Last week, the first LGBTQ Pride parade was celebrated in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and the focus of the celebration was sober living.
On June 2, around 11 a.m., the crowd started to gather for the parade’s lineup. By noon, the attendees were moving, marching and endorsing a common mission — providing support and civic advocacy for LGBTQ individuals in the local community without the influence of substances.
The mission has been determined by the Ohio River Valley Pride Coalition, the organization behind the first Lawrenceburg Pride parade. Some other goals of the coalition include helping those struggling with an addiction, eradicating discrimination as well as educating the public on the key issues that have impacted and are still affecting the LGBTQ community.
The members of the coalition stated that the parade was one of the first Pride celebrations free of drugs and alcohol due to the disparate rates of substance abuse impacting the LGBTQ communities across the country.
Shelly Snyder, the Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Ohio River Valley Pride Coalition, stated that it is possible that some of the sponsors or attendees were lost because of the organization’s decision to have a sober Pride parade.
Yet, several nonprofits organizations and corporations — such as Love Must Win, Honda, US Bank, and others — were involved as partners, vendors, or sponsors.
Snyder stated that whether or not a few of the supporters were lost, she would not comprise siding with the members of the LGBTQ community who are recovering from an addiction or transitioning to sober living.
The Ohio River Valley Pride Coalition received the official approval to host the first Pride parade in Lawrenceburg at the beginning of the year. And that was a big accomplishment, the representatives of the organization stated.
That’s because Lawrenceburg — located about 30 minutes from Cincinnati, with a predominantly Caucasian population of approximately 5,000 residents — has been one of the most conservative, small towns in the state of Indiana, the members of the coalition explained.
Snyder added that there were a number of local people who approached her and the members of her organization to express they were pleasantly surprised to find out the first Pride parade was being held in the town.
Kelly Mollaun, the Mayor of Lawrenceburg, did not allow the coalition to include floats or motorized vehicles in the parade but did provide escorts from the police at no costs as well as barricades.
The event did receive some resistance from select community members — some of the barricades were actually destroyed the night before the parade — but the supporters of the LGBTQ community were not discouraged.
People of all ages and several groups from the Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati as well as other local schools walked proudly to support equality and inclusiveness.
After the parade was finalized, a celebration and a drag queen show with a local performer were held at the Dearborn Adult Center to gather the hundreds of people who attended the event to support the members of the LGBTQ community.