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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
May 26, 2006

Pride season opens with Dayton parade and festival

Dayton--It is time to �Commemorate, Educate and Liberate� with Dayton Gay Pride 2006 on June 3, the first Pride parade and festival in Ohio for the year.

This year�s theme is designed to commemorate pioneers in LGBT rights, educate the public about the lives of gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people, and lead to liberation for all.

In keeping with the �commemorate� part of the theme, the grand marshals for the parade and festival will be Leon Bey and Aaron Schaefer, longtime activists in the Dayton LGBT community and two of the driving forces behind the success of the Dayton Lesbian and Gay Center, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on April 22.

Educating the masses will fall to Derek Mize of Cincinnati, representing Equality Ohio, and R.J. McKay, director of Diversity Dayton. Equality Ohio is the statewide rights organization that was born out of the 2004 passage of Ohio�s draconian anti-marriage amendment, and Diversity Dayton is one of the local organizations in the state that coordinate with Equality Ohio to further the cause of full rights for LGBT people in Ohio.

For liberation, nothing frees the soul like music, and there will be plenty of that, provided by the Queen City Rainbow Band, Cincinnati�s LGBT marching band, and Dayton�s own Frozen Feet. Kristianna Dykes and Chelley Seibert blend their instruments and voices to uplift the soul whenever they play, and Dayton Pride will be no exception.

Tying in to the reality of the LGBT experience will be the special guests for Dayton Pride, personalities from reality TV shows.

In addition to Andrew Hyde from The Amazing Race 3, whose work with AIDS Resource Center Ohio has done as much to make him a household name throughout the Miami Valley as his television appearances, Coby Archer from Survivor: Palau and Rafe Judkins from Survivor: Guatemala will be on hand, along with Meaghan Linz, the winner of The Amazing Race: Family Edition.

Joining in the fun will be Island Idol finalists Aaron Strasser and Shawn Adkins, and winner Jamie Schirmers, three of the finest singers in Ohio, along with Vicki Hahn, John Gantt and a selection of drag performers from Club Masque, Celebrity, DJ�s Saloon and Up on Main.

The parade will line up at 11 am at Cooper Park, at East Third and Patterson downtown, and step off at 12 noon. After making its way to Courthouse Square, the parade lets out into the festival at Third and Main. The festival opens at noon.

There are other Pride events in Dayton, including the dinner and expo on June 17, as well as Club Masque�s concert series and barbecue, Eternal Joy Metropolitan Community Church and St. Paul United Methodist Church�s joint Pride worship service, the Diversity Dayton picnic and the inaugural meeting of the University of Dayton�s LGBT alumni association. For more information, go to


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