Since mid-March, we’ve seen the world turned upside down due to the global pandemic. As quarantine and lockdowns rocked nations across the world, we saw many things being cancelled and postponed – from graduations to trips to weddings and other celebrations, it seems as if the list of cancellations is ever-growing, especially as the future of COVID-19 remains uncertain.

Sadly, added to the list recently was none other than Pride 2020 events all across Ohio and beyond.

In Ohio, nearly a dozen cities and towns had been planning to host Pride celebrations and parades throughout the month of June. At the ACLU of Ohio, we had planned to take part in every single one of them, marching alongside LGBTQ Ohioans in solidarity and support of this community that so many of our members, supporters, volunteers, staff, and board are a part of. But alas, it was not to be – for now, at least.

LGBT Ohioans, we want you to know: you’re allowed to mourn the cancellation and rescheduling of Pride celebrations and parades. We understand that for many who are a part of the LGBTQ community, Pride is not only a sea of rainbow-wearing people marching in support, but it is also a pivotal moment as it is so often the first time an individual has ever been surrounded by so much love and people just like them. Pride is life-changing for so many, and sometimes it’s the only space where so many feel safe, supported, and surrounded by light and positivity.

Sometimes, it’s the only space where feel we have a voice or can get the physical and emotional comfort that we have been aching for. Sometimes, it’s one of the few spaces where our full selves, our multiple identities, and the intersectional justice issues we must fight for, can be lifted and honored simultaneously, without apology.

Whether you planned to attend an event for the first time or have never missed a Pride gathering in the last 40 years: you’re allowed to grieve this loss.

But we also want you to know, we will not stop celebrating, and our spirits will not be broken.

For the entire month of June, here at the ACLU of Ohio, we will be utilizing all of our digital platforms to celebrate YOU and LGBTQ Ohioans by highlighting LGBTQ communities, allies, organizations, and celebrations; educating our followers and supporters on LGBTQ-related legislation and policy in Ohio (and how we can fight for Ohio’s Fairness Act); giving away Pride swag; highlighting YOUR voices; and so much more. And then we will tentatively plan on seeing you in August, September, and October for the new Pride celebration dates.

Pride may be cancelled, but our spirits and love and support for Ohio’s LGBT community is not. Together, we will mourn this specific loss, but then we will rise back up and celebrate the absolutely wonderful and vital LGBTQ Ohioans that we fight for and stand with year-round.

LGBTQ Ohioans, you deserve to be celebrated, and we will always figure out a way to celebrate and support you, COVID-19 or not