Iranian refugees to serve as Grand-Marshals of Columbus Pride Parade

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Pride weekend in Columbus is a three-day celebration of inclusiveness.

“This is weekend is our weekend,” said Pride-goer Debe` Turnbull. “It’s when the LGBTQ plus community and all their allies come together in one big celebration.”

This is something that one Iranian refugee couple never thought was possible.

“We never had it in our country,” said Iranian refugee Sherry Bayegan.

Sherry and Razi said they never had the support to live how they wanted, to love who they wanted, or even to feel free.

Now that has changed.

“I am holding my wife’s hand and I’m walking the street and I’m not afraid of it,” said Sherry.

After living here as a refugee couple for nearly four years, they can now hold hands, hug, and even kiss one another with no fear.

Sherry and Rezi said it wasn’t easy for them to feel comfortable being themselves.

Sherry often had thoughts of, “Can I do that? Is it ok if I do this?”

They said they feel free and are the Grand Marshals of the second biggest pride parade in the Midwest.

While they admit they are nervous, they know they will be safe because of one thing.

“You’re not by yourself, you’re not alone,” said Sherry. “You have these many people that are supporting you.”

The couple takes pride in Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade in Columbus because they feel they are laying the foundation for future generations.

Sherry said, “We are doing that not for ourselves, it’s just for the next…”

Rezi added, “Group of immigrants that are coming here.”

The couple also said Columbus has been so great to them and so open, and they really consider it their new home.

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