GLAAD marches with Express & local organizers during Columbus Pride

Last weekend, GLAAD joined hundreds of thousands of people in Columbus, Ohio for the city’s weekend-long Pride festivities. The Grand Marshal of the 2019 Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade was the city’s very own Nina West, who appeared on season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

On Friday, June 14, the Pride festivities kicked off with the city’s inaugural Trans PRIDE March. More than 1,000 individuals gathered outside of Ohio Statehouse to showcase their support for the trans community, with several speakers addressing the crowd with messages regarding the importance of visibility, unity, acceptance. Based on the march’s incredible success, plans are already under way for the second annual Trans PRIDE March in 2020. Check out some photos from the march (photo credit to Staley Jophiel Munroe): 

On Saturday, June 15, GLAAD and board member and former grand marshall of Columbus Pride, Lana Moore joined our official pride & apparel sponsor Express in the 38th annual Columbus Pride Parade. Influencers Raymond Braun and Aaron Rhodes also joined to ride with Lana on the #ExpressPride float, alongside more than 150 local supporters, each sporting looks from the Express LOVE UNITES collection that benefits GLAAD. Raymond also took over GLAAD’s Instagram story during the parade to capture many of the magical moments throughout the day.

Check out some of the highlights from the parade below (photo credit to Staley Jophiel Munroe): 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I grew up in a small, conservative community in Northwest Ohio. Like so many closeted kids in the Midwest (and around the world) I didn’t see any examples of proud, openly LGBTQ+ people in my town growing up. I felt isolated and lonely. I craved meaningful connection with people who might understand how I felt. As a kid, I didn’t realize that there were any Pride events (or even gay bars) in Ohio. I thought Pride was exclusive to the big, cosmopolitan cities like NYC, SF, and LA. . Flash forward to this weekend. Last night, I stood outside the Ohio Statehouse participating in my home state’s very first Trans Rally and March. Today, I danced on a float in Columbus Pride. . This is my first Pride experience in Ohio. Nearly ONE MILLION people showed up on a rainy day to support the LGBTQ+ community. One. Million. Our Grand Marshal is none other than the shining beacon of all things good, pure, and meaningful: Queen @NinaWest. . As I looked out into the crowds of the Pride Parade and Trans March, I teared up several times. So many families. So many people of all backgrounds, identities, and lived experiences all dancing, singing, and holding signs. I so wish I had known how many of these Ohioans existed when I was younger. I can’t imagine how affirming that would have felt. . I’ve seen more parents with “Free Mom Hugs” and “Free Dad Hugs” signs here in Ohio than at any other Pride event in the world. This is the Ohio I love. Big and open-hearted, kind, genuine, beautiful, generous people. . It was so fun and meaningful to be on a float today with my good friend @rhodesaaron supporting the work of @glaad. Thank you to @express for creating the LOVE UNITES shirts we’re wearing (with proceeds donated to GLAAD’s game changing work) and for creating a beautiful float experience that kept me dancing and signing all the way down High Street. And thank you to Aaron’s mom, @deenapfahler, for being a mom to so many LGBTQ+ kids across Ohio who have been shunned by their families simply for being LGBTQ+. Your hugs were deeply felt. . Change is possible. Today gave me hope. I love you, Ohio! . #Pride #LGBT #LGBTQ #Gay #ExpressPride #ColumbusPride #Ohio

A post shared by Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunshine on the street at the parade. @raymondbraun #ExpressPride

A post shared by EXPRESS (@express) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With @harlequinboy John McCourt at #ColumbusPride for @GLAAD & @express #ExpressPRIDE #GLAAD

A post shared by Lana Moore (@northmoor19) on

 

A special thank you to the Express team, as well as to Raymond Braun for highlighting his experience of the event on GLAAD’s Instagram story. Check out the “Columbus Pride” story highlight on our Instagram page to see Raymond’s coverage of the many celebratory and inspiring experiences that took place during Columbus Pride weekend.