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August 24, 2012

Toledo mayor leads Pride parade on a motorcycle

Toledo--Mayor Mike Bell led the Toledo Pride parade on a motorcycle, wearing leather and a cowboy hat.

He was the grand marshal of the August 11 parade. It was the third year for the Toledo Pride festival, and the second for the parade.

All five LGBT bars in the city joined the procession. R House took best float honors with an entry decorated in a same-sex marriage theme.

Holiday with Heart committee members Rick Cornett and Andrew Larsen rode in a car promoting the 35th annual Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla this December, although Cornett also volunteers for Pride.

Holiday with Heart, which will be on December 1, donated $2,000 to the Toledo Pride Foundation to help put on this year’s Pride events, which included a stage with eight musical acts and a horde of drag performers.

The Toledo Free Press printed a special guide to the Pride event, and editor in chief Michael Miller and some of the paper’s employees were in the parade.

“Toledo has a strong and vibrant LGBTQA community,” said Toledo Pride Foundation president Lexi Staples. “We continue to grow and change and through that, we continue to gain acceptance.”

“I think Toledo needed to be hosting a Pride Festival and Parade, and Equality Toledo agreed,” Staples said, explaining the event’s return after a decade of neglect. “We met and Toledo Pride was born in 2010. It’s a whole lot of work and a whole lot of fun and it totally worth it.”

As if to prove that Toledo Pride has arrived, it got its first anti-gay protesters this year.

“They waved their signs, sported Tshirts and one yelled from a megaphone, saying we were going to hell for our ‘vile display of sin,’ ” Cornett said. “They made little impact and it went without incident.”

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