Long-time Cleveland political power broker George Forbes is taking on a different role, this weekend, as the Grand Marshall of the Cleveland Gay Pride parade. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports that Forbes' path to being an advocate for gay rights has personal roots
83-year-old George Forbes is no stranger to controversy. He acknowledges that his take-no-prisoners attitude as a politician and a radio host were sometimes over the top, but were a reaction to an upbringing in the Jim Crow South where he was taught to be subservient to white people. He says he's come to learn that discrimination is a much larger issue than skin color.
GEORGE FORBES: And it wasn't until Gays said "We're not going to be treated like this anymore" that progress started to be made. And I admire that attitude, because if you don't do it, nobody's going to do it for you.
Forbes says his conversion to that viewpoint came with an acceptance that members of his own family were gay. In 2008, he went on to play a pivotal role in convincing local members of the African American clergy to drop efforts to repeal Cleveland's Domestic Partner Registry. A smile cracks his familiar frown as George Forbes envisions his place in the parade tomorrow afternoon.
GEORGE FORBES: All I want is my rainbow sash (chuckles) and my seat on the convertible. If you don't like that, tough.
The 2014 Cleveland Pride parade --- with George Forbes sporting his rainbow sash --- kicks off at Noon from West Third and St. Clair, heading down to Voinovich Park next to the Rock Hall.