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A New Chapter AJ Casey Takes the Helm of Stonewall Columbus

Lesbian Art Collective Exhibits Its Fierce Work The Synthesis of Lisa Bella Donna Your Holiday Presence: Bold Looks for Winter

DECEMBER 2018 | December 2018 |








| December 2018

By Bob Vitale


Casey brings 30 years of experience developing, running and raising money for nonprofit agencies to her new job as executive director of Stonewall Columbus. She also brings the experience of a daughter of a civil-rights lawyer and registered nurse “who instilled in us a need to fight for what’s right.”

Incoming Director AJ Casey brings a long resume and lofty ideals to the Columbus community center.

“It’s not about the work of being an executive director,” she says of what drew her to the job. “It’s not about the paperwork. It’s not about the facility maintenance, although those are all huge things. It’s about changing, helping, supporting the lives of people who are literally counting on us for their lives. It’s an awesome responsibility.” It’s also “a scary honor,” she jokes. Casey, a native of Cincinnati, graduate of Youngstown State University and resident of

Columbus since the 1990s, was hired in November to lead the 37-year-old LGBTQ community center. She’ll start with the new year. She takes the helm at a critical juncture. Stonewall opened the doors in mid-November on a $4 million building renovation and expansion that triples its space and will accommodate expanded services and programming. The center also is turning the page on friction that followed the arrests and convictions of four black and queer activists who stepped into the 2017 Pride parade to protest police violence and call attention to violence against trans women of color. Casey says she plans to meet with people throughout the LGBTQ community during her first 100 days on the job. She attended some of the meetings that took place over the last year—“some of them were not very pleasant experiences,” she says—but remains convinced that Stonewall can emerge “stronger, bigger, better, wiser.” Continued on Page 12

Painting by Aminah Robinson

December 2018 |



Your Holiday Presence This winter, be bold—and stay warm— with funky vintage-inspired, beautiful Bohemian, sporty and practical looks.


NEWS Stonewall’s Next Chapter As Stonewall Columbus opens its expanded and renovated community center, it’s bringing in a new leader who’s looking forward to the challenge.


CULTURE The Synthesis of Lisa Bella Donna Music built a name for the Ohioan and took her all over the world. It also helped her embrace her true self. Still Fierce After All These Years The work of the lesbian art collective fierce pussy is being shown at the Beeler Gallery in Columbus. It’s as radical and empowering as it was twoplus decades ago.

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DEPARTMENTS Letter From the Editor Next Best Things


One of Us


Out in Ohio / News Flash


Calendar of Events


‘Hocking Hills Ohio in Winter’ Photo by Larry Knupp @Idknupp


| December 2018



Letter From the Editor

Chief Executive Officer Bill Hardy President Joel Diaz Publisher Carol Zimmer Clark Editor Bob Vitale

As an old political reporter, I found myself personally inspired by the 11 LGBTQ Ohioans who put themselves before their fellow citizens as candidates for office this year. Ten of them lost their races, but each of them ran honest, issue-oriented campaigns that we all can be proud of.

Creative Director Staley Jophiel Munroe Designer Patrick Butler Advertising Director Joe Matessa Contributing Writers Lori Gum, Daniel Myers

Contributing Photographers Argonian Photography, Sydney Ashbaugh, Chester Beltowski, Dane Christian, Ken Falk, Larry Knupp, Tristan Weary Prizm encourages feedback from our readers. Share your comments at For news consideration, event listings, letters to the editor and inquiries about freelance writing, email For photography submissions and inquiries about modeling/styling assignments, email Address subscription inquiries to Carol Clark, Prizm Magazine 7575 Huntington Park Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43235 © 2018 Prizm magazine. For permissions and questions contact Prizm is a proud member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Cover story photos by Sydney Ashbaugh


ike in most conversations these days, we avoided politics until we knew we were on the same page. Her clue came when I mentioned that I worked for an LGBTQ magazine. “Oh my god. Tell me something to feel good about,” she said. It was a week after the election, and I knew at that moment it didn’t go totally the way she wanted, either. The results in most other places made the results here all the more disheartening. It feels like we’re not really a swing state anymore here in Ohio. Our politics now match our Buckeyes sweatshirts: bright red. Her need to have something hopeful to hold onto, though, helped me a bit, too. I started telling her about some of the stories we’ve shared this year in Prizm: • Springfield, South Euclid and Cuyahoga County outlawed discrimination based on people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s part of an effort by Equality Ohio and local activists to bypass a conservative state legislature that’s ignoring a bill supported by 69 percent of the people they represent. • Lakewood banned the dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” for minors, and the state agency that licenses 40,000 counselors, social workers and family therapists issued a warning in November that anyone who tries to change a patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity could lose their professional license.

In August, I sat in an Akron coffee shop with Lis Kenneth Regula, who was the first transgender Ohioan to seek public office. He told me about his experience at a local festival in Portage County, where he was running for auditor. In what seemed to him to be a coordinated effort, several people approached him that day and addressed him with misgendered terms. I begged him to let me write about it at the time, but he declined. He shouldered that indignity—as so many in our community do—and continued on with his work. The biology professor taught me that day about scientific origins of the term cis; I still have the diagram he drew in my notebook. So despite the November election results in Ohio, there’s still a lot to feel good about at year’s end. Our community has accomplished things to make us all—on paper at least—safer and more secure. And through our own lives—at work, at home and out in the world—we are living the change we wish to see. Happy holidays and best wishes to all.

Bob Vitale

• Cleveland and Toledo joined Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton in the top tier of U.S. cities whose policies toward LGBTQ people are reviewed annually by the Human Rights Campaign. Ohio had more cities with the top score than any other state except California. But as always, I look back most fondly at the people we met who entrusted us to share their stories with you. Our writers told the stories of LGBTQ Ohioans and how they fell in love, how they’re raising their families, how they’ve built their businesses, and how they’re sharing their artistic gifts with the world. December 2018 |


The Synthesis of

Lisa Bella Donna Music has taken the Ohoan all over the world. And it helped her embrace her true self.

By Daniel Myers Photos by Tristan Weary

refuge and an expression and, eventually, a career.


“When I was 15, I was making music fulltime as a profession, eventually touring up and down the East Coast.” She moved from coast to coast, living in L.A. and Boston while working in recording studios. In 1999 she moved back to Ohio and began her own studio in Columbus, delving more deeply into the craft of modular synthesis that has become her trademark.

alking into a room with Lisa Bella Donna is perhaps the best way to begin a conversation with her. The whispered recognition from pockets of the room reveals the celebrity she carries as a goddess in the pantheon of rock and roll (and jazz, and ambient music, and...). Her focus on everything but that recognition speaks of her awareness and humility. She is serious. She is engaging. She is warm and welcoming. She is a woman who has carved an identity for herself that is all her own, forged over the years in a sonic furnace of her own design. She is Lisa Bella Donna. “I’m known for shredding,” she says with a disarming laugh. She’s known for her work as a solo recording artist and as a member of the Columbus-based progressive-rock band, EYE. Bella Donna also is a representative for the Akron-based guitar effects manufacturer Earthquaker Devices, and she’s a consultant and programmer for three major synthesizer manufacturers. She has two albums coming out in December: “Live USA/Europe,” a full-length record of live recordings from this year’s travels, and “Destinations,” a collection of modular synthesizer compositions that includes some live performances. Another new album, “The Haunting of October Dreams,” a tone poem for early 20th century acetates and Mellotron orchestrations, was released in October. Born in Cleveland, she moved to West Virginia with her mother at age 10 and spent her teen years in Marietta. At the age of 3, she began to sense a chasm between who she knew herself to be and the role the world was beginning to force her into. Music became a


| December 2018

It wasn’t until five years ago that she began her transition. Up until then, she grappled with the substance of her identity by going into her basement, where she could express herself in the clothing she wore and in the compositions that came from the honesty of that expression. In the basement, she was free to rest in whom she was, and her creativity came from that place of safety. But then it would come time to leave. And depression, headaches, nausea and other illnesses would bombard her, she says, even though she would emerge from her basement onto a world stage. “I’ve played in every state in the continental United States, all over Europe, Germany, Austria, Switzerland... Japan, Tokyo...” She begins to drift off trying to recount all the borders she’s crossed when the conversation turns to her staggering talent as a multiinstrumentalist. Aside from her work with synthesizers, she also has honed her abilities in organ, piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, classical guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, upright bass, French horn, flute, and drums and percussion. She also has mastered “musique concréte,” which is a beastly instrument in itself. She explains it as an artistic form


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December 2018 |


of tape-editing in which sections of recorded tape are painstakingly spliced together to create atmospheric soundscapes that shattered musical barriers of the 1940s and ’50s. It’s the progenitor of what later became known as electronic music. “When I first got to Columbus, I didn’t immediately start getting into bands or working in the jazz scene. I basically got a couple of grants and spent the first four years doing nothing but studying physics and incorporating that with modular synthesis and musique concréte.” In her studio, she only used equipment that was available in the 1950s. It’s an approach she hasn’t strayed far from to this day. “Instead of just writing something in (4/4 time signature), I’ll have four to six different synthesizers connected, and they’ll all be sequencing in different time signatures, and it creates a sort of thatch work, a sort of texture that changes for the listener,” she says. Her goal is twofold: to train listeners to make a home for themselves in her music, and to train them how to listen to her music and the way that she moves within it. “It’s a matter of rotating that


| December 2018

rhythm,” she says. “Everyone already looked at me as a multidimensional human,” she says of the intersection of her gender identity and career. “I didn’t really lose many gigs. Some, but not many.” Since transitioning, she has found herself the target of sexual exploitation and various types of abuse. She also has faced scenarios where even after decades of proven expertise, she encounters colleagues who try to talk over her or don’t take her opinions seriously. To that, she replies: “You’d better come to my gig prepared. I’m not easily intimidated.” Bella Donna has some unapologetic views on the music industry. It should lose autotune, she says, and bad music in general, although her tastes reflect an ability to appreciate the best of any genre, from death metal to pop. She’s also over the inflated egos, although she’s quick to praise her contemporaries, saying “it’s amazing how many detail-oriented people are out there making great music.” While well-aware of the problems that plague

communities in which we all operate, Bella Donna says she’s encouraged by the growth she has seen. She’s also happy to encourage those who are coming up behind her. Her advice: “Go to bed later, get up earlier. How bad do you want it? How bad do you want to be you? How much gratitude do you have for what you’re doing?” Gratitude seems to be a core theme of her approach to work and life. “If the frequency of your gratitude can match your work ethic, then I think that allows us to have a calibrated system to work from.” Daniel Myers is a musician and writer who lives in Columbus. He’s a member of the band, Guilded Sun. FIND OUT MORE To learn more about Lisa Bella Donna and hear some of her music, visit Every Wednesday in December, Lisa Bella Donna will perform from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St., Columbus, 43202. She says the shows will feature entirely different musical themes and feature Columbus jazz, rock, Brazilian and soul musicians. There will be a $5 cover.

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Deck the Hall 2018 (Right) Akron Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens—the century-old home of Goodyear cofounder F.A. Seiberling—transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland of trees, floral decorations and more than a million lights filling its 21 historic rooms. Tours are available most days during December. • $18/$7 for children. Claus Porto Gift Box (Left) Designers Guild, Cincinnati This beautiful gift box is the perfect stocking stuffer for any fine soap lover. They’re wrapped in labels and patterns from the archives of Claus Porto, a Portuguese soap-maker that’s been around for more than 130 years. • $62 ‘The Disasters’ by M.K. England (Below) Book Release Date: December 18 This sci-fi follows a super queer quartet as they use their talents to stop a terrorist attack. Discovering it’s an inside job leads to the four being hunted down, but they’re determined to get the word out. With a little help and lots of brains, they just might save the day $17.99 Sneaker Cleaning Service (Below) Sole Classics, Columbus Salted sidewalks and muddy snow don’t have to ruin your sneakers. Treatments at Sole Classics, the Short North retailer, range from a basic cleaning to a thorough chemical cleansing of even the insole, with a water-repellent layer included. • $10-$50

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Continued from Page 3

“I don’t think there’s been any malicious intent to exclude people. There’s been a cry to be more purposeful about including people. I think that’s going to happen.”

We’re members of the LGBTQ+ community simply by virtue of our sexual orientation or gender identity, she says, but it takes more to bring us together in the broader sense of the word.

“People are trying to mend fences, build bridges. That has to happen. It has to start with conversations. It has to start with a willingness to understand.”

“Do we just coexist in a big empty world, all of us identifying with our specific letter of the alphabet?” she asks. “It’s one thing for us to identify as part of a community and be here and not know the guy sitting next to us. It’s another thing to come here and meet and make new connections.”

A day before she was introduced last month as Stonewall’s new leader, Casey sat in the lobby of the new center as construction workers rushed to get things ready for an opening reception. As a volunteer for the fundraising effort and a member of the Stonewall board since January, she’s been picturing how the expanded center would be used since it existed only on paper. Now as the incoming executive director, she sees more than support group meetings and ballroom dance classes and one-on-one counseling sessions. She sees more than wedding receptions and parties and conferences for which people will be able to rent space in the building. “I think now, in this political environment, a community center is more necessary than ever before. I think we live in a society now where hate is almost acceptable. A lot of the progress we’ve made is threatened,” Casey says. “I think this is the place—and I really intend that this is going to be the place—where people can come to just be themselves and also to find refuge and support and just love.” She knows that sounds kind of corny in these times. “I’ve been critiqued, criticized because I really believe that love is an answer,” she continues. “It’s a solution to the problems; it’s not a Band-Aid. It’s a healing thing. I think that’s what this center has to be.” Casey, who is a lesbian, has been thinking a lot lately about community and how we define it.


| December 2018

That’s the biggest challenge that awaits her, but it’s the part of the job Casey says she’s most looking forward to. It’s the “good awesome” she refers to right after saying she’s taking on an awesome responsibility. Casey began thinking about using her experience and talents within the LGBTQ community while attending her first Columbus Pride brunch in 2015, but she says she probably wouldn’t have sought the Stonewall job had it not been for the divisions laid bare in 2017. Before she moved back to Ohio in 1995, Casey was director of the Boys & Girls Club in Seattle. She came home to be closer to her parents. Her father was Ohio’s first black assistant U.S. attorney, and her mother was a civil-rights activist and nurse.

in which she lives and plans to serve it with an open-door policy. I couldn’t be more proud of this woman I fondly call sister.” Stonewall board Chair Rob Podlogar says trustees “could not be happier” to welcome Casey on board. “As the organization moves in to our new center we saw and have every confidence that AJ will bring the leadership, community partnership and fundraising experience to usher in this exciting new chapter. Together, we’re excited to expand the current programming to ensure that our entire community is represented.” Among her priorities, Casey says, is expanding Stonewall’s technological footprint and giving people more options for interacting with the center and using its services. She wants more intergenerational programming and more programs to bring LGBTQ people together across race and gender and identities. “I’ve got a million ideas,” she says. “I want us to be able to talk about how we can help eliminate barriers, know each other and connect. We are a community. We’re not just LGBTQ people all living in the same town.”

Most recently, she has worked with Benefactor Group, a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. Mary B. Relotto, the founder of Dames Bond, a networking and support organization for women entrepreneurs, has known Casey for 22 years. She calls her friend a problem-solver but describes talents that go far beyond that. “She is insightful, thoughtful and has the uncanny ability to make sense of just about anything through her words of wisdom,” Relotto says. “In fact, I have relied on AJ numerous times to guide me through some difficult situations. The bottom line is that she cares deeply about the community

Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram @Bob_Vitale. FIND OUT MORE Visit to find support groups, social events and other programs coordinated through Stonewall Columbus. To learn more about the renovated and expanded Stonewall Columbus community center, visit Stonewall Columbus organizes the annual Columbus Pride festival and parade. It’s scheduled for June 14-16 in 2019.





Still Fierce After All These Years The work of lesbian art collective fierce pussy is as radical and empowering as it was two-plus decades ago.

Joy Episalla, Nancy Brooks Brody and Carrie Yamaoka at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. Photo via Facebook

By Lori Gum 1991. New York City. Everyone was sick. Everyone was dying.


he Pride parade that year was truly an act of resistance. ACT UP had formed in March 1987 and now possessed a powerful voice against the human tragedy that was unfolding in our lives every day. The face of that community resistance was male, and lesbian invisibility was a very real thing.

founding members: Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla and Carrie Yamaoka. Their individual and collective works are showcased—along with the works of founding member Zoe Leonard—at the Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery through March 17 in a gallery show entitled, “fierce pussy amplified.” First, I enthusiastically thanked them for the Pride street sign action that had moved me so deeply.

“We started talking about the derogatory terms that lesbians were called. So our first project was a list of those terms. We made three lists and banged them out on the typewriter. So the next time we met, we wheat-pasted. We went out and got it on the streets.”

Our friends, brothers and fathers were dying, too. And we also were fighting to end what appeared to us to be no less than genocide.

The lists were simple. And compelling. One poster read, “I am a lezzie butch pervert girlfriend bulldagger sister dyke AND PROUD.” They’re as provocative now as they were then.

So imagine my surprise as a 29-year-old, out lesbian as I walked down the parade route and suddenly noticed that all of the street signs had been changed to the names of lesbian heroines and pioneers. We were here. We’d always been here, and we could be seen, and we were part of this fight.

“Those words had such a big effect, do have a big effect..., what you are called and what you are named and what you name yourself. It is a way of reclaiming that. Those posters were a shout-out to other queer people. We weren’t trying to talk to straight people with this.”

I’ll never forget the surge of joy that visibility gave to me. The pride of that moment has stuck with me for 27 years. But it wasn’t until recently that I finally found out who created that empowering act of street art and resistance. It was fierce pussy. fierce pussy is a collective of queer women artists formed in New York City in 1991 through their immersion in AIDS activism. The group powerfully brought lesbian visibility directly into the streets as witnessed above. I was lucky enough to sit down with three of the


at that time about lesbian visibility. We felt like we were here, working alongside our gay brethren, and we were invisible. It was such a difficult, ravaged, sad and intense time...that maybe there was a collective way to help each other out.

| December 2018

‘Paste-up Mechanical for the List sticker’, 1993 Photo by Stephen Takacs

They responded with delight, sharing broad, proud smiles and knowing nods. I then asked them about the impetus to start the collective. (Note: Episalla, Brooks Brody and Yamaoka asked that their replies in this story be collectively quoted as fierce pussy.) “We were all in ACT UP. We were in the trenches trying to save our friends’ lives. We decided to talk

Being a very large part of the evolution of our community’s language, I asked them if this might not also be said about our reclaiming of the word queer, still a controversial subject in segments of our community. “Given the moment that we are living in politically that is so beyond being fucked up... this is not a time for us to be divided. … To respect our differences and our diversity because that is what makes us so powerful. Not any one person needs to be any one thing. One of the things we talk about is unity. Let’s have conversations and arguments, but let’s not divide because that is what they want.” Out of all of fierce pussy’s work, their project



December 2018 |


arms/ache/avid/aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard and Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified. Installation view of fierce pussy room, Beeler gallery

involving their own baby pictures might be the most affecting and profound. Under these pictures they would append such phrases as “muff-diver,” “lover of women” or “are you a boy or girl?” The juxtaposition of those derogatory statements with childhood innocence and authenticity is gutwrenching and yet empowering. How did they come to this idea? “The way the baby pictures functioned is that anyone could relate. They could find themselves in these pictures, because there is an innocence in those faces. So tender. But the phrases are what you hear at home and in the streets. That little person is still in you now.”

All four artists have their own careers as gallery artists, and this show will represent the energetic reconfiguring of the individual artists and their collective resistance together. The first chapter was on display through the end of November. Chapter Two runs through Jan. 6. Chapter Three runs from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1, and Chapter Four runs from Feb. 20 through March 17. “Works will move and shift, and new works will come into the space to kind of give it a dynamic notion of what it means to be living artists who are always responding to conditions of time and the moment,” says curator Jo-ey Tang.

Many additional women artists and activists came and went and participated intermittently in the original collective. In 1994, fierce pussy went on a hiatus, and the group dwindled down to just four. Then in 2008, through independent publisher Printed Matter, they published a book of their collective work. People took a renewed look at fierce pussy through a new lens that was informed by the Bush/Cheney years.

Here’s how fierce pussy responds to this moment:

One of the people who took notice was Maxine Wolf, an original founding member of ACT UP and a dedicated queer rights activist. She suggested the collective create a retrospective at the Lesbian Herstory Archive in New York. “Mining the Archive: fierce pussy” was an overview of their work from the early ’90s, along with works that utilized objects culled from the archive’s collection.

“We just want to make a plea. We hope that Ohio people go out and vote, young people go out and vote.”

fierce pussy was re-energized, and their Columbus show is a direct descendent of that LHA retrospective. Not only is the content of the show at CCAD radical, but the curation is undeniably original and true to the dynamic history and fluid evolution of the activist collective. It’s divided into four chapters during the run of the


exhibit, and the works change with each new installment.

| December 2018

“We really want people to think about the Supreme Court. That was what the last election was about (in 2016). Because the Supreme Court is what makes laws in this country...and they stick. If we want to go forward...we have to be able to get Supreme Court justices who are going to be fair to help people....and not destroy them.” ‘A is for Angel’, 1991 Photo by Stephen Takacs

Vote. How totally radical. Lori Gum has led a long, very queer life and delights in discovering and sharing the history of our queer community. FIND OUT MORE “fierce pussy amplified,” the works of Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard and Carrie Yamaoka, is on display through Sunday, March 17 at the Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery, 60 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, 43215. Visit for more. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon-6 p.m. and on Thursdays from noon-8 p.m Learn more about fierce pussy, the collective of queer women artists, at

fierce pussy, 2009

One artist. Two Ohio locations.

Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me ON VIEW THROUGH DEC 30

Find more at

Racquel: I See You, 2018. Rhinestones, acrylic, glitter, oil pastel, and oil paint on canvas mounted on wood panel, 108 x 144 x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. © Mickalene Thomas / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

organized by


Find more at

Mickalene Thomas, Racquel Leaned Back, 2013, color photograph and paper collage on archival paper. © Mickalene Thomas; courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

December 2018 |



or the holidays, be festive with lots of color, patterns and bold choices!

This month, we present an eclectic mix of styles: funky vintage-inspired, beautiful Bohemian, sporty and practical. Stay cozy with layers of plaid wool, big knit scarves and chic accessories like velvet beanies. Fingerless gloves make their usual appearance, now lined with fleece, and black leggings with leather boots provide warmth under a short skirt or minidress. For men, Samson Men’s Emporium impresses with modern takes on slacks and outerwear. And never forget: Timeless jewelry will dress up any outfit, helping you look your best for the holidays! Credits: Creative Director and Photographer: Staley Jophiel Munroe Assistant Photographer and Lighting: Ken Falk Hair and Makeup: LeLuxe Beauty Concierge

The Fringe Earring

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Styling for Pangaea Trading Company: Delaney French FB: Pangaea Trading Company Styling for Samson Men’s Emporium: Travis Samson Assistant: Daniel Myers


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| December 2018

Bandana Velvet Wrap Mini Dress Mix & Match Long Kimono Blanket Neck Scarf Embroidered Carry-All Pouch Plated Bracelet All items from Pangaea Trading Company, Cincinnati

Alex Nichols Docherty Agency Cotton Plaid Peacoat by Nifty Genius: $375 Red plaid flannel by JACHS: $99 Henry Travel Pant by Nifty Genius: $149 Ribbed Scarf by Peregrine: $55 Plaid Driver Cap by Stetson: $79 All items from Samson Men’s Emporium, Columbus December 2018 |


Rico Lopez Reversible CPO Jacket by Nifty Genius: $298 Eco Rich Organic Cotton Flannel by Woolrich: $89 Black Raw Denim by Jean Shop: $195 Cableknit Scarf by Peregrine: $55 Ribbed Beanie by Peregrine: $32 All items from Samson Men’s Emporium


| December 2018

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| December 2018



never miss a beat


December 13 at Jo Ann Davidson Theatre Gallery opens at 6 p.m.| Show begins at 7 p.m. | $10 General Public | Purchase tickets at the door

visual art gallery | dance | percussion | choir | band lab | theatre | musical theatre

Get your monthly LGBTQ+ news and events delivered right to your home. Find out more at

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| December 2018

We Start by Listening. We offer an accepting and welcoming healthcare experience for everyone.



Short North Medical Center 1033 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43201 (614) 340-6777

Wellness & Prevention

Behavioral Health

King-Lincoln Medical Center 750 E. Long St., Suite 3000 Columbus, OH 43203 (614) 340-6700

Supportive Services


Dayton Medical Center Wright Health Building 1222 S. Patterson Blvd., Suite 230 Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 853-3650 December 2018 |


ONE OF US Warren Serrani / Aurora Thunder Hometown: Cleveland Identifies As: Gay Pronouns: He/Him/His Give us the story of Aurora. What’s she all about? I’m a Cleveland queen who’s been performing for about three years. I got my start at a young age, playing dressup in my mother’s clothes and makeup, and now I’ve been making my way around Cleveland performing at everything from local bars to college shows, to my fulltime job at Progressive Insurance and Pride in the CLE. I lost my mom suddenly at age 15 and have struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life, so when I discovered drag for the first time when I came out in 2013, it made me think of my childhood moments of dressing up and I knew I wanted to try it. Since then, I’ve been voted Cleveland’s Best Drag Queen in 2017 and 2018 by Cleveland Scene Magazine. I pride myself in being a self-proclaimed “drag chameleon,” adapting to any situation, venue, theme or look that the moment calls for. I plan to spend 2019 getting more involved with Cleveland’s LGBT Center and the youth programs they have, including starting a drag queen story time. More to come on that and other adventures! Are you excited for the new season of “Drag Race,” and who are you rooting for? I’m excited for the new cast of “All Stars” Season 4! I’m excited and rooting for some older “Drag Race” alums from earlier seasons, specifically Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon.

Photo by Argonian Photography One of Us is a monthly portrait celebrating the diversity of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.


| December 2018

Back Pain, Joint Pain, Cancer Pain “No matter what your pain is, our commitment is to you.” 614-383-6450 •

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Stunning music, sensational dancing, and your favorite performers celebrating the differences that make us unique and the ties that bind us together.

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Connect with the LGBTQ+ audience and advertise with Prizm today. For more information, contact Advertising Director Joe Matessa (614) 975-4724 or at

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Find stories, online issues and exclusive content at December 2018 |


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‘We Will Not Be Erased’

‘We Will Not Be Erased’

November 10 Folks in the Miami Valley gathered in Dayton’s Courthouse Square to speak out as part of the national #WontBeErased movement. The rally was organized by the Gatlyn Dame Group, which hosts support groups and social activities for transgender and gender nonconforming people in Greater Dayton.

November 7 More than 200 people marched through Downtown Columbus from the Statehouse to Goodale Park to demonstrate against the Trump administration’s plan to write transgender Americans out of federal programs and policies.



Tri-State Leather Weekend Cincinnati

November 1-3 Contests, Kink U classes and more were part of Tri-State Leather’s annual contest weekend at the Millennium Hotel, Tillie’s Lounge and Below Zero. Follow Tri-State Leather on Facebook or to find future events. Photos by Dane Christian and Chester Beltowski, Entendre Photography

To find Prizm locations near you, visit:


| December 2018

Photos by Staley Munroe

NEWS FLASH 40,000 Ohio Professionals Warned Against Using ‘Conversion Therapy’ The state agency that licenses mental-health counselors, social workers and family therapists in Ohio has issued a warning: Attempting “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ patients could get you kicked out of your profession. The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist Board voted, 12-2, on Nov. 2 to issue a statement that says efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are not legitimate parts of the fields it regulates. The statement also says the practice “can be harmful” and reminds practitioners that harming clients can be grounds for the board to revoke a license. It’s the second state board in Ohio to issue guidance against conversion therapy. The Ohio Board of Psychology told its licensees in 2016 that they risk their state licenses if they try to change clients’ sexual orientation or gender identity. Six Ohio cities—Athens, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Lakewood and Toledo—have banned conversion therapy within their borders. Blue, Rainbow Election Waves Barely Make a Splash in Ohio The blue wave that swept Democrats back into power in the U.S. House bypassed Ohio on Nov. 6, and the hoped-for rainbow wave didn’t materialize either. The one bright spot: Democrat Nickie Antonio of Lakewood, who in 2010 became the first LGBTQ Ohioan elected to the state House, was elected to the state Senate. She’ll make history there, too. Ten other LGBTQ candidates on this year’s ballot didn’t fare as well, although each ran against sitting Republicans in heavily Republican areas. Rick Neal, a former foreign aid worker from Columbus, fell short in his bid to become Ohio’s first out LGBTQ member of Congress. He won 40 percent of the vote overall against four-term incumbent Republican Steve Stivers. Another would-be history-maker fell short as well. In Portage County, University of Akron professor Lis Kenneth Regula, a Democrat, won 38.5 percent of the vote and lost a race for auditor to 24-year incumbent Republican Janet Esposito. Regula was the first transgender Ohioan to run for political office. Trump’s Latest Anti-Trans Plan Is Met With Criticism, Protest Transgender Ohioans and their allies protested in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati during November against the Trump administration’s latest assault: a plan that would define trans people out of existence and exclude them from federal civilrights protections.

As the founder and director of The Harmony Project, I practice by responding to the world around me and expressing my ideas through the voices of many. In Columbus every voice matters, and when the people of Columbus think creatively, we think together. I’m David Brown, music is my art and there’s no place I’d rather make it. Learn more about David’s story and other Columbus artists and events at

A Nov. 4 story in The New York Times summarized a Department of Health and Human Services draft regulation this way: “The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”

On Nov. 7, about 200 people marched from the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to the park that used to host the city’s annual Pride festival. It was one of dozens of “We Won’t Be Erased” rallies around the country.

Visit for the latest LGBTQ news from across Ohio, and sign up to get weekly news and events updates by email.

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

Design: Formation Studio

“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients— what people understand about themselves—is irrelevant because the government disagrees,” Catherine E. Lhamon, a former Obama administration official, told The Times.

December 2018 |


Calendar Northwest





Fundraiser Holiday With Heart Charity Gayla Sunday, December 2

Holidays Sugar Plum Tour of Holiday Homes Sunday, December 2

Music Jason Mraz Tuesday, December 4

Holidays Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus: ‘Make the Yuletide Gay’ Saturday, December 8

Theater ‘Rent’ December 11-23

Ohio’s longest-running LGBTQ charity event started more than 40 years ago as a holiday gathering of gay friends. Last year, it drew more than 300 people and raised more than $20,000 for LGBTQ groups in Northwest Ohio.

Some of the Akron area’s finest historic and contemporary homes will open their doors, light their lights, and share their holiday spirit for the 17th annual Sugar Plum Tour. Last year, the event raised more than $100,000 for the Gay Community Endowment Fund of the Akron This year’s beneficiaries will be Community Foundation. Lucas County Children’s Services, Equality Toledo, Harvey House, Tickets for the five-home, selfEclipse and the Holiday With Heart guided tour are $35. They can be Fund. It starts at 4 p.m. at the Toledo purchased online or at Angel Falls Club, 235 14th St., Toledo, 43604. Coffee Company, 792 W. Market St., Tickets are $85. Akron, 44303, on the day of the event. The tour runs from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. • Equality Toledo Annual Meeting: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Plate One, 420 Madison Ave., Toledo, 43604. 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

• Support: LGBTQ+ Youth and Adult Groups: Wednesday, Dec. 5 and Wednesday, Dec. 19 at First Christian Church, 1624 Tiffin • Ave., Suite 1B, Findlay, 45840. FB: Spectrum of Findlay. • Nick Komives’ Drag Brunch: Saturday, Dec. 8 at Georgjz, 1205 Adams St., Toledo, 43604. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $25. FB: Georgjz 419. • University of Toledo LGBTQA+ • Alumni Brunch: Sunday, Dec. 9 at Packo’s at the Park, 7 S. Superior St., Toledo, 43604. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $15 ($5.99 for children under 10). • Miss Mae Hem’s Toy Drive and Drag Show: Sunday, Dec. 9 at McCune’s Other Side Bistro, 5038 Lewis Ave., Toledo, 43612. 6 p.m. Admission is one new toy, in its package. FB: Miss Mae Hem.

• Drag: The Kinsey Sicks in ‘Things You Shouldn’t Say’: Sunday, • Dec. 16 at the Ohio Theatre & Event Center, 3114 Lagrange St., Toledo, 43608. 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. $25-$50. •

In June, Billboard asked a number of celebrities to share love letters to the LGBTQ community as part of Pride month. Jason Mraz took his as a chance to come out as bisexual: We still have a long way to go/ But know/I am bi your side/All ways. His show in Columbus is an acoustic set with Toca Rivera and special guest Gregory Page. It’s scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., Columbus, 43215. Tickets start at $42.50.

• Happy & Gay Holiday Craft Show: Saturday, Dec. 1 (noon-7 North Coast Men’s Chorus’ p.m.) and Sunday, Dec. 2 (11 a.m.‘Snowbound’: Saturday, Dec. 1 (3 4 p.m. at Stonewall Columbus, p.m. and 8 p.m.) and Sunday, Dec. 1160 N. High St., Columbus, 2 (3 p.m.) at Playhouse Square’s 43201. Hanna Theatre, 2067 E. 14th • Harmony Project’s Concert St., Cleveland, 44115. $10-$50. for Us: Thursday, Dec. 6 at Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Business: Plexus Holiday Party Nationwide Blvd., Columbus, Network Night: Tuesday, Dec. 43215. 7:30 p.m. $15-$100. 4 at the Key Center’s St. Clair Ballroom, 100 St. Clair Ave. • Dave Koz & Friends Christmas NE-Fourth Floor, Cleveland, Tour: Thursday, Dec. 6 at the 44114. 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Free for Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., members; $15 for nonmembers. Columbus, 43215. 7:30 p.m. $ $60. Cleveland Allies & Advocates for • Dance: ‘Red Patience’: Friday, Equality: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Dec. 7-Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Columbus Dance Theatre’s 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, Fisher Theatre, 592 East Main St., 44113. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. $100. Columbus, 43215. 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. show on Sunday. $18-$25. Blazing River Freedom Band: ‘C Is for Christmas’: • Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus: Saturday, Dec. 8 at Pilgrim ‘Joy!’: Friday, Dec. 7 (8 p.m.) Congregational Church, 2592 and Saturday, Dec. 8 (2 p.m. and W. 14th St., Cleveland, 44113. 8 p.m.) at King Avenue United 7 p.m. Ticket information TBA. Methodist Church, 299 King Ave., Columbus, 43201; Sunday, Dec. Dave Koz & Friends Christmas 9 (6 p.m.) at Lord of Life Lutheran Tour: Saturday, Dec. 8 at Church, 2480 W. Dublin Granville Playhouse Square’s KeyBank Road, Columbus, 43235. $30. State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 7:30 p.m. $10-$75. • LGBTQ Pathways to Parenthood: Surrogacy and IVF: Wednesday, Akron New Year’s Eve Rainbow Dec. 12 at Equitas HealthBall: Monday, Dec. 31 at Akron Clintonville, 4400 N. High St., Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Columbus, 43214. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Akron, 44308. 7:30 p.m. $100+. Free. • Shangela, Alyssa Edwards and Nina West: Monday, Dec. 31 at Axis, 775 N. High St., Columbus, 43215. 8 p.m.-4 a.m. $20+. FB: Axis Night Club.

This re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème” follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. This timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our The annual holiday concert, which lives with the only thing that truly has become a Miami Valley holiday matters—love. tradition, will take place at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, There are 16 performances 125 N. Wilkinson St., Dayton, 45402. scheduled—including Saturday and Tickets are $20. Sunday matinees—at the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, 45202. Tickets start at $31. The Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates the holiday season the only way they know how: with fun, frivolity and just a little bit of seriousness thrown in.

• Art Exhibit: Mickalene Thomas: Through Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton, 45405. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $8. • Drag: Aquaria: Saturday, Dec. 1 at Masque, 34 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, 45402. 8 p.m. $15. • At the Bars: Karaoke: Every Sunday at MJ’s on Jefferson, 20 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, 45402. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. FB: MJ’s on Jefferson. • Mu Crew Holiday Lights Outing: Wednesday, Dec. 5, gathering at 15 W. 4th St., Suite 200, Dayton, 45402. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. FB: The Mu Crew. • At the Bars: College Night: Every Thursday at Masque, 34 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, 45402. 8 p.m. $5.

• Caracole Christmas Tree Sale: Every Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) until Christmas at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Cincinnati, 45202. • Fundraiser: ACT UP: Party with Purpose: Saturday, Dec. 1 at Cincinnati Masonic Center, 317 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, 45202. $75$125. • Drag: Queens for Recovery 2: Sunday, Dec. 2 at Promises, 116 W. 9th St., Newport, Ky., 41071. 7 p.m. $5. • Cincinnati Men’s Chorus: ‘A Very Mary Christmas Special’: Saturday, Dec. 15 (8 p.m.) and Sunday, Dec. 16 (2 p.m.) at Walnut Hills High School Westheimer Auditorium, 3250 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, 45207. $25, or $20 in advance. • Fundraiser: Kris Kringle Cookie Bakeoff and Sale: Sunday, Dec. 16 at Below Zero Lounge, 1120 Walnut St., Cincinnati, 45202. 4:30 p.m.

Ohio’s Most Comprehensive Calendar of LGBTQ+ Events: 30

| December 2018

Join us in Cleveland to honor the work of an outstanding ally and an impactful activist.

DR. CECILE UNGER helped create and advance a multi-disciplinary team at the Cleveland Clinic that provides all aspects of transgender-specific services to patients in Northeast Ohio. She is very committed to this patient population and has been a long-standing advocate for their health and well-being.

GIOVONNI SANTIAGO, a transgender U.S. Air Force veteran, teamed up with his doctor to open the first transgender-focused clinic within the Department of Veterans Affairs at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Santiago also founded a nonprofit in Akron, Ohio, for transgender and gender-nonconforming youth called META which he funds and runs himself.

December 5 • Greater Cleveland Aquarium

RSVP at ®

For more information or to sponsor this or future Equality Ohio events, contact Siobhan Boyd-Nelson at or 614-224-0400. December 2018 |


A Prescription for Change. 100% of profits are reinvested back into health and social services.

Offerings • Open to the public • Pharmacists specializing in chronic disease management • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) counseling and access • Accepts Medicaid, Medicare and most third party insurance plans

• Competitive medication pricing for uninsured patients • Private and personalized medication counseling • Refill reminder calls, text messages and/or emails for all prescriptions • Free home delivery to patients living in Ohio* Some limitations may apply. Consult a pharmacy associate for details.


Short North Pharmacy 1033 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43201 (614) 340-6776

King-Lincoln Pharmacy 750 E. Long St., Suite 3100 Columbus, OH 43203 (614) 300-2334

Dayton Pharmacy Wright Health Building 1222 S. Patterson Blvd., Suite 110 Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 424-1440 32

| December 2018

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