Saturday was a very busy day. There were a lot of things going on, and we had to pick and choose carefully. However, one thing that Marilyn and I were not going to miss was the Akron Pride Festival & Equity March!
The Akron Pride Festival & Equity March began in 2017, and it has always been held the last weekend in August. I know that we attended the very first one, but I think that we missed one in there somewhere. And, of course, it was not held during the pandemic years.
This was the third year that we marched with our church, Harmony Springs Christian Church. I remember very well how moving and emotional the first march was. I cried. This first experience resulted in my poem, “Rainbow on the Bathroom Rug: Akron Pride,” which was published in I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices. The poem was also published in the 2022 Akron Pride Festival Guide. The poem was originally an essay that was published in the 2021 Akron Pride Festival Guide.
I was proud and humbled to have another poem, “Persons Unknown” published in the 2023 Akron Pride Festival Guide. This particular poem is an award winner and was written to be read at Harmony Springs Christian Church last November during Transgender Day of Remembrance.
I will admit that I was always somewhat skeptical of Pride, but I am so very glad that I decided to make it a big part of my life now. I describe myself as a “Quiet Activist,” but I feel like my voice is starting to get much louder and bolder in support of my LGBTQ+ community.
Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, award-winning poet, writer, speaker, teaching artist, and quiet activist. She is a retired attorney and a seventh generation Appalachian. Now based in Tallmadge, Ohio, her first collection of poetry entitled “If There’s No Heaven” was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and the Akron Beacon Journal Best Northeast Ohio Books 2020. It is available through this website at www.poetryislifepublishing.com. Barbara is also the author of the "Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge," and the forthcoming "Dance Naked With God." Follow her at www.barbaramarieminneypoetry.com