PRIDE - Johnathan Thacker

Pride to me - “The ability to be who and what you are.”

Johnathan has always had a strong passion for the LGBTQ+ community and helping others. From volunteering at different organizations around Columbus, to starting his own pageant, he is highly involved in the LGBTQ+ community.

Johnathon grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio, and moved to Columbus in 2011. Currently, he lives in the Franklinton area. In his free time, he enjoys being an “assistant” to his food critic boyfriend whenever he can. “We like to support local by eating at Columbus based restaurants, like my favorite, The Pearl”, said Johnathan. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends.

“I have always had a dream to start my own pageantry system.” Johnathan first got his start in the pageantry scene when he became a promoter of one of the Miss and Mr. Columbus Gay Pride preliminary rounds. He then moved on to work for the Mr. and Miss Gay Pride pageant and then became a state promoter for Miss Gay Ohio USA pageant. After 13 years, Johnathan decided to make his dream a reality, thus the Mr. and Miss Gay Ohio pageant was born.

Mr. and Miss Gay Ohio is celebrating its 5th year. Contests participate in interview, talent, evening wear, and community platform. Community platform challenges contests to select a charity or organization of their choosing that they will align themselves with during their reign to raise money and awareness for LGBTQ+. The pageant is non profit and a proud partner to Equitis Health. The pageant’s mission statement is: Provide resources, funding, and opportunities to communities at large without prejudice.

Johnathan also serves on the Columbus Pride committee, where he pushed for drag to be represented at the Pride Festival. “Drag has really bridged the gap in the Columbus LGBTQ+ community”. The Pride festival now has a stage dedicated to drag performances. The Columbus Pride Festival is excited to celebrate its 38th year and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

“A lot of people ask me how they can get involved, or support the LGBTQ+ community. There are so many wonderful places to get involved, you just have to ask”, says Johnathan.

Stonewall Columbus - Advocacy and support organization for the Columbus LGBTQ+ community.

Equitis Health - Non profit LGBTQ+ health care.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center - Serves and supports LGBTQ+ youth and their allies.

Bravo - First organization to assist with a hate crime. Gives legal representation to victims.

Aids Healthcare Foundation - Out of the Closet clothing store, assists in paying peoples copays.

There is also the Columbus drag scene and the night life. Columbus is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in America.

In the future, Johnathan looks forward to finding more opportunities to support Stonewall Columbus and to build awareness for Pride so it is visible all year round, not just during the festival. Johnathan plans to continue his volunteer work with Equitis Health, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and the James Cancer Hospital. He is also excited to head to World Pride in New York in 2 weeks.

“People ask me how I do it all. I don’t question how I do it, I just do.”