Cleveland Pride cancels Pride events, citing vague security concerns

Cleveland Pride 2016 has been cancelled.

Cleveland Pride 2016 has been cancelled. Cleveland Pride

For the first time since 1989, Cleveland will not have a Pride celebration. The annual event, scheduled to take place in just two weeks, has been cancelled out of concern over the “changing social climate,” Joe.My.God reports.

In a press release from Cleveland Pride,president and CEO Todd J. Saporito attempts to explain the reasons for the last-minute change of plans.

“We have been entrusted by our community to create a secure parade and festival environment for our LGBTQ brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends and allies,” he said. “Because of the changing social climate, Cleveland Pride did not have enough time to engage in the development of awareness programs and training that we believe is critical in today’s environment. Therefore, we regretfully cancelled our 28th annual parade, rally and festival this year.”

It’s not clear if any one event prompted the decision, though many Pride celebrations beefed up security this year in response to threats – actual or feared — of violence following the Pride Month massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Fans of Cleveland Pride responded with shock and sadness the announcement on social media. On Facebook, people called the news “shameful,” “awful,” and “terrible.” Folks on Twitter asked for answers.

A local professor’s response to the cancellation has gone viral. Ken Schneck, an associate professor at Baldwin Wallace University, also hosts nationally syndicated radio show “This Show is So Gay:”

Didn’t we in Cleveland just move our Pride back two months to accommodate the Republican National Convention? Yes, the RNC. Remember that? It’s just the first of many reasons why the the cancelation of Cleveland Pride is inconceivable.

He goes on to list all the reasons why he cannot grasp the cancellation. In an interview with Cleveland.com, he explained the impact of the sudden cancellation in the context of current events.

“I was floored. I got choked up, and I was pretty angry and sad with everything that we’ve dealt with lately,” Schneck said. “It was not great to be gay in Cleveland last week.”

In the release, Cleveland Pride says it will issue refunds to vendors, sponsors, and service providers and initiate meetings to discuss “rafting awareness and training programs” to prepare for the 2017 celebration.

“While the specific day of celebration has been cancelled, Cleveland Pride, Inc. seeks to remind everyone that Pride is not a one-day celebration, but a daily act of visibility throughout our community,” organizers wrote. “While we may not be marching as a large, unified body, we can come together throughout Cleveland and continue our support of local LGBTQ establishments and LGBTQ community members.”

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