On Thursday, March 19, a rally was staged in response to an alleged assualt that occurred in the 2500 block of Clifton Avenue at or near the University of Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that over 150 people attended the protest, although I think the number was more like 250. People came out in full force with rainbow flags, signs and chanting. There were actually quite a few allies there as well, including Greg Hand, UC spokesperson. Even the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house, which faces Clifton Avenue, had a rainbow flag hanging from a balcony.
The crowd started at the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street and marched down to the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Clifton Avenue. Once down there, the crowd dispersed to the four corners of the intersection. Passersby honked and cheered their support. After about a half an hour of this, the crowd marched back to the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street, where the crowd began to disperse and head to The Golden Lion. All told, the event lasted about an hour to and hour and a half.
I was really proud of the response from the queer community and allies. It was great to see so many people come out for the protest on such short notice – not even 24 hours. There were no counter protestors, the media covered the event and we focused on empowerment and eradicating hate in general. I was really proud of everyone. Even the police showed their support and were extremely helpful with making sure everyone was safe.
Last year there was another anti-gay crime in the area and I do not remember a response like this. Yesterday the queer community said that we aren’t going to take this anymore. We will not let our people be beaten, killed, harassed or threatened into the closet. Enough is enough.
Update: According to Channel 9’s coverage of the event, one of the alleged assailants knew one of the victims and then began to beat both of the victims because they were gay. Police are still looking for 3 other suspects.
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