by Doreen Cudnik
Cincinnati--No doubt about it, Pride is in the air in the Queen City. The buzz for the last few months, and especially in the last few weeks leading up to the event, has been the efforts of a handful of grassroots activists who have succeeded in bringing a Gay Pride parade back to this city on the Ohio River.
After five long years without a Gay Pride Parade in greater Cincinnati, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and our allies will step off at noon on June 11 from Burnet Woods and make our way to Hoffner Park. The park, located next to the Cincinnati’s Gay and Lesbian Community Center, will be the site for the community picnic and information fair.
There is not enough that can be said about the local GLBT folks who not only envisioned the return of a Gay Pride parade, but did the hard work to make this vision a reality.
Beginning with Chris Good, and including committee members Kerri and Jason Dru, Tim Stringer, Greg Kipp, Tom Beckman, and the group’s senior advisor Michael Chanak, this group has breathed new life and energy into the city’s GLBT community.
Sadly, Cincinnati is the only city in the country whose charter specifically singles out gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens for discrimination. In light of the anti-gay Article XII of the Cincinnati City Charter, the presence of a Gay Pride parade here will be even more significant than in other cities where GLBT citizens are generally accepted as part of the community.
When we march in Cincinnati on June 11, we will be emphatically stating that the existence of an anti-gay city charter amendment has not rendered this community invisible and silent, as some would prefer. Instead, the parade will be proof positive that we are here, we are organized, and we are a vital part of this community.
The parade is the "anchor" event in a month that includes something for everyone to enjoy. Pride festivities began on June 4 with the 16th annual Drag Races and PrideFest, benefiting the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati. The Drag Races have consistently been among the largest Pride events held in the city. Last year the Cincinnati Fire Department estimated the attendance at over 2,000 people.
Pride month continues with a video night focusing on gay and lesbian marriage on June 7, the Be-All Transgender Conference June 7 - 11 (which will be capped off with a big band dinner and dance on the 10th), the World’s Gayest Office Party, sponsored by the Queen City Careers Association on June 9, the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus concert on June 10 and 11 and much, much more. (See page B-30 for a calendar of events.)
As dialogue about gay and lesbian issues continues within many faith communities, the Pride Interfaith Spiritual Service on June 18 is sure to be one of the highlights of Pride Month. The theme is "Celebrating our Spiritual Rainbow" and the service will incorporate Native American spirituality, Goddess-based worship, Hebrew and Christian traditions, and music by Cincinnati’s feminist chorus, Muse, and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, among others.
The featured speaker will be the Rev. Hal Porter, a remarkable theologian, scholar and friend to the GLBT community. Porter is the co-chair, along with former Stonewall Cincinnati executive director Lycette Nelson, of the Citizens to Restore Fairness committee--the organization working to repeal the anti-gay Article XII from the city’s charter.
Porter’s former congregation, Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church, was one of the first in Cincinnati to perform same-sex holy union ceremonies. Porter, who was described by a close friend and colleague as one who is not satisfied unless he is "provoking the powers that be to come after him," sees the unfinished work of the GLBT civil rights movement as the most important social justice issue of the 1990s and into the 21st century. His words at the Pride Interfaith Service are sure to be inspiring and empowering.
On Saturday, June 24, in Cincinnati river boat fashion, the GLBT community and our friends will close out Pride month with a cruise down the Ohio River.
Pride Party Cruise 2000 at Celebrations Riverboats in Ludlow, Ky. will benefit the Cincinnati Gay and Lesbian Center. No doubt by then, we’ll all be ready to celebrate with each other one more time during Pride month, and look back on the incredible accomplishments of the past month.
It has been extraordinary to me as a relative newcomer to the Cincinnati community to witness the spirit of cooperation that existed between the many groups and organizations throughout the planning for Pride month. Whether an event was to benefit GLSEN, the Cincinnati Gay and Lesbian Center, P-FLAG, Crossport, Stonewall, the MCC or any of the other groups, everyone helped out wherever they could.
Through the Coalition, which is a group that consists of representatives from all the area GLBT groups, the mechanism is in place for this type of collaboration to continue well beyond Pride Month 2000. And that will be necessary, since we still face many hurdles and obstacles in Cincinnati.
The effort to repeal Article XII of the city charter has a long way to go. Laura Schlessinger’s syndicated television show is scheduled to air on WCPO-TV this fall, and as of the writing of this column, the station’s general manager has yet to respond to our request for a meeting.
The virulently homophobic Fred Phelps has announced that he plans to picket at the Cincinnati headquarters of Procter & Gamble to protest that company’s decision not to advertise on Schlessinger’s show. Just the other day during a meeting of the Cincinnati City Council’s Law Committee, a councilmember lumped gay men and lesbians into the same category with pedophiles and those who engage in bestiality and necrophilia. The pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer regularly contain anti-gay editorials and letters. These are just a few of the hurdles.
But the good news is that this never-say-die community keeps finding ways to turn those negatives into positives. The repeal effort is gathering momentum as more and more fair-minded Cincinnatians realize that Article XII is just plain wrong and bad for the city. P&G’s decision not to advertise on the "Dr. Laura" show continues to have a ripple effect as other national advertisers back away from the controversy. The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, an organization charged with fostering mutual respect and understanding among all citizens, has supported Stonewall’s efforts on a number of recent issues.
Following a student-led petition drive, Cincinnati’s Xavier University, a Jesuit Catholic institution, recently issued a welcoming statement on sexual orientation that said in part: "any prejudicial thought or actions directed against [gay and lesbian students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni] have no place within our community." And what about those offensive comments from the city council member? They did not go unchallenged. In fact, Stonewall has a meeting scheduled with this particular council member that will hopefully lead to a more respectful relationship.
Nothing, it seems, can take away this community’s pride and dignity. There is no limit to what we can accomplish. When we look back on all we have accomplished, perhaps we’ll recall that it was the first Gay Pride parade in five years on June 11, 2000, that re-energized this community and reminded us of all the reasons we have to be proud.|
Doreen Cudnik is the executive director of Stonewall Cincinnati, an organization that works on behalf of all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to end discrimination and violence. For more information about Stonewall, see their web site at www.stonewallcincinnati.org or call 513-651-2500.
Ashtabula--Who are we? We’re the Ashtabula GLBT Drop-in Support Group.
We meet on Sundays to offer support in any way we can. Our dream is to grow into a community center for the area. We really see a need.
We want to offer support to the youth in the area as well as adults, and also to family and friends.
We are very new at this whole thing and are still trying to get on our feet.
We have a monthly newsletter, and we are in working contact with the only other LGBT group in the area that we know of, which is the Kent State-Ashtabula Student Union.
We are cosponsoring a Family Pride Picnic on June 11 with the Kent State Ashtabula student group, and we will also be marching in the parade in Cleveland this year.
The picnic will be at 12 noon in Lakeshore Park, Ohio 531 at Ohio 11, in Ashtabula.
There is also a 12-step meeting going on out here now. If any one is interested in information on any of these groups they can call 440-466-3800 or e-mail us at email@example.com
Our mission is to help others and to end homophobia at all levels. But like most things, the fight has just begun in our rural area. We look forward to gathering support.
The drop-in support group meets Sundays from 3-5 pm. On most Sundays the meetings are at 715 West 30 in Ashtabula, at the Wellness and Total Learning Center.
We are having a very busy month in June, and will not be meeting at the regular place because of the picnic, Fathers’ Day, and the parade. We will get back to normal in July.
Memberships are available for a small donation, and will be mailed to your home in a plain unmarked envelope.
by Leon Bey
Dayton--"Pride, Diversity, Unity" is the theme for Pride 2000 Dayton, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender celebration of Dayton and the Miami Valley.
Dayton city commissioner Mary Wiseman and Joe Lacey, candidate for state representative 42nd District are honorary co-chairs of the event, which will be Saturday, June 17, at Thomato’s, 110 North Main Street in Dayton.
The celebration starts at 5 p.m. with an expo of non-profit organizations and businesses. Complimentary appetizers will be offered, and a cash bar will be open. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by a program with Wiseman and Lacey, and entertainment featuring David Gurland, an out gay pop vocalist from New York City and a lesbian comedienne.
The evening will be capped with dancing till midnight.
The celebration will be held at the second floor banquet facility of Thomato’s with free parking in the Fifth Third garage below Thomato’s. Enter off one-way Jefferson Street North between 2nd and 1st Streets. You must have a ticket to enter Thomato’s.
Tickets are $31 each through June 13 by mail order, and at ticket outlets. Checks can be made payable to Pride 2000 and sent to P.O. Box 1203, Dayton, Ohio 45401-1203. No refunds will be given.
Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for return of tickets. Mail orders without a SASE will be held for pickup at 5 p.m. at the expo in Thomato’s.
Ticket outlets include Q! Gift Shop, Earth Song Herbal, Stage Door Musical Bar and Books and Company, all in Dayton, and Epic Book Shop in Yellow Springs.
For further information on Pride 2000 Dayton tickets, dinner tables of ten, non-profit and business expo space rental and ads in the Pride Resource Guide, contact Dale Holland, 937-298-1914.
Pride 2000 Dayton is organized and sponsored by the Dayton Lesbian and Gay Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) community service organization. The center’s hotline is 937-274-1776.|
Leon Bey is chair of Pride Dayton 2000.
CeCe Peniston, Kathy Sledge
featured in Pride festival
by Michelle Tomko
Cleveland--The Cleveland Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans Pride Committee is producing their twelfth annual Pride parade and festival on Saturday, June 24.
The parade, co-sponsored by Cleveland State University’s Gay, Lesbian and Straight Alliance, will assemble at 12:30 pm, with a rally at 1:00 pm.
The rally and parade step-off will be on Euclid Ave at East 18th St., in front of CSU’s Marshall Law School. This is the same location as last year.
LGBT liason to the stars Chastity Bono will speak at the rally. She will be joined by Marshall McPeek of WKYC Channel 3, and U.S. Reps. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Dennis Kucinich.
The parade will begin at 2 pm, and head west on Euclid, then north on East 9th St. to Voinovich Park on Lake Erie.
There, the Pride festival will continue until 8 pm.
For a suggested $5 donation, festivalgoers will enjoy a variety of vendors, a main stage with music and comedy artists, and a dance stage that will have local performers and continuous music provided by the Grid.
Several main stage acts have been confirmed at the time of publication.
Comic giant and Columbus native Suzanne Westenhoefer will grace the stage in the late afternoon, as well as serve as an emcee (see next page).
Dayton born recording artist CeCe Peniston will also be performing this year at Cleveland Pride.
Peniston’s credits include a platinum album, Finally, being the first female artist to play in post-apartheid South Africa, appearing for all the big guns on the talk show circuit, and playing at both presidential inaugurations for Bill Clinton. She has even performed for the pope.
Peniston recently toured with Grace Jones in a tour of The Wiz in cities across America.
Kathy Sledge, the lead singer on the Pride favorite "We Are Family," will also be a headliner at the festival.
Best known for her work with her three sisters in the R&B quartet Sister Sledge, Kathy signed as a solo artist in 1992 with Epic Records, where she recorded the album Heart.
Also performing are folk artist Alexis Antes, the band Cathy 13, Young Park, and the North Coast Men’s Chorus.
On the dance stage, the emcee will be the "Lakefront Legend," Twiggy, hosting diva stars Ivana Grump, Diamond Santiago, Destiny Sanchez, Andrea Michaels, and Magnolia Thunderpussy.|
From art to drag softball, Pride
has a weekend of fun
by Anthony Glassman
Columbus--Central Ohio is set for a major, no-holds-barred blowout Pride weekend party from June 23 to June 25.
Stonewall Columbus, the city’s major gay civil rights and education organization, is organizing many of the festivities. Everything from brunches and religious services to a parade are planned for the weekend.
The events start with a special Gallery Hop in the Short North district on Friday, June 23, in honor of Columbus Pride. Dozens of galleries take part in these art-filled strolls.
Saturday morning at 10 am, there will be a big-ticket Pride brunch, featuring local dignitaries, performers, and an open bar. The buffet is a fundraising event for Pride, and is co-sponsored by Absolut and Seagram’s Americas, both of whom are ardent supporters of gay civil rights causes across the country. The brunch will be at Out on Main restaurant.
At 10:30, the annual Pride Ecumenical service will be held. This year’s services will be held at King Methodist Church, 299 King Ave.
The parade steps off from North High St. at Hubbard Ave., in the Short North, at 1 pm. This is about two blocks north on High St. from the start of previous years’ parades in Goodale Park.
The festival starts when the parade arrives at Bicentennial Park downtown, about 2 pm. There is an entrance fee of $5, "more if you can, less if you can’t," and no one will be turned away from the festival, which will have food and entertainment in abundance.
There will also be a commitment ceremony at 6 pm at the festival.
The celebration continues later that night at 8 pm with Dancing in the Streets, hosted by the Ohio AIDS Coalition. Tickets are $12 in advance and can be purchased at Stonewall, OAC, Torso and Union Station, or $15 at the event.
Dancing in the Streets will be held in the parking lot in front of Axis nightclub, 775 N. High St.
Sunday wraps up the Pride weekend events with a 9 am brunch at No Attitude, 53 Parsons Ave. The brunch will be $12, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Pride Holiday.
At 3 pm, the annual Bat ’n’ Rouge drag softball game will be played at Berliner Park, Diamond 29, on Greenlawn Ave. This year’s beneficiaries of Bat ’n’ Rouge will be Stonewall Union, Camp Sunrise, Pater Noster House, and the Ohio AIDS Coalition.|
New boat, new food make a whole new Ohio River cruise
Cincinnati--We’re gonna rock the river with a whole new twist on a favorite Pride event!
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati invites everyone to the annual Pride Party Cruise on Saturday June 24. This popular long-time part of the Queen City’s Pride festivities is getting a major makeover for the new millennium.
This year the Party Cruise will be earlier, longer, with catered food, and on a brand new boat. Celebrations Riverboats will be taking us for a beautiful evening cruise up and down the Ohio River from 7 pm to 10 pm. The delicious hors d’oeuvre menu will be prepared by chef Chuck Girmann and will include hickory smoked turkey, stuffed mushrooms with seafood dressing, chicken breasts in fruit chutney, gourmet cheeses, fresh vegetables and more. There will be a cash bar.
The cruise will feature a live DJ and dancing inside, plus lots of romantic moonlight on the outside decks. There will also be special live entertainers performing throughout the evening.
The boat will start boarding at 6 pm at the Steamboat Landing on Kentucky Route 8, by Deveril Street on the south bank of the Ohio River.
Tickets for the Cincinnati Pride Party Cruise 2000 are $35 each and are now on sale at several locations in the Greater Cincinnati area. This year, all tickets are sold in advance only. No tickets will be available at the event. So don’t wait until the last minute, and miss the boat.
To purchase tickets or for more information, contact the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Cincinnati at 513-591-0200, or log onto their web site at http://www.GLBTCenterCincinnati.com.|
Four groups join to produce
Black Unity Pride weekend
by Dan Hlad
Cleveland—"Because friendship is pleasant, we partake of our friend’s entertainment; not because we have not enough to eat in our own house."
This popular African proverb captures the spirit of organizers developing Cleveland’s first African American weekend of events representing four local groups.
The Brother’s Circle, Black Out Productions Unlimited, the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland’s Brother 2 Brother program and Vision Entertainment will join forces for a series of events focusing on the celebration of Cleveland’s gay and lesbian African American heritage.
The weekend-long Black Unity Pride Celebration will showcase different events sponsored by individual groups but culminating in the series, taking place from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 6.
According to Derek Barnett, co-coordinator of each summer’s popular Black Out Weekend, the idea developed in an effort to avoid conflicting summer events.
"Our hope was that other organizations would join us this year," said Barnett. "They came to us to collaborate on a new event that’s more inclusive."
Organizers maintain that this approach will allow each group to showcase its individual talents by marketing and developing their own events while pulling together a number of organizations for the rare unified celebration of black gay and lesbian lives.
The weekend will offer an array of events, each hosted by one of the organizing groups. The August 4 kick-off, "Healing AIDS with Laughter," will be a comedy jam hosted by Brother’s Circle at Strosacker Auditorium at Case Western Reserve University.
Black Out Productions will incorporate their annual Exchange conference on August 5 at the American Red Cross, 3747 Euclid Avenue, and the annual Black Out 2000 Picnic at Edgewater Park on August 6.
Additionally on August 5, Vision Entertainment will host Sheik 2000, an evening of elegance and entertainment. This fashion revue and live entertainment event will take place at the Health Museum, 8911 Euclid Avenue. Additional events may be added closer to the weekend, say organizers.
Brother 2 Brother program coordinator Robert Burns points to a clear significance with the collaboration.
"It is important to bring together different communities and minority groups to show unity," he said.
Burns admits that coordinating various groups’ events was a challenge, but emphasizes the importance that the collaboration continues.
"The hope is to build the event next year and get more involvement," he said. In particular, all organizers are specifically hoping to target more transgender and women’s organizations.
"There aren’t a lot of groups catering towards women and transgender people of color," said Burns.
Black Unity Pride Celebration
August 4 through August 6, 2000
Sponsored by Black Out Productions Unlimited, the Brother’s Circle of Cleveland, Vision Entertainment, Inc. and the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland’s Brother 2 Brother program.
Friday, August 4
9 pm: Comedy Jam 2000: Healing AIDS with Laughter; Strosacker Auditorium at Case Western Reserve University.
Host: The Brother’s Circle of Cleveland.
Entertainers: Slick Rick, Karen Williams and Dana Austin.
Emcee: Patrick Washington
Saturday, August 5
9 am: The Exchange, educational and cultural awareness conference; American Red Cross, 3747 Euclid Ave.
Host: Black Out Productions Unlimited.
9 pm: Sheik 2000, an evening of elegance and entertainment; Health Museum, 8911 Euclid Ave.
Host: Vision Entertainment Inc.
Entertainment: Open mic, poetry reading, fall fashion show, House/Tribal/Gospel disco, free food and open bar.
Cost: $15 advance, $20 at door
Sunday, August 6
Noon: Black Out 2000 Picnic, Edgewater Park, Upper Pavilion
Host: Black Out Productions
Entertainment: DJ RaBRob Free
For more information on Black Unity Pride Celebration, see their web site: www.geocities.com/bupc2000 or call Black Out Productions at 216-462-0257.
Culture Club to kick off Out
in Akron this October
By Chris Hixson
Akron--The fourth annual Out in Akron Queer Cultural Festival is taking shape and promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Kicking off this year’s festival on Friday, October 6 will be Culture Club, live on stage at the Civic Theatre. This event is being produced by Belkin Productions and the Budweiser Concert Series to benefit Out in Akron.
"We’re thrilled to be working with Belkin for the first time," says festival co-chair Sandra Kurt. "Boy George and Culture Club are cultural icons both in the queer community and in the community at large."
The Culture Club show will be held at Akron’s Civic Theatre, instead of the Highland, to accommodate the larger audience, although tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Ticket sales begin Friday, July 14 at 10 am, but Out in Akron will release a special block of the 400 best seats in the house at its booth at Cleveland Pride on June 24.
"We want to encourage people to attend Cleveland Pride, and to give the first chance at the great concert seats to these folks, explained Susie Davis. "We’ve pulled the greatest seats in the front orchestra section and will be selling them first-come, first-serve at Cleveland Pride. When they’ve sold out, you’ll have to wait until tickets go on sale to the public on July 14."
Ticket sales at Pride will begin at 3 pm with tickets $36.50, cash only, no service charge, limit six per person.
The Out in Akron Festival Weekend will be October 13 through 15 at Akron’s Highland Theatre, same site as in previous years. The Highland is being restored and the festival will be one of the first events in the newly renovated theatre.
As always, most Out in Akron events are free. The Out in Akron weekend celebration will begin on Friday, October 13 with "Queer Shorts 2," a one night festival of new short films.
"We put out a call to filmmakers across North America seeking entries," said film night chair Lori Grant. "We expect to narrow down over 100 entries to the top choices for screening."
The annual Out in Akron Forum will be moved this year to Saturday afternoon and will feature a conversation with Keith Boykin, followed by a panel discussion. Boykin is author of One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America, and one of the nation’s foremost commentators on issues of race and sexual orientation.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Boykin was the highest ranking openly gay person in President Clinton’s administration. Afterwards, he served as executive director of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum. In this presentation, Keith examines the issues of race and their impact on sexual orientation.
Then, Saturday night, it’s Queer Comedy Jam, with several of America’s top comics (we can’t give away the names quite yet). Admission will be around $10.
Sunday’s events will include a 2:30 pm talk on gay artists at the Akron Art Museum, and the return of Cabaret Q at the Highland.
Additional events are in the works, and event details will be announced as they’re available. Major support for Out in Akron 2000 is made possible through a grant from the Akron Community Foundation.
"A festival of this scope can be expensive to produce," said treasurer Matthew Frericks. "We’re calling on our friends and supporters to help us fund the weekend by becoming festival sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities range from business, foundation and organizational contributions to individual or family sponsorships. It’s unheard of for a festival like ours to offer so many events free of charge, but we think it’s the right thing to do."
Volunteers play an important role in the planning, too. Out in Akron volunteers serve as "ad getters, bar blitzers, event assistants, ticket takers, ushers, caterers, and T-shirt sellers. In fact, we’ll take advantage of everybody who wants to be a part of Out in Akron," laughed Kurt, "whether or not you think you have the skills we need."
The Out in Akron web site will be launching in the next few weeks at www.outinakron.org. It will have full details on the festival, volunteer opportunities, and more.
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