Declaring June as Pride Month has not been smooth sailing in Cheviot.
The past month has seen a flurry of activity in this west-central Hamilton County city, less than 10 miles northwest of Cincinnati.
City Councilmember Stefanie Hawk brought forward language in May, which was assigned to be heard by the city’s Internal/External Affairs Committee.
Before the resolution could be heard, Councilmember Brian Smyth took to Nextdoor — a hyperlocal social networking app for neighborhoods — to post a “call to action,” declaring that if the Pride Month proclamation were approved “there will be half naked debauchery led parades in the streets as well as replacing the American flag with the rainbow flag.” He also called Pride Month “part of the grooming process for our families and children” and that “it has to stop.”
The Internal/External Affairs Committee passed the resolution on May 24 with Smyth as the only no vote.
At the meeting on June 7, Smyth attempted to table the resolution indefinitely, but that motion failed. Multiple community members provided public comments at the meeting to denounce Smyth’s previous statements against the LGBTQ+ community.
Ultimately, the declaration declaring June as Pride Month in Cheviot passed by a vote of 5-1, with Smyth as the lone voice against.
City Council President Kerry Smyth — Brian’s cousin — had previous signaled his opposition to Pride Month, but he was not present at the meeting on June 7.
Brian Smyth took to Facebook after the meeting with another homophobic and transphobic tirade, including:
- “Police have been called to many establishments in order to remove children from the presence of drag queen shows.”
- “Every pride parade around the country displays drag shows of half naked men and promoting sexual acts which is totally inappropriate for children.”
- “It would absolutely be wrong if we on council promoted an ideology that is against the basic Christian moral values. the term ‘Pride’ is number one of the 7 deadly sins and it is the cause of all the others.”
Councilmember Hawk struck a different tone, noting how the Cheviot community had rallied together to support a Pride Month resolution, including the proliferation of “We Cheviot” yard signs with a rainbow heart.
“I am so proud of my city and how they really showed up for this,” Hawk said.
This story was originally published by The Buckeye Flame and is republished here with permission.
The Buckeye Flame is an platform dedicated to amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ Ohioans to support community and civic empowerment through the creation of engaging content that chronicles their triumphs, struggles, and lived experiences.