Greater Cleveland LGBT Community Center Hosts 14th Annual Heritage Day Awards

CLEVELAND, Ohio– The Greater Cleveland LGBT Community Center celebrated the winners of its 14th City of Cleveland LGBT Heritage Day Awards with a special ceremony earlier this week.

The intimate affair took place at the Organizations Building in Gordon Square on Thursday, according to a recent press release.

The winners even received congratulations from Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb via Zoom.

Nominations for the award began in late August and lasted until the end of September, according to the release.

For the past 14 years, the annual awards ceremony, in conjunction with the City of Cleveland, has honored members of the local LGBTQ+ community for their contributions to improving the city’s LGBTQ+ community through advocacy and activism, arts, culture, etc.

After the nomination period ended, a selection committee reviewed the nominations, which were submitted by the winners’ peers within Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community.

In a surprising turn of events this year, the organization received an overwhelming response from the community and had “numerous nominations submitted across all categories.”

Categories include advocacy and activism, arts and culture, health and wellness, public service, workplace inclusion, and LGBTQ+ heritage.

One of the winners, ChisTina Reed, who uses the pronouns they/them, said she cried after learning she had been nominated. Ironically, Reed was one of the selection committee members responsible for selecting the winners. The other council members had named Reed without their knowledge.

“I literally just cried. That’s all I could do,” Reed said.

For the past decade, Reed has been responsible for LGBT+ gender care programs at university hospitals. Prior to that, they worked at the Cleveland Clinic for nearly 18 years, founding the first transgender medicine and surgery program at the Cleveland Clinic.

Reed has also been involved in training staff members at these two major hospitals, which has led to widespread improvements in LGBTQ+ care across all hospital systems, according to the release.

Reed said the award allows them to reflect on the brave people who paved the way for future generations.

“That’s what drives my work today, making sure others who follow me get the love, support and care they need without having to suffer unnecessarily,” Reed said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but there are so many incredibly brave and compassionate people in Cleveland who are working together to make the world a fairer place for everyone, and it’s a privilege to call these people friends. and colleagues.”

Here is the full list of winners of the 14th Annual City of Cleveland LGBT Heritage Day Awards:

ADVOCACY AND ACTIVISM

Marisol Martinez:

Marisol Martinez is a community advocate who helped found the Latin Pride Project, which aims to continually uplift these people at the intersection of queer and Latinx communities. Through her work, she has been able to shine a light on the Latinx LGBTQ+ community in new and exciting ways, such as organizing the LGBT Puerto Rican Pride Parade float and community building through local groups like Jeepers Creepers, who she rallied to come and be a major part of the LGBT community center’s Pride Ride event. Most recently, his work on the Studio West 117 Board of Directors allowed him to provide the perspective of the Latinx community as the new organization was in critical stages of development. Martinez remains a hardworking leader who inspires other rising activists by showing the importance of being present in work and the communities they work for.

Ryan Clopton-Zymler:

Ryan Clopton-Zymler is the co-founder of Sage and Maven, a consultancy specializing in social justice and leadership development. For the past decade, Clopton-Zymler has been a fierce advocate for positive change within the LGBTQ+ community. As a former Center staff member, Ryan helped develop the Center’s training program and was instrumental in organizing the first Pride in the CLE. His most recent volunteer work has included helping organize the Stonewall Sports National Tournament in Cleveland and he was in charge of organizing the tournament’s annual Social Justice Summit. By creating opportunities for others, challenging the status quo and never backing down from speaking out, they remain a champion for all marginalized people.

ARTS & CULTURE

Kyle Kid:

Kyle Kidd is a Cleveland-based musician. Kidd’s work has been described as expansive in ways that are difficult to quantify. Kidd’s music appeals to a wide range of individuals, and the message contained in their music addresses issues of gender, race, and sexuality. With a large audience in Cleveland in addition to being a great ambassador for our city in Europe, Kidd lives the truths expressed through his music as a gender-broad black artist whose style and affect crosses gender lines. . Their art advocated for true social equity, especially at the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQ+.

HEALTH

Christina Reed:

ChrisTina Reed is responsible for LGBT+ gender care programs at University Hospitals. For many years, Reed has worked to promote the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community. They have had a huge impact on the accessibility of care across Cleveland. In addition to also helping to create the LGBTQ+ service line at the Cleveland Clinic, they have been involved in training staff members across all hospital systems, which has led to widespread improvements in LGBTQ+ care in these two large hospitals. Approaching work within the healthcare networks around Cleveland with grace and passion, ChrisTina’s open, non-judgmental attitude makes them accessible to all and inspires all who work with them.

PUBLIC SERVICE

Carey Gibbons:

Carey Gibbons is Queer Youth Outreach and Engagement Lead at the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) and works with LGBTQIA+ people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. She has also worked with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, where she worked with youth and coordinated community engagement. Gibbons has served the community with a fervent dedication and deep commitment to the people she works with by helping to launch NEOCH’s Trans Affirmation and Advocacy in the Shelter System training to assist support service providers who work with the trans community. and gender non-conforming while homeless. Understanding that LGBTQIA+ people have complex histories of trauma, Gibbons continues to come forward for her clients every day with a fierce presence and deep empathy, helping those around them see the root causes of injustice through their work.

INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE

Rem Wransky:

Rem Wransky works with the Cleveland Orchestra as a web developer. Last August, Wransky filed a lawsuit against the Cleveland Orchestra, alleging discrimination when the institution refused to cover surgery deemed medically necessary under the company’s insurance policy. The ensuing trial will publicly disclose it to the organization and the rest of the community.

Wransky’s bravery in advocating for his own medical needs and trans employees across the country has left a huge imprint on inclusive workplace practices. With the Orchestra agreeing to cover Wransky’s operation, she set a precedent that these health care coverage exclusions can be fought and overcome. Rising above the enormous pressure exerted by the public notoriety of the case, Wransky bravely fought to create workplace inclusion for countless people who have experienced the general silence of trans employees. in organizational health care practices.

LGBTQ+ HERITAGE

Gil Kudrin:

Gil Kudrin is the founder of Nightsweats and T-Cells Printing, a Cleveland-based apparel company that has produced many memorable shirts and signs over the past three decades, especially during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Kudrin’s activism during the 80s and 90s helped save countless lives in Cleveland and beyond. He has been instrumental in raising awareness of HIV and AIDS, speaking out across the country and demanding that more be done to help people with the disease. His work with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, one of the first HIV/AIDS support groups, led to a lifelong friendship with Larry Kramer and involvement in the ACT UP movement. Gil remains a force within the movement to this day and recently participated in the 30th anniversary of the Living Room here at the Center, a space where people living with HIV/AIDS could come to receive resources, care and comfort without judgement. . Kudrin’s many contributions have led to a huge legacy here at LGBTQ+ Cleveland and across the country.

Dean Rufus:

Dean Rufus currently owns the Dean Rufus House of Fun, located in the cultural district of Hingetown, where the center and lounge once stood proudly. Few storefronts in the Greater Cleveland area cater to the LGBTQ+ community outside of Pride season. Rufus’ attention to queer culture has allowed generations to come in and purchase the carefully selected queer items that are available in his store. Prior to owning this store, many knew Rufus from his time as a local DJ and radio personality. Rufus continues to contribute not only to the culture of Cleveland’s local queer community, but also to its safety. Recently, he partnered with local health organizations to sponsor a monkeypox vaccination clinic right behind his store, citing historical parallels to salon services decades before. An outgoing and caring individual, Rufus continues to be an integral part of Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community, having established a unique legacy.

Jill E. Washington