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The Fashion Issue Queer Ohioans Talk Style – and Substance

Hello, Gigi Gorgeous! Our interview with the social media star

A Night at Ohio’s Last Lesbian Bar Teachers as Gender Police?

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fas h i o n f i g u r es They influence what we wear and how we feel in it. Five insiders share their thoughts about style and the business of fashion.

percent in 2017. Fashion is a $1.2 trillion global industry, with more than $250 billion of that spent annually on fashion in the United States.

By Ken Schneck

But put those numbers aside and take a minute to recognize and celebrate the crucial role fashion has always played in the LGBTQ community. Throughout our history, fashion has allowed us to challenge norms, be rebellious, express our identity, celebrate with pride and show the world a fraction of our innate fierceness.

From the models strutting down the runways of Columbus Fashion Week to the interns clustered around a watercooler in Dayton. From the fans in the front row of a Cleveland Cavs game to the patrons at Donkey Coffee in Athens. And from the Akronites on Instagram to the Cincinnatians on Snapchat to the Toledoans on Tumblr. No matter where you look: Fashion. Is. Everywhere. Despite the struggles of retailers that still depend on brick-and-mortar stores, the fashion industry continues to expand. Looks can be shared on social media and easily purchased online, and analysts document market growth for apparel of at least 5

Fashion is so much more than some clothes to throw on. For the LGBTQ community, fashion is one important weapon in our arsenal to loudly and clearly proclaim: This is how we see the world outside of the limits you keep failing to impose upon us.

fashion scene. In addition to knowing where the Buckeyes rank in the weekly college football polls, any Columbus resident can also tell you that their city ranks third nationally in the number of local fashion designers. To paint a more complete picture, we spoke with five people who are channeling their energy into different parts of the fashion world. Our own Prizm Fashion Breakfast Club features the Educator, the Merchandiser, the Club Kid, the Stylist and the Designer. They share passionate views, although those views come from their own unique vantage points. When you’re done reading, we dare you to not try to up your fashion game. Continued on Page 18

Despite our image as the land of Browns and Bengals sweatshirts, Ohio does have a booming

Photos: Staley Munroe Makeup: @leluxebeautyconcierge Studio: Commons Studio Assistant: @falktography

Ken Schneck, a professor at Baldwin Wallace University, describes his personal style as “preppy hipster academic—put together enough to give a lecture but casual enough to make people question if I walked into the wrong room.” You can read more of his work at kenschneck.com. August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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august FASHION

Everything’s Coming Up Gorgeous In her decade in the social media spotlight, Gigi Gorgeous has come out as trans, come out as a lesbian, dated, broken up, proposed and shared her entire life online. And millions have watched every moment.

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Fashion Figures Fashion is their life: teaching, designing, selling, styling and influencing. Five fashion-industry insiders from Columbus—believe it or not, it’s the No. 3 city in the nation for designers—share their insights.

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Fashion Statements Four LGBTQ Ohioans talk about what goes into their own personal style and what they hope it says about who they are.

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Fashion on Film Friends remember the late designer Charles Kleibacker with a three-day film festival at the Columbus Museum of Art.

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POLITICS Two Republican state legislators want to turn Ohio teachers into gender cops. They’ve introduced a bill that would require educators to report when children show “symptoms” of gender dysphoria.

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NIGHTLIFE The decline of LGBTQ bars has been welldocumented, but the last lesbian bar in Ohio is still going strong. Slammers in Columbus celebrates 25 years this month.

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COMMUNITY A collection of poignant photos and biographies tells the stories of transgender, nonbinary and gender-noncomforming people in the Akron area.

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COMMENTARY Don’t be lulled into believing otherwise, writes ACLU of Ohio Executive Director J. Bennett Guess. The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy puts LGBTQ lives in serious jeopardy.

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MUSIC An oratorio by Cincinnati Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Steve Milloy pays tribute to openly gay civil rights hero Bayard Rustin. It will be performed this fall in Cincinnati, Dayton and Yellow Springs.

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DEPARTMENTS

2018 CCAD Fashion Show: look by Luyao Zhang, modeling by Olivia Saunders, photo by Taylor Gamble for the CCAD Student Agency

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Letter From the Creative Director

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Next Best Things

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One of Us

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Out in Ohio / News Flash

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Calendar of Events

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Letter From the Creative Director Chief Executive Officer Bill Hardy President Joel Diaz Publisher Carol Zimmer Clark carolzclark@prizmnews.com Editor Bob Vitale bobvitale@prizmnews.com

my thick-skin and love for fantasy movies out of my survival tool-kit and at last began unapologetically wearing women’s clothing.

Creative Director Staley Jophiel Munroe staleymunroe@prizmnews.com

Now at 32, I’ve found the mermaid, elf-goddess, windspirit ethereal style that is home for my soul. And this whole journey, while mental, spiritual and physical, is all implicitly manifested through clothing.

Designer Patrick Butler patrickbutler@equitashealth.com

Fashion for many LGBTQ+ people isn’t just a wardrobe. It’s armor, freedom and identity. Our clothes can symbolize coming out, our political alliances or our gender identity.

Advertising Director Joe Matessa joematessa@prizmnews.com Contributing Writers MJ Eckhouse, J. Bennet Guess, Alistair Kraft, Gabriel Mastin, Staley Munroe, Celina Nader, Ken Schneck Contributing Photographers Benjo Arwas, Dale Dong, Taylor Gamble, Celina Nader, Matt Reese, Shane Wynn Prizm encourages feedback from our readers. Share your comments at carolzclark@prizmnews.com For news consideration, event listings, letters to the editor and inquiries about freelance writing, email bobvitale@prizmnews.com For photography submissions and inquiries about modeling/styling assignments, email staleymunroe@prizmnews.com Correction: In our July issue, we listed the wrong preferred pronouns for M. Carmen Lane. Carmen prefers to be referred to as Carmen. Clarification: Claire Fravel, who was part of our July article on the experiences of transgender youth, attends Graham Elementary and Middle School in Columbus. The Graham School is a high school. Fair and accurate reporting is critical to our mission. If you discover an error, please contact our editor, Bob Vitale, at bobvitale@prizmnews.com. Address subscription inquiries to Carol Clark, Prizm Magazine 7575 Huntington Park Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43235 © 2018 Prizm magazine. For permissions and questions contact carolzclark@prizmnews.com. Prizm is a proud member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Photo by Matt Reese

I’ll never forget times growing up glued to my screen watching Glinda the Good Witch in her peach regalia, or the starlets from “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” twirling in their petticoats, or the breathtaking vision of Deborah Kerr in her iconic lavender-gold ballgown in “The King and I.” Growing up transgender, my first cathartic outlet for coping with my gender dysphoria were Rodgers and Hammerstein’s silver-screen leading ladies. I would wrap myself in a bed comforter, pretending it was a dress; when discovered by my father, I would shamefully and rapidly recoil as if I was just tossing about a blanket. Later on, I would pretend to be sick sometimes for weeks on end so I could avoid the bullies at school (including teachers) and instead dress up in my mother’s Sunday dresses, meticulously returning them before she came home from work to find me “asleep” in bed. As a teen, comic book heroines with great power and perfect figures had me trying desperately to utilize Halloween to come as close as possible to Storm’s silver catsuit—excusing to my uncomfortably perplexed family that I was really “just a robot.”

Sometimes our clothes say important truths before our mouths can say them—that we are strong, beautiful, and unique—even when everyday society or political leaders tell us differently. Even when we ourselves struggle to believe it. A long flowing dress to a Transwoman might mean a great deal more than to a cisgender woman, just as a suit and tie can mean more to a once-homeless LGBTQ+ youth-turned-college-graduate, to say nothing of the feather boas and sequins that dazzled the first underground queer balls. A person’s style is extremely personal, born of their loves, influences, culture, privilege or lack thereof. Individual expression through our appearance is intrinsically tied to our sense of self: to tattoo our skin, to bind our breasts, to choose the bright red glasses over the classic brown. We go designer, we go bargain bin, we make it ourselves. No matter how we choose to style our lives, for better or worse, our personal dress is often the first glimpse we give others into who we are or what we like, because we get to CHOOSE what we wear and the message it sends!

After many years of endless bullying, taunting and tormenting, I got to a hyper-conservative college in no-town Indiana where I bucked the administration by going goth, rocking fishnet gloves and black eyeliner out to my temples, again in an attempt to be as feminine as possible with a societally “acceptable” screen of masculinity, however transparent. Finally came graduation and independence. Free to dress as I pleased, though with no less judgment from those around me, I’ll be damned if I didn’t whip

Staley Munroe

Cover photo by Benjo Arwas @benjoarwas August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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MACARONS KOKO TEA SALON, COLUMBUS Of the 140 flavors of macarons at Koko Tea Salon, we especially love best-sellers lavender and raspberry. The salon does high teas (reservations required) at its Downtown location in the Seneca Building on E. Broad Street, and they opened a new salon at Easton Town Center in July. $2.75 kokoteasalon.com

'ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK' NETFLIX Finally! Our favorite cell-block ladies are back for Season 6, but they're not in Litchfield anymore. Following last season's riot, they're in a new prison and face a whole new set of drama. netflix.com HAWAIIAN LILIES/ORCHID DOUBLE LAYER SHIRT LOUIS VUITTON Inspired by Hawaii, this standout design features the double-layer construction that is such a strong signature this season. A foiled orchid print is overlaid with a layer of lily-printed organza. As the garment moves, the print seems to travel around the body, symbolizing Louis Vuitton's travel DNA. $2,070 us.louisvuitton.com MISMATCHED SCULPTURAL SHOES SIMON PORTE JACQUEMUS Who says your shoes have to match? When every shoe is its own work of art, why not wear two? We love these stunning sculptural shoes from the brilliant—and gay—French designer, Simon Porte Jacquemus. His Sandales Bahia are shown here. $648 jacquemus.com

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A NIGHT IN A YURT THE WILDS, NOMAD RIDGE Escape into what feels like an African safari, right in the heart of Ohio. Your well-appointed private yurt has a deck tucked amid trees next to breathtaking animal pasture areas. You'll spot everything from rhinos to redtailed hawks. Dinner and breakfast included. $482 per night thewilds.columbuszoo.org

‘SKIN & EARTH’ GRAPHIC NOVEL Based on Lights' album of the same name, “Skin & Earth” is the story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world. Set in a post-apocalyptic future ruled by the Tempest Corp., the adventurous tale of loneliness, deceit and self-discovery ties in with the 14-track album and is combined in one epic interactive collection. $27.99 music.iamlights.com August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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Playing Politics With Trans Kids Two Republican state lawmakers want to turn Ohio teachers, school counselors and others into gender cops.

By Bob Vitale A bill introduced by two Ohio lawmakers would make it a fourth-degree felony—the same level crime as grand theft auto or sexual conduct with a minor—for teachers not to tell parents when a kid shows signs of gender dysphoria. Advocates say it’s a dangerous—not to mention pretty ridiculous—idea. They say the legislation proposed by state Reps. Tom Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, both Republicans from Southwest Ohio, would out children who confide in non-family members about their gender identity. It also would require permission from both parents—whether or not they have custody and authority to make medical decisions—before a child could even receive information about issues involving gender identity.

• A parent’s refusal to allow treatment for a transgender child could not be used to determine custody. Brinkman, who represents portions of Cincinnati, and Zeltwanger of suburban Mason appear to be reacting to a case earlier this year in Hamilton County. In March, a judge awarded custody of a transgender 17-year-old to grandparents who supported his transition. The boy’s parents objected to hormone therapy after he was diagnosed by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with gender dysphoria. The boy said they instead subjected him to the dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” an approach designed to change a child’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

The bill has three main requirements: • Schools, courts, hospitals and children’s services agencies would be required to notify parents, guardians and custodians immediately when a child exhibits symptoms of gender dysphoria or “otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite of the child’s biological sex.” • Parents, guardians and custodians would have to give their permission before a transgender child could receive any counseling or care. The bill would require medical experts to provide a report about their proposed treatment and research about whether it’s safe and effective.

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Under House Bill 658, officials who don’t notify parents of a child’s gender-dysphoria symptoms—it doesn’t define what those symptoms might be— would face six to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.

State Rep. Tom Brinkman represents the 27th Ohio House District, which includes neighborhoods in the southeast part of Cincinnati and suburban Hamilton County communities such as Loveland and Indian Hills. You can call his Statehouse office at 614-6446886.

And here’s the part opponents say is ridiculous: The bill doesn’t specify what “symptoms” teachers, school counselors, social workers and others covered by its requirements would have to look out for.

House Bill 658 received a hearing before the House Community and Family Advancement Committee in late June. Equality Ohio spokesman Grant Stancliff says no other hearings have been scheduled in the General Assembly.

“It’s no secret that not all parents are supportive of their trans kids,” Stancliff says. “One thing we know is it’s important for a child to choose their own timeline, for their own safety, of when they come out.”

FIND OUT MORE

“It would be horrific,” TransOhio Co-Chair Melissa Alexander says. “It’s a very harmful bill.”

Brinkman and Zeltwanger didn’t respond to calls from Prizm. In messages, we asked if they would share some specific behaviors they’d expect teachers to tell parents about. Critics say the bill would turn teachers into gender police and have wondered aloud whether parents would start getting calls from the school about sons who put on eyeliner or daughters who ask about playing football.

A Human Rights Campaign survey of 12,000 LGBTQ teens released in May found that just one-quarter said they feel comfortable being themselves in their own home. Trans youth were more than twice as likely as other LGBTQ youth to report being taunted or mocked by their own families.

Brinkman

Zeltwanger

“Parents have a fundamental right to decide what is best for their children,” Brinkman told fellow lawmakers at the hearing in Columbus. That’s not the philosophy used by a judge in neighboring Warren County, though. There, Probate Judge Joseph Kirby in late June denied a namechange for a 15-year-old trans boy even though it was requested by his parents. TransOhio, Equality Ohio and other LGBTQ groups oppose Brinkman’s bill. Not only does it violate children’s privacy—Alexander describes the symptoms-reporting provision as requiring teachers to “rat out the child”—but it also calls into question established treatment procedures, according to TransOhio.

State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger represents the 54th Ohio House District, which includes Middletown, Monroe, Mason, Lebanon and other portions of Butler and Warren counties. You can call his office at 614-6446027. TransOhio offers services, education, support and advocacy on behalf of the state’s transgender community. Visit transohio.org or email TransOhio@ transohio.org to learn more. Equality Ohio advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Visit equalityohio.org or email info@equalityohio.org.

Common and widely accepted treatment for transgender and gender-nonconforming children is to delay puberty through medication until they fully understand their gender identity, Alexander says. “This has been a proven, established medical practice.” The privacy questions also are a big concern.

Prizm Editor Bob Vitale has covered government and politics for three decades. You can reach him by email at bobvitale@ prizmnews.com or follow him on Twitter @Bob_Vitale.


August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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The secret to success for Gigi Gorgeous? 'It's about finding somebody who inspires you and keeping the ball rolling.' By Staley Munroe “I finally feel at home and at peace with the person that I am now,” Gigi Gorgeous told her YouTube audience in December 2013. Five years earlier, a four-minute, 26-second video titled, “Gregory Gorgeous Makeup Routine” launched the Quebec native to social media stardom. Now Gigi was making official what she acknowledged many fans already realized. In the five years since coming out as transgender, her star has only grown brighter. She’s been in People magazine and on “Entertainment Tonight.” She’s made videos with Kylie Jenner and been named as one of Time’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet. Gigi Gorgeous—Giselle Loren Lazzarato—came to Ohio in late June to meet Sinclair Community College students in Dayton during a screening of her 2017 documentary, “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous.” Prizm got a chance to speak with her as well.

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What has been the most meaningful experience of your career so far? It’s hard to say because there are a lot, but I think a huge moment was when they premiered my movie at Sundance. It was a “Who am I?” moment. It was a defining moment of my career. I had always shied away from sharing everything with the public or even some of my friends. So when we did the movie it was everything, really raw and vulnerable for me. It was crazy to have it broadcast on the level of the Sundance Film Festival. Now I was really out of the closet. I thought I was out before, but now I’m f****** out. A lot of passable trans women who are maybe able to do it early on, they choose to blend into cis-normative society. Do you see that as weakness on their part? Do you see that as abandoning community? No, not at all. I went through a phase like that. I didn’t want to go to gay clubs; I didn’t want to have that many gay friends. I feel like it’s just a phase. I respect myself enough now to say it was a phase. I’m at such a point now where passing and all that stuff just seems so silly to me because of what being out there brings.

I love Amanda Lepore. She’s taught me a lot about the beauty aspect of transitioning because she’s extremely into skin care, her outfits and her costume. She’s major. Activist-wise, Laverne Cox is a huge, constant inspiration to me. Janet Mock as well. The work that she’s done on “Pose” recently is so inspiring. It’s legendary. It’s the first show for so many reasons. I couldn’t be more proud. She’s an intelligent girl.

I have a lot of projects in the works, but I’ve been recently really into going to events and holding it down on social media and giving representation and visibility wherever I can, because I think that’s half the battle. But I’ve been really into a new charity, and it’s partnered with a makeup line that’s coming up this summer, and it’s for breast cancer.

What specific things would you say are most important to combat loneliness?

I really want to get back into my breast cancer charity work because it’s how my mom was taken from me. What are some organizations that are near and dear to your heart that you feel are making the most difference in improving the lives of trans folk, and how can we support those organizations?

Now that you identify as a lesbian, how has your perspective of the world changed?

They give you the stats that you want to know. They inform you like you have a Rolodex of information to have in the back of your head. Especially for allies of the community, it’s so easy for them to go on and just pick up a few facts and learn something new. They are making a lot of change, and they’re always at work. Sarah Kate Ellis (the GLAAD president and CEO) is always working, every single day. She never stops.

Even in the current climate, with everyone worried about the president and a lot of people scared, it gives me even more of a reason to shout it from the rooftops. I think that’s just a part of growing up. Even if it isn’t about politics or whatever, I feel like it’s just a part of growing up and not hiding who you are. Was there a singular moment where you chose to become an activist?

What advice would you give to young queer people who want to experience their own financial breakthrough in terms of strategy? When I started working with my manager, I was working at McDonald’s. He was working at Starbucks. We met in Canada and worked our way up. It’s not about really finding a niche that’s not popular. It’s not about finding a manager. It’s about finding somebody who inspires you and keeping the ball rolling in your brain.

No. I feel like it was really organic. I can only really speak from what I know. I know I’m ignorant on some things and I need to be educated. But I love learning. I’m an open book. Whenever someone is there to teach me, I’m down.

I guess you could attack it from the way of, “What’s not popular? What could I corner the market on?” But I never did it like that. My manager was always my friend. We were just having fun.

I love learning new things about my community. I love becoming a stronger person.

And sometimes now, when I get booked on gigs, I’m like, “Oh my God. I’m totally scamming the system.” I’m getting flown out, and I’m like, “I’m so lucky,” and we’re still laughing about it.

Who are some of the activists you most look up to? Who are your role models?

Whether I’m getting my makeup done or doing it myself, it is that hour and a half of calmness, a reset. You can just get into it, play some music. It’s not chaotic. It’s the calm before the storm almost. I feel like that’s what brings me peace. Glamming. It always has. It’s how I get started.

So easy. GLAAD. GLAAD is No. 1 to me. I go to a lot of other events and support a lot of other charities, but I feel like GLAAD, whenever I go on their website or whenever I sit down at a dinner, I am so educated. Like, beyond. It is crazy to me how much information they pour out to you.

We were talking about passability and blending into society. I was one of those girls before, and I felt like less of a woman if I wasn’t in that situation. I think literally just being open and talking about it a lot has made me a lot stronger.

It sounds super vain and silly, but I feel like getting “glam.”

What is the next phase and focus of your activism?

You just gotta be you and scream it from the rooftops. It doesn’t make you any less of a human being or a member of the community if you want to blend in and not let anybody know that you’re trans and run away from your old life. That’s fine as long as you’re happy. Kill it, girl.

I don’t know if being a lesbian has changed my perspective. I think it’s just my maturity in general.

madness of celebrity? How do you keep yourself grounded?

I just got chills. I have my chosen family; I have my fiancée; we have two of our best friends who live with us. That’s my chosen family for the most part. Everyone has a friend that they can count on and not feel lonely. Just connecting with the people that are close to you, even if it’s a text message from someone. Maybe keep a text relationship going. What do you want most of all now? I would love to win an Oscar, go to the moon... Honestly, it’s a constant thing in my brain just to be happy and have fun. My mom had this quote from Dr. Seuss that she had on her desktop computer for eight years, and I always thought it was the lamest thing until recently. “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I have quotes on my body. I have a couple of lyrics from Lady Gaga. But that would be a quote that I would put on my body forever, because it changes my mind a lot and I’m like, “Wait. Why am I worried about those who don’t care about me?” Because they don’t matter. I’m just trying to have fun and live my life in constant happiness, and I just want to give a lot to the community. I want to wear all the hats. Give me a hard hat, everything. FIND OUT MORE You can follow Gigi Gorgeous just about everywhere. She’s @gigigorgeous on Instagram and @The GigiGorgeous on Twitter. Search for her also on YouTube, where she got her start. Gigi Gorgeous’ 2017 documentary, “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” is available online. GLAAD was formed in 1985 in response to sensationalized and defamatory coverage of HIV and AIDS. It works to monitor and reshape the portrayal of LGBTQ people in news media and popular media. Visit glaad.org. Staley Munroe is Prizm’s creative director. You can reach her at staleymunroe@ prizmnews.com or follow her on Instagram @ silverwindrider.

What brings you peace in the day-to-day

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Slammers’ Pizza Pie: That’s Amore! Is Slammers a bar that serves pizza or a pizza place that serves drinks?

The Last Lesbian Bar Our gathering places might be fading away, but Slammers has been serving Columbus strong drinks and hot pizza for 25 years.

By Celina Nader I walk in on a Friday night around 11 p.m. and order a gin and tonic. I’ve been here before, so I’m not surprised at the strength of my drink, which is more like four G&Ts squeezed into one. A few friends shoot darts by the front door. A cute girl wearing plaid and a cropped haircut picks up her pizza to-go order, and an older lesbian couple orders drinks at the bar. Women’s softball games and “Modern Family” reruns play on the TVs above the bar. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” fades into Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” courtesy of the communal jukebox. The dress is comfy-casual: snap-backs, flannel and cargo shorts. Most of the women here seem to be above 35, and many have been coming to this bar since opening day in 1993. The bartender tonight, Nikki, has been working here for almost four years. She describes Slammers as her family, and I don’t doubt this. While slinging drinks, she maintains full conversations with almost every customer at the bar. She met her wife at Slammers, and her wedding party was made up of Slammers coworkers and customers. This is her second home. When asked why Slammers has remained while other lesbian bars have shut down, her answer is simple. The concept hasn’t changed: chill vibes, cheap drinks, fun events, open to all. Oh, and the pizza is incredible. I venture outside, passing the pool table and an empty stage. The spacious patio has plenty of seating, an active cornhole game and a lighted pergola fitted with outdoor heaters. Tonight, the place is fairly empty, with a scattering of people enjoying drinks and each other’s company. The crowd at Slammers is either quiet and sparse (weeknights), or so packed that you can’t move a foot without running into a babe with an undercut (Pride weekend). On this calm Friday night, a few lesbian couples congregate under the pergola with beers and cigarettes. Among them is Mary, a regular who visits Slammers at least twice a week. She’s only been coming for the last couple of years but has quickly become part of the Slammers family. Last week, she styled Nikki’s hair and makeup for her wedding.

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Mary and her girlfriend have Tuesday date nights here, which they’ve dubbed “Kiki Tuesdays” for one of the bartenders who works every Tuesday and knows how to hold a good conversation. Mary lives just a mile away and frequents other bars and clubs, but not as much as she does Slammers. This is her home bar, where everyone knows her name (cue the “Cheers” theme song), where the crowds aren’t overwhelming and she can relax with friends. She describes Slammers as “easy.” It’s easy to come here, easy to feel at home here. There’s no pressure and no pretense. “It’s inclusive, welcoming to everyone, and you see all kinds of people here. But it’s so nice to be able to say that we have a lesbian bar here in Columbus,” Mary tells me. “No matter where we spend our evening, we always end up here.” My girlfriend, Jordan, ends up joining me on Slammers’ patio. We grab another round of drinks. We happen to run into a group of our friends. We hold hands freely. Someone orders a pizza nearby and shares with the people around them. This is where we congregate.

“I’d say a little of both A and B,” Nikki the manager laughs. However you think of the 25-yearold lesbian bar in Downtown Columbus—it’s Slammers Bar + Pizza Kitchen officially—the pizza is definitely a star of the show. There’s something about a Slammers pie that keeps customers coming back for more. It probably has something to do with the crust. It’s somewhere in that sweet spot: neither bready nor flimsy nor crackery thin. It probably has something to with the cheese: a lot of it. It probably has something to do with the toppings, which take an already good pizza to the next level. There’s a touch of Italian dressing on the Sicilian pie, for instance, and a sprinkling of cinnamon on the Hawaiian. (Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.) Overall, Nikki says, Slammers’ pizza “is probably one of the things that’s kept us in business for 25 years.” The growing Downtown residential market in Columbus is bringing in more take-out orders, and Uber Eats and Grubhub are expanding the fan base even further. “It’s a great way for people to find out who we are.”

Slammers celebrates an historic 25 years in business on Friday, Aug. 31 with a massive party, and we wouldn’t miss it. Even the most reclusive lesbians leave their cats and their movie nights, don their snap-back hats and snazzy shirts, and come to Slammers to have a drink and catch up with friends. This is where people from every part of the LGBTQA spectrum lean back and laugh and get a little tipsy together. This is where we celebrate who we are, as individuals and as a community. This is where we always end up. FIND OUT MORE Slammers is at 202 S. Long St. in Downtown Columbus. It’s open from 11 a.m.-midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. on Fridays, 3 p.m.-2:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m.-midnight on Sundays. The bar is closed on Mondays. Visit slammerspizza.com or FB: Slammers. Slammers pizza is available to go or for delivery through Uber Eats and Grub. We recommend The Sicilian.

Celina Nader is a SyrianAmerican writer, chef and blogger currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction stories about the Syrian people and their lives during war. You can read more of her writing at insatiableblog.com or follow her on Instagram at @Insatiableblog.


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By MJ Eckhouse At the 2017 annual meeting of Akron’s Gay Community Endowment Fund, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen gave the keynote speech. The transgender son of a Republican U.S. representative from Florida, he explained how telling his story encouraged some lawmakers to embrace LGBT rights. Afterward, foundation board members reflected on the power of storytelling. They decided to tell stories about people who are underrepresented within the local LGBT community. From there, the Trans Akron project was born.

Rowan Collins

Samantha Bartilson

An Akron project shares the journeys and boosts the visibility of trans and nonbinary people. Ruex Leon

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Trans Akron is an online portrait and interview series profiling eight transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people from greater Akron. The photos are elegant, contemplative and joyous, and the stories are about rejection, affirmation, optimism and every other part of the transgender journey. "Rylee lived in an old house on Aqueduct, where her mother gave her the space to find comfort in her own identity—letting her dress in heels and pink robes, twirling in front of the mirror," goes the tale of Rylee Jackson, who calls herself blessed despite the obstacles she has faced. "Rylee’s mother died when she was 11, and...she learned to live with the unshakeable thought that every bit of joy or comfort she could capture would only ever be transient."

book?'" Gay Community Endowment Fund Chairman Phil Montgomery says. A book was distributed at the fund's annual meeting, and a social media campaign began publicizing the project leading up to Pride month in June. “It went beyond our expectations,” Montgomery says. “It was well-received, it was one of our best attended annual meetings. We received a ton of feedback about how informative it was and what people learned throughout the process. It really allowed us to bring to the forefront underrepresented populations of our community.” The participants are female, male and nonbinary. Their identities range from military veteran to activist, from Christian to musician. When the narratives use uncommon terms, such as intersectionality or cisgender, educational videos explain the concepts. Charts accompany the stories, illustrating statistics about LGBT youth homelessness or suicide attempts. While the subjects speak about gender and discrimination, they also discuss their upbringings, hobbies and careers. Montgomery said the project started with two goals: to tell the story of those who are underrepresented within the LGBTQ spectrum and to raise awareness of the Gay Community Endowment Fund itself.

Shane Wynn, a well-known Akron photographer, offered her services probono. Wynn said she wanted to put a local face to the issues that affect transgender people.

Started in 2001, the fund supports LGBT resources in greater Akron and has awarded nearly $475,000 in grants over the years.

“I feel like a lot of people think that there aren’t transgender people in Akron,” Wynn says. “And I’m always thinking, ‘You probably met two yesterday, but that’s OK.’”

Read the stories and view the portraits from the Trans Akron series at transakron.com.

“As a photojournalist I know that trans people are marginalized, misrepresented and tend to be represented in negative stories. But I wanted to show them in a positive light here in Akron.”

FIND OUT MORE

The Gay Community Endowment fund is part of the Akron Community Foundation, a charitable fund that benefits people and organizations in Summit County. Applications are being accepted from Aug. 15-Sept. 15 for a new round of grants. Visit gaycommunityfund.org and click on Grants for more info.

Wynn, who is cisgender and straight, says her interest in LGBT issues likely emerged from her mother’s experience as an immigrant. “She always taught us to champion the underdog and try to understand other people’s circumstances.” The University of Akron Center for Experiential Learning issued a grant to the Gay Community Endowment Fund for an intern to assist Wynn. The intern, H.L. Comeriato, wrote the Trans Akron stories.

MJ Eckhouse is a recent graduate of Kent State University and the former editor-in-chief of Fusion, the university’s LGBT magazine

“As we started to see how thorough and robust H.L. was in putting together the subjects, we said, 'Why don’t we make a

Photos by Shane Wynn Photography for the Gay Community Endowment Fund. @shanewynnphotography on Facebook and Instagram.


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Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. If Roe v. Wade, a 1973 case, is now considered ripe for overturning even with decades of case law layered on top of it, then the 2015 Obergefell decision is surely at great risk. Some already are predicting that federal marriage equality will be rescinded in two or three years. At a minimum, we can expect a serious chipping away at our equality. Last summer, in a pro-LGBTQ ruling impacting parental rights, the court cited the "constellation of benefits" that is equally afforded to every married couple. It ruled that states could not refuse to include the names of same-sex parents on a child's birth certificate.

Don’t be lulled into believing otherwise: Kennedy’s Supreme Court departure puts LGBTQ lives in serious jeopardy. By J. Bennett Guess If you’ve been experiencing sleepless nights or feeling constant nausea or downing a lot more hard cider since Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court and ideologue-in-chief Donald Trump named his potential successor, this column is not recommended reading. You probably won’t feel any better afterward.

Yet at least we all knew Kennedy could be swayed, and those appealing to his swing vote could believe that rational arguments could move him. Sometimes it actually worked—and for LGBTQ people, powerfully so.

Kennedy’s departure is a mighty blow to those who care about LGBTQ, affirmative action and reproductive rights issues, and the court’s emerging far-right majority is likely to spell outright disaster for actual LGBTQ people, people of color and women seeking to have control over their own lives and bodies. It’s people—not just issues—that are at stake.

Don’t forget that as recently as 1986, the court held that being queer was essentially illegal and intimacy between consenting adults of the same gender could be criminalized. That dreadful decision stuck around for 17 long years, until 2003 when Kennedy finally paved the way for the court to invalidate so-called sodomy laws.

So if you’re feeling completely heartsick right now, congratulations. You get it, and your reaction, as painful as it is, qualifies you as a really decent human being.

Kennedy was emerging as an LGBTQ civil rights champion, just as he was in 1996 when he wrote that laws showing “animus” toward gay and lesbian people were unconstitutional.

The culture wars are leaving behind real war casualties, not just winning and losing ideologies. And it’s almost always people living on the margins in disenfranchised communities who become the victims when civil liberties are under attack.

Now, frighteningly, animus toward the LGBTQ community soon will be the majority mindset on Trump’s Supreme Court.

I’m a gay Ohioan, and I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 17 years, or 10 years, or three years, depending on which anniversary or court decision you start the count. Kennedy’s retirement is personally gut-wrenching to us, because we seriously worry about what will become of our legal marriage and, moreso, our rights and dignity as LGBTQ people, especially in a state where we have been granted virtually no legal protections. That said, I am not a one-dimensional, single-issue person, and neither are you. We care deeply about many things, and if equality and fairness for all people matter to you, if the Constitution matters, and if the values that this nation purportedly espouses still mean something, then everyone, no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity, should be at full attention. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

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Kennedy, while a centrist, largely will be remembered for advancing LGBTQ constitutional liberties and safeguarding reproductive rights during his 30 years on the court. But make no mistake, he was no reliable vote. He sided often with conservatives, most recently in upholding Trump’s despicable Muslim ban. He also threw precedent out the window and sided with those heart-set on busting up public-sector unions.

| August 2018 PRIZMnews.com

Justice Clarence Thomas, once largely seen as a glaring ideological outlier, will be at the Supreme Court’s philosophical center. Chief Justice John Roberts will be the new swing vote, if that claim can be made without laughing or crying. That's the same Justice Roberts who wrote of marriage equality, in his Obergefell v. Hodges dissent: "The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution."

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, dissented. He said states should be able to decide which rights different couples enjoy. You can expect Trump’s second pick to believe and adjudicate in like fashion, now as part of the court’s majority. Together, along with Thomas, Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, they can water down marriage rights for LGBTQ people or upend them altogether. It might be too soon for such harsh prognosticating, but it’s not soon to start voting, organizing and advocating in massive numbers to protect hard-fought marriage rights and to prevent federal, state and local legislation that seeks to harm us without an accessible Supreme Court to overrule hatred and injustice.

We, the People is one of the most powerful affirmations of our democracy. Ultimately, it will be the people’s perseverance and determination that will decide our democracy’s future, whether it survives and thrives to the benefit of all and the exclusion of none. Don’t ever allow any nine justices, or 535 members of Congress, or one President dissuade you of that. FIND OUT MORE LGBT rights are a big focus of the ACLU of Ohio. In March, ACLU lawyers filed a lawsuit challenging a state policy that forbids transgender Ohioans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates. Visit acluohio.org to find out more or follow @ acluohio on Twitter. The U.S. Senate will have final say on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court as Justice Anthony Kennedy’s successor. Make your opinions known to Ohio’s U.S. senators: You can reach Sherrod Brown at 202-2242315 and Rob Portman at 202-224-3353

The Court's eventual lack of any moveable middle is unsettling. But perhaps most troubling is the radical curtailment of an ideal. Gone will be the fundamental belief that people whose rights have been trampled upon by an angry, scapegoating majority can plead their cases before the nation’s highest court and hold out some reasonable assurance that they will be heard. Courts were designed for that very purpose and have been—with rare exception—the one branch of government that can be trusted to do the right thing when pushed.

J. Bennett Guess is executive director of the ACLU of Ohio and a board member of the National LGBTQ Task Force.


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fas h i o n f i g u r es Continued from Page 3

The Club Kid Aria Grace, 27 DJ/Event Host/All-Around It Girl FASHION DEFINED “Fashion is my own expression. It embodies my emotions, my feelings in that moment. It changes as I change in both mood and place.” EYE CATCHING For Grace, it’s all about color and putting together an outfit that reflects something different, a feeling that you’re not getting from everybody else. She doesn’t hesitate to put loud pieces together to make an even louder statement. “But every outfit has to be true to me. It’s always about authenticity.” INTERSECTIONS ALWAYS As a trans woman of color, those around Grace have always tried to box her into one mode of dressing or another. Even more frustrating, she would usually hear feedback about what she was not allowed to wear, rather than any empowering wardrobe suggestions. “It took some adjusting, but I finally got to the place where I said, ‘I’m wearing what makes me happy and comfortable!’ Even if it didn’t conform to how people saw me.” DAILY ROUTINE Don’t think for a second that Grace walks into her closet, selects an outfit blindly and walks out the door. Although she strives for an effortless look, she always heeds the advice of her parents that one always has to look presentable. “You have to look good, because you never know what opportunities are out there. If you look good and feel comfortable, your confidence can spring from that energy.” DATE NIGHT Heading out for a date, Grace wants to look casual but still put together. She’s looking to convey her personality, be comfortable and be ready for whatever life throws at her. “Tonight I am going for high-waisted jeans, with an elastic mom-fit around the waist but straight-legged and tapered at the bottom. I’ll be cuffing those with a white pair of shoes, a cut-off fancy shirt and always, always jewelry to accessorize.” FASHION PRIDE Grace struggles to come up with an example of a past outfit that didn’t work. Head held high with no fashion regrets, she embraces an evolving sense of fashion that reflects her own personal evolution. Although she has seen past outfits she wore on Instagram that she might not wear again, the outfit worked for her at the time she wore it. “I just want to always make sure I am breaking out of the box and making my own blueprint. It’s OK to be a rebel. It really is.”

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The Designer Juan Jose Saenz-Ferreyros, 53 Creative Director, Ferreyros Life FASHION DEFINED “Fashion is everything for me in life. Fashion is when you open your eyes in the morning and see the new day with new ideas. It’s when you see people on the street with different lives and different styles. Fashion is beautiful houses, beautiful flowers, wherever you go, whatever you do, it is all fashion.” MATERNAL INSPIRATION Growing up in Peru, Saenz-Ferreyros had to look no further than his own mother for fashion influence. She had a classicJacqueline Onassis feel to her wardrobe, and Saenz-Ferreyros would watch her get all dressed up for lavish weekend parties featuring attendees in the most extravagant clothing. “My mother always wore bright, bold colors. Every single detail of her outfit was coordinated from top to bottom.” COMING OUT Saenz-Ferreyros says there was only one question about sexual orientation in Peru: Are you straight, or are you straight? Although he started as a journalism student, he knew he wanted to study fashion. He told his father that he was going to school for international business and would send home notes about how well he was doing in that field. “When he saw my diploma and it said ‘fashion,’ he almost asked me to leave. But now he sees me on television and can see it’s a good profession.” EDUCATE YOURSELF! Believing fashion school to be critical to a designer’s evolution, Saenz-Ferreyros stresses the importance of aspiring designers attending classes. Even if you don’t have the money for classes, he encourages you to go to the library and look at fashion books and study the history. “Nothing prepared me more than making a dress completely by hand in school. It was the best way to learn.” MIRROR PLEASE Saenz-Ferreyros is incredulous that there are many designers out there making beautiful clothes for different people but neglecting their own appearance. He stresses the importance of customers seeing good style not just with the product, but with the designer as well. “If your hairdresser looks terrible, you wouldn’t want a haircut from them. Same thing in fashion. The last thing you want after all the models come out at the end of the show is a designer with bad style.” COLUMBUS PASSION Although Columbus wasn’t on his radar for very long before he moved here a few years back, Saenz-Ferreyros is quick to extol the virtues of the fashion scene in Ohio’s capital. He notes the incredible Fashion Week (where he will be showing a collection this October) and Short North Gallery Hop on the first Saturday of every month, where thousands of visitors have access to exhibitions in every form of art imaginable. “Columbus is a city with open doors and has something for anyone wanting to work in fashion. August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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The Educator Suzanne Cotton, 51 Fashion Design Department Chair, Columbus College of Art & Design FASHION DEFINED "I don't think people realize just how much goes into fashion. The immediate thought is of the Met Gala or rock stars or just a feeling of high-end industry. But the fact is: Every single thing that people wear needs to be designed. Everything you see out in the world is fashion.� EDUCATION. EDUCATION. EDUCATION. The name of the game when it comes to fashion school is variety. Cotton highlights the importance of students taking a range of courses to flesh out their knowledge of the entire industry. "So many students come in thinking they are only going to design bridal or evening gowns, but then they get exposure to technical aspects, design approaches and the corporate side and suddenly new strengths come to light." POOF! IT’S A DRESS! Despite what you might see on a certain fashionbased reality show, garments can take quite some time to assemble. While still nurturing their enthusiasm, Cotton underscores her work by explaining to students just how long patternmaking, sewing and assembling can take. "'Project Runway' makes it look like you can whip things together in one episode. Our seniors work on their collections the whole year. It's a long and tough process." YAY, COLUMBUS! Columbus' rich fashion history can be traced back to 1951, when Bella Cabakoff and her husband, Harry Wexner, opened Leslie's, a Downtown women's clothing store they named after their son, Les. When he couldn't convince his parents to focus on selling only the more profitable sportswear, Les Wexner opened his own store in 1963 and turned it into a retail empire that over the years has included The Limited, Express, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. "So many people moved out to Columbus to work in fashion, and it is still seen as a place where you can make your mark on the fashion world while still being a less expensive alternative to New York." FINDING THEIR VOICE Finding success in fashion is a daunting task, and individuals need a safe environment where they can experiment, fail, flourish and everything in between. Fashion school provides just such a place. For many students, it's the first time they feel they fit into an educational system. "The transformation of students is incredible. They are excited to be here and, most importantly, they are comfortable. Their connection to fashion really thrives when they find that place of comfort." PATENTED ADVICE The key to maximizing the fashion school experience is to say yes. Cotton encourages students to participate in every opportunity, whether it be on campus or in the community. "Get involved with every opportunity where you can meet people in the industry. You never know when you might be able to identify a design need that is not currently being provided that only you can fill."

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The Merchandiser Andrew Clarke, 45 Executive Vice President/Chief Merchandising Officer, Justice, Ascena Retail Group FASHION DEFINED “Fashion is pretty subjective, very personal, always transitory and never constant. When an aesthetic resonates, that’s fashion. As the heart of the individual and the world changes, so too does fashion.” CHANGING TIMES Supply and demand is a constant of commerce, but the tides have turned dramatically in the world of fashion over the past few decades. Clarke highlights that the old model of retailers convincing customers that a garment is fashionable has fallen by the wayside. “The world has changed fundamentally. Now customers tell retailers what they want to see. It’s one of the chief reasons I love working in this field.” ON BRAND The magical land of social media has contributed greatly to individuals determining their own individual brand as everyone wants to set themselves apart from the profile that exists one click away. “Posting content allows users to curate their brand, develop it and be confident in what they express. Everyone is trying to make a statement, and we leverage fashion to help them make that statement.” HONORING THE CUSTOMER Working for Justice, a retail brand focused on tweens, has provided Clarke the opportunity to provide fashion for customers at a formative point in their lives. The company works diligently to use an inclusive lens to support customers. “I get letters all the time from moms thanking me for the opportunity for their son to wear our clothes or for their daughter to feel good in a plus-sized outfit. That spirit of inclusivity motivates me every day.” A LEGACY OF DIVERSITY For those who think that appealing to a broad base of customers is a new concept, Ascena Retail Group has been showing us how to do it for more than 50 years. Their co-founder, Roslyn Jaffee, opened her first Dress Barn in 1962 and actively invited members of the transgender community to shop in her stores. “We embrace these roots not just during Pride month, but all throughout the year. We’re proud of our 100 percent rating with HRC Corporate Equality Index, and all of our brands are committed to this engagement.” MAKING IT To be successful in fashion, Clarke stresses that you absolutely must be curious about your customers. Don’t impose a product on them, but instead adopt more of a servant philosophy that puts the customer at the heart of the action. “If you’re keen on delivering solutions and methods of expression that your demographic really wants, your commercial success will be greater than any designer living in their bubble.”

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The Stylist Nicholas Niederkohr, 33 Clients Include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Prizm FASHION DEFINED “Fashion means a lot of costume changing, a ton of fun and always making it your own. Everyone truly can be an individual, and fashion is a great way to express that.” BLURRED LINES While there is always progress to make, Niederkohr is quick to note that the fashion world is making positive strides to feature and showcase people wearing outfits not previously associated with their gender. Heck, he himself does just that. “I’ll wear women’s pants with a men’s blazer or wear a skirt without losing a sense of masculinity. Fashion is moving in the right direction.” INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE Niederkohr simply can’t be pinned down to identify a single source of inspiration for his styling. He might see something out of the corner of his eye, whether it’s a color or a specific skirt, and his instincts kick in to create a look that works. He urges people to trust themselves. “It’s in your gut. You could add a trench or put something on backwards. The feeling will just come to you, but you have to be open to it.” FINDING STYLE For someone looking to find a new sense of style, Niederkohr advises asking a series of questions: What are you comfortable in? How do you like your fit? Do you want to go with what’s on trend right now? Or are you more of a classic look kind of creature? No matter what you choose, don’t forget the accessories. “Belts. Shoes. Bracelets. They are key.” TRANSFORMATION STATION Niederkohr believes in the power of fashion to transform an individual. He has seen it firsthand. “I was on a bridal shoot, and in walked a woman covered with tattoos and piercings. When she put on the dress and the makeup, you could see the twinkle in her eye. It’s like you could hear her saying, ‘Oh my gosh!’ in her head. When we saw those images, we were all just blown away.” FIND OUT MORE

STYLISTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS

In 1882, Oscar Wilde visited Columbus and said in a public lecture that he was impressed that "the capital city (has) a leading art school." CCAD offers majors in advertising and graphic design, animation, comics and narrative practice, contemporary crafts, fashion design, film and video, fine arts, history of art and visual culture, illustration, industrial design, interior design, and photography. Visit ccad.edu or follow the school on Instagram @ccad.

Advising against just walking into a store and buying whatever is on the mannequin, Niederkohr encourages shoppers to visit several stores and embrace mixing and matching. And don’t forget to take advantage of personal shoppers and stylists that many stores employ. “Even if you just do it once, working with a personal shopper can help you fine-tune exactly what you’re looking for and reduce any intimidation you might be feeling when you walk in.”

Ascena Retail Group Inc. includes Ann Taylor, Catherines, Dress Barn, Justice, Lane Bryant, Loft, Lou & Grey and Maurices. Visit ascenaretail.com. You can follow Aria Grace on Instagram @Honeybunbaby9. You can follow Nicholas Niederkohr on Instagram @nickernack33. Juan Jose Saenz Ferreyros describes his work as "high fashion meets classic ready to wear." You can view his designs at ferreyroslife.com or on Instagram @ferreyroscouture.

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be bold. build your brand.

Connect with the LGBTQ+ audience and advertise with Prizm today. For more information, contact Advertising Director Joe Matessa (614) 975-4724 or at joematessa@prizmnews.com August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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fashion to me Photos by Staley Munroe

Street fashion photography has always been a favorite of mine, seeing sharp people stepping into their natural environment sporting their own personal style. For our Fashion Issue, we feature Prizm’s own Fab Four, who turn heads everywhere they go. We asked them to tell us what fashion means to them, and we asked them a whole lot more that’s included in interviews posted at PrizmNews.com. “Personal fashion is the articulation of your experiences, and how you decided to put them together. This does not represent the entirety of you, but a glimpse into the complexity of your human nature: whether you use personal style to convey art, culture, music, interests, or to differentiate yourself from a herd of look-alikes. My style goes through evolution periodically, but I am drawn to androgyny, skin, drama, simplicity, silhouette, layering, the mix of feminine and masculine aesthetics, and sophistication.” Marcus McDowell, Cincinnati

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“My style comes down to choosing whatever makes me feel the best for that occasion! I like to dress very intentionally, hopefully with respect to the classics with an artistic edge. I also definitely dress for an advantage in a professional setting. Every last detail matters. My belief is the one who shows up best prepared and presented prevails. Dressing for others is a level of respect...showing up dressed well is a way to say, ‘I honor you and our time together.’” Julia Wesselkamper, Cincinnati


“The perfect definition of my wardrobe would he colorful, floral and full of life. I like to express my humor via my clothing, and I consider myself a happy person that always attempts to correlate my style of dress with my personality. I have three closets and I am a lover of shoes and I truly don’t think that in the last five years I have gone more than a week maximum without adding something new to my wardrobe. My friends have nicknamed me “the queen of print.” I don’t like boring items; in my closet I have approximately 500 T-shirts, an unexplainable number of T-shirts, of which I likely have 10 white and five black, while the rest are colorful.”

“Trans women have shaped fashion culture for decades. It’s only in recent history that more and more major figures in the fashion and modeling industry are being revealed of being of trans experience (for example, the stunning Tracey Norman). Fashion, finally celebrating the diversity that it has so long silenced, is getting closer to an equally representative form of art. And not just representation in the form of major designers and advertisers embracingtransness because it’s ‘the hot new thing,’ but from the inside out. More and more trans, GNC, POC, body-variant and other marginalized groups are rightfully spearheading movements in design, photography, publication and beauty.”

Gerardo Encinas, Columbus

Zoë Lapin, Cleveland

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ONE OF

US Jason Estremera Home: Lakewood Identifies As: Gay Pronouns: He/Him/His

Jason Estremera is the associate director of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development, where he manages education and outreach programs and helps entrepreneurs and owners develop their businesses. He knows what he’s doing. Estremera has an MBA from Cleveland State University and owned a men’s and women’s clothing store in the Gordon Square Arts District before he and his business partner successfully transitioned it into an online business. He’s Cleveland-born but Chicago-raised. He came home to Cleveland in 2010 and says he’s excited to be part of a renaissance that he says is “putting Cleveland back on the map.” Outside of work, Estremera is a member of Teatro Publico de Cleveland and a board member of the Cleveland Public Theater. He’s on the Young Professional Advisory Council at JumpStart, the Gordon Square Economic Development Committee, the Lakewood Citizens Advisory Committee and the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Central Committee. Why he loves job: “I love the diversity of entrepreneurs who walk in the doors, each one seeking creative, diverse opportunities and challenges that strengthen character and create economic impact.” On the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development: “Our mission is to provide Spanish bilingual technical assistance and training to entrepreneurs who are starting or growing a business. My office is located in the Clark Fulton neighborhood on the Near West Side, home to the highest density of Latinos in the state of Ohio. This puts us in the unique position of supporting a growing population of individuals who lack access to culturally relevant business development services. We are committed to growing hyper-local, Latinoowned and -operated businesses within their own neighborhood, creating opportunities for wealthbuilding and economic mobility.” Visit hbcenter.org. Photo by Staley Munroe One of Us is a monthly portrait celebrating the diversity of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.

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OUT in OHIO

NEWS FLASH Visit PrizmNews.com 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. HRC Endorses Danny O’Connor in Special Congressional Election The Human Rights Campaign has weighed in with an endorsement of Democrat Danny O’Connor in an Ohio special election for Congress that’s being watched nationally. “If you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve to get ahead, no matter what zip code you’re from, who you love, or how you identify,” said O’Connor, who’s running in the Aug. 7 election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.

Zoo-Rassic Park

Plexus Summer Soirée

Columbus

She’s used to attracting a few bears and otters to her drag shows, but Nina West’s July 14 show at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium included some real-life animal friends. The night included a tour of Dinosaur Island and a Surfin’ Safari show that raised money for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Photos courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Toledo Loves Love Fest

Toledo

Entertainers that Toledo loves—Sylvia Austin, London Asia, Brook Lockheart and Nicole Khoury, to name a few— took the stage on July 14 for the third annual Toledo Loves Love Fest. The party at the Love Wall on Adams Street raised money for Equality Toledo.

Cleveland

You don’t get better views of Cleveland and Lake Erie than from atop the 23-story Ernst & Young tower on the East Bank of the Flats. E&Y and Lago East Bank restaurant hosted the annual summer get-together for Plexus, the LGBTQ chamber of commerce for Northeast Ohio, on July 13.

O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder, is running against Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson of Zanesville, who calls himself a strong supporter of President Donald Trump. The 12th district includes parts of seven counties: Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum and Richland. Equitas Health Expands Coverage for Transgender Employees Equitas Health, the largest healthcare provider for LGBTQ people in Ohio, will begin covering more medical services for its transgender employees starting Aug. 1. The nonprofit is adding about a dozen services and procedures to employee health plans that already cover gender-confirmation surgeries. “As a provider of transgender health services, we wanted to give our employees access to the same type of care we think all our patients deserve,” said Peggy Anderson, chief operating officer for Equitas Health, which has 17 offices in 11 cities throughout Ohio. Obergefell Endorses Sherrod Brown: ‘We Need Him in the Senate’ Nearly three years to the day after he won marriage equality for us all, Jim Obergefell endorsed U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and urged LGBTQ Ohioans to work hard for his re-election. “Get out there. Knock on doors. Wear out your shoes,” Obergefell said at the launch of an initiative called LGBTQ Community for Sherrod, designed to highlight the two-term senator’s support of LGBTQ people and issues during his decades in public office. “We need him in the Senate.” Brown is running for re-election against Republican Jim Renacci, a U.S representative from Northeast Ohio who has averaged 10 points per term on the Human Rights Campaign congressional scorecard over his six years in Congress. Brown has scored 100 points on the each HRC measure of congressional votes during his current term. Equality Cincinnati Becomes Part of Equality Ohio A merger between Equality Cincinnati and Equality Ohio will help the push for progress on LGBTQ issues throughout Southwest Ohio, advocates say. The Cincinnati advocacy group formed in 2005 is becoming part of Equality Ohio, according to Grant Stancliff, spokesman for the statewide organization. Equality Ohio is adding a full-time Southwest Ohiobased organizer to its staff. Cincinnati has made great progress in adopting proLGBTQ laws and policies since voters in 2004 rescinded a law that kept the city from enacting them. But according to an Equality Ohio analysis of 250 cities throughout the state, no other communities in Southwest Ohio have adopted pro-equality ordinances.

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“I’m confident I know my status. Not only do I practice safe sex, but I also have another layer of protection.”

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Short North Medical Center 1033 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43201 (614) 340-6777 August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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A Dream Project An oratorio by Cincinnati's Steve Milloy gives civil rights hero Bayard Rustin his due.

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Queer Films Are Part of Black Film Festival The second Columbus Black International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 23 with a collection of queer shorts and a feature film about a young artist who crosses paths with an elderly man whom he discovers was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

Steve Milloy

By Alistair Kraft Steve Milloy has been singing in LGBTQIA choruses for more than 20 years. In that time, he’s performed pieces about Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard and other dead white gay men. He was weary of not hearing stories about those who looked like him or shared his experiences. But it wasn’t until he happened upon the 2003 documentary,“Brother Outsider,” about Bayard Rustin that he got the inspiration to write his own piece in honor of this pivotal but overlooked civil rights figure. To tell an important story in brief, Rustin was responsible for teaching Martin Luther King Jr. about the ideas of nonviolent resistance. Without Rustin, as Milloy has said many times, there is no Dream. Then why is he not taught about in schools? Rustin was an openly gay black man during the 1960s. It’s why he effectively vanished from history despite playing a vital role in one of its important eras. A firm believer in being the change you want to see, Milloy took this kernel of an idea to Jane Ramseyer, the artistic director for One Voice Mixed Chorus in Minneapolis. She was on board, and after two years and with the commission of six other choruses, “Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream” became a reality. Milloy is the primary composer of the piece, but he is the first to credit those who helped him put together his oratorio. Ramseyer was the architect of the piece who made it happen, he says. Lyrics were contributed by Norman Welsh, David Major and Bruce Preston. Vanessa German wrote the narration that weaves the storyline together. Milloy conducted the premiere performance of his piece in St. Paul, Minn., in January 2017. It drew packed houses and received standing ovations every night. Now it’s coming to Ohio for four September performances in Yellow Springs, Dayton and Cincinnati. Those who buy tickets will get to hear a wide variety of genres, which won’t surprise anyone who has seen the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus in this most recent season with Milloy as artistic director. While a few members of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus are participating, the call for singers was general and open to anyone who wanted to commit to rehearsals and participate. The majority comes from the World House Choir in Yellow Springs.

There are standard musical pieces, pop numbers, concert spirituals and recognizable passages from popular music of the time period. Audiences are encouraged to sing and clap along at several points, making the performance educational, moving and engaging in a way most pieces of its kind aren’t. Pulling the audience in and making people feel part of the show—and the movement—is a big reason why Milloy wanted this piece to exist in the first place. He loves that those who remember and lived through the Civil Rights Movement get to remember their experiences, but it’s also wonderful to him that young people are learning this history and maybe seeing a hero who looks a bit more like them. He says it was his hope that people would learn who Bayard Rustin was but also take inspiration from his life and go out into the world and try to make a difference in their own ways. Writing the oratorio is a way of reaching people who might not learn its story elsewhere, Milloy says. And he says that maybe it’s a way he can also can contribute to making the world a better place. Milloy says he believes that everyone must be inspired to work together to do what they can to change the world though small, peaceful but meaningful acts. He wants the audience to enjoy the show, to participate and rise to their feet, clapping and singing along. Then he wants them to go out into the world and their lives feeling inspired to pick up where Rustin left off, doing what they can. FIND OUT MORE There will be four performances in September of “Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream.” Here are the details: • Thursday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Foundry Theatre at Anitoch College, 920 Court St., Yellow Springs, 45387. Both performances start at 7 p.m.

More than 30 films, all by black filmmakers and featuring stories of the black experience, will be screened during the three-day festival. Last year’s inaugural event drew more than 200 people. Founder Cristyn Steward is a filmmaker who grew up in Columbus and returned to her hometown in 2015 after years in California’s Bay Area. She said she created the event after seeing few black films and filmmakers on the marquee at other festivals. “It was sort of a call to action initially,” says Steward, a member of the LGBTQ community who identifies as bisexual. The film festival’s fare isn’t all LGBTQfocused, but our stories are wellrepresented. In addition to the opening-night lineup, there’s a screening on Saturday, Aug. 25 of “Happy Birthday, Marsha!,” a short film that imagines legendary trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera in the hours leading up to the 1969 Stonewall uprising. It’s at 2 p.m. at the Gateway Film Center, 1550 N. High St., Columbus, 43201. The queer-themed shorts on opening day are grouped under the title, “The Skin I’m In.” The free screenings begin at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 at the Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Studio, 1871 N. High St., Columbus, 43210. The films include: “A Drop of Sun Under the Earth,” by Shikeith Cathey; “This Ain’t a Eulogy: A Ritual for Re-Membering,” by Taja Lindley; “100 Boyfriends Mixtape (The Demo),” by Brontez Purnell; and “SatisfiedGone,” by Kengné Téguia.

• Friday, Sept. 7 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Wilkinson St., Dayton, 45402. Starts at 7 p.m.

Screenwriter and director Rodney Evans will attend a 7 p.m. opening-night showing of “Brother to Brother.” The 2004 feature is the story of a young man whose own identity as a gay black man is strengthened when he befriends poet Richard Bruce Nugent, one of the rare openly gay writers of his day.

• Sunday, Sept. 9 at House of Joy; 5912 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, 45224. Starts at 4 p.m.

Visit columbusbiff.com for ticket information and a complete lineup of films.

Visit bayardthemanthedream.org for more about the oratorio.

Alistair J. Kraft is a Cincinnati native, poet, writer, professor and legal editor. He’s also a member of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram @poetofcats

August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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Fashion on Film

Three days of screenings honor the Columbus Museum of Art’s late design curator.

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Designer Charles Kleibacker (above) and some of his designs.

By Gabriel Mastin Charles Kleibacker brought the Columbus Museum of Art fashion, fundraisers and some of my best friends and mentors. Through Charles’ closest friends inviting me into his world at the museum, I would begin to volunteer, join committees, help plan parties, meet the most wonderful people, and eventually join the staff. Charles had an eye for excellence and a heart for people. Charles Kleibacker was born in Cullman, Ala., population 6,000, in 1921. He would learn about retailing at a family-owned department store and cotton gin around the corner. He attended Notre Dame and graduated magna cum laude in 1943 with a degree in journalism. He then pursued a graduate degree in retailing at New York University’s Wall Street campus in 1945. In the late 1940s, Charles took a job assisting Hildegarde, a glamorous American cabaret singer known for her song “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.” While touring in Paris, Hildegarde was dressed at the House of Dior. “As a member of her entourage, I was welcomed to view the daily showing at 3 in the afternoon whenever I could get away from work. I went often!” he said in 2009. “This was a turning point for me. The beauty of the Dior salons, the clothes, the models and the whole atmosphere—I was mesmerized. Then and there, I made up my mind. This is what I’ve always wanted to be, a designer of women’s clothing, clothing that has merit.” Charles returned to New York after three months abroad and employed Madame Berg from an atelier in Paris to teach him the world of fabrics, draping and design. In 1954, he returned to Paris, portfolio in hand, and worked for Antonio del Castillo, head designer for Lanvin. What a dream! Back in New York in 1958 Charles freelanced for Nettie Rosenstein, who is known as the mother of the little black luncheon dress. Do you have your little black dress? As Charles would say, “Always planning a lunch.” In 1960 Charles opened Kleibacker Studio and became known as “the master of the bias cut.” “The dresses were sublime,” retired fashion executive Coco Hashim said in 2009. “These dresses were all about the feminine figure. You wore the dress. It moved with you. It was so carefully cut on the

bias. It was like wearing nothing. The garments just floated.” Charles’ label sold well at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel; to specialty stores Nan Duskin in Philadelphia, Martha in New York and Palm Beach, and Stanley Korshak in Chicago; and to private clients, including Lady Bird Johnson and Pat Nixon and actress Diahann Carroll. Oh my, to be in those fittings! Charles came to Ohio State University in the fall of 1984 for one quarter as a visiting professor in the Department of Textiles and Clothing. He later became designer-in-residence in 1985, with a goal to build a Historic Costume and Textiles Collection for the university. He started with 800 garments and would end with close to 8,000. He closed his studio in New York in 1986 and committed himself to the collection. Charles curated many exhibitions, threw flawless parties, inspired many and made Columbus an entirely more elegant and fashionable place to live. Among his most exceptional exhibitions were Memorable Dress/Ohio Women in 1986 and Black & White: Dress From the 1920s to Today in 1992. In 2002, Charles was appointed as the adjunct curator of design at the Columbus Museum of Art. In 2004, he established the Charles Kleibacker Endowed Fund for Excellence, which supports programs that address issues of art and culture, including those inspired by the world of design. After losing Charles in 2010, four of his dearest friends—Adam Burk, Cordelia Robinson, Virginia Stoltz and John Wirchanski—assisted the museum in managing the Kleibacker Fund and created a three-day fashion film festival that has become an annual favorite. The films in the seventh annual festival this month are quite extensive in their reach and subject matter. They cover everything from matters of the heart to personal struggle, fashion, design, fame, sexual identity and more: • Thursday, Aug. 16: “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” is an in-depth portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik and how his extraordinary dedication to his craft led him to become the world’s most famous luxury shoemaker, revered by celebrities, stylists and industry icons for generations. 6 p.m.

• Friday, Aug. 18: “House of Z” chronicles the meteoric rise of fashion designer Zac Posen, his epic fall from favor, and his challenge to rebuild his company and his reputation. It’s a portrait of an artist as a young man, an insider’s view of the ups and downs of the fashion industry, and a look behind the curtain of one of the most distinguished brands in the world. 6 p.m. • Saturday, Aug. 18: “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” is a documentary-based time capsule of Paris and New York between 1969 and 1973 and viewed through the eyes of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez. A native of Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, he was a seductive arbiter of style and glamor who brought elements of the urban street to a postwar fashion world desperate for change and diversity.” 2 p.m. Tickets are free and on a first-come basis. Tickets can be reserved at columbusmuseum.org/ kleibacker Complimentary movie snacks will be provided. Additional fare, wine and beer will be available for purchase before the Thursday and Saturday afternoon films in the museum’s Schokko Café. FIND OUT MORE The Columbus Museum of Art is located at 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, 43215. It’s open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fridays-Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. It’s closed on Mondays. Visit columbusmuseum.org for more. Ohio State University’s Historic Costume & Textiles Collection’s 11,500-plus holdings encompass a range of textiles, clothing and accessories from the mid-18th century to contemporary designers. It’s located in the Gladys Keller Snowden Galleries, 279 Campbell Hall, 1787 Neil Ave., Columbus, 43210. It’s open Tuesdays-Thursdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturdays from noon-4 p.m. Visit costume.osu.edu for more.

Gabriel Mastin is a Mansfield native who works as the Columbus Museum of Art’s leadership giving officer. He’s also on the board at Stonewall Columbus. Photos courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 7 Music Boy George and Culture Club Since 1981, Culture Club has sold more than 50 million records worldwide, led by their classic hits, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “Karma Chameleon,” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.” 8 p.m. at Centennial Terrace, 5773 Centennial Road, Sylvania, 43560. Tickets are $40-$88. More info: centennialterrace.org. (The group has another concert scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield. FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 Art Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits The late photographer captured portraits of many of the 20th century’s most notable figures, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Andy Warhol. The exhibit runs through Sunday, Sept. 16 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton, 45405. The museum is open Wednesdays-Sundays, and admission is $8. More info: daytonartinstitute.org. THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 Theater ‘Spring Awakening’ Near West Theatre’s summer teen and young adult production is an angsty rock musical adaptation of the seminal play about the trials and tribulations of growing up. 7:30 p.m. at Near West Theatre, 6702 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 44102. Tickets are $10-$25. There are eight performances scheduled through Sunday, Aug. 12. More info: nearwesttheatre.org. Comedy An Evening With Lily Tomlin She’s been on stage and television since the 1960s and on the big screen since the 1970s. She’s won Emmys, a Tony and a Grammy. She’s entertained audiences from “Laugh In” to her current series, “Grace & Frankie.” 8 p.m. at the Taft Theatre, 317 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, 45202. Tickets are $38.50$58.50, and VIP tickets for $125 include a meetand-greet and a prime seat location. More info: tafttheatre.org. FRIDAY, AUGUST 3 Road Trip Bears in the Woods XXIV It’s a weekend of fur and fun hosted by Arktos Bears. The party lasts until Sunday, Aug. 5 at Freedom Valley Campground, 1875 U.S. Hwy. 250 S, New London, 44851. Registration is $150, which includes tent accommodations. More info: arktosbears.org. SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 Sports Queen of the Beach Volleyball Tournament The Cincinnati Alternative Volleyball Association hosts its fourth annual tournament. There are four rounds of tournament play, and each time you’ll play with a new team. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Dunham Recreation Area, 4356 Dunham Lane, Cincinnati, 45238. More info: cincyvball.org.

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Music Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb and Diana Chittester Chittester, the popular lesbian singer/songwriter from Cleveland, shares the bill with two 1990s stars. 8 p.m. at Cain Park, 14591 Superior Road, Cleveland Heights, 44118. Tickets are $25-$38. More info: cainpark.com. Drag Virginia West Presents Heroes & Villains Joining Virginia in the ultimate battle for the galaxy are Nina West, Krystal Something Something, Maria Garrison, Anisa Love, Bianna Reyonce, Shawty West, Roxy Nicole, Barbie Roberts, V Master Chad, Boyonce, Bianca Debonair, Candi Panties, The West Family Dancers and emcee Sandy Von Lipshitz. 8 p.m. at Axis, 775 N. High St., Columbus, 43215. Tickets are $12-$25. There are 10 shows planned through Sunday, Aug. 26. More info: FB: Axis Nightclub. SATURDAY, AUGUST 11 Fundraiser David B. Cook Memorial Fund Benefit The two-night event honors a lost friend and raises both money and awareness for HIV support services and LGBTQ advocacy in Greater Akron. 8 p.m. at Tear-Ez, 360 S. Main St., Akron, 44311. More info: canapi.org. Community Cincinnati Leather 2018 The contest formerly known as Mr. Cincinnati Leather is a elebration of the leather community. 8 p.m. at the Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Cincinnati, 45202. Tickets are $10. More info: cincinnatileather.com. MONDAY, AUGUST 13 Books LGBTQIA Book Club The Dayton Metro Library hosts this book club on the second Monday of each month. The August title is, “Eleanor and Hick” by Susan Quinn. 7 p.m.9 p.m. at the Greater Dayton LGBT Center, 24 N. Jefferson St., Suite 200, Dayton, 45402. More info: daytonlgbtcenter.org. Theater/Fundraiser ‘The Divine Sister’ Once a year, Weathervane Playhouse plays host to a benefit performance for CANAPI. This year, it’s Charles Busch’s outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns.

7:30 p.m. at Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, 44313. Tickets are $25. More info: weathervaneplayhouse.com. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15 Education Legal Name & Gender Change Clinic Trained attorneys will provide one-on-one counseling to walk you through the process of updating your identity documents during this free legal clinic. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the ACLU of Ohio, 4506 Chester Ave., Cleveland, 44103. More info: equitashealth.com. FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 At the Bars Madonna’s 60th Birthday Party It’s all Madonna, all night: Tour clips, remixes, fan favorites and hit singles. Dress as your favorite Madonna look for a chance to win prizes. 9:30 p.m.2:30 a.m. at Twist, 11633 Clifton Blvd., Cleveland, 44102. More info: FB: Twist Social Club. SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 Fundraiser HRC Cleveland Dinner & Auction HRC President Chad Griffin will attend the annual event, celebrating its 25th year. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, 100 Lakeside Ave. E, Cleveland, 44114. Tickets start at $125. More info: FB: HRC Cleveland. TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 Music Jurnee and ‘American Idol’ Live The summer tour features this season’s Top 7 finalists, including Jurnee, an 18-year-old from Littleton, Colo., who’s an out lesbian. 7 p.m. at the Taft Theatre, 317 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, 45202. Tickets are $38.50-$58.50. More info: tafttheatre. org. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22 Community Stolen Moments: Intergenerational LGBTQ+ Storytelling Trailblazers and those who have succeeded them combine for a moving celebration of what was, what is and what can be. 7 p.m. at Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 44122. Tickets are $15. More info: lgbtcleveland.org. Theater ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ Evolution Theatre presents the musical that’s based on the beloved 1994 movie. 7:30 p.m. at Shedd Theatre, Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave., Columbus, 43215. Tickets are $15-$35. There are eight performances scheduled through Saturday, Sept. 1. More info: evolutiontheatre.org. Comedy Midwest Queer Comedy Fest This five-day comedy festival features 61 comedians performing at eight different venues across Columbus. Featured performers during the


festival’s run are Columbus’ Brooke Cartus, Ian Aber of Atlanta, and Jenn Snyder of Columbia, S.C. 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at Bossy Grrl’s Pin-Up Joint, 2598 N. High St., Columbus, 45202. Full- access passes are $60, and daily passes are $20-$30. Festival shows are scheduled through Sunday, Aug. 26. More info: mqcfest.com. THURSDAY, AUGUST 23 Business Akron LGBT & Ally Professional Networking Bring your business cards and get ready to make new connections. Plexus, the Northeast Ohio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, hosts this event for Akronarea professionals. 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. at Triad Communications, Foundry Building, 1701 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 44221. More info: thinkplexus.org. FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 Road Trip Rangers’ Dawg Days Spend the weekend in the pool, at parties or in the pound to benefit the charities of the Northeast Ohio leather group. The celebration runs through Sunday at Freedom Valley Campground, 1875 U.S. Hwy. 250 S, New London, 44851. More info: FB: RangersInc. SATURDAY, AUGUST 25 Music MUSE, Women’s Choir Auditions Now’s your chance: The Cincinnati choir only holds auditions once a year. There are both morning and audition times available at Community Matters, 2104 St. Michael St., Cincinnati, 45204. More info: musechoir.org. Drag Shangela Halleloo! Shangela is the only contestant to compete on three separate seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”—and she should have won All Stars. 10 p.m. at Interbelt Nite Club, 70 N. Howard St., Akron, 44308. Ticket info has yet to be announced. Check FB: Interbelt Nite Club. THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 On Campus BGSU’s Big Gay Welcome A showcase of LGBTQ student talent and a chance to learn about LGBTQ organizations and programs on campus. 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Ballroom, 806 Ridge St., Bowling Green, 43403. More info: bgsu.edu/multicultural-affairs. FRIDAY, AUGUST 31 Sports Midwest Invitational Softball Tournament Better known as MIST, this year’s tournament includes 40 teams. Games take place Saturday and Sunday at Victory Sports Park, 7777 Victory Lane, North Ridgeville, 44039; and Shady Drive Sports Complex, 37077 Shady Lane, North Ridgeville, 44039. There are also parties and other activities on the schedule. More info: northcoastsoftball.org.

Mansfield Pride Saturday, August 4 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Central Park, Downtown The theme of Mansfield's fourth annual Pride celebration is "Be You!" There will be a kid zone for the wee ones and a beer tent for those who spent too much time in the kid zone with their kids. The entertainment lineup is packed with performers. Bands include the Jimmy Hudson Band, Fiendish Thingie and Moonman TV, and drag queens include Carly Üninemclite, Cherry Veneer and Brionna Brooks. The Pride parade steps off at 11 a.m. from Main and 5th streets with grand marshal Lydia Reid, Mansfield's longest-serving and first female mayor. She's been a lifelong LGBTQ ally. The procession ends at Park Avenue, where the festival starts about noon.

Toledo Pride Saturday, August 18 Noon-11:30 p.m. Levis Square, Downtown Toledo Pride has grown into one of the city's biggest summer festivals, attracting about 20,000 people annually. The parade steps off at noon from Adams and Warren streets and will make its way down Adams Street to the festival site at Levis Square. The festival will run until 11:30 p.m. Pride includes a week of events, though. Equality Toledo will host a kickoff party on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at at the Collingwood Arts Center from 6 p.m.11 p.m. There will be a candlelight vigil on Adams Street on Thursday, Aug. 16 at 9 p.m. to honor the origins of Pride, the community's struggles and celebrations, and to remember those who are no longer with us. All events—including an Aug. 17 Pride-eve drag show and an Aug. 19 brunch crawl—are listed with complete details on our calendar of events at PrizmNews.com.

Akron Pride Saturday, Aug. 25 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hardesty Park, West Akron Betty Who will headline Akron's second Pride festival, which takes place from noon-6 p.m. "My entire career has been shaped and defined by the LGBTQ+ community," the Australian pop singer said last year in Billboard magazine. "It is such an honor to play pride festivals every summer." The day starts at 11 a.m. with a March for Equality from Highland Square to Hardesty Park, which is the site for the festival.

August 2018 PRIZMnews.com |

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