Since 1999, the U.S. has recognized June as Pride Month, a month dedicated to the celebration and commemoration of the LGBTQIA+ community. With this time of joy and community just around the corner, Southeast Ohio is preparing many fun and accessible events to honor these individuals.
Hosted May 26, Nelsonville had their first Pride Month event with the opening reception for “i want to reach you,” a queer art exhibition that recently was put on display at Majestic Galleries. The exhibit features 12 regionally-based artists exploring contemporary queer life, available to the public until June 25.
In the next few weeks, there will be more events hosted within Athens by several LGBTQIA+ organizations and supporters in and outside of Ohio University. From trivia nights to pride heritage walks, there are plenty of events perfect for celebrating queer pride.
The Southeastern Ohio Rainbow Alliance, or SEORA, will be having an LGBTQ+ Trivia Night June 8 at Athens Uncorked, located at 14 Station St. Starting at 7:30 p.m., reservations are encouraged. The following day, the organization will also be putting on a Happy Hour at the same location for those over 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Additionally, SEORA, alongside United Campus Ministry Center, or UCM, will have a Pride Parade June 10, starting at 10:00 a.m. Participants can line up at 8:30 a.m. outside Alden Library’s second floor entrance, which can be found on 30 Park Place.
“I think these events are really good for highlighting that and allowing us to have the time together as a community that is joyful and not fighting for rights or protesting,” Ari Faber, operations coordinator of UCM, said. “I think it's really important to be able to have that time together as a community as well. It shows a bit of community and how much support there is.”
The parade route will go up Court Street and Washington Street and end near College Green. Tables with non-profits and vendors will also be available to visit at the end of the parade. Those interested can sign up to participate in the parade or tabling through SEORA’s signup sheet, with fees ranging from $5 to $30.
The same night, individuals can attend Athens’ Pride Drag Show with SEORA and Kazma Knights at The Eclipse Company Store at 8:00 p.m., located at 11309 Jackson Dr. in The Plains. Featuring a vast array of entertainers such as OU student and professional drag artist Rayley Saphron, Crylee Chimera and Miss Lady Dior. All ages are welcome to attend.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for the event, with admission fees at $10 per guest. Meanwhile, Appalachian Understories are organizing their first Pride Heritage walk June 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with UCM, Ohio University’s LGBT Center and SEORA.
Madison Donohue, the tourism manager of Appalachian Understories, said while there is a cost for this event, it is on a sliding scale, meaning that there is a range of prices for attendees in and outside of Athens. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.
“For our community pricing, for the people that live in the area where this tour is happening, it's $15,” Donohue said. “Then you have a general pricing, so people who are out of town, people who might be visiting from Columbus, it's $20. We also have a pay it forward auction and that's what allows us to have our community pricing, and that's $30.”
The event will also have accommodations available such as five-seat golf carts for people during and after the event, amplified sound and facemasks.
Donohue says that recognizing pride heritage is important, especially in areas where many LGBTQIA+ stories have gone untold.
“One of Appalachian Understories strong missions is to tell the lesser told stories of the region,” Donohue said. “I think pride heritage is definitely a story that has been not told as much as it should have been in the past, so making sure that voices from the queer community are a part of as many of our tours as possible is a really important part of what we do.”
The LGBT Center will also be hosting a series of free virtual lunch-and-learn workshops every Wednesday in June, as well as July 12 and July 19 from 12:10 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Participants are invited to register online here.
With so many opportunities to celebrate and commemorate the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month, there is something for everyone to attend and enjoy throughout Southeast Ohio.