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Stonewall Drops Festival for PRIDE 2020, Will No Longer Engage with CPD

Susan Post Susan Post Stonewall Drops Festival for PRIDE 2020, Will No Longer Engage with CPDPhoto by Matt Ellis
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Stonewall Columbus Interim Executive Director Densil Porteous earlier this week announced more changes for Columbus PRIDE 2020, which had already been rescheduled for October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“While things continue to change, at this moment we know we will not host a traditional pride festival at our postponed time in October, a possibility that looms yet for 2021, and frankly, we’re not sure a return to the normal way of doing things is the absolute right way to go,” Porteous said.

The Columbus PRIDE Parade is still scheduled for Saturday, October 3 with additional details to be announced.

“Our country is having a great awakening and quite frankly so are we; and we’ve also heard our community asking us, all of us, to rethink pride—is now no better moment?” Porteous asked.

In his statement, Porteous acknowledge Stonewall’s “misaligned moments” of the past and a push forward for a better future for all. The organization has seen fallout over the last few years from the arrests of four Black trans individuals made by the Columbus Division of Police during PRIDE 2017.

Now, Stonewall will no longer be engaging with CPD for security during Columbus PRIDE and other events, unless necessary for road closures.

“We have begun exploration of alternative options to using CPD as our primary security during Columbus PRIDE,” Porteous said. “It is our full intention to divest, as we can, from CPD until we know changes have happened that set CPD on the path for systemic and lasting change in their policing practices in specific as it relates to black and black trans people.”

In a statement posted on Juneteenth and reiterated in the announcement on updates to this year’s celebration, Porteous discussed the deep ties between LGBTQ+ pride and Black pride.

“The Stonewall Uprising were riots against police brutality; but also protests against the injustices enacted on a people–the LGBTQ+ community,” Porteous said. “It was black and trans people who served as the champions of change in that moment, the leaders of protests; black and trans people who had greater injustices enacted on their bodies than their white counterparts. And it is simply for this reason why LGBTQ+ Pride is so intrinsically tied to Black pride.”

Porteous is in his first two weeks as interim executive director of Stonewall, taking over for AJ Casey. As a part of his role, he will help review and recraft the executive director position.

For more information, visit columbuspride.org.

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