me that they’re going downtown on the Fourth of July, and it has nothing to do with the July celebration. Nothing,” Burress said.
Parade organizers point out that “Ninety-five percent of our parade entries are church organizations, student and university groups, political rights groups.” “They never want to focus on the reality of the GLBT community and the couples who have been together for 10, 15, 20 years,” parade organizer George Crawford said.
In fact, Crawford sees the date and the support the parade has drawn from local businesses as measure of how far the city grown in accepting the gay community. The last Downtown event was in 1995, “and then there were no gay pride parades for five years.” “From 1993 until 2004, an amendment to the city charter prohibited city government from treating sexual orientation as a protected class.” This year, however, business leaders hung rainbow flags in their store fronts and promoted the event. “We invite people to come Downtown and see how much it’s changed,” Crawford said.