Pictured is Chris Good who organized the first pride parade after a 4-year absence returning on June 11, 2000. Pride was not continuous in Cincinnati. After the first event on April 7, 1973, the next pride was not held until June 24, 1978. After 1995, there was no pride parade until 2000 when Chris formed an independent committee and moved the event to Northside. In 2004, the now-closed (2013) GLBT Center in Northside continued Pride through 2009. From 2000 to 2009, the parade stepped off from Burnet Woods following a rally and ended at Hoffner Park for a festival. After 2009, the GLBT Center knew the event had outgrown the Northside venue, and what is now the Cincinnati Pride Committee took on its operation. The full pride parade and festival have been continuous since 2000.
A project of the Ohio Lesbian Archives - a work in progress!
It started over 15 years ago when Michael Chanak Jr. and Phebe Karen Beiser were trying to answer questions from the press or the local community about the timeline of Greater Cincinnati Pride. This is our ongoing effort; it is not perfect. Yet, it is our gift to the LGBTQ+ community of Greater Cincinnati. See Ohio Lesbian Archives website. Want more general information or LGBTQ+ Resources, the Cincinnati Public Library hosts a page curated by the library staff! See Cincinnati Pride and Cincinnati Black Pride for this year's events! Many of the materials used here are available at the Ohio Lesbian Archives for an appointment. Corrections and updates mail.
As this brief history piece discloses, based on contacts and interviews with over 100 LGBTQ+ folks over the years, with the help of the Ohio Lesbian archives, we know the first Pride march (now called a parade) happened in 1973. But that is where the confusion sets in as we didn't have a Parade each year. You will notice there were actually two breaks. After the April 7, 1973 Pride event from Washington Park to Fountain square, the founding group: Cincinnati Gay Community quickly dissolved. Pride didn't restart until 1978. The second break occurred from 1996 to 1999. During those years, there was not a formal parade or march. There were, however, various activities including an hour on Fountain Square called "Pride Alive." This event was sponsored by the now-defunct LGBT Center located in Northside. Also, there was a small demonstration outside of City Hall in June 1999 hosted by Michael Blankenship, and attended by the late Dr. Larry Wolf. Also, during those intervening years there was a festival held during June (need years) at Lunken Playfield in Mt. Washington.
Many reasons are given for the lack of a public parade/march in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, one of the common explanations is that the voters of Cincinnati passed Issue 3 (November 1993) which led to the adoption of Article 12 an anti-gay plank to the City's charter. This legislation was not repealed until November 2004. Others have contended, that certain LGBTQ+ political groups felt a legislative solution would cause a favorable decision for LGBTQ+ folks and urged them to keep pride "low key." Both reasons, seem to point to the notion "that Issue 3 vote had a chilling effect on the willingness of the LGBTQ+ to push for a more public pride during these difficult times." Whatever the reasons, Cincinnati's LGBTQ+ community wanted a parade and Chris Good approached Michael Chanak, a longtime activist with many questions in the fall of 1999. One of Chris's questions was simple: Why isn't there a parade? The rest is now history. Note: in some references you may find "gay" and "gay and lesbian" then "GLBT" and the "LGBTQ+" reflecting growing awareness of the diversity of the rainbow and the times.
See Cincinnati Pride "History Page" via Pride Organization