Ohio’s Pride has replaced their grand marshal with LGBT refugees
The Ohio Columbus Pride Parade has announced that they will replace their grand marshal with a float full of LGBT refugees to honour them for their bravery.
The 36-year-tradition will be broken for the first time to allow 15 refugees to head up the parade which is on Saturday.
Refugees who have all fled from persecution in Uganda, Somalia or the Democratic Republic of Congo will be included.
The decision to scrap the tradition of having a grand marshal came after Trump’s travel ban which targeted countries with a large Muslim populace.
Karla Rothan, the executive director of Stonewall Columbus, explained that the ban was putting LGBT Muslims at risk.
“The current administration is putting a lot of restrictions on new Americans, and lately, we’re finding it difficult to get LGBTQ Muslims in our centre,” Rothan said.
She added that the refugee float would defy the travel ban as well as the Trump administration.
“We’re doing this to show that we serve all of the LGBTQ community, and we are denying the current political climate.”
A spokesperson for Community Refuge and Immigration Service added that the decision would help make the refugees feel at home.
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They said: “I think it is really amazing that they (the refugees) will be able to go out and feel welcome.
“What happened in their home countries…they were always in fear, and now they will get to stand up and show who they are.”
The celebration will be held in Scioto River, moving away from Short North’s Goodale Park where it has been held for the last eight years.
The change is to accommodate the growing number of crowds expected at the event.
Rothan estimated that over half a million people will attend – making it the largest Pride celebration in the Midwest.