Cincinnati--A weekend full of intermittent showers failed to wash out Pride Night at Kings Island on September 26, the Cincinnati Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Center�s largest fundraiser of the year.
While firm figures were not available by press time, Pride Night committee chair and Cincinnati GLBT Center vice-president Troy Henson confirmed that the event kept pace with previous years� attendance, which fluctuated between 3,000 and 3,500 over the last three years.
�Kings Island was impressed, because rain like that usually kills attendance,� Henson said, noting that the event failed to meet his personal goal of 5,000 attendees. �They weren�t record-breaking because of the rain, but they weren�t bad.�
While the 2002 event was moved up to August 30 to avoid conflicting with a number of other events in the area, this year�s Pride Night came back to September, the traditional time for the event.
Some people contacted the committee late in the planning stages to tell them that Pride Night at Kings Island was conflicting with the beginning of the Jewish high holidays.
�If they were on the committee, this wouldn�t happen,� Henson noted, urging all interested parties to join the committee, which will begin planning next year�s celebration in the near future.
�I am very pleased with the event and how great it is to work with the staff at Paramount�s Kings Island,� said Cincinnati GLBT Center president Harold Keutzer. �They are always very willing to help make the event such a success.�
During Pride Night, the amusement park is closed to the general public, although the Pride Night committee does allow anyone wishing to pay admission to enter the park. Since the event is considered a private party, however, anyone engaging in anti-gay behavior can be ejected at will. The theme park does not advertise itself as being open on that day.
In addition to the traditional amusement park rides and games, Pride Night also provides entertainment for patrons. This year�s festivities presented a wider variety of acts than ever before.
Andrew Hyde, the openly gay contestant on CBS� Amazing Race 3, was present, as were the Flaggots, an LGBT flag corps, the Dayton lesbian band Frozen Feet, Match Game presented by the Imperial Sovereign Queen City Court of the Buckeye Empire, as well as theater, drag and musical acts from Ohio and Indiana.
This year, tickets were $2 with the purchase of a $35 Cincinnati GLBT Center membership, or $42 at the gate.
The center is located at 4119 Hamilton Ave., and can be reached Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 pm and Saturdays from noon to four pm at 513-5910200. They also have a 24-hour community switchboard at 513-5910222, and are online at www.glbtcentercincinnati.com.
Lakewood, Ohio--Two gay city council candidates moved forward to the November 4 election in the city�s first non-partisan primary on September 30.
Jeremy T. Elliott, with 380 votes, will face incumbent Council President Robert M. Seelie in the Ward 3 race. Elliott received ten more votes than Cindy Susan Young. Seelie got 1,040 votes.
The top two candidates in the primary advance to the general election.
That Seelie�s two challengers received 58% of the vote that Seelie got is significant, Elliott said.
�Generally in primaries, the people who go out to vote are the more conservative, who will vote for the incumbent,� Elliott said. He added that the high vote for the challengers is a sign of the public�s dissatisfaction with Seelie.
In the Ward 4 race, openly gay candidate John Farina trailed front-runner Mary Louise Madigan by under 5% after the votes were tallied.
Madigan received 611 votes to Farina�s 541. Both will move on to the general election. Two other candidates also ran in the primary, Frank Holmes with 298 votes and Suzanne Kennedy Horrigan with 170. Current Ward 4 council member Nancy Roth is not seeking re-election.
Farina feels confident he can win the general election.
�Election Day is November 4 and I have to look forward to that,� he said of his plans. �I think, especially for GLBT voters, they have an opportunity to put one of our community on council, and I�m looking forward to winning in November.�
According to Farina, while the field has narrowed, the methods stay the same.
�The tactics don�t differ greatly,� he said of the next stage in the campaign. �It�s going door to door, it�s connecting with voters. I have a base of voters out there who have supported me in the past and will continue to support me.�
While Farina is gay, Madigan is pro-gay. Elliott�s differences with his opponent, however, might be a little more obvious.
Seelie voted against domestic partner benefits for city employees in 1999 and expanding the city�s ethnic intimidation ordinance to include sexual orientation the next year. He was the sole holdout against flying a rainbow flag in front of city hall to commemorate Pride this year, making him the most consistent opponent of gay issues on the council.
�We�ll . . . have an opportunity to educate the community about Seelie�s 12-year history and what he has and hasn�t done,� Elliott noted. �So far, we have run on our own merits.�
Another major factor in the race for Ward 3 is money and visibility. While Seelie had yard signs, neither of the other two candidates did. Seelie also had materials mailed to voters� homes, while Young did not.
�Seelie obviously had the advantage of incumbency,� Elliott said, noting that his campaign is a �strong grass-roots effort� that now needs to be backed up with more fundraising.
�We�re going to give him quite a run for his money and for his office,� Elliott concluded.
The mayor�s office is also up for grabs in November.
Incumbent Madeline A. Cain has become more vocal in her support of gay equality in the last two years, while her challenger, council member Thomas J. George, has voted both for and against gay-positive ordinances.
George opposed domestic partner benefits in their final vote, claiming that he was disturbed by the �religious overtones� in the arguments over the issue. He did, however, vote to expand the intimidation ordinance and, earlier this year, to proclaim June as Pride Month and fly the rainbow flag in front of city hall.
Both Cain and George marched in the Cleveland Pride parade this year.
George surprised many by receiving 11% more of the primary vote than incumbent Cain.
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones gives it a nod
Cleveland Heights--As election day draws near, the effort to pass a domestic partner registry in Cleveland Heights has been boosted by local endorsements and national GLBT equal rights organizations.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, whose District 11 includes Cleveland Heights, announced her endorsement of the registry initiative on September 30. She is the first elected official to join earlier endorsements from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, and the Cleveland chapter of the National Organization for Women.
The Cleveland Heights registry will be Issue 35 on the November 4 ballot.
Domestic partner registries allow same-sex and opposite- sex domestic partners to create an official, though not legally binding record of their relationship and responsibility for one another. That record can be used as the basis for the couple to secure rights taken for granted by legally married couples, including parenting rights, insurance benefits, bereavement time, and rights associated with commercial transactions.
About 60 localities nationwide have them, but this would be the first one in Ohio. It would also be the first one in the nation created by voters.
If passed, the registry would be open to all domestic partners, whether they reside in Cleveland Heights or not. It would be paid for by a fee charged to couples who register.
The effort to pass the measure is spearheaded by Heights Families for Equality. Spokesperson David Caldwell said the organization expects more endorsements from influential individuals and organizations before the November 4 election.
Caldwell said he is also pleased with fundraising efforts, including house parties, and the work done by volunteers canvassing the neighborhoods.
Canvassers, who also collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, have identified nearly 6,000 voters supporting the measure as of September 30. HFE estimates that 7,500 will be needed to win.
Students from Oberlin College and area high schools have committed to canvass on October 11 as part of their National Coming Out Day activities.
HFE has also received $7,000 from the Human Rights Campaign and $27,500 from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
According to Task Force organizer Don Rodrigues, 15-20 Task Force staffers will come to Cleveland Heights to assist HFE from October 25 through election day.
18,000 signatures to repeal Article 12
The national organizations have also been active with the Citizens to Restore Fairness in Cincinnati, a volunteer group working to repeal the anti-gay city charter Article 12 passed by voters in 1993.
CRF has gathered 6,500 of the 18,000 signatures it needs to guarantee their initiative gets on the November 2004 ballot. According to CRF co-chair Gary Wright, �63,000 plus one� votes in 2004 will be needed to remove Article 12.
The Human Rights Campaign is sending staffers from its Washington office to Cincinnati on November 4 to help coordinate efforts so CRF members can gather signatures from voters at the polls. Signature gatherers must, according to the city charter, be residents of Ohio.
Additionally, CRF hopes to gather 400 volunteers and raise $40,000 during the 40 days prior to November 4.
Unprecedented in Ohio
The two campaigns represent an unprecedented level of grassroots activity in Ohio and national interest in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equal rights here.
David Fleischer, who heads the training department of the Task Force and is a native of Chillicothe, said Ohio is one of five priority states that resources will be focused on over the next 15 months.
�Ohio has local organizations willing to work, and there is a high degree of urgency in these communities that have been previously overlooked,� said Fleischer, adding that Ohio is also one of 12 states that has resisted attempts to pass anti-gay �defense of marriage� laws to this point.
Fleischer said the Ohio involvement is also part of the Task Force�s goal of ending anti-gay ballot measures by 2010.
�We do that two ways,� said Fliescher. �First, we stop losing them, then we go back to communities who have been under attack and address them.�
Fleischer said in 1999, two thirds of all anti-gay ballot measures passed, but by 2001, following the Task Force�s efforts at training grassroots organizers, five of seven were stopped.
Fleischer said the Task Force is organizing national trainings in January and February to give local organizers the tools to defeat a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment that would permanently deny marriage to gays and lesbians.
Task Force field organizer Sarah Reece, who is assigned to the Cincinnati campaign, said having canvassers in the neighborhoods gives the �chance for myths to be busted on both sides of the door.�
�The community has the chance to bust its myths about what [GLBT] people are like, and it is a chance for us to bust our myths about what the opposition looks like.���������������
Views from all sides
Columbus City Council candidate John Jones speaks to 60 voters at a candidates� forum on September 25.
The event was co-hosted by the Stonewall Columbus Community Action Network, the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio and the Log Cabin Republicans.
�I was impressed by the equal participation of the two major parties,� said Stonewall executive director Kate Anderson. �Stonewall CAN�s efforts to work with both sides of the aisle was very evident last night.�
Stonewall CAN will be announcing its endorsements in the first week of October and will distribute voter guides for the November 4 municipal elections. Photo: Francie Ebright
Three collections bring the
Reigning Cats & Dogs
Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-Based Life-Forms
From earliest childhood, one of the best-loved morning rituals is reading the comics. The rustle of the newsprint, the giggles, the sighs, the complete and utter disbelief that Ziggy and The Family Circus are still being printed after about 100 years, all these stay with the reader from his or her earliest days.
As one grows up, one puts away childish things, unfortunately. One starts reading the rest of the newspaper, one starts reading different
newspapers, one comes out and delves into LGBT newspapers.
Thankfully, even gay papers tend to have a comic strip or two, and even those without easy access to gay papers can find the work of a few struggling LGBT artists who have managed to achieve mainstream success.
Hilary B. Price�s Rhymes with Orange, for instance, has been syndicated in mainstream newspapers across the country, quite a feat for the cartoonist, who lives in Massachusetts with her girlfriend and their dog, two cats and two fish.
Reigning Cats & Dogs is a Rhymes with Orange anthology collecting some of Price�s best strips involving pets, quite often of the �See, they really do own us!� variety.
�The problems with humans is that they can�t hear,� one feline amusingly tells another on page 69. �Every time you say �Me now!� they think you�ve said �meow.� �
It is quite obvious that the Stanford University graduate is witty, and as clear that she truly does love animals.
Some might say a little too much . . .
Alison Bechdel, while winning mainstream comic awards for her Dykes to Watch Out For strip, has yet to run in mass-market dailies, which is fine. Her work is so narrative, so serialized, that it would be difficult reading it every day and a complete shame missing a single strip.
Dykes and Sundry Other . . . �is the tenth collection of her strips, which have been running for 20 years (including in the pages of this newspaper, alternating with Curbside and The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green). Bechdel�s strip is always timely, tied to the front page of the newspapers and the latest information from CNN. But the strips don�t seem dated when reading them in a collection published two years after the events happened.
This collection, for instance, includes the strips that ran around the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The power in the strip that responded to the attacks, which contained no text, is palpable even now. Similarly, the imminent death of a� treasured pet dog can cause tears to roll down a cheek as readily now as when the strip was first read three years ago.
Glen Hanson and Allan Neuwirth�s Chelsea Boys, however, is not timely, nor is it particularly emotional. What Chelsea Boys is, however, is fun.
Both of them have worked on various popular cartoons, including Hanson�s character designs for MTV�s Daria, an intelligent spin-off of Beavis and Butthead that left its progenitor in the dust.
The duo have created a gay Odd Couple, only with three people. And a dog. Nathan, the queer Woody Allenesque nebbish, decides after the death of his lover that he must take in some roommates. He winds up with sensitive, albeit a little dense, stud-puppy Sky and the viper-tongued drag diva Soir�e.
Throw in Miss Marmelstein, Nathan�s dog named after Barbra Streisand�s first stage role, and hilarity is guaranteed to ensue.
The strip does occasionally get a little serious. Soir�e deals with his estranged father, who soon after dies of cancer. It�s pretty serious, and definitely socially relevant. The dynamics in African-American families with LGBT children are often rocky, and seldom work out as well as they do in this series, but it�s a tender, touching moment nonetheless.
Thanks to the work of these four tireless artists, and a multitude of others like them both famous and relatively unknown, those little joys of childhood can stay with us through adulthood.
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