First Kettering Pride event slated at Delco Park

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A new group supporting LGBTQ+ rights will host its first-ever Pride event at Delco Park in Kettering.

The Kettering Ohio Pride Coalition is a non-profit group formed in 2023 after members of a Facebook group called “Everything Kettering” messaged each other to discuss whether Kettering had a Pride event or group, and that is when the group slowly began to come together.

This was also during the time that the Fairmont High School prom king and queen picks in 2023 included two students who identified as gender-fluid and it sparked some debate. Gender-fluid is defined by Merriam-Webster as “of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed.”

“It started because there was some transphobia and homophobia from outside folks about Fairmont. People were not thrilled with that and that’s how this all started, honestly,” said Kelley Summers, CEO and director of community engagement for Kettering Ohio Pride Coalition.

The group created a website and a social media presence with the help of other volunteers. Eight volunteers are helping out in various areas including fundraising and marketing. It meets monthly to discuss the mission to support “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth by offering vital programs, fostering unconditional acceptance, and creating safe spaces for self-expression through leadership, community, support, and advocacy.”

The group has had a few fundraisers and has collaborated with other businesses and LGBTQ+ groups. The Pride event is June 14 and is its first major event, and the group hopes that they will be able to cultivate a supportive space for the queer community and their allies.

“Bringing visibility to the community. Showing the community at the end of the day, we are all humans and it doesn’t matter how we identify, it doesn’t matter who we love. It matters that we are all humans and we’re not any different than anybody else,” said Siobhan Brown, chief technology officer and director of fundraising for the Kettering Pride Coalition.

The event will include food trucks, performers, vendors and a kids’ activity area. It will be family-friendly, and the group wants the event to be a vibrant and inclusive event filled with joy, acceptance and fun. Performers include Scarlett Moon and Friends, Dayton Pride Guard, Total Taekwondo & Fitness, Miami Valley Harm Reduction, Wellspring Healing Studio, Troupe Roja and Madame Gigi’s Cancan Dancers. All the performers are donating their time for this event.

Summers and Brown said the community has been incredibly accepting of the group and local businesses are sponsors of the event. The group hopes to connect with other businesses and community members in the future.

“Asking for money is not a comfortable thing to do. We’ve had monetary donations or donations of services including photography, and we have a local company that hosts our website. The community, the small businesses and even larger businesses, have really shown up for us and it’s amazing,” Brown said.

One cause the group feels strongly about is connecting with LGBTQ+ youth in the area. According to the National Library of Medicine, “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are at increased risk for alcohol misuse.” This is also true for substance abuse and suicide.

“It’s really important that younger folk know that they’re supported and that they have people that are here for them if they need that support,” Summers said.

Some things they want to do with young people is an after-school group for those ages 13-18 that focuses on mental health and self-esteem. This will begin in September. In the future, the group hopes to do a backpack back-to-school drive and raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors.

“Being another resource for our youth is super important, especially for youth whose families might not be totally accepting of their orientation,” Brown said.

The Kettering Pride Coalition will be helping out at Dayton Pride and Beavercreek Pride. There will also be a karaoke night fundraiser June 7 at Nowhere In Particular Cabinet of Curiosities at 4716 Wilmington Pike in Kettering. The group hopes to add events for the fall including a speed dating connection and a fall picnic.

More details

Volunteers and donors to Kettering Pride may go online to Kettering Pride is 4-8 p.m. June 14 at Delco Park and is a free event.

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