Columbus LGBTQAI, Where Do We Go From Here?

The communities within the LGBTQAI all have opinions.  Within each community, we have youth and elders, rich and poor, leaders and followers and amongst all of us, we want to be heard.   What one values may be meaningless to someone else.  This has become very apparent in regards to the Columbus Pride Parade.  

We had four young individuals that had a message and opted to take their message in the form of protest.  In turn, due to their actions, they were arrested.  Within the community, there was a vast amount of support as well as anger for their actions.  Many questions have emerged from the incident.  

  • Was it appropriate for the #BlackPride4 to protest versus marching?
  • Is the Pride Parade a celebration, political statement or both?
    • What is appropriate in which instance?
  • What was the agreement between the Columbus Police Department and Stonewall Columbus?
  • Are voices within the community not being heard?
  • Were responses adequate or appropriate?
    • Did BQIC’s response accurately reflect interactions with Stonewall Columbus?
  • Do some organizations have the appropriate leadership?
    • Do we need to change the leadership?
  • What is the validity to the resignation and complaints of several previous Stonewall Columbus members?
  • Do we have a racism problem within our community?
  • Is there a division and lack of services available to specific communities within the LGBTAI?
  • Is everyone overreacting?

These all are all tough, and fair, questions and many have been left unanswered.

Some people have taken a position and been very aggressive in their opinions and responses.  Some are asking community leaders, where is the leadership and asking for more concrete answers.  Others are asking for unity and why can’t we all just get along. Some are simply frustrated and opted walked away from everything.

What we do know is the #BlackPride4 are young people who felt the need to take a position and opted to protest.  This is not anything new from people their age.  As a young adult, it is common to take risks and yell louder to make yourself heard.  This is part of finding your voice from within.  

As an elder, we tend to be more organized and take a structured and formalized approach with fewer risks.  Karla Roth knows how to work with the political system, be heard and make change by working within the political framework.  She has been present at almost every major piece of LGBT legislation passed or failed.  

Karla once told me that Outlook lost its edge and was afraid to touch real politics.  Those words were heard loud and clear.  Outlook started taking a more political tone again and stopped backing away from controversial issues.  However, controversy makes many people uneasy and people act in a variety of ways.  Some have accused Outlook of prolonging the pain by simply sharing or reporting on the incidents and called for us to stop and let the healing begin.  However, who is healing when the conversation stops?  Are we so jaded now or afraid of having the tough conversations that it has become easier to just wish it all away and forget about it?  

Where do we go from here?  

We believe that the elders need to meet with the new emerging voices and begin the dialogue.  We should be mentoring and building community and arranging for our replacements.  We should address services for underserved populations that are calling out for assistance.  We should work to have constructive conversations in social media environments and not just walk away because someone disagrees with us and we should be changing the tone or harassers, haters and internet trolls.

We are calling upon the Stonewall Columbus, Black Queer and Intersectional Columbus, Equitas Health, HRC, BRAVO, PFLAG, Equality Ohio, TransOhio, Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, Kaleidoscope, TrueMedia, civic leaders, and any other LGBTQAI organizations to mobilize and keep the conversation going and work toward building a stronger sense of community.  

We love our community, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation.  Please join us by supporting each other and help us build a stronger community.








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