Youth Towne Returns to Cleveland Pride in 2017

Youth Towne continues at Cleveland Pride even bigger and better than ever this 2017! This youth-driven and youth-led section has been at the festival for close to a decade and was created specifically for LGBTQ+ and allied youth, ages 14-24. The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland serve the youth through year-round programming so initial brainstorming with Cleveland Pride back in 2008 led to this collaborative space, that has grown significantly since and now ensures that several thousand youth attending the festival have a place they can call their own.
The DJ, dance floor, and games are just a few of the exciting things to expect at this high-energy area. Free admittance to the festival, plus the free food and beverages provided at Youth Towne mean that those with limited resources are guaranteed a meal and a safe space of expression for the day.  Youth Towne also centers on promoting safe sexual health and HIV prevention with free HIV-testing available on-site. This combination of targeted entertainment and education uplifts and unites the community through means relevant to the community.
“Without Youth Towne, we would not be able to express ourselves through the music that we love. It also gives us the privilege to perform and express ourselves through OUR art forms. Youth Towne gives us our own little piece of PRIDE, free to express ourselves as we see fit without the worry of judgement.” said M.B.
Countless teens and young adults, both in Cleveland and around the world, are not safe to express their true selves, whether that be in their gender or sexual orientation. While Cleveland Pride may be unable to make immediate changes to their home lives, we can create a place, where at least for a day, youth can be themselves with no fear or shame. The road to understanding and acceptance is not easy, so as we continue our efforts to educate the greater community and put love at the forefront, Youth Towne offers a productive outlet from this long journey that often feels unending. We hope that Youth Towne and the relationships formed here can provide a ray of hope in the midst of negativity. Benjamin Langham, Cleveland Pride’s Logistics Coordinator explained, “We are grateful to have an area of our event dedicated to the youth who make up our vibrant community. Coming from diverse backgrounds, these youth are our future. Youth Towne is just one way we show them that they have a voice and that they are not alone.”
Experience the excitement of Youth Towne for yourself at Cleveland Pride this Saturday, June 24th at Voinovich Park from 11am-8pm!  Youth Towne is made possible by the generosity of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation,  AIDS Funding Collaborative, AIDS TASKFORCE, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, and the Beyond Identities Community Center .