My name is Densil Porteous I use he/they pronouns and I am honored to serve as the Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus.
Stonewall has been an organization working to increase visibility, inclusion, and connection for the LGBTQIA+ community across Central Ohio so that we all thrive since 1981, as a reimagined community center gifted to the community, the organization is only three years into that journey—having reopened in 2019.
I joined the Stonewall organization, as interim executive director, in the summer of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during America’s reawakening to the inequities and injustices enacted on Black people in our nation, and during a year when it was reported to be the worst year on record for the murder of trans members of our community—this has been the trend for the last several years since. I joined Stonewall as the organization prepared to step into its 40th year of evolving service to the LGBTQIA+ community across Central Ohio.
As we considered the future of Stonewall Columbus, we know that our organization must change and evolve to meet the needs of the community while existing in a new era of community service expectations—we know we can work to meet those expectations.
When the community’s LGBTQIA+ service organization started Columbus, Ohio was the 19th largest city in the country, today, Stonewall operates in the 14th largest city in the country—things have changed. Our community is more diverse and intersectional, our community needs continue, and they have increased while becoming more complex; notably the economic resources needed to do the work of community support has increased as well.
Stonewall has been honored to host our annual Pride events that aim make space for and bring community together—our Pride events represent our largest fundraising and funding effort in support of the Stonewall organization and the connections to resources and services we are able to provide for the community.
As a community we have weathered many storms, as a community we have fought for many issues, and as a community we can continue to shape and impact the way our queer identities are seen, included, and supported in Columbus, across the Central, Ohio region and beyond.
As an LGBTQIA+ community center in the 14th largest city in the country Stonewall has an opportunity, with help from the community, to truly be a model of community support and engagement—we have a responsibility to lead, and I believe we can. We need your help to ensure we thrive…that our community thrives.