GALLIPOLIS — Supporters of the Gallia lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community met in Gallipolis City Park Monday evening to celebrate pride in the identity of the community in what may well have been the first event of its kind ever in Gallia County.
According to event organizer Miranda Wood, as an ally of the LGBT community, she had friends in the area who had announced their sexuality to family and received harsh rejection. She had also heard strong language against the LGBT community while traveling through City Park in the past and felt it was time for those of like mind to support and announce that the LGBT community did, in fact, also exist in Gallia County. A rough count of the area at one point revealed around 70 individuals attended the event. The event was titled on social media “Love is Love.”
“I just wanted the community to maybe know that there are people here with the mindset of love or equality,” said Wood. “Sometimes, I know as an ally, I feel separated from some of the friends that I grew up with…One day I woke up (mad) and I wanted to do something. I just wanted a simple thing and to see some kindness at heart and maybe we can grow this thing. I’m just glad you all came out and can show people walking by that we are showing support, to show that we’re thriving. And even if someone didn’t walk back here, at least, hopefully, they would get the idea of the rainbow tree (what we stand for).”
Wood pointed out a nearby tree wrapped in a rainbow visage on the corner of Second Avenue and Court Street in City Park.
“I have never had a problem in Gallia County or Meigs, ever,” said Randy Osborne, of Gallia. “I think this is a nice thing to get started. We have to let it grow. I say we have to work on it all year long.”
Osborne confirmed he would like to see a nonprofit committee formed to the continuation of such an event in Gallia County.
“The community, if you give them a chance to accept and you don’t give into the negativity (good things will happen), and that’s my motto,” said Osborne. “I’ve been out since I was 19 and I’m 54.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.