CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It is Pride Week in Cleveland, and there are events going on throughout the weekend to celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Instagram chose Cleveland as one of five cities worldwide to paint a mural on a city wall for the LGBTQ community. The colorful mural just unveiled at W. 25th Street and Main Street in Ohio City is filled with meaning.
"Just anybody who needs support can look at this and say, 'I love myself, I love you also.' It's awesome," said Aubrey Johansen.
Local artists painted the mural as a part of Instagram's global campaign featuring the hashtag "kind comments."
You'll find murals in Los Angeles, Nashville, Madrid and London all in support of the LGBTQ community, encouraging people like Aubrey Johansen to be proud of who they are.
"It's quite the time for Cleveland, hopefully we're gonna bring it home with the Cavs, we've got this exciting thing going on. Another moment to shine an awesome spotlight on our awesome city," she said.
Aubrey knows the power of positive social media. She has nearly 93,000 followers on Instagram after sharing her message of inclusion and acceptance.
"I lost 153 pounds and I wanted a safe space to share that journey and I took it to Instagram," she said.
Down the street at West 29th and Detroit, a historical marker just went up designating Ohio City as the first historic LGBT district in the state.
"Cleveland's LGBT community is growing, it's strong and it's really starting to be celebrated more and more," said city councilmember Kerry McCormack.
The first year of Flat Out Pride kicked off on Friday night as a celebration on the East Bank of the Flats. The outdoor event featured live music, food, drinks and entertainment.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio is the first openly gay person to serve in the Ohio General Assembly. She's proud to see events like this taking shape.
"I think we've always been there, but we've been much more visible, much more celebratory in the past few years," Antonio said.
She has been working on getting anti-discrimination legislation signed into law here in Ohio for several years. She says it's good for people and for the economy.
"Companies like Amazon, like Instagram and Facebook want to come to communities, to states where there are policies that reflect the policies in their companies, and so I think Ohio needs to move into the 21st century," Antonio said.
A march in support of LGBTQ rights will be held on Saturday, June 3 starting at noon in Cleveland's Public Square.