By SARA ARTHURS
As LGBTQ+ Spectrum of Findlay prepares for this weekend’s Pride Picnic, the organization is finding more support than in years past from the greater Findlay community.
“More people have wanted to get on board,” said Jasmin Bradley, board secretary for Spectrum.
She said the group is seeing a lot of new support from area businesses and more involvement from people who weren’t aware of the picnic in the past. Big local companies including Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will be involved with the event. Equality Ohio will also be present, as will community nonprofits and organizations like Focus, a recovery organization.
And Mayor Lydia Mihalik will read a proclamation at 12:30 p.m.
Bradley said more people are openly supporting Spectrum and the LGBTQ community, “So this is super exciting.”
Asked why the growing support, Bradley said there has been more “boots-on-the-ground work” to get the word out about what Spectrum is and what its members are trying to do within the community. This is Spectrum’s seventh annual pride picnic, and it’s grown each year, she said.
Bradley said employers locally are becoming more welcoming. It’s a culture shift that’s been happening “quietly” for some time, but businesses in general are “more open about their support,” for the gay community, she said.
And, she said, nationwide there’s a momentum happening and people are more accepting.
Cooper’s communications manager, Megan James, confirmed the business will be involved in the picnic this year, but declined to make a further statement.
Marathon’s communications manager, Stefanie Griffith, said in an email that at Marathon, “We believe that creating and maintaining an inclusive environment, where all employees are respected and valued for the full range of strengths and talents they bring to the workplace, is critical to our business success. … Diversity and inclusion are part of our corporate values. We support a wide variety of community events and activities that promote inclusiveness.”
Bradley said the pride picnic is family-friendly and open to anyone.
“We’re extremely welcoming of allies,” she said.
Spectrum, a nonprofit agency with a volunteer board and no paid employees, is looking for more volunteers. The organization also runs support groups and plans other events. Anyone wanting to get involved can find information on Spectrum’s website.
The Findlay Pride Picnic will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Park, 231 McManness Ave. Meat will be provided, but attendees are asked to bring a side dish, desserts or appetizers to share. The event will include food, prizes, raffles, music, games and activities for kids.
LGBTQ+ Spectrum of Findlay was founded in 2010 by a group of friends who shared the same common goals to build a supportive network for the city’s LGBTQ community.