Toledo Pride community shocked by hateful vandalism amid celebration
Friday the 10th annual Toledo Pride event kicked off downtown. In the midst of all the celebration, a potential hate crime has shocked the community and raised safety concerns.
Promenade Park was the spot to be Friday to enjoy music, food and drag performances. But, one volunteer says his car was vandalized with a hateful slur.
Tens of thousands enjoyed the start to Toledo Pride. Lexi Hayman-Staples is the event director. She calls the community support "rad."
"The fact that Toledo is such an inclusive city is really the highlight of it and it's so embraced by the entire community," said Hayman-Staples.
Toledo Pride has expanded over the last decade. It's bigger and bolder than ever before and many Toledoans appear to enjoy the celebration.
So, when Keith Logue says he found a hurtful word spray-painted on his car, he was shocked.
"I just wouldn't wish that on anybody. I mean it's 2019. I feel like that's the last thing you kind of see happening, but it still happens," said Logue.
Logue believes this slur was painted on his trunk sometime Wednesday or Thursday. He was out running errands in Toledo and didn't notice the vandalism until Thursday night. He doesn't know who may have wanted to harm him or if it was a personal attack. He was able to buff off the word, but it leaves a lasting impression.
"It took me back and it scared me initially, but I posted it on Facebook and definitely had a lot of really great messages and good words and support," said Logue.
"Jarring and upsetting. Kind of hits you in the gut because you think the people around you care about you and you hope that. He doesn't know where it happened, so it's just scary and upsetting, but you know you just got to keep your head up and keep moving and know that most people, most people support you," said Hayman-Staples.
Although Toledo seems to "love love" and embrace pride, nationally there's still a long way to go when it comes to LGBT acceptance.
"We have a long road, but we've already traveled really really far and I didn't know I'd be able to get married in my adult life and I have a wife and a beautiful son and that's so exciting," said Hayman-Staples.
Logue volunteers with Equality Toledo and is part of the team putting on Pride this weekend. His car will be featured in the Pride parade Saturday, but this time covered in loving messages of acceptance.
"I hope whoever did it, I mean, gets to see that," said Logue.
"We're not going to let hate hold us down. We're going to take that negative and turn it in to a positive," said Hayman-Staples.
Logue told 13abc a police report was filed online, but Toledo police were not able to find it as of Friday. A spokesperson with TPD says this crime could be investigated as a complaint under the category of racial, religious or ethnic intimidation.