COLUMBUS, Ohio — 40 years ago, Stonewall Columbus emerged in Central Ohio.
It's named after the original Stonewall Inn which is where the fight for the LGBTQ+ Community started in New York in 1969.
For the 40th anniversary many just wanted to celebrate who they were.
The building has been a safe house for hundreds of people over the last 40 years; including Densil Porteous, who is the Executive Director.
"I've faced some of the challenges and battles. I’m an out gay black man living in Central Ohio,” he said. "We've been able to exist and be around for 40 years here in Central Ohio,” said Porteous.
What better way to celebrate 40 years than to celebrate the meaning of the whole place.
"The opportunity for people to be able to live however they want to live to be their full selves, to step out into the world however they so choose, I think that's the most important thing for me,” he said.
Through the smiles and laughter, they can't forget about how much further they have to go. Porteous keeps equal rights and protection for people of the LGBTQ+ community at the forefront of his mind.
That’s something Andre Thompson, one of the co-chairs for the event, will back until it happens.
"When I think about 40 years from now, I hope that we don't need stonewall. I hope that we are past it, we don't need a safe space because everywhere is safe and it doesn't have to be localized in a central space,” said Thompson.
For 40 years the building has stood strong. It has been renovated and built upon the original structure. It's helped hundreds of people find who they are.
And that's something Porteous will always celebrate.
"What I hope people see and understand is, inspire conversation, inspire action and hopefully inspire in acceptance,” he said.