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Cincinnati Pride Is Growing Despite Orlando Shootings

Bill Rinehart
The 2015 Cincinnati Pride parade, shown here, had 132 entries. This year's event has 150.

June is Pride month, and across the country, members of the LGBTQ community have been celebrating.   Cincinnati's Pride parade and festival are Saturday. They will go on despite the tragedy in Florida.

In 2015, Pride celebrations were boosted by a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage. This year, the festivities are dampered by the shooting deaths of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. 

But Cincinnati Pride Spokesman Shawn Baker says, "Our history shows that every time the LGBTQ community has been pushed down, we stand up stronger and taller. We do not live in fear. It is the day that anyone, whether they are inside of our community, they're allies or our friends, our family, coworkers, it is a day for everybody to come and celebrate because everybody has something to be proud of."

He says that's demonstrated in the number of parade entries. There are 150 this year.

Baker says the show of solidarity and support has only grown after the Orlando shootings.

"We had 116 (entries) before the tragedy in Orlando, and it's grown from there," Baker says.

He says more than half of the parade entries are not from LGBT groups.

"Kroger will have more than 500 people and Procter & Gamble has notified us they will have over 1,000 people just in their entry," Baker says. "It's our sponsors. It's local business, faith community, groups in our own community, groups outside of our community." 

While Pride is a celebration, there will recognition of the tragedy in Orlando. Baker says the parade will stop at Fountain Square and the names of the victims will be read aloud. Recordings of the reading will be replayed at the festival.

The parade starts at 11 Saturday morning and winds through Downtown, ending at the festival at Sawyer Point.  It starts when the parade is done and continues until 9 p.m.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.