The Love And Legacy Of Chris Bradley Columbus Arts Space To Highlight Queer Art In 2019 Creating Community In Franklin County Jails
Feb. 11 – 12, 2019
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sinclair Conference Center 301 West Fourth Street Dayton, OH 45402
REGISTRATION OPTIONS: Both days: $150
Miami Valley LGBT
Earlybird: $125 before Dec. 31
HORIZONS of AGING SUMMIT
Join us for this inaugural event to learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults and their journey for equality and dignity. Learn how to help ensure affirmed abundant aging for this underserved community.
Single day: $75 Students and older adults (age 55+): $20/day (no CEUs) Lunch and CEUs* are included.
SUMMIT HIGHLIGHTS FEBRUARY 11 9:30 a.m. Welcome and opening 9:45 a.m. Screening of documentary Gen Silent, followed by panel conversation including producers Joe Applebaum and Stu Maddox
1:15 p.m. Breakout Session A
Stu Maddux award-winning filmmaker and producer of the film Gen Silent
3:00 p.m. Breakout Session B 4:00 p.m. Academic poster session and reception with the Rubi Girls FEBRUARY 12 9:00 a.m. Address by Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, AARP 10:15 a.m. Keynote by Stu Maddox 12:00 p.m. Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus at lunch 1:30 p.m. Breakout Session C 2:45 p.m. Breakout Session D
Register today at horizons-lgbt.eventbrite.com. For more information, visit abundantaging.org.
Breakout sessions will cover healthcare and social justice issues for LGBT older adults.
*CEUs are being sought for social workers and administrators. WITH SUPPORT FROM: College of Education, Health and Society Family Science and Social Work Sexuality Education Studies Center
School of Professional Psychology
We do not discriminate based upon race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, disability, genetic information or ancestry.
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True Q Magazine and the True Media Group are proud members of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
FEBRUARY 2019 | 1
February 2019 3 Letter from the Editor Love? For February? Groundbreaking.
4 February Events
What’s going on in Ohio this month
5 Out In The Media
Reviews of the latest books, movies, shows and more
6 Spotlight On Luke Boyd 14 Dating And The Learn more about the artist exploring baking as queer expression
7 Spotlight On Cleveland
Bi+ is dedicated to offering a bisexualcentered space in northeast Ohio
WGC is focusing on showing art by artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists this year
cupcakKe The Rapper
The raunchy romantic is truly an icon for the ages
10 The Love And Legacy The Columbus LGBTQ+ community lost an icon last December
In Franklin County Jails
PeaceLove focuses on art workshops and community connections
16 Columbus Arts Space 22 Something To Do
To Highlight Queer Art In 2019
9 Getting Real About Of Chris Bradley
Trans people face obstacles that can make dating hard
20 Creating Community
18 Driving Into The
Future With May Mobility
Learn more about the self-driving shuttles in Columbus
On V Day
Here’s what the True Team and our readers have planned for Feb. 14
24 All About Puppy Love V Day is the perfect day to share the love with your pets
26 Dating as a
Exploring what it’s like to date in the drag scene
ON THE COVER: The #cbuslovemural was designed by Alex Haldi, and is located on Lev’s Pawn Shop in downtown Columbus. True Q Magazine is published monthly by True Media Group. True Q Magazine issues are FREE at distribution locations throughout the state of Ohio, or available as a subscription for direct delivery online at OneTrueVoiceOnline.com/subscribe. Copyright © 2019 True Media Group All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without expressed written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. All rights in letters, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, illustrations and artwork sent to True Q Magazine will be treated as assigned for publication and copyright purposes and are subject to True Q Magazine and True Media Group terms and conditions. All models are at least 18 years of age. All photographs included are posed for by professional models or willing participants in True Q Magazine except as otherwise noted. Neither said photographs nor accompanying editorial is indicative of sexual orientation or gender expression, unless specifically noted. The publisher of the magazine does not assume responsibility for statements by advertisers.
Cover photo by Emily Hirzel.
2 | FEBRUARY 2019
ALL CONTENT AND RELATED MEDIA ARE COPYRIGHTED © 2019 BY TRUE Q MAGAZINE. All rights reserved.
TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Letter from the Editor Love? For February? Groundbreaking.
et, here we are. Because if you ask me, queer love is groundbreaking. In a world where we are literally still being demonized and discriminated against for loving (and that discrimination reaches even further when intersected with race, ethnicity, ability, class, etc.), being open and proud of loving someone is an act of revolution. An act of pure bravery. Representation in the form of a queer love story is not seen very often. I can probably count on one hand the number of big-name Hollywood-blockbuster romantic comedies starring a gay couple. And what says equality more than the ability to both satirize and romanticize the way people in the 21st century court each other? And it’s not just rom-coms. It’s most movies, books, comics, video games, whatever — the fraction of LGBTQ+ characters and stories to straight ones is tiny. When we chose this theme, we didn’t know how things would turn out. We chose a love-themed issue because of the reasons I outlined above. That was last September, at the beginning of this journey, and we had no clue what the issue would contain. In December, the Columbus community lost a light and an icon in Chris Bradley; the True Team was able to talk to his husband, Jason Bradley-Krauss about what he meant to him and to us. We got to talk to a local artist about his upcoming show, a local business about how to love your dogs, and the people responsible for making the jails in Franklin County safe for LGBTQ+ residents.
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Photo by Kimberly Burton.
These are some of the movers and the shakers in Columbus and Ohio that make this city such an amazing place for the queer community. They make it safe for us to love, for us to be out and proud and all of that. So in honor of Valentine’s Day and this month full of love, I’d like to take a moment to rewind and thank the person who reminds me why I’m doing all of this: my fiancée. She didn’t hesitate when we moved to Columbus from school. She talked me up when I decided to take the plunge and send an email that led me to True Media. She’s always there when I need to bounce ideas off of her or talk things through. Her love is the reason I come to work every morning, convinced to share the light of the LGBTQ+ community with the world. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Love, Kaylee Duff, Editor
FEBRUARY 2019 | 3
February Events What’s going on in Ohio this month? Here’s a selection of great community events happening around the state in February.
Miami Valley LGBT Horizons of Aging Summit Dayton Hosted by presenting sponsors Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton and United Church Homes at the Sinclair Conference Center, this inaugural two-day event highlights the journey for equality and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults and offers opportunities to learn how to help ensure affirmed abundant aging for this underserved population. Presentations include a film screening of Gen Silent with filmmaker Stu Maddox, an address by Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey of AARP, and breakout sessions covering healthcare and social justice issues for LGBTQ+ older adults. More information on this groundbreaking event and their community sponsors can be found at facebook.com/LGBTAgingHorizons. Register online and view the event schedule and breakout session details at horizons-lgbt.eventbrite.com.
NORTHEAST FEBRUARY 23
Lake Erie Folk Fest Euclid
Jasmyn LaBasha’s Heartfelt Valentine’s Show Athens
Girl Power Toledo
Celebrate Valentine’s Day early at the one and only Athens Uncorked with show host Jasmyn LaBasha! Her Heartfelt Valentine’s Show features special guests Chicago native Demi Lauren Sexton, and our prettiest True Team member (who’s originally from Athens herself ) Miss Jennifer Lynn! They’ll be dancing along with all your favorite Uncorked Dolls. This show is all about love, friendship and forever, with great food and drink specials, games, prizes, a 50/50 raffle and a night full of great music and even better entertainment. DJ Matthew Johnson (Biggie) will be turning the music loud and proud, playing all our favorite love songs and top 50 hits. The show starts at 8 p.m. Learn more and get tickets by searching Jasmyn LaBashas Valentines Show @ Athens Uncorked on Facebook.
If you or a child you know is a girl in grades 3 through 8 who is interested in exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, then Girl Power at Imagination Station is the day for you! The world needs more girls interested in exploring STEM careers. Girl Power is a STEM career day where interested girls can participate in discussions, ask questions and interact with hands-on activities — all while exploring what STEM fields have to offer. This will be the fourth annual Girl Power day, where young women in Ohio have the chance to meet and learn from women in STEM fields first-hand. Visit imaginationstationtoledo.org/girl-power to see a full schedule and to register.
Hosting or know of a cool event? Submit it to our calendar at onetruevoiceonline.com/submit-an-event. 4 | FEBRUARY 2019
The Lake Erie Folk Fest is an annual celebration of traditional music, dance and culture in Northeast Ohio! It brings together two communities — Euclid’s diverse arts community and Northeast Ohio’s traditional roots music community — in a “late-winter cross-pollination of the arts.” The Lake Erie Folk Fest consists of free workshops, jams and mini-concerts during the day, followed by evening concerts. The evening concerts feature music and dance from a wide variety of cultures, from americana and polka to traditional Irish and classical Indian. The festival will take place in the Shore Cultural Centre, and is presented by the North East Ohio Musical Heritage Association and the Shore Cultural Centre. The schedule of events, details on performers and lists of workshops is available at lakeeriefolkfest.com. Tickets for the evening Grand Finale concert can also be found online.
Columbus Blue Jackets Pride Night Columbus The Columbus Blue Jackets presents their annual Hockey Is For Everyone/Pride Night! The Blue Jackets will be celebrating a night of pride and diversity as they take on the San Jose Sharks at 5 p.m. in Nationwide Arena. Join the Diversity Chamber of Central Ohio before the game for a networking event, then head on over and watch the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus perform the National Anthem with Leo! They’ll be passing out an exclusive Pride Night hat for the first 400 attendees, and the players will be using special rainbow Pride Tape on their sticks during pregame warmups. Select sticks will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the You Can Play Project. This is definitely a don’t-miss event for LGBTQ+ hockey fans, so mark your calendars! For more details on the events and to buy tickets, visit bluejackets.com/Pride today. TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Out in the Media The True Team review some of their favorites! Dumplin’ By Chris Leaming Starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston, Dumplin’ was released on Netflix in late 2018. Aniston plays an ex-beauty queen that stays in the spotlight by running the same pageant she won years ago as a teen. Dumplin’ (Macdonald) is your not-so-typical daughter of said ex-beauty queen, and was majorly influenced by her aunt who loved Dolly Parton. Their relationship was very special and they use Dolly as a way of life. Parton herself plays a major role is this film and I love it. The film is about Dumplin signing up out of spite for the beauty pageant that her mother runs, and the struggle between mother and daughter. Towards the end of the movie, the theme turns to self-love and body positivity. And did I mention drag queens?! There is a scene in the movie that combines drag queens, including Ginger Minj from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 and Dolly Parton! It is pretty awesome. I really enjoyed this Netflix original film. It will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.
Cover design by Lisa Knight; illustration by Svetlana Kolomeytseva.
Awaken Love, Dr. Anna Huff and Dr. Teresa Reyes Castillo 222 pp. Publish Your Purpose Press. $18.97. By Kaylee Duff Ever been curious about your intuition? Ever wondered about others who experience the truest of loves? Looking for a heartwarming read during the cold month of February? Published in September 2018, Awaken Love is a call to rising consciousness and true love. It’s the story of how the two authors (both licensed psychologists) met during grad school, fell in love and embarked on their life journeys together. Told in multiple parts from their two perspectives (with corresponding icons that make following the narrative an absolute breeze), Awaken Love is more than a love story — it’s a book about self-discovery, sexuality, ethnicity, spirituality and strength. It’s aesthetically engaging, as the tone settles perfectly somewhere between a documentary and a conversation with a dear friend. But the beauty of Awaken Love lies, without a doubt, within the story’s raw vulnerability. In the middle section of the book, the authors take you on a trip through the roughest patch of their relationship. Sharing the imperfect parts of a solid and energetic relationship takes an extreme amount of bravery and confidence. By the end of the book, you’re left with hope and a newfound curiosity about what it means to truly live life to the fullest, either with a partner or without. This book is perfect for those who have ever experienced a rough patch (in a relationship or outside of one) or who are looking for ways to get more out of their lives. Even the most cynical skeptic should be moved by Awaken Love; after all, there is not a more comforting idea than the universe being on your side.
Bird Box By Jeff Skinner Bird Box, a Netflix original, is a suspenseful thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat! Also, the line-up of stars in this film is unreal. Sandra Bullock is the main character, and there are parts in the movie that include some great stars like Sarah Paulson, Machine Gun Kelly and Danielle Macdonald from Dumplin’! The movie starts out with Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock), who is pregnant. The goal is to save her and her kid(s) from whatever monster is taking over the town. I felt like the movie didn’t go into detail as much as I would have liked it to, but I am happy for all the blindfold Bird Box memes that have been created because of this movie. In all seriousness, I thought that movie was pretty good, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes watching Netflix originals or suspenseful films!
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Spotlight on Luke Boyd Learn more about the Athens-based artist who creates art around baking as a form of queer expression and desire. By Kaylee Duff Cake decorating fun!
cakes. I always enjoyed making desserts because they were the celebratory culmination to the meal or party. It was in high school that I decided to pursue art. I took summer school to make room for art classes in my schedule.
I apprenticed with a German bakery during my undergraduate education at California State University Bakersfield. I loved learning how to make cakes, pastries, and breads.
Name: Luke Boyd Age: 26 Medium: Frosting, cake, acrylic paint Kaylee: Why is creating art meaningful and important to you? Luke: Art is important and meaningful to me because it is how I share fulfillment and love with others. I am interested in fostering shared human experience and building community. Art is a way for me to connect with people of different backgrounds. I recently did a cake decorating activity with an LGBTQ after-school program called PRISM here in Athens. The cake decorating fostered a fun and creative environment for local youth. Baking and painting exist in my life as a form of queer expression. They are outlets for me to be absolutely flamboyant and over-the-top. I can spend hours embellishing a cake with some frosting and my pastry bag. Who or what inspires your art? I am inspired by the work of Wayne Thiebaud. His paintings are incredibly rich in color and texture. His application of paint mimics that of frosting spread on a cake. The paintings are decadent and look very appetizing. I am also inspired by bakeries. I always try to visit a new bakery whenever I travel. I love seeing how tradition, technique and culture take form in an edible work of art. How did you get started? What was your beginning? I first started painting and baking with my grandmothers and my mom at a very young age. I got to help make my siblings’ birthday 6 | FEBRUARY 2019
I left my position at the German bakery in 2016 to pursue my graduate degree in painting and drawing here at Ohio University. It was during the fall of 2018 when I was feeling lonely and that I decided that I needed to paint something that would make me happy. I decided upon baked goods as a subject matter because they remind me of my connections with family and friends. What sort of steps are you taking now to grow your career as an artist? I am finishing up my last semester of grad school here at OU. I am pursuing baking and cake decorating after graduation. I am excited to spend my days baking and painting. I am enjoying the chance to work on commissions here in Athens. This sometimes involves working on something a little different or out of the ordinary. I am always excited to work with other people and bring their vision to life.
Some of the current projects in Luke’s studio.
Do you have a favorite memory or show? One of my favorite shows was “Cake” at the Trisolini Gallery in Athens, Ohio. I spent almost a month piping frosting all over the floor and all over the walls in the space. I mopped the floor with vanilla to make sure that the space smelled decadent. I baked tons of cake for the reception which became a huge part of the installation. The installation paralleled desire for desserts alongside sexual desire. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose? If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, I would choose breakfast. I love oatmeal, french toast, breakfast burritos and coffee. I enjoy eating a big meal to start my day.
Check out more of Luke’s art at lukejboyd.com, and follow him on Instagram @lucalisboyd! TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Spotlight on the Cleveland Bisexual Network
Bi+, a new bisexual-centered social group, is dedicated to offering a space for resources, support and community for bi+ folks across northeast Ohio. By Kaylee Duff The Cleveland Bisexual Network (CBN) was founded in 2017 by local advocates Eris Eady and Elaine Schleiffer, to be a resource to bi+ (“bisexual, pansexual, queer or otherwise neither-gay-norstraight”) folks in northeastern Ohio. Frustrated with the lack of social groups or community resources for bi+ people, the two community organizers took matters into their own hands to build the network they needed. In 2019, the CBN is introducing Bi+, a community group at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. “Bi+ will be a space for gathering resources that bisexual folks need, hosting healing conversations about the stigma we face and offering support for bisexual folks from all backgrounds and of all identities,” co-founder Elaine Schleiffer explained. “We believe that holding space for our community to connect, relax and enjoy time together is just as important as setting up other social, health and community resources for our community to access.” Bi+ is the very first bisexual-centered community group hosted by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. The Center has been around for over 40 years now. Having that space is absolutely critical to the safety and the visibility for non-gay queer folks. It is no secret that bisexual people face criticism and discrimination in both straight and queer spaces; they’re told they “don’t belong” because they aren’t “queer” or “gay enough.” They aren’t always adequately represented at community pride events or by LGBTQ+ organizations. That a bisexualcentered community group is being hosted in the Center is a real step forward in terms of visibility and support. “Hosting a group at the Center gives us a regular physical meeting space, access to the Center’s resources and networks, and also the chance to help the Center become more bisexual-knowledgeable and TRUE Q MAGAZINE
At the first Bi+ meeting.
bisexual-friendly,” Elaine said. “We are so grateful to have been welcomed there and to have found a partner in our journey toward building community.” In addition to being shunned out of straight and queer spaces, bisexual people face other, more alarming, obstacles. According to multiple studies, bisexualidentified people face higher rates of harassment and violence (including sexual violence and domestic violence) than gay or lesbian people. Bisexual folks also have unique health and social risks compared to other members of the LGBTQ+ community. And the statistics continue. A group like Bi+ and an organization like the Cleveland Bisexual Network gives bi+ people a space to create safety that they lack elsewhere, and to find the support that they need in one another. “The relationships we build amongst ourselves are validating, affirming and necessary. We believe that the best way to resource our underserved community is to center the experiences, resilience and strength that already exists in our community,” Elaine said. “Having a safe way to gather and pool our experiences is a great first step toward increased visibility and broader cultural support.”
The CBN and Bi+ are welcoming, affirming and safe spaces to meet new friends, find great resources and engage in conversations with people who understand, Elaine emphasized. “We strive to offer opportunities for bisexual people to connect, to socialize and to have fun in spaces where we are supported, seen and safe.” So if you’re a bisexual person living in northeast Ohio, check out Bi+ and bring all your bi pals. Bi+ meets once a month (every second Tuesday night) at the LGBT Community Center. Check out the Cleveland Bisexual Network group on Facebook for more information.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
FEBRUARY 2019 | 7
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Getting Real About cupcakKe the Rapper The hopeless romantic and raunchy queen is truly an icon for the ages. By JT Lucas
h, February. Days are getting longer, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the tunnel of love is open for business. Elizabeth Eden Harris (government name of cupcakKe the rapper) is a hopeless romantic just like the rest of us. She has so much romance in her soul that she just can’t limit all of her romance to one, or even 10, or even 100 lovers. There’s no polite way to say it: cupcakKe is raunchy. If you’ve ever been caught on occasion clutching a strand of pearls proclaiming “Oh my!,” you’re probably not ready to join cupcakKe’s legion of devoted fans, known for reasons I won’t explain on this publication as “Slurpers.” That being said, beyond the hyper-sexualized barrage of one-liners vile enough to make Janet Jackson wish she never championed a sexual freedom revolution, cupcakKe has some very real things to say about the state of the world today. She uses her “wisdom teeth” when she speaks about racism, her poverty-stricken past, LGBTQ+ advocacy, sexual abuse and autism. She’s exceptionally fast, too, blending an absurdly comical sex talk flow with devastating truth bombs at breakneck speed. It’s important to note that cupcakKe built her following from the ground up. She started with her YouTube channel at age 15, releasing videos and free-styles. She gained national notoriety at age 18 with a couple of her raunchiest offerings, featuring videos using healthy produce in some fun and unhealthy ways. Everything she has put out has been self-released without major label assistance, and that’s pretty boss. For the purpose of this column, we are going to look at her two 2018 offerings: Euphorize and Eden. Euphorize, released at the beginning of 2018, opens on a solemn note. “Two Minutes” is a testament to cupcakKe’s work ethic, referencing her troubled past, challenging herself to constantly think of her next moves. “That ain’t your friend if he walking around with money while you’re sitting hungry” is an idea that comes back in different forms throughout the album. In “Wisdom Teeth,” she laments how people are willing to throw down money on their clothes and looks, but then TRUE Q MAGAZINE
won’t thrown down to help their own povertystricken community. A similar statement is made in “Self-Interview,” showing a fear of allowing fame to make her selfish, ungrateful and uncharitable. Selfish isn’t in her character profile, though, as she has made a reputation of contributing money to struggling fans who reach out for help. The stand-out track on Euphorize, of course, is “Duck Duck Goose.” All of the raunchiest things Lil’ Kim could’ve said back in the day belong in a hymnal compared to this playful, vulgar romp, proving why there’s so much money in cupcakKe’s “vending machine.” And then there’s “Crayons,” the album’s proLGBTQ+ anthem. “Crayons” means to pay homage to all facets of queer culture in one fell swoop, and that creates some awkward sentiments, such as claiming that gay males taking anal are brave and the clunky line “transgenders are people so Imma treat em equal.” It seems clumsy and insensitive, but the heart of it is in the right place, as a song of this type of message is generally never heard of in this genre. Plus, a few days before the release of this album, she paid off a gay teen’s GoFundMe account, geared towards keeping them off the street when their housing situation suddenly drastically changed, so she has points with the gays either way. Eden, cupcakKe’s fourth studio album, was released towards the end of 2018. Two studio albums in one year is practically unheard of, but this serves as another testament to Harris’s work ethic. Eden opens with spitfire diss track, “Petsmart,” featuring next-level references mentioning Wendy Williams’s fainting and Azealia Banks’ sudden obsession with making soap. Eden seems slightly less about sex and more about proving to the world why she belongs at the top. In “Starbucks,” she wants you to know that she’s 21 and “walking around with a black card,” and in “Prenup,” she wants you to know that she’s “married to the money,” and for those fake friends who try to get close to her to get to that money, she’s “shutting it down like Sears” (#toosoon).
“Garfield,” opens with horny caterwauling as she goes on to compare her nether-regions to America’s favorite lasagna-loving fat cat. “Typo” challenges our typing skills in a sexy way, and after listening to “Blackjack,” you won’t look at Ariana Grande’s ponytail the same way. The album closes with “A.U.T.I.S.M.,” another clumsy support song of a marginalized group. “A Unique Thinking Individual Strongly Matters,” the song proclaims. Like Euphorize’s “Crayons,” it’s awkward and seems unmerited, but it’s a nice sentiment. Being that she spent the rest of the album letting us know why she should be queen, she’s allowed to take a moment to prove that she will be a benevolent ruler. The future is bright for this raunchy 21-year-old, as she has already released a new single this year — “Squidward Nose,” which will have you thinking dirty thoughts about a childhood fave. And for the shameless plug no one asked for, cupcakKe will be at Ace of Cups in Clintonville on March 22. This is also my birthday, so come out for some great live music and to see if I’m able to wear her down enough on social media to convince her to do an even sexier cover of Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” in my honor. I think I can do it, too. After all, cupcakKe loves charity.
JT Lucas is a Columbus-based music enthusiast, frequent concertgoer and a Carly Rae Jepsen superfan.
CupcakKe does not let you forget that she is, in fact, a sexual being. Eden’s fourth track, FEBRUARY 2019 | 9
The Love And Legacy Of Chris Bradley After losing an icon in the out-and-proud weatherman, the Columbus LGBTQ+ community strives to honor him by living honestly and loving openly. By Kaylee Duff Photos courtesy of Jason Bradley-Krauss
One of Chrisâ€™s professional headshots. 10 | FEBRUARY 2019
TRUE Q MAGAZINE
cover story explained. “It was a bit of a surprise and some adjustment. Chris took the main job at ABC FOX, and I used the opportunity to start my own business.” Jason and Chris built a beautiful and open life in Columbus, and came to mean a lot to both the city and the LGBTQ+ community here. “When we lived in Detroit, we were far less open about our true, authentic selves,” said Jason. “When we moved to Columbus, we were greeted by neighbors in German Village who were very out and open. It was a refreshing change.”
A young Jason, left, and Chris, right.
f you’re from Columbus, there’s a good chance you know exactly who Chris Bradley was. You probably watched him deliver the weather on the news or saw him at any number of community events. You remember his infectious smile and genuine enjoyment for the things that he did. And you know that above all else, Chris loved his family, his faith and his city.
Neither Chris nor Jason made their sexuality a secret at their respective jobs. It was even through their business engagements that they began expressing themselves and their commitment to each other. Eventually, throughout time, the couple became an icon for Columbus’s LGBTQ+ community; here were two men, deeply in love, in the public eye. They made no excuses and lived the life that they cherished and deserved — with absolute openness and honesty.
Much of Chris’s popularity came from his excellence as a weatherman. It is no secret that Chris loved the weather and sincerely loved his job as a meteorologist. In 2005, Chris changed channels and became the Chief Meteorologist with WBNS-10TV. He really was the face and heart of weather in Columbus. “While Chris was a working meteorologist, he adored his fanbase. He was so passionate about serving that information to the Columbus market that he was giddy,” Jason recalled. “His genuine love of weather, his passion for delivering the weather a smile and enthusiasm — and also let’s face it, he was kind of a weather geek — people really responded to that.” Knowing Chris was also knowing Chris’s faith. Both Chris and Jason were raised in the church, but initially struggled with feeling accepted while living in Detroit. “We would sit in the back row, and we always joked that if someone ever came over and said hello to us, we would not go back to that church,” Jason joked. “Because we were so afraid that if they really knew who we really were and what
In early December last year, Chris lost his battle with cancer at 53 years-old. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in March 2017, and had been fighting bravely with his family by his side ever since. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Chris moved to Columbus with his partner, Jason Bradley-Krauss, in 1998, after taking a position as a meteorologist with ABC FOX. The two were together for 23 years, first as partners and then as husbands, and adopted two children, Spencer and Maria. Jason and Chris met in 1995 at the Steppin’ Out AIDS Walk Detroit, a walk, run, rollerblade event for AIDS in Michigan. Jason, who worked for a large advertising agency at the time, was in the rollerblade registration line when he spotted Chris. “The earth moved under my feet,” Jason said. “I saw him, panicked and slipped.” A mutual friend made an introduction a couple weeks later, and the rest is history. Chris was working as the weekend meteorologist in Detroit when he saw an open position as a meteorologist in Columbus. Jason encouraged him to interview, and the interview went well — leading Chris and Jason to a new life in Ohio’s capital city. “Moving to Columbus was really not on my radar,” Jason
TRUE Q MAGAZINE
The Bradley-Krauss family on wedding day.
FEBRUARY 2019 | 11
Chris posing with some pumpkins.
we were really about, we were going to have issues.” After moving to Columbus and searching for a church, they found King Avenue United Methodist Church. Now known as a welcoming, accepting and affirming church for the LGBTQ+ community, finding King Avenue United Methodist changed Jason’s and Chris’s lives for the better. “During those early days at King Avenue, we both wept at the unconditional love and acceptance that we found there — coming even from the pulpit, which was such a breath of fresh air,” Jason remembered. “It was nothing shy of transformative to hear that message, that God loves us, that we’re all children of God.” Chris and Jason were both active with the church, giving back in any way they could. They served, in some way, on most of the church’s committees and boards. “Chris taught Sunday school. He also taught the youth choir, even though he wasn’t terribly musically inclined,” said Jason. Community and faith were two of the most important things for the couple, and having that loving support system were crucial during their lives and throughout Chris’s illness. In fact, Grayson Atha, former senior pastor of King Avenue United Methodist Church, is one person that helped nudge Chris and Jason towards adopting. 12 | FEBRUARY 2019
Spencer, left, and Chris, right, in April 2007.
Although the two had discussed wanting children as early as their third date together, Jason explained that it “wasn’t until [they] felt spiritually whole that the idea of becoming fathers really took root.” The other person was Governor Taft. According to Jason, “The evening Governor Taft signed the bill that said marriage was between one man and one woman, Chris and I went to dinner. At dinner, I looked at him and said, ‘If we’re going to wait until society says we can and should move forward with adoption, we’ll miss our window.’ We looked at each other that night, we toasted, and we said we’re going to do it.” And they did. After months of pursuing adoptions, they eventually ended up finding a beautiful baby boy — Spencer — who was available for adoption in Guatamala. They also adopted their daughter, Maria, from Guatamala. “The idea of adoption felt very natural to us,” Jason explained, as Chris was also adopted as a child. Being a gay couple and adoptive parents in the time they lived in is nothing short of an inspiration, groundbreaking story. A stable, loving, happy family with two dads? Unheard of at the time. “We didn’t know another male couple who had done it,” said Jason. “We didn’t have anyone we could turn to to ask advice.” Now, adoptive
children with two dads or two moms is less of a novelty and more commonplace — and the LGBTQ+ community has, in part, Jason and Chris to thank for that. Throughout his time serving Columbus, Chris Bradley became an icon of hope and optimism for the LGBTQ+ community. Early on, he was asked to host the AIDS Walk Columbus, and continued to host and emcee events for LGBTQ+ causes and a number of other social causes over the years. By being out and proud, Chris and Jason (and their family) filled a void for much-needed representation. The couple were proof that two men in a loving, committed relationship could start a family. They’re an example, a light in the darkness, a resilient couple from a pre-marriage equality Columbus that toughed it out and showed a young queer community that it was possible to survive. By sharing his struggles about growing up gay and coming out, Chris showed that it really does and will get better. Jason said that “First and foremost, Chris lived his life openly and honestly. He made no bones about who he was or the fact that he wanted to be a married man with a family life.” For that, the Columbus queer community will always love and respect him.
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cover story Just as Columbus came to love Chris and Jason, so the couple too came to love Columbus. “It’s an amazing place to raise a family. It’s an amazing place to live,” Jason admitted. “It became a place we had no desire to leave.” Even though many meteorologists tend to move around every few years, relocating with the job, the Bradley-Krauss family stayed in central Ohio. Jason continued: “We’ve seen the city change and grow and become better every day. The people who are here in Columbus are proud and happy to be here. That enthusiasm, that pulse and that energy is something that makes Columbus
very special.” Columbus is very special indeed. With a large, vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community here, it’s becoming a mecca, a place where people come to broaden their horizons and put down roots. A community that, again, has much to thank Chris and Jason for. That love and respect held firm and true to the day that Chris passed away and beyond. “In his illness, the Columbus community has been such a blessing to our family. There’s been so much love reflected back to us,” Jason shared. “We’ve received countless numbers of cards, well wishes, cassaroles, gestures of kindness to our family. Chris was truly
humbled by the outpouring of love, and truly blessed by it.” What can Columbus to do keep Chris Bradley’s legacy alive and well? When I asked Jason this question, he smiled, and said this: “Chris truly believed that that which we have in common is greater than that which separates us. I think that if people want to honor Chris’s memory, they should look for opportunities to find common ground.” So here’s to the man who showed us what it was like to love so openly and widely, and live with so much optimism, faith and joy.
Chris, left, and Jason, right, on the day of their wedding.
You can donate today to the Chris Bradley Memorial Fund (via the Columbus Foundation), in support of cancer research and other local organizations and causes dear to Chris’s heart. TRUE Q MAGAZINE
FEBRUARY 2019 | 13
Dating And The Transgender Community Dating can be hard for anyone, but trans people often face additional obstacles that make dating seemingly impossible sometimes. But in the end, it’s worth it.
By Daniel Tirabassi
major struggle when transitioning is finding someone to share your life and experiences with. This is due to many different reasons. The first that many transgender people face is discovering their sexuality. In many cases, transgender people start their journey identifying their sexual orientation as something that it may not be forever. Trans men often originally identify as lesbians, while trans women often identify as gay men. This tends to lead to discovering a new gender identity as they transition to their true selves. Many transsexuals may have a shift in sexuality as they transition. Many trans men who identify as straight find themselves attracted to men, both cisgender and transgender. Some trans women find themselves attracted to women, both cis and transgender. A theory is developing that links idolization to attraction. The theory revolves around a transgender person wanting to be the gender so bad that their idolization turns into sexual attraction. Though many may not explore this new attraction, some find that the exploration helps in discovering who they truly are. In the case of non-binary or gender nonconforming folks, many people have trouble dating them because they don’t fall under the binary terms of gender. This means that the person dating a non-binary or nonconforming individual might lose their sexual identity. This is troubling not only for the person losing their identity, but also puts a strain on the non-binary or non-conforming person. Many times, resentment builds 14 | FEBRUARY 2019
from this loss of identity, causing an unsafe environment for the non-binary or nonconforming person. Once a person discovers who they are attracted to, the next hurdle is safely finding a person to date. This is challenging for many reasons. The most prevalent of which is the safety of the transgender person. The first issue comes with a decision. Transgender people, primarily those who undergo some sort of transition, need to decide when the appropriate time is for them to be open about it. Some feel that being open in the very beginning is not only safer, but allows them to screen out people who would challenge their identity down the line. Others would rather get to know a person before opening up about their transition in order to try and gauge the reaction of the person they are telling. I have even heard of some transsexual people who have waited years to tell their partner that they were born in a different body than the one they have now. To be honest, this decision is based on how a person wants to be seen by their partner and what they are comfortable with. The next step for safety is how to meet new people. Using dating apps is all the rage right now. This is good when using apps like Tinder, due to their platform including a plethora of gender options to allow people to be open about their identity. However, danger lurks on many sites in different forms. Sites that do not offer you to chance to identify yourself as anything other than “man” and “woman” leave transgender people, especially transgender women, extremely vulnerable. People who believe that dating a transgender person changes their sexuality may react TRUE Q MAGAZINE
trans view poorly when faced with a transgender person who had no option but to choose “man” or “woman” on a dating profile. Even on sites such as Tinder, transgender people are faced with hurdles that are very uncomfortable. People tend to become curious and invasive when they are not immediately meeting a person face-to-face. Many trans people are faced with questions about their sexual preferences, genitals, previous experiences and “true” sexual orientation usually right when a conversation is started. Not only are these questions uncomfortable, they make it difficult to get to know the person behind the transition. There is even added anxiety after clearing all of these hurdles. The first date is always daunting, but it often becomes amplified for transgender people. Not only do they have to continuously worry about being accepted by the person they are on a date with, they focus on how everyone around them are reacting to them. If the people surrounding the date are obviously uncomfortable, a trans person’s date can feel that the scrutiny is too much to deal with and possibly end the date abruptly. Trans people also have to worry if their date is only there to check off a bucket list, explore their sexuality or cause harm to the person they are on the date with. People who transition while in a long term relationship have separate struggles of their own. Of course, the questioning of sexual orientation by the trans person and their partner(s) is always in the foreground. However, other issues may arise, as well. Issues with how the partner(s) react to the transition vary, not only from relationship to relationship, but can occur in one relationship from day to day. Other problems arise when HRT is added into the relationship. Not only does the body change on HRT, but also a person’s demeanor, emotions and thought processes change along the way. This could put a strain on even the strongest relationship. However, with all the fear, decisions and battles a transgender person faces when it comes to dating, so many have found a relationship worth the struggles. Often those relationships help through the process of transitioning. A strong relationship can help someone push through things that they could not face on their own. By having someone else to tell you that you are becoming who they always knew you could be is the greatest support any person can get, especially if you’re transgender. It only takes one person to see in you what you’ve always known was there to make even the most difficult steps in the process seem simple. And knowing that there are so many transgender people who have those types of relationships makes the issues discussed here seem more than worth it. Finding love means facing your fears to find the part of you that was missing. This is a process that transgender people face on their own every single day. And, in both cases, the rewards well outweigh the reasons to not do pursue it. TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Daniel Tirabassi is a trans man whose goal in life is to make the process of transitioning easier for the next generation.
FEBRUARY 2019 | 15
Columbus Arts Space To Highlight Queer Art In 2019 Wild Goose Creative is focusing on showing art by artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists in their monthly Gallery Series shows this year. By Kaylee Duff
ild Goose Creative (WGC) is a Columbus-based nonprofit organization that focuses on connecting the community with art, without barriers. They’re dedicated to serving by building and fostering a creative arts community in central Ohio, by featuring a diverse array of central Ohio artists. Their space, located at 2491 Summit Street, is a space for people to come together and engage, discuss art and share stories. The Wild Goose Creative mission, according to their official website, is “to build a creative community at the intersection of art, risk and meaning.” They do this by hosting 300+ public events a year, including a monthly Gallery Series (featuring a mix of emerging and established visual artists) and several other recurring monthly programs. Community members can also rent the space for events like pop-up shows, wedding receptions, baby showers and more.
Find Wild Goose Creative online at wildgoosecreative.com. Follow them on on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for event updates, behind-the-scenes photos and more. 16 | FEBRUARY 2019
The Flyover Library; photo by Emily Hirzel.
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arts significant number of artists renting the space out for pop-up shows. “We should be giving those communities a significant platform, because we are here to represent everyone. They are utilizing our resources, so we’re here to show the world their resources.” Each Gallery Series show is chosen by the curation committee, which consists of both Wild Goose affiliates and community members like art professionals and community leaders. Lydia explained that this way, the shows are truly a community-based decision, in order to best serve both the Columbus arts scene and local artists.
The space at Wild Goose; photo by Emily Hirzel.
The WGC Gallery Series show in March features art by Nich Corbett, a queer artist who experiments with photography and gay culture. Titled “Fool’s Paradise,” the show is a psychedelic fantasy full of emotional images that explore male homosexuality and fantastical worlds. “I’m trying to show what’s inside of the ‘fool’s’ mind. His paradise, his fantasy,” said Nich. “Whether they be a dark fantasy, a sexual fantasy or a literal fantasy — in the end, we’re all the fool.” Inspired by the work of Gregory Crewdson, George Platt Lynes and James Bidgood, “Fool’s Paradise” is full of surreal, colorful and striking images. “I was very inspired by showing off the deep pockets of the mind,” emphasized Nich. When asked about the importance of raising up the voices of queer artists, Nich responded: “Queer art is genre of it’s own. There are queer artists all over the world showcasing their work and referencing a counterculture that is otherwise unknown to anyone that hasn’t stepped into that world. It’s important to show all lights and colors of the queer community and I’m just glad that there’s finally a big gay voice screaming to be heard.”
Art on Tap at Wild Goose Creative; photo by Emily Hirzel. The ongoing arts programs are supported by WGC’s arts incubator program; those programs include art forms of all kinds — from writing to improv to figure drawing and everything in between. One popular program is the Queer Community Mic, an open mic run by Writing Wrongs held on every third Thursday.
The important work of featuring art by artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists will continue through the year. In June, the Gallery Series show will be honoring and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Wild Goose Creative will be featuring art by a group of artists that corresponds with the anniversary. A call for submissions and artists will go be announced for that show closer to the event.
Last year, the Wild Goose Creative Board of Directors and Advisory Board elected to focus the 2019 monthly Gallery Series on artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists for the three months of open shows. “Our mission at Wild Goose is to reach and represent as many communities as we possibly can,” said Lydia Simon, Gallery and Operations Manager at WGC. “We want to be representative of the community that we live in, and we want to be intentional about the artists and the shows that would reach our community.” Executive Director Patrick Roehrenbeck explained that in 2018, artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists were among the most TRUE Q MAGAZINE
“Fool’s Paradise” will open at the beginning of March and be shown throughout the month. The event is a suggested donation of $5, and there will be a wine and food bar at the opening reception.
“Fool’s Paradise” is Nich’s first solo show in Columbus. Follow him on Instagram @talkingtosatan. A sample piece from “Fool’s Paradise.” FEBRUARY 2019 | 17
Driving into the Future with May Mobility May Mobility offers Columbus residents and visitors a glimpse into the future of mobility, as they are actively testing self-driving shuttle operations around the Scioto Mile.
By J.M. Rayburn
First stop: The Smart Columbus Experience Center.
On the road!
he City of Columbus’ Smart Columbus plan won the U.S. Department of Transportation $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies — self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors — into its transportation network. As part of that effort, Smart Columbus and partnering organization, DriveOhio, recently unveiled Smart Circuit — Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle — by offering free rides and a glimpse into the future of transportation.
In front of the Columbus skyline.
The low-speed vehicles serve destinations around Columbus’ Scioto Mile. The shuttles offer residents and visitors a hands-on educational experience with self-driving technology. Engineers, researchers and policymakers from Smart Columbus, DriveOhio and The Ohio State University are using the demonstration to inform future deployments of self-driving vehicle technology in Ohio, including a route planned for a Columbus neighborhood, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge grant.
Three all-electric vehicles service the 1.5-mile route, with shuttles arriving at each of four stops approximately every 10 minutes. The vehicle, which has a maximum speed of 25 MPH, has a four-seat “campfire” configuration in the rear of the vehicle as well as a 49-inch digital display that provides system and route information. A human operator (called a fleet attendant) rides aboard each vehicle with access to driving controls at all times. Michiganbased startup May Mobility operates the shuttles and employs its fleet attendants. Smart Circuit shuttles are able to operate autonomously through use of a suite of sensors that deliver a 360-degree view around the vehicle. The sensors and intelligent software help the vehicle understand where it is; in which direction to steer; and when to slow down, accelerate or stop for something in its path. Mapping technology allows the vehicle to know every inch of its route and navigate through various traffic conditions. Each shuttle has a vehicle operator that provides riders with information about the route and technology. The operator can take control of the vehicle at any time. If you are curious and want to take a ride on the Smart Circuit, the vehicle operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. It services destinations along the Scioto Mile, including Center of Science and Industry (COSI), National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Bicentennial Park and Smart Columbus Experience Center. Additional information is available at smartcircuitcbus.com.
J.M. Rayburn is an urban planner with the City of Dublin, Realtor with Coldwell Banker King Thompson and neighborhood commissioner for the 5th by Northwest neighborhood of Columbus. Opinions are his own and not the views of his employers.
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FEBRUARY 2019 | 19
PeaceLove participants engaging during a workshop.
Creating Community In Franklin County Jails The PeaceLove program focuses on expressive art workshops and community connections for incarcerated LGBTQ+ males. By Kaylee Duff
n November of last year, a new LGBTspecific program was launched in the Franklin County jail system — but the inspiration for it has been around even longer. Franklin County’s corrections division has been running an award-winning program called Pathways for a few years. Pathways focuses on women, and a part of that programming includes PeaceLove, an expressive art workshop where participants can learn to express themselves and further understand the way they think and feel. Chief Deputy Penny Perry-Balonier (Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Corrections Division) and Michael Daniels (Director of Justice Policy and Programs, Franklin County Board 20 | FEBRUARY 2019
of Commissioners) had been looking for a way to bring LGBT-specific programming into the jails, to accommodate a growing need for community. After researching and discovering there were no other LGBT-specific programs in jails nationwide, Deputy Tresalyn Butler proposed adapting the PeaceLove program for those needs. “When we started discussing looking for something LGBT-specific, in terms of programming for the folks in our facility, it was difficult,” Deputy Butler explained. Most programs formatted for the justice system involve different types of therapy, such as therapy for substance abuse or behavioral therapy, and weren’t LGBT-focused. “Finding something for justice-involved people that are LGBT was pretty much impossible.”
After seeing the success PeaceLove and other expressive arts programs had elsewhere, they decided to move forward and implement it to serve LGBT-identified males in the Franklin County jail system. “We thought it was a great idea to run it as a pilot program and see what the feedback is,” Chief Perry-Balonier said. “So far, we’ve had a lot of great, positive feedback on it.” PeaceLove was initially launched in Rhode Island by OSU alum Jeff Sparr, as a communitybased expressive arts program. It functions similarly to art therapy, focused on using art as a way to open up, express and learn more about yourself, but without actual therapy occurring or therapists facilitating. Originally meant to cope with mental health issues, it was adapted by the Corrections Division as a TRUE Q MAGAZINE
feature way for incarcerated LGBT males to cope with the chaos of life while also building community connections. The PeaceLove program in the Franklin County jail system consists of six different workshops, including Creative Calisthenics, Dual Emotions, Story Shoes, and Rhythm and Color. The group meets once a week for two hours. “Participants go through different forms of artwork, and it’s about the process, not the product,” Deputy Butler said. “The idea is that this helps break down the walls, barriers and stigmas, by bringing them all together.” Each workshop consists of a different style of art (such as painting, drawing and even music), which generally focuses on both exploring the self and working together. That’s followed by time for open sharing and discussion. Deputy Butler emphasized that they “made sure it was a safe space and a judgment-free zone, so people can be free to share and be who they are.” One workshop, Dual Emotions, is particularly powerful for this group. They talked about how people tend to display different emotions or appearances on the outside than they feel internally. The participants really opened up during this workshop, since “especially in a corrections institution, you have to show something outside than what’s really going on inside,” explained Deputy Butler. The masterpieces created during the workshops will be displayed in the hallways of the new jail currently being built in Franklin County. This way, Chief Perry-Balonier explained, those through the facilities — including both community members in addition to the offenders themselves — can have the chance to see how the incarcerated individuals are expressing themselves.
Each workshop ends with an evaluation, where the participants can tell the facilitators how the program is helping. The evaluations are overwhelmingly positive, with the men writing how they are learning how to cope in addition to getting a space for community and self-expression. In fact, the community connection component is one thing that PeaceLove couldn’t exist without. On the last day of the program, they held a community resource day; instead of making art, the participants received community connections and resources to use after being released. Kimberly Griffiths from OCTOPUS (Organizing Communities Transgender Outreach Promoting United Support) presented, and gave them general community resources alongside LGBT-specific resources. Chief Perry-Balonier and Deputy Butler explained that many of the incarcerated individuals may not know what resources are available in the area, so it’s important to provide them with access to those resources. The overall expectation for the PeaceLove program is to give these men tools they can utilize after once they’re released, especially in terms of using art as both a coping mechanism and self-expression. “It’s like planting a seed,” Chief Perry-Balonier said. “This is something positive they received while incarcerated. Maybe they’ll be reflecting and remember how they felt, and that will lead to them doing [the artwork] at home.” The PeaceLove program, as utilized in the Franklin County jails, is the first LGBT-specific program in a county jail. Even more, those supporting, running and backing this program (including Chief Perry-Balonier, Deputy Butler and Daniels) are proud members of the LGBTQ+ community. Both the Sheriff’s Office and Board of Commissioners are excited to be on the front line of important, progressive programming. “We’re really proud to be able to implement this kind of program, and hopefully we can be
A masterpiece from the PeaceLove program.
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recognized nationwide for taking the lead and doing something different,” stated Chief Perry-Balonier. Daniels, who had a part in backing the development of the programming, says that the PeaceLove programs “shows how progressive we are and how much we recognize that addressing the culturally competent needs of a variety of different groups of inmates is the correct thing to do overall to serve public safety and to make it as easy as possible for those folks to understand what triggered the behavior that got them there and give them a way to not recreate that behavior once they’re discharged from jail.” “We very much believe that all of those folks deserve equal and equitable access to programming and services regardless of whether they are opening a new restaurant or returning from incarceration,” he continued. “We are not afraid to take a step outside and say we recognize that not only do we have a very vibrant and important and integrated LGBT community here in Franklin County, that means that we have to address not just the really great things that happen in the LGBT community and celebrate the successes — but we also have to address the problems that happen in the LGBT community.” Moving forward, the Sheriff’s Office and Board of Commissioners in Franklin County believe that, as the community grows in Columbus, so will their staff and so will their policies and programming. The support from Sheriff Dallas Baldwin has been critical in implementing the PeaceLove program; his support and backing of such programs allows the Corrections division to be as progressive and trendsetting as they are today. They’re still working on expanding the workshops into a core curriculum, so the LGBT community members within the walls of the jails can have the care and community connections that they need.
A masterpiece created during the Dual Emotions workshop.
FEBRUARY 2019 | 21
Something To Do On V Day Here’s what the True Team and our readers have planned for February 14. By Kaylee Duff
22 | FEBRUARY 2019
ebruary 14 rolls around once a year, and we celebrate it by showering our loved ones with gifts, candy, flowers and kisses. But choosing the perfect place for a date, the perfect idea, can be pretty difficult. There’s a whole world of options. Do you want to stay in or go out? Do you want fancy or casual? Do you double date with friends or spend some alone time with your significant other? And what if you’re single? Do you take the day to treat yourself or your friends? The possibilities are literally endless, which makes planning Valentine’s Day a daunting task. The True Team asked our readers what their favorite things to do on Valentine’s Day, so here’s some suggestions in case you’re looking for ideas: •
“I like to go out for a nice dinner (even if it’s like Noodles and Co.)! In a perfect world, I’d take my girlfriend to the movies after dinner and then eat lots of ice cream.”
“I’m in a long distance relationship, so Valentine’s Day for me and my boyfriend is a bit different! We will probably screenshare and watch a movie together on rabb.it. I’m going to make him a Valentine’s Day box and have him open it on video chat. We’ll order the same pizza, so it’s like we’re eating together!”
“Spending the day doing absolutely nothing would be the ultimate date night for me. Naps, maybe a heartshaped pizza and just hanging out.”
“I’m single, but the day after Valentine’s Day means discount chocolate and treating myself to a massage or something.”
“My husband and I don’t celebrate ‘Valentines Day’ necessarily, because we feel we should be able to have lovely surprises and things we do together just because. Our date night will usually consist of getting some good take-out and watching a movie together at home with the the the pups.”
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“This year, Valentine’s Day is very special for me and my partner! We are celebrating 20 weeks together. I am not sure what we have planned yet, if I know my boyfriend, it will be something out-of-the box and unexpected!” “I think that buying flowers for my partner is a must. Even though I do this all the time throughout the year, it’s just another way to show them how special they are to me!”
“All I need and want is uninterrupted quality time! I plan on spending mine this year cuddled up with my honey drinking wine and just chatting with no distractions.”
“I love trying something new on Valentine’s day! It is also our anniversary (cheesy, I know), but exploring and doing something together is key.”
“Valentine’s Day means a fancy dinner and even fancier chocolate, because why not?”
“My husband and I spend the evening together at home watching a movie and eating fancy cheese and crackers. Perfection in my book!”
“This V Day, my partner and I will be going to Cooper’s Hawk for a wine tasting and nice dinner. Afterwards, will get our laugh on at the Funnybone.”
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FEBRUARY 2019 | 23
All About That Puppy Love Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to share the love with everyone and everything around us — from significant others and family to friends and pets. By Kaylee Duff 24 | FEBRUARY 2019
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t really is no secret that most people adore animals, especially domesticated ones like cats and dogs. And it makes sense — we spend lots of time with our pets, feeding them, taking care of them, comforting them (and letting them comfort us). People even go so far as to dress them up and throw them extravagant birthday parties. Sara Treneff, owner and pet stylist at All About The Dogs Pet Wash, gets it. Located in Columbus’s German Village, All About The Dogs is a grooming business that is dedicated to serving dogs the same way other businesses serve humans. Sara chatted with True Q’s editor about the shop, what it’s like to work with dogs and how we can show our pups some major love this Valentine’s Day: Kaylee: People really love their pets, and definitely treat their dogs like family members. Being a dog grooming business, do you get to witness that a lot? Sara: We witness that every day! Many of our clients do not have children, so their pets are considered their children. They take them to daycare, to get their hair cut regularly, to annual checkups at the doctor, to playdates and even sometimes to work with them! Or if you’re me, you find yourself saying constantly, “you can steal my kids, just don’t take the dogs.” (Just kidding!) What are some of your favorite memories with clients and their dogs? Oh my gosh, there’s so many! I have 15 years worth of clients, so many go from dating to married to having children, through love and loss. I have been so blessed to share with them the good and bad moments in my own life and theirs, all just from being their “dog groomer.” I have had clients that have asked me to be with their dog as they were sent over the rainbow, because they just couldn’t “do it,” but wanted the dog to be with a familiar face. Those are the hard but soulful moments that fill my heart. What advice would you give someone who wants to really treat their pup good for Valentine’s Day? Doggie Date Night! I love having date nights with my dogs! Sometimes, it’s just a walk down the Scioto Mile or an event with other dogs. Our dogs want nothing more than time with their human. To them, every day is a good day when their human walks through that door. Valentine’s Day represents love, so what better way to treat your dog than to show some extra love?! Every dog has their own “love language,” so my best recommendation is finding what that is for your dog, and giving it to them! How did the business get started? What’s the history there? I am actually the third owner of All About The Dogs. I have had the pleasure of living my daydream here for the past eight years. The business was started as a do-it-yourself pet wash. The original owner then saw the demand for grooming service as well. I am the first TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Owner/Pet Stylist. Previous owners had no grooming experience. When I took over eight years ago, I was just a dog groomer. My original intent was to be able work for myself, groom dogs and afford to see my son through college. I had no idea where the journey would go. Over the past eight years, it has evolved into so much more. I was 28 years-old, with six years of grooming experience, an extensive list of loyal clientele from both Grove City and Grandview. No college education. I was a teen mom at 15 and graduating high school was as far as I could go in the education department. I could go on for pages about the struggles that got me and this shop where it is now, but to sum it up, I was lost and the only time I felt found was with my dog. She didn’t judge me; she loved me every day no matter what. I knew I wanted to be in a profession where I could experience that love every day. They call me the crazy village dog lady for a reason. I have a hard time connecting with humans, but dogs? Dogs I get, and they get me. I offer people more than grooming services. I give them a hug when I think they need it. I go out of my way to build relationships with the dogs and their families, because they are important to me. I call this a “family-run business” not because we are blood related, but because we are circumstance related. The groomers, the clients and the Village are all part of our family, and without that mix, we don’t have a purpose of being here. What different services do you offer? We offer full and self service options. We have tubs and supplies for people to wash their own dogs and a great staff of humans to do the dirty work for you. We are very popular for our easy walk-in nail trims and anal gland expressions. We have “TLC” options for special needs pups that include after-hours appointments to allow me to work with the dog, giving them my undivided attention in a calm setting. We have groomers that will dogsit for clients as well. Of course, our outgoing personalities and dance moves are always on display and free! So here’s the thing: I absolutely love dogs. What is it like getting to work with dogs all day? Working with the dogs is great! While most people think we play with dogs all day, in the grooming industry, that is unfortunately not the case. While we do have fun and get to enjoy the dogs, we also have a lot of pressure on us.
We work with surgically sharp shears and blades on a moving target. Not a day goes by where we don’t clean up poop and pee. Imagine spending four hours perfecting a groom only to get a whiff of poo… and seeing that the dog you just devoted perfection to has pooped and stepped in it, and the mom on her lunch break is on her way to pick the pup up! We listen to barking all day. We are being trusted with someone’s child, who cannot express to us their emotions and needs. We have to play the guessing game to be able to keep the dogs happy and safe at the same time. It is a lot of pressure on us, but also incredibly rewarding. Your website says that you all love to express individuality while also prioritizing the dogs. How do you do that, and how can owners bring that attitude home with them? I am very picky when it comes to hiring groomers. We have a very high standard that goes way beyond basic grooming credentials. And instead of uniforms, we all wear what we want. (This usually involves Homage, dogs or a local band/business). It allows each groomer to express who they are and what they like. Look good, feel good, do good. I live by that motto in human and dog life. Your dog groomer may be a previous felon or former drug addict. They may have a terrible driving record and awful credit. Your dog groomer may have piercings, tattoos and dreaded hair. Ask yourself though: Do any of these things hinder this person from loving my dog as their own for a few hours? Will this person give my dog the voice it needs when I am asking for the unreasonable? Will this person be able to give my dog a bath and a haircut? The answer is AB-SO-F*ING-LUTELY! We will always take all necessary actions (including sometimes saying NO to a client) to do what we feel is in the dogs’ best interests. As a teen mom, I spent so many years being judged, and that is the last thing I ever want any dog or human to feel in this shop. Our exteriors and pasts do not determine who we are. WE determine who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. For most of us, that aspiration is to be better today than yesterday. Sometimes we hit our mark, sometimes we fall short. Either way, our dogs love us and that is the unconditional love we strive to give back every day!
Find All About The Dogs Pet Wash online at allaboutthedogspetwash.com, and check them out on Facebook and Instagram. Visit their shop in the German Village at 207 Thurman Avenue. Call 614.444.WASH to make your appointment today! FEBRUARY 2019 | 25
Dating as a Drag Queen With February being the month of love and dating, I did some exploring on what it’s like to date in the drag scene. By Jeff Skinner, a.k.a. Jennifer Lynn
I know a couple people that used to be extremely intimidated by drag queens, but I think with all this representation and increasing visibility, it’s becoming more “socially acceptable” to both be and date a drag queen.
f you are in a relationship during the month of February, then it’s all about LOVE. If you’re not, you probably celebrate February 15th (a.k.a. Single Awareness Day). This month, I wanted to ask my friends and people in the community what it’s like to date when you’re a drag queen, and what’s it’s like to date a drag queen. I’ve been wondering, “Is it difficult for either party? What are those experiences like?” So I took to the streets!
My friend Hunter, better known as Soy Queen, also had some great points to add. When I asked her what she thought about dating as a drag queen, she responded: “I think, within the LGBTQ+ community, it is hard dating as a drag queen. We are a community full of diversity that is constantly fighting for acceptance and love, but within our own walls we are extremely separated and closed-minded. Not only in the LGBTQ+ community but even in the ‘straight society,’ we have created a lot of toxic masculinity where if you don’t fit a certain mold, appearance or behavior, then you are undateable. I know I have spoken with many entertainers in the community who face this struggle, and I myself face it too. We are stigmatized as ‘too feminine’ or told that we ‘party too much’ and/or involve ourselves in ‘unsafe nightlife scenes.’ But I think as drag queens, we are and should be able to date. We are just like everyone else. But there is a stigma on us in the community, and it’s a stigma I’m looking to end.”
I was having a drink with my friend Al Johnson when I asked him what he thought about dating a drag queen. He brought up a valid point. He said, “I dated this guy who was a bartender. I would get off work late, go hang out with him, he would close the bar and we would get out of there around 4 a.m.” He continued to tell me about how they had a great time together, but usually stayed up until 6 a.m. when he had to be at work early the next morning. We talked about schedules, and how usually drag queens are up late. It can be really hard to date someone if your schedules don’t match up. I’ve also heard that not only is it difficult to date a queen because of mismatched schedules, but some drag queens (especially when drag is their main source of income), need to travel a lot. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on things like dating and getting to know someone, that can put a massive strain on a relationship. I asked my friend Selena T. West, a wellknown drag queen from Boscoe’s, what she thought. She said, “I’ve never had it be an issue, but I started doing drag when it was more common and popular.” That is a great point. Now, we see drag queens in awards shows, on the covers of magazines and on TV shows and Netflix specials.
26 | FEBRUARY 2019
Me and my boyfriend!
Personally, I have been a part of the LGBTQ+ community for 10 years now, and I have seen some great, inspiring relationships. A gay couple celebrating 50 years together. A lesbian couple that adopted a child. A meteorologist who had a husband and two beautiful children. You see, if you are worried about finding love and you feel like you’re not having luck, don’t worry too much. I think we all will find love at some point in our lives, if that’s something you’re interested in. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, bi, transgender or a drag queen — sometimes it takes time and a little self-growth before you are ready for a serious relationship. You will go through different things in life that will build you up to be ready for that relationship. You will find someone that is compatible to you, just like I did in October.
TRUE Q MAGAZINE
Wearing pink for Valentineâ€™s Day!
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You Are Ohio’s #OneTrueVoice Here’s some featured snapshots from the state’s favorite LGBTQ+ events and hangouts!
All photos by Jeff Skinner.
Dragon Lights Columbus November 23 through January 6
Held annually at the Natural Resources Park in the Ohio Expo Center, Dragon Lights Columbus celebrates Chinese culture right in the heart of Ohio. The lanterns on display are larger-than-life, vibrant and beautiful — and all crafted by Chinese artisans, from Zigong, Sichuan, China’s cultural capital for the ancient art of lantern-making. In addition to the lanterns and displays, there were nightly performances, traditionals handicrafts, a photo booth, and both Chinese and traditional fair food and beverages. The performances offered audience a glimpse into Chinese culture, and featured acts such as face changing, contortionist and Chinese Yo-Yo. The Dragon Lights Columbus festival is just one annual event that celebrates the diverse communities within Ohio’s capital city. 28 | FEBRUARY 2019
Have awesome photos from LGBTQ+ events or hot-spots? Share them with us by tagging #OneTrueVoice. TRUE Q MAGAZINE
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