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Toledo celebrates equality in LGBTQ+ community Saturday

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies came to Uptown Toledo on Saturday to celebrate, but also to support one another during uncertain times.
Credit: Trent Croci
The Love Wall was newly improved and unveiled Friday just before the Love Fest.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Love Fest was back on Saturday after the pandemic prevented it from taking place the last two years.

It was the fifth year for the popular event which celebrates and promotes equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

It all happened in front of the newly painted Love Wall on the side of Georgiez419 off of Adams St. in the uptown area of Toledo.

RELATED: 'Love Wall' celebrates 10 years with fresh new paint

Food trucks, musicians, drag queens and colors filled the air at the event. 

But the event also served as an opportunity for the community to come together and show support for each other during uncertain times. 

The rightward shift of the Supreme Court in recent years and the overturning of Roe vs. Wade has led to fears within the community itself.

Credit: Trent Croci
"Maybe Cheese Born with It," Competitors on Food Network's, The Great Food Truck were there to serve up the crowd.

Brent Raibe is the Deputy Director of Equality Toledo, which organized the festival. Raibe understands the impact this kind of event can have.

"Uncertainty happening in the court system and in our country with people's rights and a lot of people are nervous," said Raibe. "So, these kind of events are kind of more important than ever and organizations like ours are going to be fighting for these rights if we have to."

Other advocates at the event, like Kirsten Lilly, echoed those thoughts.

"With everything going on that we survived the past couple years and that without this it's just important that we really get out there and have a good time," said Lilly.

There was also HIV and STD testing for attendees who were interested in using the service. 

Credit: Trent Croci
Drag Queen performing in front of the HIV and STD bus for attendees who wanted to use the service.

Earlier in the day, Equality Toledo held the March for Trans Justice. More than 70 people came out to join in the national march to raise awareness for the trans community. 

Saturday's march was just one of at least eight Ohio cities holding similar events.

It is believed to be the first time trans equality actions were held in multiple Ohio cities at the same time. 

RELATED: A Turning Point: LGBTQ+ fostering and adoptions on the rise

"Honestly, that we're here and we're people and we're trying to live and trying to just be out here," said Jae Morales, who was one of those in attendance. "Love is love. Love is love and I think that's the hugest thing about this event."

Next month the Toledo Pride Parade will take place on August 20. More information on how to be a volunteer and the event are located here.

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