10th Youngstown gay pride events feature Denise Russell


Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people will tell you that much progress has been made regarding others’ acceptance of their sexual orientation and the rights they have gained, but that a long road toward achieving equal treatment remains ahead.

That scenario likely played out in the level of gradual openness with which Rachael Lowe and Katelyn Davis felt comfortable expressing their love and affection for each other.

“Three years ago, we wouldn’t have done this in public,” said Davis, of Struthers, referring to openly displaying signs of affection toward Lowe, her partner of 2.5 years. “It shouldn’t have ever been a problem.”

Davis and Lowe, also of Struthers, said they fear that given the current political climate, LGBTQ people’s right to marry, among other things, could be threatened or taken away.

Nevertheless, the two feel their lifestyles are accepted by most people in Youngstown, hundreds of whom came together with them for Saturday’s 10th annual LGBT Pride Parade and Festival.

Pride Youngstown hosted the downtown events, which also included a reception and an art auction Friday evening at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.

Preceding the fest that filled Phelps Street between West Federal and West Commerce streets was a colorful quarter-mile parade that began shortly past noon at Vindicator Square and Federal Street.

The grand marshal was Denise Russell, a longtime female impersonator perhaps best known for his comedy acts, impersonations and support of funding for HIV/AIDS research.

Read more about the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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