There will be no Pride parade, rally or festival this month in Cleveland because of what organizers vaguely describe as a ‘changing social environment.’
‘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,’ Todd J. Saporito, president and CEO of Cleveland Pride writes in a Facebook post.
The event was scheduled to take place on 13 August.
Saporito does not mention any specific threats or incidents in his post but says his organization had 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.’
Cleveland was the site of the Republican Party’s National Convention last week where the party adopted the most anti-LGBTI platform in its history.
Saporito could not be reached for further comment beyond his Facebook post.
A petition singed by nearly 900 people so far is calling for his resignation. It calls the cancellation ‘inexcusable’ and ‘shows his lack of leadership.’
‘So we can host a Cavs championship parade and the RNC but not Pride?’ writes Christina Zito on the petition.
‘The size difference makes it a joke that you’d cancel it. Your statement isn’t a good enough explanation. If you’re being pressured to do this or if you’re doing this yourself, step down. We need a LEADER to represent us. You are not that. We need pride more than ever.’
Another signer, Angela Mulby, also expressed outrage.
‘This is absolutely outrageous!! You are telling me Cleveland can handle 1.3 MILLION people for a CAVS celebration, the RNC which is nothing but “social climate” , but they can’t handle 30,000 on average that come down to Cleveland to celebrate Pride every year???? That is a slap in Cleveland’s face, and to the LGBTQA community!! He didn’t do his job, he basically admitted it, and should be forced to resign!!!!!!’
Cleveland Pride’s parade, rally and festival has been going on for 28 years and this year was scheduled at a new location and with a new parade route.
The organization will give refunds to vendors, sponsors and service providers and plans to hold town hall meetings ‘to further map out a program where we and other LGBT community partners, will be able to start crafting awareness and training programs, that will be beneficial on a day-to-day basis as well as prepared for our celebration in 2017.’