PHOTOS | ALLYSON FRIDLEY
| MICKEY J. HART
While most of us have some understand the needs and obstacles for the LGBQ community related to sexual orientation, many of us are still clueless about the complexities faced by trans*, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. We all have plenty to learn about gender identity and expression. Later this month there is an excellent opportunity to educate yourself and to get to meet some wonderful people.
TransOhio continues their tradition of educating trans* people and the community at-large about the lives and needs of trans* and gender non-conforming individuals with their Sixth TransOhio Trans and Ally Symposium. Presenters are encouraged to “think outside the box” as they develop sessions. Sessions may include presentations, panels, workshop, group discussions, arts and crafts, activities and performances. This three day educational conference will take place May 30, 31 and June 1 at OSU’s Ohio Union (1739 N. High St.).
As a community that knows the value of having allies on our side for understanding and support, we can certainly work to be stronger allies to the trans* members of our community. The cost starts at $50 for Saturday and Sunday. Registration and more information are available at TransOhio.org.
| MIKE LOVETT
WHAT DO YOU DO when your friend has a birthday to celebrate and it’s freezing outside? Go bowling! When you get 14 gay men together, it’s far from your typical night at a bowling alley. Just entering the names of each bowler was a spectacle. Each player had to choose an alias for the night and live up to that character during the competition, so you can only imagine the confusion from spectators as they passed by and read our score cards on screen. The following celebs and random aliases “graced” the Star Lanes Polaris bowling alley that night: Mulan, Kenae, Kesha, Janice, Princess, Mariah, Nick, Bon Qui Qui, Shaniqua, Nene and Key’auntay. This was just the beginning of the night out; do I need to say more?
Photos | Ray Lavoie
During my “straight” boy days at Ohio University, I had many straight friends. My senior year that changed when, with some liquid courage, I danced up and asked Erik out. I wanted to introduce him to a few friends, which terrifyingly meant I had to out myself. Long story short: I was blessed and completely stunned that the most of my straight friends had no problem with the news. I now feel equally accepted in the straight and LGBTQ communities, but to help squash some of the indignation that some feel toward the straight populous, I asked two straight allies to share a few thoughts.
Lovett: Why do you think you’re more comfortable with the LGBTQ community versus some of your straight counterparts?
I want to thank the many allies for their support and friendship. We are lucky to share Columbus’ diverse spaces with those are LGBTQ and straight.
THE PHRASE “VIVA LAS VEGAS” has nothing on the phrase “Viva Virginia.” I have not had the pleasure of visiting Las Vegas, but if Virginia West’s on-stage tribute to Sin City is accurate, then I’m all in.
In true Virginia West fashion, the show started with a bang and kept the adrenalin rushing till the very end. Virginia and her showgirls were definitely the main attraction on the strip with a guest appearance from Lawanda Jackson. Let me say, if I attended the show late and saw Ms. Jackson on stage, I would have called my momma to tell her that Tina Turner was in Columbus and performing at Axis. Lawanda rocked a full house!
If you attended “Virginia’s – Viva Virginia”, odds are you enjoyed it as much as I did; I would unquestionably call your bluff
and double down if you said otherwise. Not only was the show ridiculously entertaining but also greatly philanthropic. Virginia and her showgirls raised more than $1,900 for Peace for Paws and The Community Kitchen in one weekend.
That is just one demonstration of the community support that we have in Columbus.
With that said, purchase my ticket and deal me in. It’s Vegas or bust! I can’t wait to see how Virginia ups the ante for her
I hate to admit that this was my first HRC gala, but it definitely will not be my last. Guests were greeted by a host of volunteers and drag queens dressed “to the nines” in the Ohio Union’s Archie Griffin Ballroom at OSU. This event was well attended by LGBTQ community and by many of our community’s allies, politicians, and civic leaders. As part of the anniversary, past HRC leaders were on hand to inspire the next generation of HRC leaders.
After taking in the crowd and venue, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming support that HRC received from donors toward the successful silent auction. Attendees were able to bid on items ranging from local restaurant gift cards to round trip Europe airline tickets. It was heartwarming to see the number of corporate sponsors listed in the program booklet. Knowing that many of our local corporations support the values of HRC validates my love for this city.
Activist Constance McMillen, who was denied the right to take her girlfriend to the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom in 2010, was a featured speaker. She educated, entertained, and captivated guests with her story of discrimination and triumph. Not only did she make change in her hometown, but she’s now fighting for the rights of the LGBT community around the country.
Several other speakers, including HRC President Chad Griffin, engaged the crowd with the extraordinary accomplishments HRC has made since 1980. They also reminded us that there is still much work to do before our community can consider ourselves equal.