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Photo courtesy of Vision Video Photography

June 2014

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Contributors Shamus Dickinson, founder and publisher, is a lifelong Cleveland resident and community activist. He is currently on the board of Team Cleveland and will soon start his term on the board of directors with the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland. Along with his alter ego, he raises money for local nonprofit organizations and volunteers regularly around town. He and his partner, Paul, live on The Edge, Cleveland-Lakewood border. Rob Kinsey, creative director, is a modern renaissance man. Graduate student, webmaster, queer HIV+ advocate/ activist, writer, designer, developer, photographer, and creator. He and his rescue mutt, Cocoa, live in University Circle. You’ll find him biking the towpath or hiking the Metroparks in his free time. Visit for Rob’s right-brain creations or for his left-brain musings.


Ben Heide, editor, is a lifelong community activist using old new media to bring communities together. A native of Shaker Heights, he attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. He runs a marketing company called Second Storefront, which helps local businesses connect with their online audiences. In his spare time he is an avid Cleveland Orchestra fan and father of an energetic puppy named Brünnhilde.

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Dana Aritonovich is a longtime straight ally who has been involved with many Northeast Ohio LGBT organizations and events. She is a published historian and freelance writer who blogs about music and the human experience at whatilikeissounds. Sarah Robinson (aka rawr) is a radical queer cyborg vegan and native Clevelander. She is a programmer at WRUWFM 91.1, which broadcasts from CWRU and online at You can hear her many Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on “Voices and Choices” discussing issues related to race, gender and justice.

Contact Spotlight:     @clespotlight  clespotlight Spotlight Magazine is published monthly by Communication Express LLC. Spotlight Magazine issues are FREE and distributed at locations throughout Cleveland, Akron and Columbus. COPYRIGHT ©2014, Spotlight Magazine. Reproduction without expressed written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. All letters, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, illustrations, and artwork sent to Spotlight Magazine will be treated as assigned for publication and copyright purposes and are subject to Spotlight Magazine and Communication Express LLC terms and conditions. Photographs, editorial or graphic likeness does not imply a specific sexual orientation. The publisher does not assume responsibility for statements or content by advertisers, and reserves the right to refuse any ad. ALL CONTENT AND RELATED MEDIA ARE COPYRIGHTED 2014 BY SPOTLIGHT MAGAZINE. All rights reserved.

Editor’s Note Happy Pride! As we head into June, there’s a lot to have pride about. Around the country, couples are gaining marriage equality and are experiencing the pride of having their love recognized by the government. As of press date, 49 states have equality or a challenge to discriminatory laws. And of course, all of us have pride in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act last June. This Pride marks the passing of the most momentous year in the modern gay rights movement. But we all know that Pride is more than just politics; it represents a vast and diverse community of people united by a small but important part of our identity. Its not quite the same as pride in an accomplishment; rather, its a pride in ourselves, in who we are and the beauty in the diversity of love. Pride isn’t just an LGBTQ-exclusive event; we at Spotlight encourage you, the reader, to find your own individual identity and be proud. Share in the pride of humanity, join in the spirit of inclusion and acceptance. This Pride begins a momentous year for Clevelanders as well. Looming just over the horizon is Gay Games 9, bringing 30,000

Editor’s Note

people to the Cleveland + Akron region August 9-16. 35 events and an opening ceremony at the Q featuring Lance Bass and the Pointer Sisters, among others, will cap off an exciting week for the city. In the true spirit of inclusiveness, registration is open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or athletic ability. We’ll be covering that and other events throughout the summer. On a personal pride note, I’m thrilled to introduce myself to our Spotlight readers. I’m Ben Heide, a Shaker Heights native who’s back in Cleveland after going to school in North Carolina. I’m excited for the opportunity to join Spotlight Magazine as its first editor and can’t wait to help spotlight Cleveland!

June 2014



Allies: Overcome Tolerance & Embrace your Gays! by Dana Aritonovich

It’s important to always take the opportunity to mention the LGBTQ people you know in any setting. You don’t have to talk politics; just be open about the gays of your lives. Years ago I gave a speech at a public event for National Coming Out Day. I told the crowd that it was great to attend rallies and pride festivals and go to gay bars to support the LGBT people you love. But the most important thing to do to create change, I explained, is to talk about them with other straight people. Be casual yet bold, making sure that they know you are not going to tolerate any intolerance. I believe that the best way to change someone’s mind is to have a conversation with them. I’ve never felt like it was inappropriate to mention my gay

homophobia is

friends to anyone. I’ve been an out and proud ally ever since I had my first openly gay friend in college. He was the best friend of one of my roommates, and he made me feel so happy and pretty and smart that I loved him immediately! It never occurred to me that treating him differently was somehow OK, even though that was still the norm in the early 90s. I knew he was an awesome person, and that’s what mattered. My opening statement for a presentation in a college speech class in 1994 was “Homosexuality is not a disease; homophobia is.” I shared evidence of acceptance of homosexual behavior throughout the centuries, and talked about the few openly gay public figures of the time. My classmates didn’t know what to make of my presentation, and students in other classes were a little weirded out when I mentioned it. People weren’t really talking about this sort of thing back then. I don’t know if I changed anyone’s mind, but I hope the words I spoke with humor and passion at least made them think about why they held the views they did. We should always assume that people can evolve, even the most hateful and willfully ignorant.



Homosexuality is not a disease

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Community Postings

Cleveland GIFT Committee  GIFT 26: “Casino Royale”  Bowling tournament  6.13–6.15  Freeway Lanes of Parma 12859 Brookpark Road GIFT Cruise  Cuyahoga River Cruise  6.14, 7pm

GIFT Tournament & Cruise

 Goodtime III – Northcoast Harbor East 9th Street Pier


The Cleveland G.I.F.T. Committee, under the direction of Eric Strong, is ready to present their 26th bowling tournament. This year’s event, “Casino Royale” will be held the weekend of June 13 — 15, 2014, with a guaranteed $10,000 prize fund. (Although USBC Rules are used as guidelines, Cleveland G.I.F.T. is not a USBC sanctioned event.) Once again, numerous fundraisers have enabled the Committee to hold the entry fee at a very low $75. Miller Lite, Republic Services, Storm Bowling Supplies, Marriott Cleveland Airport, Twist Social Club, BKF Computer Services, are proud sponsors of G.I.F.T. 2014. Since its inception in 1985, besides providing quality competition and entertainment to kick off Summer on the North Coast, the G.I.F.T. Committee has donated well over $10,000 to various organizations in the Greater Cleveland/Akron area.

The 25th anniversary of G.I.F.T. last June, the third consecutive sold out event, drew participants to Cleveland from all over the U. S. and Canada, proved to be a very memorable event and was deemed a huge success. Tournament organizers are committed to making G.I.F.T. 26 even better. Once again, the Cleveland Airport Marriott will be the Host Hotel for the weekend’s non-bowling events, including the Registration Party on Friday night, June 13, and a Hospitality Suite for bowlers and guests throughout the weekend. The Marriott will also serve as the venue for the Awards Banquet after the Team Event concludes on Sunday, June 15. Spectators and supporters are welcome to attend the bowling events, which, once again, will be housed at Freeway Lanes of Parma, 12859 Brookpark Road, off I-480, just east of W. 130th Street. Singles and Doubles will take place on Saturday, June 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Team competition will occur on Sunday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The G.I.F.T. Committee will once again be hosting the annual G.I.F.T. Cruise on the Goodtime III (sponsored by Twist Social Club) on Saturday evening, June 14. This event, as always, is open to the public and boarding passes can be purchased in advance (at various LGBT establishments in Cleveland and Akron) for $20 and at the 9th Street Pier (behind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) the day of the cruise for $25. For the past five years, over 600 guests have enjoyed this 2½ hour trip up and down the Cuyahoga River and on Lake Erie as the sun sets on the North Coast.

Advertise inspotlight Spotlight’s August/Gay Games issue. Rates and info at magazine

Community Postings

Cleveland Pride  Parade, Rally, Festival  6.28, 11am–8pm  Voinovich Park 800 East 9th Street Connect with Pride  

Cleveland Pride

 #ExpressYourself Cleveland Pride’s annual parade, rally and festival is the single largest and fastest growing LGBT and straight-allied event each year! No other one-time or annual LGBT gathering, benefit, festival, conference or celebration attracts such large-scale numbers in the Northeast Ohio area. Cleveland Pride’s mission is to: promote individuals, organizations, and businesses who are willing to be advocates for inclusion; create long-lasting relationships with diverse groups and cultural leaders in Northeast Ohio and many communities in the surrounding Midwest region; and increase the visibility of LGBT activists and straight allies through its yearround activities, including the celebration at the annual heritage pride festival, parade and rally in June. We enjoy the participation of people in all classes and categories of age, race, culture, educational achievement, ethnicity, life/skill-based work experience, active military or veteran,

socioeconomic, disability, and those who choose (or not) to embrace a broad spectrum of faith-based practices or religions. When Cleveland Pride celebrates its 26th anniversary, the ninth Gay Games will be only six weeks away from making its debut. “Cleveland’s largest annual LGBT and allied event is pleased to continue its partnership with the world’s largest inclusive sporting event,” says Todd J. Saporito, Board President/CEO of Cleveland Pride. The Gay Games has been a sponsor of Cleveland Pride since 2012. We are proud to proclaim that we have an extremely diversified set of sponsors, vendors, parade marchers and volunteers. Ambiance, The Store for Lovers, is proud to announce that it is once again a Bronze Sponsor of the Cleveland Pride Rally, Parade and Festival. “This is an exciting year to be a part of Pride, especially with the Gay Games coming to Cleveland this August,” says Jennifer Downey, Ambiance’s President. “Pride is the kickoff for a summer that will transform our community and show the world that Cleveland is a warm and welcoming place, and that we really know how to throw a party!” So, welcome to all those transgender, asexual, bisexual, trisexual, pansexual, gay, lesbian, queer/questioning, intersex, undecided, alternative, and heterosexual allies to our 26th Annual 2014 Cleveland Pride Parade, Rally and Festival on Saturday, June 28, 2014. #ExpressYourself and spread the word!

Submit community event postings to by the 12th of the month before your event. Please submit a 350–450 word description of your event as well as the date, time, location, and links for more information. Photographs and logos appreciated. Community postings are magazine printed as space permits. spotlight



Leave the Calling for the Cats –  Hollaback! Launches in Cleveland by Sarah Robinson

I am on my first run since the wretched Polar Vortex winter. I don my tank top, shorts, ear buds and tennis shoes and “hit the pavement,” as they say. Five minutes into my run, I hear a honk from a man in a truck and a “hey baby!” Being street harassed was not how I expected my journey to begin. I run to empower myself, take care of myself, and to think. I do not run or walk in my neighborhood (or anywhere) to be shouted at by men who think they can have sex with me, or to receive “approval” of my looks (I already know I’m beautiful and love my body!). Even if I were straight, these “catcalls” are unwarranted and NOT a compliment. Has something like this happened to you? There is now a resource for us to rely on. Last month, local activists (who I am proud to call my friends) organized a Hollaback! chapter in Cleveland. Hollaback! is an international movement to end street harassment, with chapters in 79 cities and 26 countries. The national website tells us ‘Street harassment is a gateway crime that makes other forms of gender-based violence OK. Studies conducted show that between 80-90% of women have been harassed in public. With legal recourse to address school and

workplace harassment, streets remain one of the final frontiers in addressing and affirming basic, guaranteed civil rights. Comments range from “you’d look good on me,” to groping, public masturbation, and worse. These “compliments” aren’t about sex or about chivalry. They are about power. Street harassment may be the social and cultural norm, but it is far from OK.’ Women, girls, and queer & trans* people are particularly vulnerable to street harassment and other forms of violence. Hollaback! (Cleveland) relies on community support to bring awareness to the issue of street harassment for women and the LGBT commu(continues on page 10)

June 2014



(Hollaback!, from page 9)

nity, gender based violence, and conversations concerning the solutions to these issues. Hollaback! Cleveland held their launch party on May 4 at Guide to Kulchur, where attendees participated in an open-mic session, a self-defense class, zine making, and a story circle and discussion group. The group has also held “flash chalking” gatherings to create “no catcalling zones” and raise awareness that street harassment will not be tolerated in Cleveland. Hollaback! Cleveland is planning a workshop at a local Cleveland middle school to engage youth and raise awareness in the hopes of stopping street harassment before it starts. This will be part of a wider summer of events and actions to be held at various locations around the city. You can “hollaback!” and share your story, learn more (ask questions!), and join the Cleveland action by visiting, on Facebook /HollabackCleveland, and Twitter @ CleveHollaback, or by emailing We appreciate your support of our efforts, and look forward to continuing the growth of our local community partnerships.


Sarah Robinson serves on the leadership team of Hollaback! Cleveland


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PrEP 101

Today’s HIV prevention, for your future Guys who said they use

Truvada photo by Jeffrey Beall (, used under CC-by-SA 3.0 ( Isolated single pill and adjusted saturation and levels. Infographic by Rob Kinsey, kinzdesign, released under CC-by-SA 3.0 (, some rights reserved.

by Rob Kinsey

After a friend tested HIV-positive last month, he said that he wished he had enrolled in the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) trial when I told him about it. PrEP is kind of like birth control, but to prevent HIV and has been around for a few years. HIV-negative people can take a daily dose of Truvada – a pill normally used to treat HIV – to prevent HIV from “taking hold” should they happen to be exposed to the virus. Taken daily, Truvada as PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection by 99%. As the first (and only) FDA-approved method to prevent HIV transmission during anal sex, PrEP has the power to help reduce the number of new HIV infections in the gay community. It’s too late for my friend, but it’s not too late for his boyfriend, who’s starting PrEP soon. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and at least 134 HIV/AIDS and health organizations all support its use in preventing HIV among highrisk populations. Keep reading on page 12 or visit for the full article with links to more info on PrEP.

June 2014


condoms 100% of the time for anal sex

are 70% less likely to get HIV than

guys who don’t use them

54% of guys claim they always use condoms

What about the other 46%?

“sometimes using condoms is no better than not using them at all”

Truvada as PrEP is

99% effective at

preventing HIV when taken daily


(PrEP 101, from page 11)

PrEP empowers people to make decisions about their health in the rational, sober environment of a doctor’s office – detached from the heat of the moment, when hormones and other intoxicants can impair judgement. Those on PrEP visit their doctor every three months for a prescription refill, testing for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and risk-reduction counseling - usually with a bunch of condoms to take home. This gets people engaged in their sexual health and catches any STIs early, before they have a chance to spread very far. What’s the catch? PrEP is expensive, but it’s covered by most insurance and the manufacturer offers assistance programs to help both the uninsured and insured. No drug is without side effects. Truvada is well-tolerated by most people, with minor side effects that generally resolve with time. PrEP is less effective if you don’t take it daily. Ongoing research is looking at how adherence varies by community, but early data shows that more than 50% of PrEP users are getting 96% or greater protection. A quarterly PrEP injection is looking promising, which would make adherence as easy as seeing your doc every three months. Should I consider PrEP? Think back to the last time you got tested for HIV. What was going through your mind as you waited for your results? Most people I’ve asked say that their past sexcapades flashed before


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their eyes and that decisions made in the heat of the moment seemed less reasonable in the fluorescent glow of a waiting room. If you tend to spend that half-hour panicking about the things you could/would/should have done differently, you might be a good candidate for PrEP! New CDC guidelines recommend that anyone - regardless of sexuality or gender – who has a history of inconsistent or no condom use, a recent bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infection, HIV-positive sexual partners, or a high number of sexual partners, consider PrEP as part of their HIV risk-reduction strategy. PrEP is also recommended for commercial sex workers, porn actors, and injection drug users. Speaking of getting tested... How long has it been? If you haven’t been tested for HIV in 2014, you’re due for a test. June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, so grab a friend or two for moral support and go get tested together – trust me, being alone when you test positive sucks! If you’re at Cleveland Pride, look for local agencies giving free rapid HIV tests at the festival. What about condoms? Three decades of HIV risk-reduction messages have focused on promoting the use of condoms during all sex, including anal. Here’s the thing: condoms were being promoted for anal sex because they were the best option we had, not because they’re an ideal option. The FDA has not cleared or approved any condoms specifically for (continues on page 14)

June 2014


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Learn more at June 2014 13


(PrEP 101, from page 13)

anal sex. There is an anal condom is in development, but won’t be ready until 2015 at the earliest and there’s no guarantee that they’ll get marketing clearance from the FDA. Research presented at last year’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013) may shed light on why condoms aren’t being marketed for anal sex. “Amongst all men having anal sex, men who said they used condoms 100% of the time were 70% less likely to acquire HIV than men who never used condoms.” Seventy percent is not a “gold standard” in my opinion. In a recent survey only 54% of gay men claimed to use condoms 100% of the time, so what does the research say about intermittent condom usage?

The CROI 2013 analysis doesn’t mince words: “This analysis also shows that sometimes using condoms is no better than not using them at all.” What about other STIs? Damon L. Jacobs, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and PrEP Advocate in New York, puts it into perspective. “Most people who elect to use PrEP gave up using condoms consistently before PrEP came out, and are already potentially being exposed to other STIs. With PrEP, they are getting tested for STIs every three to four months by their primary care provider, providing an avenue for STI treatment and prevention that wasn’t there before.” How do I start PrEP? The first step is to be proactive in (continues on page 16)

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For more information and how to purchase tickets visit Team CLE NIGHT at the Q!

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(PrEP 101, from page 15)

talking to your doctor about PrEP. Many gay men aren’t out to their doctor and few healthcare providers actively assess patients’ HIV and STI risk. Widespread PrEP uptake will require a big increase in awkward talks. The CDC guidelines were updated last month, so even if your provider knows about PrEP, their knowledge may be out of date. The CDC’s PrEP provider reference walks doctors through assessing your risks and prescribing PrEP if appropriate. If you’re not comfortable talking to your doctor about PrEP, find a new one or check out the monthly PrEP Clinic at University Hospitals by contacting Carolyn at 216.844.2649. Your health is too important to risk because you’re afraid of judgement.

Why aren’t more people on PrEP? Thirty years ago, PrEP would have been heralded as a powerful tool to reduce HIV transmission. Uptake would be high, infections would be prevented, maybe even a Nobel Prize. Sadly, an anti-PrEP faction prefers shame and judgement over science and individual choice. These opponents spew shame, myths, and ungrounded assumptions to divert the discussion. Read the full PrEP 101 article online at to debunk the common anti-PrEP arguments, plus dozens of links to PrEP information and resources.

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