Kucinich endorses measure as volunteers remind supporters to vote
Cleveland Heights--Going into the final week of a historic campaign to create a domestic partner registry by ballot initiative, two members of City Council and two members of Congress, one a presidential candidate, have voiced their support.
The initiative, which is ballot issue 35, will create a domestic partner registry open to residents and non-residents of this inner-ring Cleveland suburb, available for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
About 60 localities around the nation have similar registries, but this would be the first one in Ohio and the first anywhere to be created by voters. It is also the only GLBT-related ballot measure in the U.S. for this election.
Issue picks up endorsements
Presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced his endorsement of the measure October 28 by phone to a restaurant fundraiser for Heights Families for Equality, the group that put the initiative on the ballot.
Kucinich, who represents Cleveland�s District 10 in Congress, joined Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, whose endorsement came September 30. Cleveland Heights is in Tubbs Jones� 11th congressional district.
Present at the fundraiser was Cleveland Heights City Council member Phyllis Evans, whose endorsement for the measure came October 23. She joined council member Nancy Dietrich, who announced at a council meeting that she supports the measure.
Evans is on the ballot for re-election. Dietrich, who sponsored a 2002 ordinance giving health benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of city employees, is not.
Evans and fellow incumbents Kenneth Montlack and Dennis Wilcox are seeking their return to three at-large council seats. Their challenger is political newcomer James Redhed, running opposed to the registry and also opposing the 2002 benefits.
Evans said she has already taken heat for her endorsement, �particularly from African-Americans voting no.�
�But I look at this as a human rights issue,� said Evans. �As an African-American woman, there�s no way I can discriminate against anyone.�
�I expect there to be more hostility, but I have no regrets about the endorsement,� said Evans. �It feels right, and it is where I am.�
NGLTF sends 18 people
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which contributed $27,500 toward the effort, has sent 18 people to work with local volunteers to pass the measure.
David Fleischer, who directs training and education for the Task Force, said his staff has been recruiting volunteers who will work to make sure identified supporters go to the polls on election day.
Volunteers have been recruited from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, and Oberlin College.
Students from Oberlin canvassed Cleveland Heights neighborhoods to identify voters for the initiative on October 11 as part of their National Coming Out Day celebration.
The Task Force has also been recruiting and training members of GLBT community groups, including Black Out Unlimited, for the remaining days of the campaign.
�People who have never done anything political in their lives have come out to volunteer for this,� said Task Force organizer Don Rodrigues, who joined the Cleveland Heights effort when Heights Families for Equality was gathering petition signatures last spring.
Referring to the 7,000 identified supporters of the measure, Rodrigues said, �We have supporters, now we need to turn those supporters into voters.�
Several opposition groups
Opponents of the registry have also been organizing. They have attempted to make it a referendum on homosexuality.
A new group called Saving Our Families Together has formed as an associated but separate group from the already established Cleveland Heights Families First Initiative.
According to SOFT treasurer Rev. Benjamin Gohlstin, the purpose of the new group is �to continue to generate support for family issues past the election.�
Gohlstin is pastor of Heritage Institutional Church, an Ohio Baptist General Convention affiliate in Cleveland. SOFT�s address is a private mail drop in neighboring University Heights.
Cleveland Heights City Council member Rev. Jimmie Hicks Jr., the lone council opponent of the benefits ordinance, has also financed opposition to the registry through his campaign treasury.
Hicks, SOFT, Families First and Mission Cleveland Heights, believed to be affiliated with the national anti-gay, anti- abortion group Mission America, have attempted to dissuade voters by talking about anal sex, saying gay men live shorter lives than non-gay men, and that the registry is part of a larger �homosexual agenda� to lower the age of consent to 12.
�It�s not that our opponents are effective when they lie,� said Fleischer. �They aren�t.�
�But I believe this election will be close because groups like these play on the homophobic ideas already planted in the minds of many voters,� he added.
Fleisher concluded, �We will be successful because we will continue to confront this homophobia head on.�
Planning �D.I.Y.� event helped build leadership skill
Highland Heights, Ky.--In its third year, the Greater Cincinnati GLBTQ Youth Summit came closer to reaching supporters� goal on October 25 of producing the 12-hour event as a �DIY� affair. Helping youths do it themselves is a major part of building their leadership skills, planners said.
The event was designed �for, by, about youth.� Regional community leaders, health care providers, and young people led workshops.
�The coordinating committee had more young members this time,� said Kathy Laufman, a founding member of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network chapter here and a key planner for all three summits.
She counted 197 youth and adults at Northern Kentucky University for the event, which offered participants opportunities to network, share information and gain skills to make their schools and communities more inclusive. Participants came from as far away as the Cleveland area, and represented a broad range of ethnic and racial groups.
One 15-year-old African-American youth from a northern suburb, who asked that his name not be used, said, �It�s a blessing to be here.�
Eight gay-straight student groups were represented by students from area schools, according to Alex Spears, GLSEN�s youth outreach coordinator and summit planner.
Spears is working to build a coalition of gay-straight groups in the region, �an alliance of alliances.�
�Each alliance has about only 20 members,� he said. �Ten groups with 20 people each equal 200 total. With an alliance, it�s easier to get things done and will account for better activism.�
The project�s first meeting is set for November to make plans to expand GLSEN�s mentoring in high schools.
Of the 38 presenters in workshops, 16 were under age 25, with all but four under 21. Prospective panelists were given help by summit organizers, said workshop chair Marie Hedrick, a member of the Cincinnati Youth Group for about seven years.
�When they first decided [on a topic], we helped them develop their proposals,� she said. �We set about multi-tasking, especially to recruit people from communities of color and [others] who were not well-represented in the past.�
Keynote speaker Kathy Y. Wilson, who writes the �Your Negro Tour Guide� column in the area�s City Beat alternative weekly along with regular reports on GLBT issues, echoed the importance of young people working for social change.
�I�m a fighter. I�m fighting in my own way. I�m loud, and I have a forum in City Beat. My mother raised us to hold our heads up. I consider you to be my family,� said the 40-year-old journalist from Hamilton, Ohio. �You�re doing the work I cannot do. You�re in the trenches.�
�You all have work to do. We must stand shoulder to shoulder,� Wilson said. �We must stand with disenfranchised people. The preponderance of homeless people is children. I myself am one paycheck away from being homeless. You must use your activist spirit all across the communities,� she challenged.
Wilson is writing an essay about the murder of 21-year-old Gregory Beauchamp for Cincinnati magazine�s April issue on black gay culture. Beauchamp was walking in Over-the-Rhine with some friends in drag last New Year�s Eve when occupants of a passing car yelled anti-gay epithets, then shot him.
�This was a hate crime of textbook proportions,� she said.
�This story just broke my heart, with doubly redundant layers of self-hatred, classism, just �you just stamp out something you don�t like�,� she said. A grand jury was unable to indict a gang member charged in the case. �So it is incumbent on us to help ourselves. The majority of society is not behind us. We�ve got to cover our own backs.�
New this year was significant financial support from Toyota Manufacturing of North America, which has a plant in nearby Hebron, Kentucky.
�We were thrilled to receive significant financial support from Toyota,� Laufman said. �The coordinating committee sees Toyota's contribution as evidence that it is a company that values and rewards diversity.�
She also announced that GLSEN Cincinnati created a �safe online space for discussion about youth issues, networking for planning and announcing events, as well as support for current and starting gay-straight alliances on all levels of schooling� is available at www.glsencincinnati.org/youth/forum/index.php.
She applauded the youths� resolve in fine-tuning the summits. �This is the only event of its kind here,� she said. �No one else has valued this kind of opportunity the way GLSEN has.�
For more information on the Greater Cincinnati GLBTQ Youth Summit, see www.cincyyouthsummit.org.
Washington, D.C.--The Federal Bureau of Investigation released its annual Uniform Crime Report for 2002 on October 27, indicating an 11% drop in bias crimes based on sexual orientation from 2001 figures.
The report is compiled from figures sent by local and state law enforcement agencies across the country. Of the nearly 7,500 hate crimes reported to law enforcement last year, one-sixth of those were motivated by the victim�s sexual orientation. The FBI does not track bias crimes based on gender identity.
Sixty-three out of 400 Ohio law enforcement agencies reported a total of 263 hate crimes overall, which would mean that roughly 44 of those were based on sexual orientation if the national statistics were carried over to the Ohio figures. The report did not provide a state-by-state breakdown of motivating factors in the hate crime figures.
However, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization and the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center together reported 234 anti-gay and anti-trans hate crimes for the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hate crime report for 2002. Both Columbus and Cleveland figures had increased significantly over the 2001 numbers, although the two reporting organizations indicated at the release of the report in late April that the rise was due, in part, to better community outreach and reporting.
A great deal of the discrepancy between the FBI and the Ohio groups� reports is because few people who file reports with community groups go on to file police reports, said BRAVO executive director Gloria McCauley.
Another part of it is a failure to properly report bias crimes as such, she believes.
�That�s the critical issue, that although it�s mandated that reporting take place, it�s an unfunded mandate,� McCauley said. �Then there�s the fact that most law enforcement agencies across the state are not equipped to handle hate crimes and bias crimes because there are no local laws about hate crimes.�
Few municipalities include sexual orientation in their hate crime ordinances, and the state of Ohio�s �ethnic intimidation� law also does not include sexual orientation. This leaves little legal responsibility for law enforcement officials to report anti-gay crimes as hate crimes to the FBI.
�Any time we have a report like this, we only have the number of reported cases,� said Tim Marshall, the communications manager of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center. �It�s not an accurate reflection of what�s going on.�
Marshall pointed to a number of factors to explain why people report crimes to the anti-violence organizations but not to the police.
�There is the fear to report hate crimes, there�s some internalized homophobia, there�s doubt as to whether the police will take it seriously,� he noted. �Although we encourage them to file a police report, they aren�t necessarily going to.�
�We always let people know [their report to the organization] is not a legal document,� he continued. �If they want it on record, they have to file a police report. Not everyone who calls us is going to take that next step. There are more people comfortable with talking to a reporting agency than to the police.�
Films, conference expand vigil into week of events
Columbus--Columbus will be observing a Transgender Week of Rememberance from November 13 through 20.
In the past few years this event has only involved a vigil held for those lost to violence against GLBT people. However, this year, in addition to the vigil, three other events will make this a meaningful and educational week of remembrance and celebration.
On November 13 at 7:30 p.m., the film No Dumb Questions will be screened at the Hillel Center, 46 East 16th Ave. Barbara Nash, featured in this documentary, will lead a discussion after the screening.
This lighthearted documentary profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. These girls love their Uncle Bill, but will they feel the same way when he becomes their new Aunt Barbara? With just weeks until Bill�s first visit as Barbara, the sisters navigate the complex territories of anatomy, sexuality, personality, gender and fashion.
Their reactions are funny, touching, and distinctly different. This film offers a fresh perspective on a complex situation from a family that insists that there are �no dumb questions.� This film has won numerous awards including ones at Sundance and at the Seattle Gay and Lesbian film Festival.
On November 17 at 7:30 p.m. another film titled Just Call Me Kade will also be screened at the Hillel Center. This film will be followed by a panel discussion led by local transgender youth.
The film is about Kade Farlow Collins, a sixteen year old female to male transgendered person living in Tucson, Arizona. Kade�s parents maintain a supportive and nurturing relationship to Kade with the many challenges facing their teenage child. However, it hasn�t always been easy. As Kade�s body began to transform during puberty, Kade became nearly suicidal.
Realizing that the issue was more complex than Kade being a tomboy or a lesbian, the family searched for information. Through a local support group and the internet, Kade�s mother found books and other resources pertaining to transgenderism. Kade and his family agreed to have their lives documented in order to bring awareness to the subject.
Just Call Me Kade begins during Halloween weekend, 1999. Kade (then Kate) was fourteen years old and beginning the initial stages of transition. Kate and family share their concerns, and all embark upon the path toward Kate�s new identity as Kade. The film concludes during St. Patrick�s Day weekend 2001 and Kade, having legally changed his name, is well into testosterone therapy. Friends and family candidly express their feelings about the transition, the changes in Kade and the impact on everyone involved.
On November 15 a conference titled �Building Strong Transgender Communities� will be held at the First Congressional church, 444 E. Broad St., between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The keynote speaker for this event will be Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender activist.
The week�s events will culminate in a Day of Rememberance Candlelight Vigil at the Goodale Park Gazebo in the Short North District. The vigil which starts at 7:00 p.m. will feature a lighting of candles, a reading of names of those who have fallen victim to transgender violence and testimonies from trans people living within Ohio communities.
This expanded week of Transgendered Rememberance is sponsored by the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, The Crystal Club, Jewish Queers, Hillel, Kaleidoscope Youth Coalition, the Ohio State University Office of GLBT Student Services and Rape Education and Prevention Program, Ohio Women Inc., Stonewall Columbus, and TransMission. For more information call 614-292-6200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lakewood Ohio--Anonymous flyers have been distributed in this Cleveland suburb condemning openly gay council candidates John Farina and Jeremy Elliott, and incumbent mayor Madeline Cain.
The flyers, photocopied on plain yellow paper, began appearing October 25 attached to doors of homes.
�They would both have you believe that if elected that homosexual agendas would not be pursued. Who do they think they are fooling?� the flyer says of Farina and Elliott.
Farina is seeking the Ward 4 council seat, and Elliott is running for the Ward 3 one.
�Keep in mind your children and families and the type of atmosphere and environment you desire them at special events, recreation centers, the arts, and other facilities in the community of Lakewood,� the flyer continues.
The flyer is critical of Cain�s support of the West End development, a controversial plan to use eminent domain to raze a residential neighborhood for new development.
Cain flew a rainbow flag at City Hall during last June�s LGBT Pride week, and supported giving health care benefits to domestic partners of city workers three years ago.
The flyers were first discovered by a volunteer from the campaign of Cain�s opponent, Thomas George, while canvassing on Alameda Ave. in Ward 4.
George condemned the flyers, and said his volunteer collected them from the doorknobs and disposed of them.
Elliott was aware of the flyers, but had not yet seen one at press time.
Postings on a local internet forum, www.LakewoodBuzz.com, indicate that the flyers were spread throughout the city, though only to a few houses on each targeted street.
Some of those posting comments spoke out over the possible association of those opposed to the West End project and the anti-gay nature of the flyers.
�The people against [the development] are for the most part opposed to any kind of discrimination,� one forum participant wrote, �Any anti-gay literature was not part of the Committee for Lakewood.�
There is no identification of the individual or group that is responsible for the flyers. Such identification is required by law.
Referring to the anonymity of the flyers, Farina said, �That�s usually how it is done when this happens.�
Farina said he doesn�t believe his or Elliott�s opponents are responsible, either.
�Candidates are above this sort of thing,� Farina said.
Euclid mayoral candidate gay-baited
A similar issue has arisen in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, where allegations have arisen that members of Living Waters Church are campaigning against mayoral candidate Ed Gudenas, claiming both that he is gay and would bring gay bars and bathhouses to the city if elected.
Gudenas, now council president, and Living Waters pastor Rev. Tom Owens have sparred over a pair of zoning matters, leading to what some local residents believe is a vendetta against Gudenas.
�Tom Owens told his church members to collect signatures and campaign for Gudenas� opponent,� said Euclid resident Alice Yatzko. �They�re going after [council member] Fred Lisy, too, telling people he�s gay because he�s a friend of Gudenas.�
Compiled from wire reports by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.
State Dept. sued for HIV bias
Washington, D.C.--A second HIV discrimination complaint was filed October 29 against the State Department for refusing to hire a Columbus man for a Foreign Service position.
Kyle Smith, a 34-year-old college student, was approved for employment pending a medical examination, but was turned down for the position when his doctor disclosed his HIV status.
The State Department is the only branch of the federal government, other than the military, that will not hire people with HIV. The department says that HIV-positive employees might require advanced medical treatment unavailable to them if they are assigned to less-developed nations.
On September 3, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is representing Smith, also filed suit against the State Department on behalf of Lorenzo Taylor, a 47-year-old federal employee who was also denied a Foreign Service position because of his HIV status. Both men are in good health.
Lambda argues that the State Department rule violates the Rehabilitation Act, which bars the government from discrimination on the basis of disability.
The State Department allows those who test positive for HIV while already in Foreign Service to keep their jobs.
The State Department�s response to the Taylor suit is due next week.
Chorus gets $15,000 grant
Cleveland--American Express Financial Services has increased its grant to the North Coast Men�s Chorus by 50% over last year, according to music director Richard Cole.
�American Express has an impressive and consistent history of supporting gay and lesbian organizations,� Cole said. �We�re delighted they have chosen us to carry their banner for northeast Ohio.�
Last year�s $10,000 grant helped the chorus expand its advertising and public relations outreach, increasing the size of audiences for the predominantly gay chorus� performances, and bringing the membership in the chorus to over 100 singers.
This year�s grant is for $15,000, and it will be used to continue to expand public awareness of the chorus.
The chorus puts on three concerts each year. The first one this season is �Sugar Plum Fairies� on December 20 and 21, the group�s holiday concert.
Mixner named co-chair of Gephardt campaign
Washington, D.C.--Rep. Dick Gephardt, one of nine Democrats currently vying for their party�s nomination in next year�s presidential race, on October 27 named gay Democratic activist David Mixner as his campaign co-chair.
Mixner was Bill Clinton�s senior campaign adviser in 1992, and protested Clinton outside the White House after the president approved the Pentagon�s current �Don�t Ask, Don�t Tell� policy on gays in the military.
Mixner has also served as co-chair for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, been a member of the Democratic National Committee and worked for AIDS Project Los Angeles along the course of his four decades in political life.
Mixner makes the second prominent LGBT person to be affiliated with Gephardt�s campaign, following the coming out of his daughter Chrissy and her subsequent decision to work with her father.
Directors of gay films contribute to multimedia installation
Columbus--Image Stream, an exhibition showcasing some of the best narrative film and video gallery works from the last ten years, is currently being presented by the Wexner Center until January 4 at the historic Belmont Building in downtown Columbus.
The works range in size from typical TV screens to projections on an entire wall; they range in length from 6 minutes to hours of footage.
Image Stream is the first Wexner Center group exhibition devoted entirely to film and video gallery works, and the first organized for the Wexner Center by Helen Molesworth, chief curator of exhibitions. The artists include:
Turkish director Kutlug Ataman�s The 4 Seasons of Veronica Read (2002) is a video installation featuring a woman being interviewed about her life�s passion and hobby of cultivating amaryllis (Hippeastrum) flowers and bulbs. The screens hang from the ceiling to form an open square with four discrete viewing areas; each screen shows a different season, and viewers walk around and between them to shift their individual views of the narrative both in time and in space. The 4 Seasons of Veronica Read made its premiere at last year�s Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany.
Turkish gay director Ataman has exhibited widely and has won awards at film festivals throughout the world. Ataman will participate in the November 6 symposium at the Wexner Center. One of his feature films Lola and Billy the Kid, which examines sexuality, transgenderism and Turkish ethnicity in Germany will be screened that evening as well.
Filmmaker and artist Matthew Barney�s Drawing Restraint 7 (1993) features Adonis-like men dressed in the mythological costumes of satyrs. Blurring the boundaries between genders and the distinctions between humans and animals, the characters act out playful and subtly sexual scenarios. In one scene the creatures dance, sway, and totter on their high-heel hooves, enacting a bizarre form of drag show. This silent piece is shown on three monitors hanging from the ceiling in a fluorescent-lit room.
Barney is best-known for his Cremaster cycle of films, which will screen at the Wexner Center in November. He had an acclaimed show at the Guggenheim Museum earlier this year, and was recently called �the most compelling, richly imaginative artist to emerge in years� by the New York Times.
Each of the six monitors of filmmaker and artist Neil Jordan�s Not I (2000) features a slightly different take of film star Julianne Moore performing Samuel Beckett�s play Not I, with each shot focused exclusively on Moore�s mouth.
One of Ireland�s most celebrated filmmakers, Jordan has directed such movies as the cult classic The Crying Game which made transgenderism a mainstream Hollywood reality, Mona Lisa, Interview with the Vampire, The End of the Affair, and, most recently, The Good Thief.
The other artists featured include Tacita Dean, Andrea Fraser, Pierre Huyghe, Donald Moffett and Lorna Simpson
The exhibition is on view at the Belmont Building, 330 West Spring St., through January 4.Gallery hours are 11 am�6 pm Tuesday�Wednesday, 11 am�9 pm Thursday�Friday, noon�6 pm Saturday�Sunday. The space is closed Mondays and holidays. Admission is free.
The Image Stream Symposium will be held Thursday, November 6 from10 am�4 pm in the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St. This one-day symposium brings together curators, critics, writers, and artists for wide-ranging discussions exploring Image Strea. Panelists include Ataman, Andrea Fraser, Donald Moffett, and Lorna Simpson, plus Image Stream catalogue essayists Gregg Bordowitz, Aruna D�Souza, Bruce Jenkins and Hamza Walker. The panels are moderated by Bill Horrigan, the Wexner Center�s curator of media arts, and Helen Molesworth, Image Stream curator and the Wexner Center�s chief curator of exhibitions.
Following the symposium, buses will take visitors to the Belmont Building to view the exhibition and attend a reception with the panelists from 4-6 pm.
Films by Image Stream artists Kutlug Ataman and Mathew Barney will be screened at the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater in November. Tickets per night are $6; members, students, and seniors $4. Series packages for the Barney series are $25; $15 Wexner Center members, students.
Barney�s five-film Cremaster cycle receives its Columbus theatrical premiere over three nights in November. Cremaster 1 will be presented on Nov. 5 at 7 pm; Cremaster 2, Nov. 5 at 8 pm; Cremaster 3, Nov 12 at 7 pm; Cremaster 4, Nov. 19 at 7 pm, and Cremaster 5, Nov. 19 at 8 pm.
Kutlug Ataman�s Lola and Billy the Kid (1999) will be shown on Thursday, November 6 at 7 pm. Set in Berlin, thw 94-minute film deals with a young Turkish man�s struggle with sexual identity as he weighs the pressures of his Muslim family against his own personal desires. Ataman�s first film, The Serpent�s Tale, will also be screened.
Call 614-2923535 or seewww.wexarts.org for more information.
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