Cleveland will not have a Pride celebration for the first time since 1989 due to vague security concerns over the “changing social environment.”
The event was scheduled for August 13, but Cleveland Pride President and CEO Todd J. Saporito released a statement announcing it would be canceled this year.
“We have 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,” Saporito said. “Because of the changing social climate, 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. Therefore, we regretfully cancelled our 28th annual parade, rally and festival this year.”
There were no specific threats or incidents mentioned in the statement, and now fans of the event are outraged and saddened by the decision.
The Republican National Convention was held in Cleveland last week, where the party adopted the most anti-LGBT platform in its history, adding even more fuel to the fire.
Protesters of the decision have created a petition, currently with over 900 signatures, calling for the resignation of Saporito.
“This is absolutely outrageous!!” Angela Mulby wrote on the petition. “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!” Mulby added. “He didn’t do his job, he basically admitted it, and should be forced to resign!”
Local professor Ken Schneck, who hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “This Show is So Gay,” also voiced his disapproval of the decision.
“Didn’t we in Cleveland just move our Pride back two months to accommodate the Republican National Convention?” he asked. “Yes, the RNC. Remember that? It’s just the first of many reasons why the the cancelation of Cleveland Pride is inconceivable.”
Event leaders said they will give refunds to vendors and sponsors and shared that they plan to organize meetings to discuss “crafting awareness and training programs” in preparation for the 2017 celebration.