Letter from the Executive Director

A More Important Pride Month Than Most

This Pride Month, the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County stands alongside the LGBTQ+ community and united with our members who support them, as we recognize and honor the rich diversity of our community and reaffirm our commitment to equality, inclusivity, and justice for all.

We are proud to be pro-human. That means we advocate for everyone’s well-being, dignity, and rights regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, or any other characteristic that defines them.

We have observed with deep concern the emergence of hundreds of bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community–and often singling out transgender youth–both from Ohio’s General Assembly and other legislatures across the country. These bills, which aim to strip away rights and protections of LGBTQ+ people, stand in stark contrast to the values and principles we hold dear.

Unfortunately, violent acts and hateful rhetoric are on the rise as well. And our community has not been immune. In April, Nazis attempted to disrupt an event hosted by our members at Kaleidoscope Youth Center. But as that organization’s leader, Erin Upchurch, said in the event’s wake: “Our leadership was prepared for the potential disruption and worked with our security team to promote safety during the event. What we did not and could not prepare for were the powerful ways in which the community would leap into action to wrap their arms around the event itself, while providing actual barriers to block out our uninvited guests.”

Those powerful displays of love and community, in the face of hate and division, are evident across our membership. This is why we have such great admiration for our members’ steadfast work in opposing odious legislation, and in rallying with and around the people they serve–and employ as well.

This is why we firmly oppose any legislation that seeks to discriminate against or burden individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is why we remain steadfast in advocating for policies and practices that uplift and empower every community member.

During this Pride month and well beyond, let us support one another and stand united against discrimination. Together we can create a Franklin County where every person is valued for who they are, and where everyone can reach their human potential.