Toledo LGBTQ march scheduled for June 3Written by Kathryn Milstein | | email@example.com
The second annual Toledo Civil Rights March for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) Equality will take place at noon June 3 in Downtown Toledo.
The walk, hosted by The Toledo LGBTQ Collective, will start at One Government Center, 640 Jackson St., circle around Erie, Monroe and Summit streets, before returning to the center for a rally.
The march is to bring attention to June’s International Gay Pride Month. Organized by Chicago resident Lair Scott, this is the third year for the walk. The first walk was in 1995, and the second was last year. Scott organized both of the previous walks.
Scott said he expects about 100 people, but the Facebook.com group has more than 250 confirmed guests.
“It’s not the matter of the count,” he said, “It’s a matter of the voices. Even if there are three people who show, it’s significant.”
Scott said he believes the civil rights march is important for Toledo to have a gay and lesbian voice in the community, since many LGBTQ groups in Toledo burned out with too much meeting planning but no action.
“Toledo is still at least ten years behind in its LGBTQ civil rights,” Scott said.
He said he is hoping the march will inspire Toledo to open a community center for the LGBTQ community.
“Toledo needs a gay and lesbian community center,” he said. “Every major city in Ohio has one except Toledo. If we had that, it would bring the gay community together.”
If a new community center were to result, he said it would hold gay and lesbian archives from Toledo’s rich LGBTQ history.
“Toledo has lots of gay-friendly churches and bars,” Scott said, “but that’s about it.”
He said there are other LGBTQ holidays that Toledo does not celebrate, such as Harvey Milk Day on May 22, in memory of Harvey Milk, a San Francisco gay rights activist who was assassinated in 1978.
Toledo City Council voted unanimously May 31 to support the civil rights march, which Mayor Michael Bell said after the meeting was a “step toward progress.”
Other LGBTQ organizations in Toledo, such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), will not participate in the march. Scott said apathy keeps the other organizations away.
“If I’m rocking anyone’s boat,” he said, “I’m doing that so it won’t sink.”
Janis Sankowski, the president of PFLAG, said that PFLAG is a support group, not an activist group. However, she encouraged members to attend as individuals if they were interested. The group will participate in the King Wamba Carnival Parade at the Old West End Festival on June 4.
Sherry Tripepi, the executive director of Equality Toledo, said her organization is putting its focus on Toledo Pride and the Toledo Pride Parade.
The Toledo Pride Parade will take place Aug. 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. in Downtown, Toledo, with hopes of making the parade an annual event next year. Registration to participate in the parade will end July 22.