Columbus Gay Parade

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First held in 1981, it is an important event for the local LGBTQ community. Since its inception, the event has grown to become the second largest LGBT march in the Midwest, after Chicago's LGBT march, and with an estimated 500,000 people attending the Columbus LGBT march in 2019, it is considered one of the most important celebrations in Ohio.

What began as a small demonstration in downtown Columbus in 1981 was started by members of the Columbus Stonewall, a local LGBTQ organization dedicated to creating a safe space for community members. The following year, the event had grown to include fire trucks and motorcycle units in the march.

Unfortunately, the early marches were met with protests from anti-LGBTQ people, when some in the community blamed AIDS on homosexuality or simply because anti-gay people didn't want the march to be allowed (for example, when the march called for more AIDS research.) In 1999, two protesters stole a rainbow flag from the Ohio Statehouse and burned it on national television. Despite these difficulties, the Columbus LGBT march persevered and grew larger each year until it matched Chicago's turnout in 2018.

City Profile

The oldest gay district in Columbus is German Village; Short North is a new gay district with farmer's markets, galleries, and bars; Arena district has bars and nightclubs


Columbus' most famous gay bar, AWOL, hosts a number of block parties and indoor parties during the parade.