Columbus Police and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating a social media post that calls for the killing of LGBTQ people during the Columbus Pride Festival.
Authorities have confirmed the poster is a Columbus City Schools employee. The poster wrote in part “I hope this event turns out like the Boston Marathon" and says community members should be killed or relocated. The school district is also investigating. The poster's name has not been released. The pride festival starts today and runs through Sunday, with the pride parade scheduled for Saturday. Columbus police say under their safety plan, the number of officers deployed will be similar to those at Ohio State football games and Red, White and Boom. Festival organizers expect a half-million people will attend.
Meanwhile, health-care advocates are using this National Pride Month to raise awareness of the importance of prevention in the LGBTQ community. Brent Pendleton is with Equitas Health. Pendleton says the LGBTQ community faces a variety of problems, including higher rates of mental and behavioral issues, as well as higher rates of smoking, alcohol and drug use.
His is among the organizations offering free H-I-V and S-T-D testing this month. 3.4 percent of Ohioans identify as LGBTQ, but experts predict the number actually is much higher. Pride Month stems from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.