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Opportunity Denied: Trans in the Workplace For the Love of Judy AIDS Walkers Honor a Friend No More Casual Friday

She Means Business Michelle Tomallo Builds the LGBTQ Network in Cleveland

April | 2018 April 2018 |



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| April 2018

Over 11 days, a total of 214 feature films and 253 shorts will be shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival. And again, a part of the festival called 10% Cinema will feature films focusing on LGBTQ issues, topics and stories. So let’s fast-forward to the good parts. Here are five queer festival films that will have us passing the popcorn at Tower City Cinemas. You can find the entire LGBTQ-focused lineup at, and you can check out all 467 films at

After Louie | USA, 100 minutes | Directed by Vincent Gagliostro Sam (Alan Cumming) is an angry middle-aged gay man. Mostly he’s angry because nobody seems angry anymore. When he begins an affair with much-younger Braeden, the battlefront moves to what he sees as the community’s apathy and ingratitude. “After Louie” is a smart, erotic and unflinching look at our community’s passing of the mantle. Friday, April 13 at 8:40 p.m.; Saturday, April 14 at 3:15 p.m.; Sunday, April 15 at 11 a.m.

Alaska Is a Drag | USA, 89 minutes | Directed by Shaz Bennett Leo is an aspiring drag performer and boxer who lives in a small Alaskan town where his cannery co-workers launch daily assaults against him. But Leo is a fighter, literally. “Alaska Is a Drag” is the championship fight between the world and Leo, a charming and ferocious hybrid of RuPaul and Rocky Balboa. Saturday, April 7 at 7:35 p.m.; Sunday, April 8 at 11:05 a.m.

Coby | France/USA, 81 minutes | Directed by Christian Sonderegger This is the intimate story of Chagrin Falls native Coby’s emotional and physical journey as a trans man. The film follows Coby through his transition, focusing on the conflicts he faces with his family and the difficult struggles taking place within. “Coby” is an inspiring documentary about individual courage and the long and sometimes painful voyage it takes to arrive at acceptance. Friday, April 6 at 7:25 p.m.; Saturday, April 7 at 1:40 p.m.

The Feels | USA, 90 minutes | Directed by Jenée LaMarque Andi and Lu are getting married, but their bachelorette weekend with friends doesn’t go quite as planned when Lu reveals she’s never had an orgasm. As truths are revealed, characters describe their first orgasmic experiences to the camera, letting viewers connect with their stories. “The Feels” is a fresh comedy about female sexuality and pleasure. Sunday, April 8 at 9:20 p.m.; Monday, April 9 at 1:50 p.m.

Foreign Lovers | USA, 19 minutes | Directed by Timothy Ryan Hickernell A lonely New Yorker serendipitously meets a mysterious foreigner and sparks ignite. This meditation on life and love in the digital age is part of a 90-minute package of LGBTQ short films. Thursday, April 5 at 9:30 p.m.

April 2018 |


APRIL Changing the Rules

After building her own successful career, Cleveland’s Michelle Tomallo has been working to boost other LGBTQ people in business.


















Must-Sees at the Cleveland International Film Festival

Trans Ohioans Face Discrimination, Harassment

A Star Is Reborn With an Homage to Judy Garland

Brunch Gets a Healthy Makeover

Meet this Year’s LGBTQ Candidates

Columbus AIDS Walk Participants Honor a Friend

Forget Business Casual. Go for Corporate Chic!

College Students Get a Hand in Cincinnati

DEPARTMENTS Letter From the Editor Next Best Things Out in Ohio | News Flash Voices Calendar of Events One of Us Resources

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PRIZM @PrizmNews prizmnews

Photograph by Ashley Voss @Coreroc


| April 2018

Chief Executive Officer Bill Hardy President Joel Diaz Publisher Carol Clark Editor Bob Vitale Creative Director Staley Jophiel Munroe Designer Patrick Butler PRIZM Contacts: Prizm encourages feedback from our readers.Share your comments at For news consideration, event listings, letters to the editor, and inquiries about freelance writing,email For photography submissions and inquiries about modeling/styling assignments, email Prizm is searching for a full or part time account executive and editorial writers. Should you have interest, please email

Contributing Writers Kayla Beard, Alden Carney, MJ Eckhouse, Christine Howey, Jeremy King, Ken Schneck, Morgen Spon

Contributing Photographers Michael Gilbert, Jeremy King, Austin Mariasy, Zach Matthews, Beth Segal, Debé Turnbull, Ashley Voss Fair and accurate reporting is critical to our mission. If you discover an error, please contact our editor, Bob Vitale, at Address subscription inquiries to Carol Clark, Prizm Magazine 7575 Huntington Park Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43235

Letter From the Editor Twice in the past month, friends got in touch with me about young people in their lives who have come out as transgender. Thankfully, both young people have parents who love them, support them and want to help them be their true selves. They’re already better off than many of their peers. And as much as some of us want to malign Ohio because of our fellow Buckeyes’ propensity to take political direction from Russian bots and the Family Research Council, these two trans teenagers also are better off than many of their peers because of where they live. They and their families were looking for sources of support and solid information, and I was able to suggest many. Despite our state’s feet-dragging on LGBTQinclusive nondiscrimination laws and despite its knuckle-dragging as one of just three states that still forbid trans people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, our LGBTQ community and allies have built a network of support—physical, emotional, legal and medical—for transgender youth and adults. TransOhio started in 2005 and has become a visible, vocal advocate for the community. Its 10th annual Transgender & Ally Symposium—see Page 12 for details—is scheduled for April 27-29 at Ohio State University in Columbus Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center offer extensive services for transgender children and their families. Places like Harvey House in Toledo offer a safe place when families don’t. The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland offers twice-monthly social and support meetings for transgender children as young as 10. Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus offers Genderscope, a twice-weekly group for trans, gender nonconforming and questioning young people to come together for everything from discussions to water-balloon fights. The Heartland Trans Wellness Center in Cincinnati is an active group that hosts community nights, support groups and social activities. Equitas Health, Prizm’s parent company, offers regular Name & Gender Change Legal Clinics all

over Ohio in conjunction with TransOhio. And in January, a new organization in Cincinnati called the Living With Change Foundation was announced to provide education, resources and financial assistance to trans youth and their families. There’s so much more. Our community has a heartwarming drive to take care of our own, and we have a long record of success in doing so. We’ve created community centers, healthcare organizations, youth groups, anti-violence groups, business associations and social groups. We’ve created our own choruses, bands and sports leagues. And they all could use our help. National Give Out Day is scheduled for Thursday, April 19. It’s a 24-hour online fundraising event designed to raise critically needed funds for hundreds of nonprofits that serve LGBTQ communities across the nation. Visit to see who’s participating and how you can help.

Bob Vitale

© 2018 Prizm magazine. For permissions and questions contact Prizm is a proud member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce April 2018 |


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THE CHANGING RULES After building her own successful career, Michelle Tomallo has been working to boost other LGBTQ people in business.

Michelle Tomallo Photo by Staley Munroe


| April 2018

By Ken Schneck

Never mix business with pleasure. Keep the passion out of the boardroom. Don’t let it get personal. These cardinal rules of the business world are screamed at anyone who steps foot in the corporate sector. Thankfully, Michelle Tomallo chose not to listen to a single one of them. The Cleveland-based president and cofounder of FIT Technologies has built her incredible success on the bedrock of bucking traditional corporate advice, embracing a career defined by living her authentic self in any and all contexts. From healthcare to information systems to her current tenure as president of Plexus, the chamber of commerce for the LGBT community in Northeast Ohio, Tomallo has followed a path where she focuses her boundless energy on creating solid structure while always striving for meaningful connections. It’s a journey that began many years ago. “As a 7-year-old Girl Scout, I dove head first into business,” laughs Tomallo. “I organized the staffing of the table, served as our pitch person and whipped those sales into shape.” Childhood dreams in the Dayton area of a career spent engaging with people steered her toward a business degree at Miami University. With diploma in hand, she translated her passion for organizational development into a communityrelations position in the field of long-term and home care. Marriage to her former husband took her first to Cincinnati and brought her to Northeast Ohio in 1994, where she quickly became dissatisfied with the separation of living in Lorain County and working in Cleveland. Her life took a significant turn when a friend recommended that she seek out an opportunity at New Life Hospice in Lorain. Following up on that chance piece of advice, she first met Micki Tubbs on Valentine’s Day in 1995. “I fell in love with hospice work,” recalls Tomallo. “There’s a truthfulness to how we care for people at the end of their lives that isn’t always present in curative care.” The love quickly started to extend beyond the work. Within six months, Tomallo knew she was falling for Tubbs, and the intersection of business and personal got exponentially more crowded. After the two were honest about their mutual feelings for each other, they began navigating toward their new lives together with supportive families on the one side and a business field on the other where

word-of-mouth spread the news of their coupling within hours. That moment was the starting point of a career marked by the pair educating their colleagues and the communities around them. “Once you’re out, you just press on,” says Tomallo. “We had to constantly remind our colleagues and clients that we were the same people they knew before we came out. Did you love us yesterday? Yes? Then you still love us today.” What followed was a litany of events that even Hollywood would find implausible. Micki sold the hospice business, and her brother brought them an idea to create software to more substantively connect schools, homes and communities. That concept led to the creation of an agency focused on supporting the infrastructure side of businesses: field support, network development and a host of behind-the-scenes operations that Tomallo calls distinctly “unsexy.” Along the way, they doubled their staff, doubled their revenue, were named top 10 of the prestigious Weatherhead Top 100, and

the bulk of her time to the organization. That work of creating resources for the LGBT business community and advocating for workplace equality presents a distinct challenge as Ohio stands among states where employment discrimination against LGBT people is still legal today. Tomallo testified in front of an Ohio House committee in January to support the proposed Ohio Fairness Act, which would ban discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. She testified: “It is disheartening at best and counter-productive at worst to know we’re conducting business in a state with laws that are in direct opposition to the goals of expanding our workforce and contradict the idea of Ohio as a destination of choice. We lose our competitiveness against other states in the attraction and retention of employees and employers.” A crown jewel in the Plexus portfolio was serving as a lead community partner for the 2014 Gay Games. When Cleveland and Akron hosted Gay Games 9, they became the smallestever region to host the international-level sporting event and the first two-city host. The economic impact of the Games was estimated to be $52.1 million, with $20.6 million in additional job income. But though the scale was global, the internationally recognized success with the Gay Games boiled down to the same focus on creating connections that has characterized the entirety of Michelle Tomallo’s career. “At the end of the day, it’s always about the people,” she says. “Yes, the business community wants and needs us all to be visible and out. But above all else, they want and need us to be human. When that happens, hearts and minds are changed.”

We had to constantly remind our colleagues and clients that we were the same people they knew before we came out. Did you love us yesterday? Yes? Then you still love us today.” even somehow purchased a school uniform business. The setbacks were just as epic: The tech bubble implosion dramatically affected their business model, and the first day with a major new school client stalled out as the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. A devastating fire destroyed their offices in Downtown Cleveland. Yet through it all, they doggedly moved forward. “You have to be resilient,” advises Tomallo. “If you focus in on your motivation, surround yourself with advisers who can help you see multiple roads to success and hold on tightly to your perspective, you can find your way out of any crisis.” As an out business owner, Tomallo has always felt a sense of responsibility to encourage and assist other LGBT businesses to thrive. When she first encountered Plexus, she knew she had identified the perfect opportunity to blend both her business focus and commitment to economic equity with some very real activism toward equality. She joined the Plexus board in 2009 and became president in 2012, dramatically cutting her hours at FIT Technologies so she could devote

Ken Schneck, PhD, is the author of “Seriously…What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew” (2017) and the forthcoming “LGBTQ Cleveland: Images of Modern America.” He is the producer/ host of “This Show Is So Gay,” the award-winning radio show/podcast, and an associate professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University. April 2018 |


Transgender Ohioans face discrimination and harassment in the workplace. By MJ Eckhouse Two years after coming out as transgender, Sasha García was on her first job search. “They would look me up and down, realize that I was transgender, and they said, ‘No, there’s no job,’ even though there were signs saying they were hiring,” she says. Originally from Mexico, García lived in New York City before moving to Cleveland. In New York, García was working at a retail outlet when she started medically transitioning. That’s when her boss and manager began sexually harassing her, she said. “I told them, ‘I feel like you shouldn’t make remarks about me working, getting too close, rubbing my body or saying comments about my body.’” The harassment continued anyway, she said. Eventually, she left her job of five years, became homeless and lived in a shelter. García kept looking for jobs without success. After several unsuccessful interviews, she was forced to step back from her transition. “I decided not to go back to my voice coach, take off my makeup and hair. Then, I went searching for a job. The first day I started searching for a job, I got a job.” García’s experiences aren’t unique. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that 15 percent of trans Americans were unemployed and 29 percent were living in poverty. The polling company CivicScience and the National LGBTQ Task Force found last year that the unemployment rate hadn’t changed. In Ohio, 16 percent of transgender residents were unemployed in 2015, according to the trans survey, and 26 percent were living in poverty. The state’s overall unemployment rate never topped 5 percent that year. Melissa Alexander, co-chair of TransOhio, believes non-discrimination laws act as a deterrent to harassment and discrimination by employers. Working for more than 20 years as a labor attorney in Columbus taught Alexander about businesses’ perspective in discrimination cases. “What really scared employers most of the time was the fact that they could lose or they would have to incur legal fees and expenses,” Alexander says. “That affected their bottom line and the image of the company.” But despite her expertise on the issue, Alexander has faced the same difficulty in her career as other transgender people. In January, she testified before the Ohio House Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight in favor of House Bill 160, which would prohibit discrimination statewide Continued on Page 12


| April 2018


Melissa Alexander, co-chair of TransOhio Photo by Staley Munroe

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based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Ohio is one of 30 states without inclusive nondiscrimination laws. “In my transition, I lost none of my training, education, experience or work ethic,” Alexander told lawmakers. “But employers and clients seemed to act as if I had, for I faced discrimination and lost employment.” García began presenting femininely again after a while at her new job. Her manager was respectful. But then he left the company. “His brother became the manager and it was like, all over again, the harassment,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I was welcome. And then he let me go.” After that, García moved to Cleveland. She hasn’t started looking for a job. Among transgender Ohioans who were employed the previous year, 34 percent reported in the 2015 national survey that they had been fired, denied promotions or experienced mistreatment at work that

In my transition, I lost none of my training, education, experience or work ethic...” included being outed or forced to use the wrong restroom. Trans people of color experience higher rates of discrimination. Nationwide, 20 percent of black respondents were unemployed, twice the rate of the overall black population. For Latino/a respondents, 21 percent were unemployed, compared to 7 percent generally. Although 20 cities in Ohio have LGBTQinclusive nondiscrimination laws that cover employment, housing and public accommodations, they cover just 22 percent of the state’s population. With TransOhio, Alexander hears stories of discrimination from across the state. Jaiowyn Robinson lives about 30 miles outside Cincinnati. She calls the area “Leelah Alcorn’s graveyard,” referring to the trans teenager from Kings Mills who committed suicide in 2014. While working at a distribution center, Robinson says, she was assigned jobs by herself that usually took two workers. Her coworkers threw her shipments onto the floor to make her job harder. Robinson believes that skilled professionals experience less discrimination than laborers. A friend in the IT department didn’t face the same hostility, she says.


| April 2018

“Nondiscrimination just doesn’t trickle down to where I’m at,” she says. Customer service jobs bring additional challenges. Rykelle Jackson of Canton worked the night shift as a server. When she made a mistake once on an order, the customer complained and insulted her gender expression. After the confrontation, her manager said he had no idea she was transgender. A few days later, she was fired. Many transgender job seekers must decide whether to come out to employers. But legal documents with their former names or gender markers can out them anyway. Logan Dorado of Cleveland Heights came out two years ago while working at a brewery. Last year, he made a career move to a bigger company in a new field. “This, honestly, was a bit scary, as none of my legal documents matched my preferred name or pronouns. They still don’t,” he says. “So even just applying was nerve-wracking.” Miles Ehrman of Kent, who works for a mental health agency, also had problems with legal documents during job searches. “It’s an issue because documentation such as my high school diploma has my previous name on it, as do college transcripts,” Ehrman says. There are 17 Ohio companies with 100 percent ratings on Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Nearly 300 Ohio businesses, nonprofits and universities have joined Ohio Business Competes, a coalition that supports expanded nondiscrimination laws. While some companies have implemented trans-friendly policies or programs, many haven’t taken these steps. Michael Robinson, a doctoral student in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University, says many employers don’t prioritize trans employees because of a lack of academic research. “We end up having all these anecdotal pieces that people experience,” Robinson says. “We don’t have that aggregate knowledge of what happens, how it happens and why it happens.” Robinson says it’s hard to collect data because transgender people often don’t trust businesses or academia. “It makes sense that transgender people don’t trust the system,” he says, “because our marginalization is based on systemic oppression.” MJ Eckhouse is a trans activist from Hiram. He studies political science at Kent State University and is the editor of Kent State’s LGBTQ magazine, Fusion.

TransOhio Transgender and Ally Symposium TransOhio will host its 10th annual Transgender and Ally Symposium from Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29 in Columbus. More than 50 sessions are planned Saturday and Sunday for the public, and 20 sessions are on the schedule for Friday’s Providers Day, aimed at professionals who serve the community. Topics range from health to history, and there are discussions scheduled for transmasculine people, transfeminine people, genderqueer/gender nonbinary/ gender nonconforming people, trans and gender nonconforming youth, trans/gender nonbinary/gender nonconforming people of color, and partners of trans people. There’s also a panel discussion featuring fathers of transgender and gender nonbinary youth. Other topics include: • How Vocal Training and Psychotherapy Can Change Your Outlook. • Strategies for Addressing Transphobic Comments. • Giving Voice to LGBTQ Older Adults. • Strengthening Your Relationship During Transition. • The Systemic Oppression of Trans* People of Color. • A Survey of Gender Variations Around the World. • Community Skills Training for Trans Allies. • Title IX and Transgender and GNC Youth Rights in Schools. • Transitioning in the Workplace. • An Exploration Into the Lost History of Trans People. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, will deliver Saturday’s keynote address and discuss President Donald Trump’s attacks on the trans community. Filmmaker Rashida Davidson, the former outreach and engagement coordinator for TransOhio, will deliver Sunday’s keynote. It’s $55 to attend sessions on Saturday and Sunday ($35 for Saturday only and $25 for Sunday only). The Providers Day session is $80—continuing education credit is available—and all three days are $120. The symposium is free for people younger than 18, and scholarships are available for those unable to afford the other admission fees. Everything takes place at Ohio State University’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus, 43210. Visit for details and registration links. Lambda Community Job & Resource Fair Case Western Reserve University’s Lambda Law Student Association, the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland and Plexus, the LGBT and allied Chamber of Commerce, host this job fair that’s open to all of Cleveland’s LGBT community. It’s scheduled for Monday, April 9, at Case Western’s Tinkham Veale University Center, 11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, 44106. In addition to the job fair with potential employers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be panels and speakers on legal issues facing LGBTQ people in the workplace. Those sessions are planned from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for more details. Transgender Job Fair Employers will be on hand to discuss job opportunities, and experts will offer workshops to aid in career development and job placement at MetroHealth’s fourth annual Northeast Ohio Transgender Job Fair. It’s scheduled for Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at MetroHealth’s Main Campus, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, Cleveland, 44109. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m. The event is free, but visit transgender-job-fair to register.

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Cleveland’s Joan Ellison performs as Judy Garland on stage. Offstage, she’s restoring original arrangements from Judy’s 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. By Christine Howey Was a single concert in New York City on April 23, 1961, the greatest night in show business history? Is it still the “holy grail” of live performances? Will it always be the ultimate example of a singer blending vocal strength, restraint and taste? All of those descriptions have been applied to Judy Garland’s concert at Carnegie Hall that Sunday evening 57 years ago. And legions of people, within the gay community and far beyond, have paid homage to that singular moment-in-time when a 38-year-old singer—fragile and battered


| April 2018

Photos by Beth Segal

by life but still powerful—devastated her audience with 25 matchless songs. While Garland certainly earned most of the praise for the concert, there are other aspects to the event that also deserve recognition. Prime among them are the arrangements by a variety of people, which were brought together under the musical direction of Mort Lindsey. Many people, understandably, don’t pay much attention to the orchestra and how the notes are arranged on their music stands. But any musician or singer will tell you that the orchestrations are a critical factor in the success of a performance, how it is received and how it endures. The orchestrations indicate the notes for every instrument, establishing the rhythmic feel and mood of a song, harmonizing the vocal melody and often adding new instrumental countermelodies.

by the Judy Garland Heirs Trust. It’s no easy task. As Ellison notes: “It’s actually like a treasure hunt, searching for the keys to the kingdom that was the music on that night.” Out of the 25 songs Garland sang at Carnegie Hall, plus the overture, there are reputable copies of a few. And of the arrangements in hand, some have only the instrumental parts but not the conductor’s score. “Then there are the cross-outs, weird quiggles, unreadable handwriting and the occasional missing part, so then I have to transcribe from the recordings. It’s incredibly complex, but I’m working on it steadily and hope to be finished in a year or two.” The goal of the project is to make the orchestrations playable and available for rental to orchestras and organizations that would like to recreate these songs as they were done more than 50 years ago.

I’m still performing many of Judy’s songs and paying homage to her brilliance to this day.” That’s why the symphonic arrangements from that Judy Garland performance are being lovingly restored by the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration Project. And there’s an Ohio connection to the project: Renowned (and openly gay) singer, pianist and music revivalist Michael Feinstein, a native of Columbus, invited Clevelander Joan Ellison to serve as editor of the project. Ellison is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a teacher of popular voice at the Cleveland Institute of Music. “It’s such an honor for me to be involved in this project,” says Ellison, who performs three shows of Judy Garland songs, including a one-woman theater piece titled, “All Happiness, Judy Garland.” “Judy Garland was my first vocal influence, ever since my parents gave me a record of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when I was 2 years old. And I’m still performing many of Judy’s songs and paying homage to her brilliance to this day.” For more than a decade, Ellison had corresponded with Feinstein until she met him at a Blossom Music Center concert in 2016. The two discussed some of the arrangements from the iconic Garland concert, and that led to Ellison joining the restoration project sponsored

It will be a new way for those scores— penned by musical luminaries such as Nelson Riddle, Conrad Salinger, Hal Mooney, Jack Cathcart and others—to be celebrated all over again. As Ellison says, “It is a tremendous responsibility and also a great joy to be working with this music.” Not to mention the opportunity to collaborate with Michael Feinstein, as well as historian and author John Fricke, who wrote “The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Classic.” Ellison performs these amazing arrangements with orchestras around the country in her Judy Garland symphonic pops concert called “Get Happy! A Judy Garland Celebration,” as she did at the Cleveland Pops at Severance Hall in 2017. “Getting to stand onstage and sing these arrangements myself with a symphony orchestra is the biggest thrill I could ever imagine and makes all the work worth it.,” she says . “There’s absolutely nothing else like it.” It’s also another chance to pay tribute to the genius of Judy Garland, a performer who shared her vulnerabilities as well as her undeniable life force on stage. That ability to share, as she struggled to overcome her own obstacles, made her an enduring legend.

Joan Ellison has two performances scheduled in Ohio this spring: Sunday, April 29 in Chagrin Falls: "All Happiness, Judy Garland" at the Chagrin Falls Performing Arts Center, 400 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls, 44022. Tickets are $25-$32. Saturday, May 26 in Bellefontaine: "All Happiness, Judy Garland" at the Holland Theatre, 127 E. Columbus Ave., Bellefontaine, 43311. Tickets are $12-$20.

Christine Howey has covered the arts in Northeast Ohio for more than two decades. She also has written and performs in her own one-woman show, “Exact Change,” about her life as a transgender woman. She maintains a theater blog at April 2018 |






















Call 937-461-8295

By Jeremy King Despite the LGBTQ community’s long struggle for equality, there are a few things that we own outright. Halloween is our holiday, although we’re been very generous and let others in on the fun. We have made June a month of rainbows, parades and Pride. And on any given Sunday, anywhere there’s a carafe of orange juice, a bottle of champagne and a table for 20, there’s likely to be a group of queer friends hashing over the night before.

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2 cups frozen kale

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

Salt and pepper (sprinkle)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

Salt and pepper

1½ tablespoons canola oil

Paprika (sprinkle)

2 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons plain, fat-free Greek yogurt for topping (optional)


2 cups sliced or chopped vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, onions, scallions, spinach, broccoli florets, grated carrot or anything you like)

Lime (optional) INSTRUCTIONS Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and spritz with olive oil. (I keep a spray bottle for olive oil handy so I don’t add too much.) In a separate dish, beat eggs until just combined and pour into heated skillet. Stir and scrape bottom of pan with spatula until eggs are cooked fully into scrambled eggs. Stir in salt and pepper and paprika. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add corn tortillas. Heat until the corn tortilla just starts to brown. Assemble the tacos starting with the corn tortilla, eggs, salsa, avocado, tomato, fresh cilantro, jalapeño slices and feta cheese. Top with fat-free Greek yogurt and/or lime juice (optional). (Inspiration derived from How Sweet Eats summer breakfast tacos and Alison Roman, “17 Insanely Delicious Breakfast Tacos,” Buzzfeed)

Heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet (or large skillet) over medium heat. Add in chopped sweet potatoes, yellow onion and red bell pepper. Cook the mixture for 8-9 minutes. Add paprika and cumin. Add frozen kale. Cook an additional 7-8 minutes until sweet potatoes are cooked through and fork tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve. (Inspiration derived from Beach Body on Demand sheet pan sweet potato hash with eggs and Shared Appetite sweet potato and kale hash)

ONE FOR THE VEGANS Of all the vegan drag queen cookbook authors out there, Mistress Ginger is undoubtedly the best. And we’d say that even if we knew of two. The Minneapolis quadruple threat—“singer, dancer, actress and vegan know-it-all”—wrote “Mistress Ginger Cooks” in 2014 and filled the cookbook with delicious, everyday recipes for lasagna (her “notta ricotta” is a work of genius), chocolate-peanut butter pie and everything in between. She let us share her recipe for a hearty tofu scramble—you’ll love it even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian—and invites you to visit her at, where she shares even more.

1 teaspoon salt

/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 pound firm tofu, crumbled INSTRUCTIONS Mix the nutritional yeast, salt, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric and pepper in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables, beginning with the denser vegetables, such as onions and carrots. Cook and stir until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add the lighter or more leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, scallions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and add the tofu and the seasoning mixture. Gently stir until well-combined and the tofu turns light yellow. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Jeremy King is 20 years old, from Columbus, and studies nutrition and dietetics at Columbus State Community College. He enjoys mixing nutritional knowledge and his passion for food to express himself through social media. Follow him on Instagram @JeremyKang. April 2018 |


275.s.4th.street.columbus 18

| April 2018


Ohio House District 10 | Cleveland |

Eight Democrats are running for their party’s nomination in House District 10, which includes Downtown Cleveland and neighborhoods such as Ohio City and Tremont. The winner will have no Republican opponent in November. Activist Billy Sharp, who also could become the first openly gay black state lawmaker, is endorsed by Cleveland Stonewall Democrats. Among his priorities, he says, are jobs and job training, healthcare, and bringing state resources back to the district.


Ohio House District 24 | Columbus |

“Running for office is the most important thing I will ever do in my lifetime,” says Mary B. Relotto, a lesbian Democrat running for the Ohio House in District 24, which includes the Clintonville area of Columbus and the suburbs of Upper Arlington and Hilliard. Relotto, the founder of Dames Bond, a women’s business network, has identified small-business development, education, equality and mental health as issues she wants to address. She’s running against two other candidates in the Democratic primary. Former Upper Arlington City Council member Erik Yassenoff is the Republican candidate.


Ohio House District 41 | Dayton | FB: John McManus for State Representative

The vice president of the Dayton Board of Education says he sees first-hand the impact of state policies on local schools. “We need less testing and more room for creativity and career education in our local schools,” he says. McManus is a gay Democrat challenging incumbent Republican James Butler in Ohio House District 41, which includes the Dayton neighborhood of Belmont, the suburbs of Oakwood and Kettering, and the community of Centerville.


Ohio House District 42 | Miamisburg |

Civility between Democrats and Republicans is important to Zach Dickerson. He’s a Democrat, and his family are Republicans. The openly gay market research manager for LexisNexis faces Wright State University student Autumn Kern in the May primary. Four Republicans, including incumbent Niraj Antani, are running for the GOP nomination. The 42nd District includes Miamisburg, West Carrollton, Moraine and other parts of southern Montgomery County.


Ohio House District 85 | Mechanicsburg | FB: Garrett Baldwin for HD-85

Garrett Baldwin could start his political career before he begins his actual career. The Mechanicsburg High School senior is unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face the winner of a four-way GOP primary that includes incumbent Nino Vitale. The district includes Urbana, Bellefontaine and parts of Champaign, Logan and Shelby counties. Baldwin’s priorities include public education and directing adequate resources to fight Ohio’s opioid crisis.


Ohio House District 94 | Nelsonville |

“Person by person, street by street, we are going to reach out…to help empower residents in Southeast Ohio,” promises Taylor Sappington, a Nelsonville City Council member who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Jay Edwards, a Republican. Sappington, an openly gay Democrat, is running in Ohio House District 94, which includes Athens and portions of Athens, Meigs, Washington and Vinton counties. Among his proposals: closing tax loopholes in order to raise money to improve roads and rural internet access.


Ohio Senate District 23 | Lakewood |

The first openly gay person elected to the Ohio House is running this year to become the first openly gay person elected to the Ohio Senate. Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat, has served four House terms and has introduced nondiscrimination bills in every session. She vows to continue advocating for the LGBTQ community in the Senate. She faces a primary challenge from fellow state Rep. Martin Sweeney of Cleveland. The winner will have no Republican challenger in the fall. The 23rd Senate District includes West Side Cleveland neighborhoods, Lakewood, Parma and other areas of Cuyahoga County.


Ohio Senate District 31 | Granville |

Melinda Miller touts her experience as a teacher, waitress, line cook, small-business person, mom and community organizer. Her opponent, incumbent state Sen. Jay Hottinger, has held public office since 1992. The bi Democrat, who’s unopposed in the May primary, wants to raise the minimum wage, strengthen environmental protection and emphasize treatment over punishment in addressing Ohio’s opioid crisis.


U.S. House District 15 | Columbus |

Out and Running

Eleven LGBTQ candidates are seeking local, state and federal offices this year. By Bob Vitale Even in bright red Licking County, where Donald Trump won 62 percent of the vote in 2016, Jeremy Blake sees a blue wave building. “There’s just so much energy, particularly among people who have been marginalized,” says the Newark City Council member, who’s running this year for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. If that anti-Trump wave washes over Ohio—we’ll get our first indication in the state’s May 8 primary—about a dozen LGBTQ candidates could benefit. Blake, who would become the first openly gay black member of the General Assembly, sees LGBTQ voters as part of the coalition that’s fired up and ready to send a message when they cast ballots this year. While more LGBTQ legislators in Columbus would boost the prospects for long-stalled legislation to expand Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws, it’s broader issues such as healthcare, jobs and government inertia that candidates are talking about. In Newark, cuts in state aid to local governments have reduced police and fire staffing to their lowest levels in 30 years. “Decisions happening at the Statehouse are not helping people,” Blake says. “We need a change in leadership.”

Taking on the Republican who’s running his party’s efforts to maintain control of the U.S. House is no small task. But pundits keep re-evaluating Democrat Rick Neal’s odds against four-term Rep. Steve Stivers. Neal is talking about jobs, healthcare, infrastructure and education, but the contrast with Stivers also is pronounced on LGBTQ issues. The Democrat is openly gay and endorsed by the Victory Fund; Stivers has not scored a single point in Human Rights Campaign ratings over four terms in Congress.


Portage County Auditor | Kent |

The first transgender Ohioan to seek elected office, Lis Kenneth Regula is running for auditor in Portage County. He’s a biologist and University of Akron faculty member, a mentor at Kent State University’s LGBTQ Center and former chairman of the Kent Environmental Council. Regula says he would work to modernize county government processes and make it more efficient.


Ohio House District 71 | Newark |

Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Vitale or email him at

Jeremy Blake, who works for Denison University, is a Democrat running in Ohio House District 71, which covers Newark and other parts of Licking County east of Columbus. He’s unopposed in the primary and will challenge incumbent Republican Scott Ryan in November. The second-term Newark City Council member wants to address healthcare and job opportunities, and he says the state needs to be a partner again with local governments in Ohio.

April 2018 |


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| April 2018


Memories of a friend gone too soon motivate AIDS Walk participants.

The DOMMSQUAD will walk on April 14 at AIDS Walk Central Ohio. Photo by Staley Munroe

Dominic died four months after his diagnosis, but his love lives on.


By Morgen Spon Words. A blur of words. Head spinning. A rush of emotions. A sickening feeling ensues. It’s amazing how many words and phrases can be thrown out in a matter of minutes that the human mind and spirit are expected to digest and understand. “I’m positive.” “It’s not like have you AIDS.” “Hope. We have hope.” “Test him for CMV, again.” “We’ve haven’t seen anything like this in someone so young since the ‘80s.” “What is his CD4 count at?” “AIDS. I have AIDS.” “Hope. We still have hope.” “Why did this happen to me? I don’t want to die.” “Keep fighting…” “We love you. We will never stop loving you.” “I love you.” “Hospice.” “He’s gone.” Dominic had been sick with pneumonia for

months when he told me he was positive and I looked at him and said OK, we’ll get through this. I remember riding in a car and reaching for his hand and squeezing it. I miss that. I miss everything about him. I miss his big, beautiful smile. His laugh. His dramatic but hilarious demeanor. His ability to make everyone feel loved and important. I miss his hugs. We all do. The DOMMSQUAD formed. We’re a group of friends and strangers who were bonded by Dominic’s light and love. Moments of utterly discouraging confusion and denial grew to complete, painful clarity and then transitioned to an overwhelming sense of love. We each collectively and individually felt this range of emotions as we watched our best friend, Domm, at age 29, in the fight of his life against HIV/AIDS. And that’s just what we were feeling. Although supported and surrounded by loved ones, Domm had to face and feel many of those truths alone. Things progressed quickly. Throughout the four months he was sick, we learned that the most difficult conversations and experiences were the most important ones, that denial causes suffering, and that the most impactful way to live is through unconditional love. “The brave friendship with another human. Where they take your horrors, love them, and

remind you how you were not born to walk alone. They go through hell and come back with you no matter what.” —R.M. Drake But that is not what we did for Dominic; that is what he did for us. We learned, through him, just how precious life is. That the most meaningful moments are fleeting but never forgotten. And to always say, “I love you.” And that is why we will never stop saying his name and smiling, sharing his story and celebrating the immeasurable soul that was Domm. HIV/AIDS does not care how full of life you are. It does not care that you love to dance and make people laugh. It does not care about the gaping holes burned into the hearts of loved ones left behind. Dominic’s story—and our journey as the DOMMSQUAD—is just one of the many chapters in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We know there are so many other hearts that have felt the unbearable pain of this disease, but it doesn’t have to be that way. So today we unite. We unite to live our most authentic lives. To remind ourselves and others that whatever our “status” might be, when we live our most authentic lives we create space for others to do the same. Get tested. Take care of yourself. Be happy. And most of all, live to your fullest potential. Continued on Page 23 April 2018 |


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| April 2018

Continued from Page 21

They honor Dominic by helping other Ohioans living with HIV/AIDS.


By Alden Carney

23,169 Ohioans were reported living with HIV in 2016.

Dec. 24, 2016: “Alden, I have AIDS” My dear friend Dominic struggled to utter the words that I’d been dreading, although in the back of my mind I knew it was coming. Up until this point in my life I’d never been truly scared. My friend and roommate, who I had seen only two weeks before, looked like a shell of his former self: skinnier, weaker and a sunken face, surrounded by the buzz and whirl of hospital machines in a dimly lit hospital room. I assured him that everything was going to be OK. From that point forward, I knew he would be my only priority. Little did I know how big Dominic’s circle was. Jan. 9, 2017: Dominic gets moved from Cleveland to Columbus Every single time I go into his hospital room it is filled with family and friends. And there lies Dominic, peacefully in bed, attempting to smile through all the heartache and pain. We started to come together as a group. We formed what became known as the DOMMSQUAD, a circle of people who loved, cared for and attended to Dominic to ensure that he had absolutely everything he needed. We also took care of each other. We took shifts at the hospital, checked in on each other. We made sure no one ever felt alone, most importantly Dominic. March 2017: Hanging onto hope Dominic continued to get worse, yet we were still hopeful. We continued to rally around him. We started a fundraising page and raised more than $20,000 in a matter of days, all from the graciousness of those who loved and adored him. April 3, 2017: Dominic passes away Surrounded by family and friends, Dominic left this world. You would think this would be the end of his story, but what is so beautiful about Dominic is that this was only the beginning.

An estimated 5,120 Ohioans were living with HIV that year but don't know it.

79 percent of new HIV diagnoses were among men. In Ohio, black men account for 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men. 1 in 2 new HIV diagnoses in Ohio are among 20

to 34-year-olds.

40 percent of HIV-positive youth between 13 and 24 don’t know their status. Six Ohio counties,

Franklin (21 percent), Cuyahoga (20 percent), Hamilton (13 percent), Montgomery (6 percent), Lucas (4 percent) and Mahoning (2 percent) account for two-thirds of the population living with HIV. (Source: Ohio Department of Health)

Ohio's AIDS Walks Caracole 5K Run/Walk for AIDS Sunday, April 8 Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati Robert J. Fass AIDS Walk Central Ohio Saturday, April 14 McFerson Commons, Columbus AIDS Walk Greater Dayton Friday, June 8 Fifth Third Field Plaza, Dayton AIDS Walk Greater Toledo Saturday, June 23 Ottawa Park, Toledo

April 15, 2017: AIDS Walk Central Ohio Only 12 days after Dominic passed away, five days after his funeral, the DOMMSQUAD came together yet again, and a group of 60-plus friends raised more than $8,000 dollars that directly benefited the local LGBTIA community. Today Dominic changed my life. He changed my perspective. He introduced to me a life of giving back in his name. He introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of calling my best friends, lifelong friends. He made me want to be a better person. He made me a better person. Every day I wake up and think about how I can thank him for what he made possible in my life. I am still searching for that answer today. Dominic made all of us better people, and I think all who knew him can agree that we will continue to fight in his honor and memory. Luckily, I have Dominic to guide me in that journey, near or far. April 2018 |



for the not-s

Prizm partnered with legendary Leal Boutique of Columbus and powerhouse Saks Fifth Avenue for the April fashion feature. Saks’ own personal stylist, Mojie Baharlou, shares some key concepts for the spring season to keep you looking your best: Spring trends on the runway are lots of bright colors, fancy pants, bejeweled jackets, lots of stripes and sheer tops, she says. For the masculine of center, it’s bold prints, street wear, denim on denim, statement jackets, color blocking prints, and great accessories like backpacks and chic fannypacks. “My go-to fashion staples for anyone in the workplace are statement belts, great shoes and power jackets—for men and women alike,” Mojie says. “Three calculated choices anyone can make in their wardrobe I'd like to see are great designer jeans, the perfect button-down white shirt and a leather Moto jacket.” If you don’t know where to begin, Mojie says you should consider a personal shopping experience. “It's one of the greatest ways to pamper yourself,” she says. And if you don’t like to shop, don’t have time or are not sure what your style should be, a personal shopper can find items to fit your lifestyle and save you time. Creative Director: Staley Jophiel Munroe Stylist: Mojie Baharlou, Saks Fifth Avenue (


| April 2018

Fashion Coordinator: Nicholas Niederkohr Assistant Producer: Gerardo Encinas Assistant Photographer: Lily McLaughlin Hair and Makeup: Maddie M. Worrall


so-corporate... Docherty Agency Models: Ji S. Tori R. Terressa S. Sofia B. Models: Lisa M. Ty T. Jullian M. Miguel E. Tim W. Jon S.

Saint Laurent Sunglasses ($450) Alice + Olivia Talulah Ruffle Tier Blouse ($465) Alice + Olivia Lonnie EMB Cropped Bomber Jacket ($795) FENDI Mini Peekaboo Rainbow Studded Leather Satchel ($3,450) Bailey 44 Petunia Ruffle Bottom Pant ($178)

April 2018 |


Gucci Sunglasses ($450) Alice + Olivia Dyanna Midi Dress ($291) Saint Laurent Monogram Matelasse Leather Chain Wallet ($1,650)


| April 2018

HUGO BOSS Empson Printed Cotton ShortSleeve Button-Down Shirt ($115) HUGO BOSS Sport Jersey-Jacket ($550) Saks Fifth Avenue MODERN Ford Wool & Linen Pants ($248)

Saks Fifth Avenue MODERN Point Collar Denim Jacket ($248) Saks Fifth Avenue MODERN Basic Ford Wool Pants ($198)

Saks Fifth Avenue MODERN Wool & Linen Suit Jacket ($648) Rag & Bone Slim Fit Raw Denim ($195) HUGO Black & White Plaid ($155)

Uri Minkoff Bondi Leather Backpack ($295) Yves Saint Laurent Classic 11-033 59 Unisex Sunglasses ($380) Robert Graham Paisley Print Casual Button-Down Shirt ($135)

April 2018 |


Alice + Olivia Bergen Button-Front Blazer ($440) Alice + Olivia Stacey Slim Trousers ($285) Cinq à Sept Tous Les Jours Celestial Graphic Tee ($85) Fendi Small Backpack ($2,200)

Tom Ford Dimitry Acetate Retro Sunglasses HUGO Artins Sparkle Sportcoat ($595) YSL Belt ($495) HUGO Woven Cotton Dress Shirt ($115) HUGO Hugo 708 Slim-Fit Jeans ($155)


| April 2018

Rag & Bone Fit 2 Slim-Fit Raw Jeans ($195) Rag & Bone Jean Jacket ($325) Emporio Armani Square Silk Tie ($115)

April 2018 |


Leal Marke Saint Pierre Track Pant ($895) 34 N 118 W Leal Flatline Silk Jumpsuit: $250 Sparkle Leather Jacket Levens [Porcelain] Earrings: $55 ($1,495) Alice + Olivia Lonnie Embellished Bomber Jacket ($795) Alice + Olivia Athena Striped Pants ($350)


| April 2018

Leal Spotted Blouse ($665) Leal Colette Link Neckless ($198)

Alice + Olivia “THE WORLD NEEDS MORE SPARKLE” T-shirt ($195) Alice + Olivia Rose Embroidered Leather Jacket ($795.00) Leal Large Tote ($850) Alice + Olivia Eriko Floral Skirt ($275)

April 2018 |


To create the art of Nina West, I sometimes need to pull back and get exposure to different mediums and artists. I love creating Nina in a city that encourages and celebrates all art—regardless of medium. Columbus fosters growth, and provides opportunity for collaboration and conversation. There’s no place I’d rather make my art. Learn more about Andrew’s story and other Columbus artists and events.


| April 2018

Design: Formation Studio

Additional support from: The Sol Morton and Dorothy Isaac, Rebecca J. Wickersham and Lewis K. Osborne funds at The Columbus Foundation.

Making Homes Great since 1947 Dayton | Centerville | Cincinnati | Florence Columbus Easton | Columbus Polaris NOW OPEN!



NEWS FLASH Visit for the latest LGBTQ news from across Ohio, and sign up for weekly news and events updates by email. Here are last month's headlines from our website. Ohioan Is the 5th U.S. Trans Murder Victim of 2018 Phylicia Mitchell, who left a family that didn’t accept her and found three decades of love and partnership in her adopted hometown of Cleveland, was killed Feb. 23 outside her home on the city’s West Side. She was the fifth transgender American murdered in 2018 and the ninth transgender Ohioan murdered in the last five years. No Jail Time for Black Pride 4’s Bennet, Braxton, Denton

K.D. Lang Tour

Akron It’s been 25 years since k.d. lang released “Ingénue,” which remains her bestselling album to this day. She wrapped up a 19-city tour in March to celebrate the anniversary. Her concert on March 17 at the Goodyear Theater in Akron included “Constant Craving”—the track that won her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance—and other tracks from the album.

Photos by Debe Turnbull

HRC Gala


Equality Ohio Ally Event


Equality Ohio honored Holly Gross, vice president for government relations at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, at its Allies for Equality fundraiser on March 8 at the Franklin Park Conservatory. Gross was instrumental in securing support of the 1,300-member Columbus Chamber and the 8,000-member Ohio Chamber of Commerce for the Ohio Fairness Act, a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination laws.

Photos by Zach Matthews

Cincinnati-born actor Hal Sparks, who played Michael Novotny during the five-year U.S. run of “Queer as Folk,” was honored as this year’s Ally for Equality at the 9th Annual Greater Cincinnati Human Rights Campaign Gala. “The tide of change is with the LGBT community... because the people are with you,” Sparks told those gathered at Jack Cincinnati Casino on March 3. HRC Cincinnati also honored attorney Scott E. Knox with the David C. Crowley Leadership Award. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Clinic was honored with the group’s Corporate Equality Award.

Photos by Michael Gilbert

Wriply Bennet, Ashley Braxton and Kendall Denton will serve no jail time for their convictions on charges stemming from protests at last year’s Columbus Pride parade. Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner heeded the recommendations of city prosecutors, defense attorneys and leaders of Columbus’ LGBTQ organizations when she decided against sentencing the three black queer activists to jail. Cleveland Consolidates Its Two Pride Festivals Dueling Pride celebrations are over in Cleveland, where organizers of Pride in the CLE and Cleveland Pride have decided to consolidate events. Pride in the CLE, organized by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, will take place with events from Thursday, May 31, to Sunday, June 3. The festival and march will take place on Saturday, June 2, at Downtown’s Public Square. Cincinnati Judge Grants Trans Teen the Right to Pursue Treatment A Cincinnati judge has awarded custody of a transgender 17-year-old to the grandparents who support his transition and at the same time has called on Ohio legislators to create new rules that might spare other families long fights in court. Rothan to Retire as Stonewall Columbus Executive Director Stonewall Columbus Executive Director Karla Rothan, who has been at the epicenter of a divide within Columbus’ LGBTQ community since the arrest of four black queer protesters at the Columbus Pride parade last June, has announced her retirement. Equality Toledo Appoints New Executive Director Analese Alvarez, a longtime LGBTQ activist and educator, is the new director of Equality Toledo, the civil rights and advocacy group in Northwest Ohio. Alvarez replaces Nick Komives, who served as executive director for five years until his election last fall to the Toledo City Council.

April 2018 |


Reach the LGBTQ+ audience throughout Ohio with one buy

Prizm magazine and offers statewide exposure to the community for your branding message. For more information about print and digital advertising, please contact publisher Carol Zimmer Clark at







| April 2018




VOICES A sampling of LGBTQ commentary from around the web


Kerry Eleveld “Political issues become movements when they’re about something bigger than a policy or a law. The issue of marriage equality swept the nation as a movement when it became a matter of freedom for a group of people that was being newly seen through a lens of humanity. Standing in opposition to Trump has become an affirmation of a belief in liberty for everyone over the supremeness of one race or one gender dominating all.”

Ryan Roemerman and Bob Witeck Twitter: @Bob_Witeck on “Urging employers, like Amazon, to boycott and sidestep states and regions wholesale is flawed at best and risky and harmful at worst. … No region or city or state should be left behind. Whatever path Amazon chooses, its human impact and commitment to social justice is where its investment will be most priceless.”

Emma González Twitter: @Emma4Change on “We have always been told that if we see something wrong, we need to speak up; but now that we are, all we’re getting is disrespect from the people who made the rules in the first place. Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have strong opinions.”

Alexandra Billings Instagram: therealalexandrabillings “Dear RuPaul, you did not invent drag. We did.”

Olivia “As an ace (asexual), the most important reason that I want to be a part of the queer community is because I want a community where I don’t feel like an outsider, where I don’t feel judged, and where I don’t feel that others think I’m broken.”

PROUD SCHOLARS By Kayla Beard Noah Kling, like too many LGBTQ people, remembers what it was like to be abandoned. “When I came out to my parents, I was cut off, essentially. They locked the door behind me,” he says. Kling now works to support LGBTQ youth when they need it the most. He’s the founder and chief executive officer of Proud Scholars, a Cincinnati-based group that works to mentor young people as they explore potential careers, connect them with internships and social services, and offer scholarships as they pursue their education. “Whether it’s dealing with their families (or) everyday bullies,” paying for school or finding a job after graduation, Kling says, Proud Scholars aims to support students in as many ways as possible. The nonprofit founded in 2015 has awarded three scholarship awards since its founding and also offers a program though which students can earn money to pay off loan debt in return for volunteer hours. Kling grew up in a conservative Christian environment and says he never felt comfortable at home. “The weight of recognizing who I am and being taught the Bible…at 10 years old, that was too much for me to put on myself. My first attempt at suicide was 12 years old. I knew that I wasn’t in a safe place.” He had to figure out a lot of things for himself after being cut off from his parents at 23. Like many young people, he says he didn’t know what to do. He managed to avoid homelessness by selling personal belongings and moving between temporary living arrangements, but he struggled with alcohol addiction for a while. “By the time I was able to stabilize myself, I was 27, 28 years old,” Kling says. By then, he was too old for scholarships to pay for college, and he didn’t know who might be able to teach him how to function on his own. With Proud Scholars, Kling says his goal is to prevent the same things from happening to other LGBTQ youth. In addition to its scholarships, mentorship and volunteer programs, other programs the organization offers and is developing include: • A network of inclusive schools to help LGBTQ students and, especially, their guardians make sure they’re choosing schools where LGBTQ students are safe and accepted. • An interfaith network to help young

people with spiritual needs, something Kling says is “really important for me because I’m coming from a religious background where there isn’t any acceptance at all.” • An archive for LGBTQ history and a “white paper library” with materials submitted by people within the LGBTQ community explaining things like conversion therapy and other experiences we’re still dealing with. “We can tell people, ‘This is what it’s like to live in this community,’” he says, adding that the goal is to teach straight parents what they can do to help their LGBTQ children. So far, Kling says, operating the nonprofit hasn’t been easy. “With a lot of our programs, we are in uncharted waters because nobody has ever done it before. We recognize that there are things that we just don’t know.” Still, he has big goals. Proud Scholars is working to recruit chapter teams in other cities such as Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Akron; Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Evansville, Ind.; and Louisville and Lexington, Ky. The organization recently applied for a grant award that would allow Proud Scholars to have up to 30 people in its volunteer-based scholarship program, but Kling says he’ll be happy if enrollment reaches even 10 people by the end of the year. “Slow and steady gets us there,” he says. Proud Scholars boasts a mission to support LGBTQ students and their families. When Kling speaks about it, however, he does so with an urgency that makes the matter much more personal. “From my perspective…I was in some really bad places,” he says. “I know that kids are in those places today. We have to reach them. We have to let them know that there are people who are there (who understand), even if they don’t see us.” “We have kids dropped off at the homeless shelter on their 18th birthday. It’s not something that happens once a year. It’s something that happens once a month. … That’s why I think that our mission is critical.”

Kayla Beard is a journalist in Athens whose work has appeared in publications that include The Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News. She’s a graduate of Ohio University.

April 2018 |


Friday of every month. 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Camelot Cellars, 901 Oak St., Columbus, 43205. More info:

Saturday, April 7 Fundraiser WYSO Serious They can’t throw what’s billed as Dayton’s silliest party of the year without the Rubi Girls. The drag troupe headlines this party for public radio station WYSO-FM. The night includes dancing, comedy sketches and a cash bar. 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall, 125 E. 1st St., Dayton, 45402. Tickets are $60 ($100 for VIP. More info: Music Counterfeit Madison

Wednesday, April 4 Theater Execution of Justice The Ohio State University Department of Theatre presents this docudrama on the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. It’s based on court transcripts and public records. 7:30 p.m. at the Drake Performance and Event Center’s Thurber Theatre, Ohio State University, 1849 Cannon Drive, Columbus, 43210. Tickets are $15-$10. There are nine performances scheduled through Friday, April 13.

Thursday, April 5 Theater Hair Fifty years after this revolutionary musical stormed Broadway, the Short North Stage is bringing it back. “Hair” was a social and cultural phenomenon, a joyous, vibrant festival filled with a rainbow of hit songs and a carnival of optimism in a dark time. 8 p.m. at the Garden Theater, 1187 N. High St., Columbus, 43201. Tickets are $20 to $44. There are 16 performances scheduled through Sunday, April 29. More info:

Friday, April 6 Community Family Pride Network Happy Hour Whether you’re a parent or prospective parent, join the Family Pride Network of Central Ohio for a drink, to share stories, to set up playdates and to get to know one another. Happy Hours take place on the first


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Counterfeit Madison is the musical manifestation of Columbus resident Sharon Udoh, a versatile artist whose funky yet classical piano-playing and gospel-tinged voice make for an experience that is often described as surpassing genre in the warmest and most welcoming of ways. 7 p.m. at Mahall’s Locker Room, 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 44107. Tickets are $7-$10. More info: FB: Counterfeit Madison Music Cincinnati Men’s Chorus: Heartthrobs This concert celebrates all those times when our hearts beat a little faster. Songs include: Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” 8 p.m. at Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, 45207. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. There is another performance scheduled for Sunday, April 8 at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, April 10 Theater The Humans Stephen Karam’s play is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking production that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play. 7:30 p.m. at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace, 1615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 44115. Tickets are $10-$80. There are 24 performances scheduled through Sunday, April 29. More info:

Friday, April 13 Party Women’s Dance Party Hosted by Bowling Green Lavender Women, a social group whose events are open to anyone who self-identifies as a woman some or all of the time and is lesbian, bisexual or questioning their sexual orientation. This includes non-binary or gender-fluid people who want to access a women’s space. 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green, 43402. Tickets are $12 at the door. More info: BGLavenderWomen/

Saturday, April 14 Fundraiser CANAPI’s Race at the Raffle CANAPI’s signature fundraising event includes a 50/50 raffle, sideboard, silent auction and live auction, open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Come dressed in your best derby outfit! 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Tangier, 532 W. Market St., Akron, 44303. Tickets are $100. More info: Drag Wright State Rainbow Alliance Drag Revue Wright State University’s LGBTQ student organization hosts its 16th annual drag revue to showcase student and local performers and raise money for a scholarship fund. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Wright State Student Union’s Apollo Room, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Fairborn, 45324. Music The Music of David Bowie The Toledo Symphony welcomes vocalists (including impersonator David Brighton) and a full rock band for a show that features David Bowie’s greatest hits. 8 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo, 43614. Tickets are $26-$56. More info:

Sunday, April 15 Music Todrick Hall With more than a million YouTube subscribers and a hyper-engaged fan base, Todrick also captivates audiences through his live experiences. He has been named among Business Insider’s Hottest YouTube Stars Alive and Forbes’ 30 under 30 Entertainment lists. 7:30 p.m. at Bogarts, 2621 Vine St., Cincinnati, 45219. Tickets are $30. More info:

Monday, April 16 Lecture David Sedaris

Queer Queens of Qomedy Sunday, April 22 in Columbus Tuesday, April 24 in Toledo Wednesday, April 25 in Cincinnati So these four lesbians walk into a comedy club… Actually, we’ll leave the jokes to Poppy Champlin, Brooke Cartus, Carol Leifer and Karen Williams, who will be walking into three Ohio Funny Bone clubs this month as part of Champlin’s Queer Queens of Qomedy tour. Champlin is a queer comedy legend, having performed Olivia cruises, opened for Rosie O’Donnell and starred in her own Logo specials. She has organized the Queens tour for nine years now. Cartus, from Columbus, has been part of the show before but says this time her queendom is official. Her tour will double as a victory lap of sorts, celebrating the April 11 release of her new comedy album, “I Have Straight Friends & Other Confessions.” (RuPaul-esque plug: It’s available for presale on iTunes on April 1.) “It’s about my queer identity in the Midwest and how much I love it,” Cartus says. Champlin, Cartus and Williams will perform in Columbus on Sunday, April 22 at 5 p.m. Leifer will take Williams’ place in Toledo (Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.) and Cincinnati (Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.). Williams is from Cleveland, where she founded the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, affectionately known as HaHa Institute. Leifer, who was discovered by David Letterman, has written for “Seinfeld” and “Saturday Night Live.” Visit columbus.funnybone. com, and (Cincinnati) for ticket information.

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, the openly gay Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. 7:30 p.m. at Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield, 45506. Tickets are $34-$70. More info:

Thursday, April 19 Fundraiser Gay Community Endowment Fund Annual Meeting The Akron organization celebrates its impact in the community and asks for support of its scholarship fund at an event that will feature a performance by the North Coast Men’s Chorus Coastliners and the unveiling of Shane Wynn‘s groundbreaking #TransAkron series. 5 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theater, 182 S. Main St., Akron, 44308. More info:

Friday, April 20 Drag Akron Pride Drag Battle & Show Fifteen drag queens fight heel to heel for a chance to be crowned Miss Akron Pride Festival.The evening is hosted by Raven, runner-up on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. 8 p.m to 11 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theater, 182 S. Main St., Akron, 44308. Tickets are $15 and benefit Akron Pride. More info:

Main Ave., Cleveland, 44113. Tickets are $65$75. More info:

Thursday, April 26 - Sunday, April 29 Leather CLAW ’18 CLAW—the Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend—is a gathering of the leather, fetish and BDSM community that drew more than 1,900 people last year. Events at different venues include speed dating, parties and play areas based on different interests within the community; workshops; socials; and a vendor mart. Registration is $179 in advance or $199 at the door. More info:

Saturday, April 28 Dance Broadway at the Ballet The Toledo Ballet brings your favorite Broadway show tunes to life through the evocative beauty of dance. Romance, drama and comedy unfold in this original production of classical and contemporary performance, both fanciful and familiar. 7:30 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams St., Toledo, 43604. Tickets are $15-$35. More info:


Drag The Wonderful World of Nina Nina West and her cast of princesses, pirates, fairies and other creatures await your arrival into a world of magical sights and sounds. The cast features Virginia West, Krystal Something and more. 8 p.m. at Axis, 775 N. High St., Columbus, 43215. Tickets are $13$25. There are 12 shows scheduled through Sunday, May 6. More info: FB: Axis Nightclub

Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24 Music The Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Salyers have taken their friendship and turned it into six Grammy nominations, a worldwide fan base and decades on tour. They’ll perform two shows in Cleveland with opener Lucy Wainright Roche. 7:30 p.m. at the Music Box Supper Club, 1148 April 2018 |


ONE OF Kat Rinella Home: Kent Identifies As: Gender Fluid Pronouns: Any! But most people default to she/her/hers When Akron University and Kent State battle on the football field every fall, the winner walks away with a Wagon Wheel Trophy that has symbolized their rivalry for more than 70 years. On Saturday, April 7, the two universities that sit just 15 miles apart will clash in a newer competition. The third annual Battle of the Wagon Wheel drag competition will take place at 10 p.m. at Interbelt Nite Club (70 N. Howard St., Akron, 44308). A $5 cover will be donated to Kent State’s LGBTQ Emergency Fund and CANAPI, which is Akron’s local HIV/AIDS services agency. Kat Rinella, a junior at Kent State, will be one of five drag performers representing her school. She’s a gender-fluid drag king who performs in a glitter beard and high heels. Five Akron performers will compete as well. After she graduates, Rinella plans to enter the field of social work.

Photo by Austin Mariasy One Of Us is a monthly portrait celebrating the diversity of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.


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RESOURCES More information about the people and places in this issue... Out and Running Ohio’s primary election, when voters choose party nominees for offices on the ballot this fall, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8. If you’re not registered to vote yet, you have until Monday, April 9 if you want to vote in May. You can register online through Click on the Register to Vote link. There are several ways to cast your ballot. You can go to your polling place between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on May 8. You can go to your county board of elections to cast a vote in person starting Tuesday, April 10; days and hours vary. You can request an absentee ballot—no reason is required anymore—and vote by mail starting April 10 as well.

Equitas Health and TransOhio offer Name & Gender Change Clinics across Ohio in which trained attorneys offer one-onone counseling about these processes. Upcoming clinics are scheduled in Youngstown (Wednesday, April 4 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave., 44503) and Lima (Wednesday, April 18 at Equitas Health-Lima, 658 W. Market St., Suite 215, 45801). Visit services/name-gender-change for details and registration.

Changing the Rules

The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Plexus, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Northeast Ohio, serves the region’s LGBT business community and advocates on workplace equality issues. The group will host a networking event in Akron on Tuesday, April 3 (5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 4000 Medina Road, 44333) and a luncheon in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 18 (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel, 9801 Carnegie Ave., 44106). Visit

Letter From the Editor

Five Films to Catch

TransOhio is a great starting place for resources and information about Ohio’s transgender community. Its website includes a list of support groups in every part of the state, legal and medical information, and more. Visit

The 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival runs from Wednesday, April 4 to Sunday, April 15. Most screenings take place at Tower City Cinemas, 230 W. Huron Road, Cleveland, 44113.

At, maintained by the Ohio secretary of state, you can find your polling place, the location of your local elections office, absentee-ballot request forms and voter registration materials.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus has a program called THRIVE that specializes in care for differences/ disorders of sex development, complex urological conditions and gender concerns. Its programs include families as well as children. Visit thrive.

Visit for a full directory of LGBTQ resources in Ohio. To add your organization to the list, email

AIDS Walks You don’t have to take one step to participate in this year’s AIDS Walk Ohio events in Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. “Virtual walkers”—it’s a $25 donation—can help the cause, too. To see all the ways you can participate and help HIV/AIDS services in your community and across Ohio, visit If you’re in Cincinnati, visit for information about your community’s 5K Run/Walk for AIDS, which benefits Caracole Inc.

Proud Scholars The mission of Proud Scholars is to provide educational services to students and their families within the LGBT community. The organization provides students with volunteering opportunities, mentoring and social services, corporate internship possibilities, and scholarships throughout their college experience. Visit for information about scholarship opportunities, getting involved in the group or donating to its mission.

The festival’s 10% Cinema initiative features films focusing on issues, topics and stories from the LGBTQ community. We have synopses of all 13 LGBTQ-themed feature films and two collections of LGBTQ-themed short films at You can browse the films and get screening times for the entire festival at

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center operates a Transgender Health Clinic or patients 5 to 24 years old. It includes family support as well. Go to and search for “transgender.” The Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus is a safe and empowering space for LGBTQ youth and their allies. Visit for its programs and schedules. April 2018 |


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Prizm Magazine April 2018  

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