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Pride in the CLE brings rainbows back downtown

After two years of celebrating in limited capacities due to the pandemic, the full march and festival returned.

CLEVELAND — It's believed the first Gay Pride march in Cleveland took place in 1972, with 70 people.

The thousands at Pride in the CLE Saturday, a symbol of time and progress.

They are back to march and host a festival after two years away during the pandemic.

"I made it a point to come out to see all of the colors, all of my people, everybody like me and just meet new people and share our experiences," First-time Pride attendee Aseelah Hamzah said.

While there are no federal protections for LGBTQ individuals, milestones have been met, including the right to marry in 2015.

In 2019, Pride in the CLE brought in 30,000, not knowing the pandemic would restrict them from meeting again until this year.

"I'm seeing the faces and the people and it's just bringing me to tears, honestly, this feeling to see young people, old people, black people, white people, people of color in general being here celebrating who they are," Phyllis Harris, Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland said.

So ,Saturday is a day to celebrate, celebrate inclusion, celebrate friends, celebrate love and celebrate a rainbow of identities coming together to acknowledge how far they've come.

"I think it can be incredibly affirming when we don't see our identities celebrated it can make us feel like we're alone in the world and when we see a huge crowd of people and diverse identities, I think it can be empowering to people to own who they are," Rev. Randy Partain who participated in the Pride March said.

Editor's Note: The video above is from an unrelated story.

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