DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — There are events happening across the Miami Valley to celebrate the kickoff of Pride Month in June.
This Pride Month comes after an uptick in threats and legislation affecting the LGBTQ+ community, and organizers of this year’s events are taking precautions.
While organizers said they are excited for this year’s Pride events, they are aware of safety concerns and have plans in place to make sure everyone has a good time.
The LGBTQ+ community is still trying to provide safe spaces for their peers to be themselves, including this year’s Dayton Pride Parade, which kicks off a weekend of events in the downtown area.
Organizers have been working hard making sure attendees are safe, which was process they started months ago.
“We have talked with Dayton Police Department,” Rick Flynn, executive director of the Greater Dayton LGBT Center, said. “We spoke with them as far back as February, and we have increased security this year. They have been great about offering us more police officers and keeping a better eye out.”
Security is a big priority especially when organizers expect this year’s event will be one of the largest ever. Attendees are encouraged to speak up if something is out of place during this year’s festivities.
“I think that we’re educating the community and if you see something, say something,” Flynn said. “Don’t engage with protesters and just keep an eye out for each other. That, along with police protection, I think will go a long way.”
Jes Sands has attended Dayton Pride events for several years and said she respects others in the community who might not attend for their safety but talks about the importance of celebrating each other.
“There’s a resiliency just to kind of keep its pride like we’re proud of who we are,” Sands said. “We’re really looking forward to really celebrating one another and celebrating our community…I’m a little bit nervous, but it’s still not going to deter me, because who I am, who my community is, is more important than what anything bad that could happen.”
The Dayton Police Department said staffing will be similar to previous years. They also said the public’s safety is always their number one priority when considering staffing and security.