<![CDATA[The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland - BLOG]]>Thu, 15 Feb 2018 13:49:49 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Queer Theory of Relativity: Albert Einstein Academy to Launch LGBTQ-Affirming Campus]]>Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/the-queer-theory-of-relativity-albert-einstein-academy-to-launch-lgbtq-affirming-campusDr. Bruce Thomas is the Superintendent of Albert Einstein Academy of Ohio, a community school with a K-8 campus in Strongsville and a 4-12 campus in Westlake. As a public charter school, they are granted the flexibility in structure and curriculum to alter their educational methods, but remain accountable to the same standards as public schools in regards to teacher licensure, attendance requirements, and test scores. Albert Einstein Academy, under Dr. Bruce’s leadership, has gained a reputation for creating an educational space that truly partners with students to help them learn and grow holistically. They provide mental health services, communication training, and personalized education assistance that has attracted many special needs students to their schools and helped them to thrive. Now, they are embarking on a new path: establishing an intentionally and explicitly LGBTQ-affirming school.

I interviewed Dr. Bruce about the effort to have this new school up and running in Lakewood or Cleveland’s near west side in August of 2018. After retiring from years as the superintendent of traditional public schools, he was offered the chance to lead Albert Einstein Academy and insisted that he would do so only if he could do it his way. After the success of the first two campuses, Dr. Bruce saw a clear lack of resources for LGBTQ students in the Cleveland area and went to his board for approval. Since then, he’s been working on getting approval from the state, planning, and looking for an appropriate space. According to his plans, he is looking to make sure that this school is affirming of LGBTQ youth and families down to the very foundation of the building.

Dr. Bruce described the challenges of finding an appropriate space for a school for youth who need a different educational experience. He is looking for a space that takes some of the pressure off right away, whether it be a store front, a recreational facility, a warehouse space, etc. He doesn’t want to move into an old school building. It is his commitment to make sure the youth know that this will be a safe place for them to be who they are and to learn.

“A traditional school building isn’t going to do it for us because this school is for kids who haven’t had good experiences in school. We need anything but a school for this building. It’s got to look different AND feel different for these kids to be successful.”

And he is doing more than just looking at non-traditional building spaces. The team is currently:
  • Recruiting LGBTQ+ representation to be part of the school design team to contribute to the planning of the school and its curriculum.
  • Reaching out to LGBTQ-serving organizations all over the region (including The Center) to help advise him on the project and to build them into the schools programming for in-school and after-school offerings.
  • Preparing comprehensive wrap around services that will cater to the specific needs of the youth who attend, including LGBTQ competent mental health resources, physical health resources, and social supports.
  • Touring and reviewing LGBTQ-affirming campuses in other parts of the state and country, including Columbus and Philadelphia.
  • Intentionally hiring educators and staff who have backgrounds in counseling, social work, special education, and mental health who can connect with students on issues of education, identity, and other needs.
  • Creating restroom options will include gender neutral restrooms and gendered restrooms with trans-friendly “Peace while you pee” policies that allow students and staff to use the restroom with which they identify.
  • Creating a “nearly-nonexistent” dress code will be largely undefined to allow youth to express themselves as they see fit.
  • Sampling existing curricula that push social justice topics and teach social justice history, while keeping the option open to develop their own if they cannot find resources that adequately represent the schools mission.
  • Searching for sex education resources that address the unique needs and circumstances of LGBTQ kids.
  • Working on agreements with The Center to provide SafeZone training for teachers and auxiliary staff at this campus and all of their other campuses.
  • Putting the words “LGBT-Affirming” explicitly into the name of the school.
LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately affected by bullying and violence in school and all schools have problems with bullying and intolerance. I’m sure this school will have issues with those things as they go along as well. But this is a resource that has never existed in Cleveland before and I am so excited to see it become a reality. With the leadership of an ally like Dr. Bruce Thomas and the voices of LGBTQ community at the table, I hope that this campus will be the place where our community is valued and celebrated. In an era where our youth are being increasingly ignored and marginalized at the highest levels of government, I am so happy to see local educators advocating for our kids. ]]>
<![CDATA[The Award-Winning Homosexual Agenda]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/the-award-winning-homosexual-agenda“And the Oscar goes to . . .”

The production and recognition of films by and about marginalized people has become a real part of the conversation around Awards Season. The #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016 pointed out that the Academy had failed to nominate a person of color for an acting category for two consecutive years. This year, Greta Gerwig’s nomination for “Best Achievement in Directing” reminds us that only 5 women have ever been nominated in that category, and only one (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker) has ever won the category. LGBTQ representation has similarly often been a novelty at the Academy Awards, but 2018 is looking like the year when we have rightfully claimed our cupholders and put our feet up on the seats on the seat in front of us.

2006 was a banner year for LGBTQ movies at the Oscars, as Brokeback Mountain was nominated in what seemed like every category and won 3 awards. The Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, received similar accolades in 2009. The Kids Are All Right made the rounds in 2011, despite the fact that its storyline featuring a lesbian couple whose family is rattled when one of the moms has an affair with their anonymous sperm donor frustrates every lesbian I’ve ever known in real life. We saw Dallas Buyers Club in 2014 and The Imitation Game in 2015. Moonlight’s story about finding yourself throughout your lifetime while grappling with sexuality hauntingly and beautifully told a story so rarely portrayed in film that it finally broke through and won Best Picture in 2017. After winning the big prize last year with the heart-wrenching story of a queer man of color’s journey, how is this year able to compare?

The movie you’ve definitely heard about is Call Me By Your Name, and it lives up to the hype. Call Me By Your Name is the film adaptation of the novel by Andre Aciman, directed by the openly-gay Luca Guadagnino. The film tells the story of a 17-year-old boy who falls in love with his father’s visiting research assistant over a summer in Northern Italy. The cinematography and score are beautiful, the acting is superb, and the story authentically relates the emotions of first love. It’s a special LGBTQ movie in that it does not play politics. There’s no traumatic moment when the characters are rejected by their families or beaten up in a parking lot. The bad guys never show up. Instead, the viewer enjoys a sumptuous, slowly building romantic story. It is nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role for Timothee Chalamet, Best Original Song for Sufjan Stevens, and Best Adapted Screenplay for James Ivory.
               
There are also several entries that many may not have seen. Nominated for Foreign Language Film, Chile’s A Fantastic Woman features a trans actress in a lead role, playing a woman fighting against accusations that she murdered her older male lover. While they did not end up receiving a nomination, multiple other countries also submitted queer stories this year. Taiwan submitted Small Talk, a documentary about a daughter’s relationship with her lesbian, Taoist priestess mother. Norway submitted the lesbian supernatural thriller, Thelma. Finland brought a biopic of the iconic gay artist Tom of Finland and France submitted BPM, a drama based o ACT UP Paris in the 1990’s. Also notable is the inclusion of the first film directed by a trans director, Best Documentary nominee, Strong Island. Strong Island was directed by Yance Ford and focuses on the murder of Ford’s brother.
               
​All in all, there is still room for more diverse stories to be told in film and for these films to be recognized. This year, however, shows that queer artists are making their voices heard, and people are responding. In order to keep hearing our stories, we must remember to support queer artists and see LGBTQ movies. At the theater, not on your jailbroken Fire Stick. In Hollywood, the movies that get made are the movies that make money, so if we want to continue to see more movies by and about LGBTQ people, women, and people of color, we have to make our voice heard by filling up the theaters. So pull out your wallets, grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy!    
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<![CDATA[Becoming an LGBTQ Advocate]]>Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/becoming-an-lgbtq-advocateDani Dickinson, Programs Intern

Greetings readers! I am Dani, a graduate-level social work intern at the LGBT Community Center from Case Western Reserve University, concentrating in community practice.

Early in December, I had the opportunity as an intern to join Equality Ohio in supporting a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill for South Euclid, Ohio. This bill is still in the hearing process at City Council, so my policy-loving heart really enjoyed seeing local government in action. As there is no employment, housing, or public accommodation protections for LGBTQ individuals in either United States legislation or the State of Ohio, local municipalities have great power in ensuring access and equality to all citizens.

South Euclid currently has a nondiscrimination ordinance for housing, protecting LGBTQ citizens and their families from housing discrimination. The proposed policy in South Euclid, Ohio seeks to take this existing fair housing ordinance and place it into a comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance that will ensure equal access for all to employment, housing, and public accommodations. This legislation would not only benefit LGBTQ individuals, but individuals across South Euclid. Under the current proposal the following classes would be protected: race, creed, color, religious belief, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, handicap, disability, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, recipient of public assistance, military status, and physical characteristics.

As there is increasing visibility of anti-LGBTQ sentiment in media and in the White House, small steps can do wonders to make LGBTQ folks like me feel safe. Throughout the hearing, I had a tally going in my notebook, counting testimony from those speaking for and against protections for LGBTQ people. As each person got up to make comment on the proposed bill, I felt myself get tense and apprehensive. What will they say? Will they fight for my right to live happily with my partner? Or will they make me fearful of entering a place of business? As the hearing went on, it was practically one for one. One person would stand up for equality and fairness and another would say harmful and hurtful things about my community and myself. There were cheers, gasps, prayers, and snaps. The public comment went on for about two hours.

It was a hard night, if I’m being honest. Yet, my hope lies in the tallies. By the end of the night, my shaky tallies on the for side just out numbered the against. I find strength in those who had the courage to stand up and speak into the microphone and fight for equality and access. I am grateful for everyone who spoke up that night. As this administration continues to batter our community with tougher and tougher blows, I take wins where I can get them. As a social work student, I am guided by a few core values. One is the dignity and self-worth of all. Passage of this proposed nondiscrimination ordinance promises this affirmation for all South Euclid citizens and it is something I wholeheartedly stand for. South Euclid has the opportunity to make a difference, and I applaud the Council for taking on this issue and working with great people like the staff at Equality Ohio.

For more information about Equality Ohio and opportunities to get involved in advocacy, check out their website. If you live or work in South Euclid, please reach out to City Council to support the nondiscrimination ordinance.

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<![CDATA[A Vaccine? Promising New Developments in the Fight Against HIV]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/a-vaccine-promising-new-developments-in-the-fight-against-hivEric Hayes, Communications and Development Coordinator

It has been approximately 35 years since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. It was 1981 when large numbers of gay men began to report severe immune deficiency, then labelled as gay-related immune deficiency (GRID). Just one year later, the Center for Disease Control began to use the term ‘AIDS’ (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), and similar reports began coming out of Africa and Europe. These were the beginnings of a dark period for the LGBT community, and a difficult and costly battle that’s been waged against the disease ever since.

In those 35 years, only 5 vaccine trials have ever been tested for efficacy in humans. After about seven years with no new efficacy studies, 2 new studies have reached the point of being tested for efficacy in humans in the last year.
The first study, called HVTN 702, was launched in late 2016. It is an experimental vaccine based on a Thai trial from 2009 which was the first vaccine to ever be shown to provide some protection from the HIV virus, although that protection was modest. It is being tested in South Africa, where more than 1,000 people are infected with HIV every day.

The second study, the Ad26-env Mosaic Vaccine is receiving a lot of attention as one of the most promising new concepts in the effort to create an effective vaccine thus far. HIV is an incredibly complicated virus to stop, due mainly its widespread genetic diversity. The “mosaic vaccine” brings is designed to elicit immune responses to a wide variety of global HIV strains, making it harder for the virus to take hold. The mosaic vaccine, being developed by Johnson and Johnson in partnership with the US national Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was shown to be well-tolerated by adult humans in July. As of November, the trial to test the efficacy of the vaccine against the HIV virus has been launched in southern Africa.

This is the first time that two large scale vaccines have been in testing at the same time in over a decade, and brings new energy and hope to the fight against HIV and AIDS. Kathy Mngadi, a senior scientist at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) says the two vaccine trials “have resulted from years of scientific testing and clinical development, and they represent science’s current best efforts to develop a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. We are grateful to the people of southern Africa who volunteer for these trials, and the communities in which the trials are conducted to help develop what could be a true game-changer for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.” 

For information about how to get involved with HIV treatment and cure trials happening in Cleveland, contact our partners at the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at Case Western Reserve University.

For information about HIV Testing, the POZ2POZ support group, the Radiant Collective HIV outreach youth program, or our PrEP Outreach program, check out our website or contact Eris Eady, Director of Programs, at EEady@LGBTCleveland.org. ]]>
<![CDATA[Center Update: New Facility Groundbreaking]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/center-update-new-facility-groundbreakingIn 2014, The Center announced that thanks to an anonymous angel donor and a generous matching grant from the Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation, we would be moving forward with a plan to build a new dynamic and modern facility that would allow us to serve more people in new and different ways. We are very excited to be able to say that on Wednesday, December 13th, we broke ground on our new facility.

​A crowd of about 100 people, including current and former staff and board members, donors, program participants, and other community members, gathered for a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction, followed by a short reception. For those of you who were unable to celebrate this occasion with us, videos are available on our 
Facebook page
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<![CDATA[Donor Spotlight: Ken Kalynchuk]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/donor-spotlight-ken-kalynchukPicture
Ken Kalynchuk is a native Clevelander. After attending Saint Ignatius High School, he received his Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University. He then returned to Cleveland State University to earn his Master’s in Urban Planning and Development with a specialization in real estate finance. Ken is currently a financial analyst at Project Management Consultants LLC. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute Cleveland Chapter, the American Planning Association Cleveland Chapter, and the International Economic Development Council.
 
As a cast member in Near West Theatre’s 2010 production of RENT, Ken was educated about the resources available at the Center as a parallel to the themes portrayed in the musical. “Knowing there was a welcoming resource center nearby which I could go to with questions or for support was very uplifting in my coming out process.”
 
The unique difficulties of coming out and living as an LGBTQ person are Ken’s main motivation for giving to the Center. He wants to support the educational, social, and health and wellness resources provided at the Center, as well as maintaining a strong public voice for the local LGBTQ community: “The Center uplifts underrepresented groups of our community and provides a safe space for us to gather as one community. I give to support the Center’s important work.”
 
Ken was a volunteer for Pride in the CLE in 2017, and is excited to volunteer again in 2018. He is also an active member of the Stonewall Sports Cleveland community. He has played five seasons of kickball and is excited to start his second season of dodgeball this winter.
 
“My hope for the future of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is that the new facility creates an environment which enables the Center to take its work to the next level. Specifically, I hope the Center can continue and improve its outreach efforts, social and health services, and advocacy on behalf of the various communities in the sexuality and gender spectrums. The Center’s improved visibility along Detroit Road through the construction of the new facility should certainly help with these efforts.”
 
For more information about how you can support the Center, visit our website or call Shae London at (216) 651-5428 ext. 109. Donate now.

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<![CDATA[Take Action: Ways to be an LGBTQ Advocate Locally]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/take-action-ways-to-be-an-lgbtq-advocate-locallyPicture
Gwen Stembridge, Equality Ohio

The Community is happy to introduce a new guest blogger, Gwen Stembridge. Gwen is the Northeast Ohio Coordinator for Equality Ohio and will be providing periodic updates about advocacy efforts around Ohio and the ways you can get involved.
 
Thank you to The Center for inviting me to be a guest blogger on The Community. Equality Ohio educates and advocates on behalf of LGBTQ Ohioans––you’ll find us in the rooms where decision-makers are doing something that might impact the community in some way. We try to make sure when decisions are being made about us, we’re a part of that process.
 
There’s plenty of advocacy happening locally, including an activist opportunity for you this weekend! Let’s jump right in.
 
There’s a new LGBTQ case before the Supreme Court. It’s Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
 
The plaintiffs are a couple named David Mullins and Charlie Craig who attempted to purchase a wedding cake from defendant Jack Phillips. Phillips declined to serve them. Colorado, unlike Ohio, has a statewide law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in accessing goods and services (known as public accommodations).
 
Decades ago Americans decided that discrimination in public accommodations was wrong––lunch counter protests and the civil rights movement forced Congress to act on that very thing. The issue at hand is whether deeply held religious belief trumps a law that makes discrimination illegal. The legal arguments are much more in-depth than our summary here, and you can read about the history of this issue here.
 
Join us this Saturday to help businesses be #OpenToAll.
To call attention to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and the fact that Ohio does not have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Ohioans, the ACLU of Ohio is hosting an #OpenToAll Canvas this Saturday, December 2 at 11:00am in partnership with Equality Ohio.
We’ll meet up to distribute posters and then go out to local businesses and ask them to display a sign showing that they are #OpenToAll.
 
In coordination with this small business canvass, we hope to identify new businesses to sign up for Ohio Business Competes, a coalition of businesses throughout the state that support LGBTQ non-discrimination legislation. Details and RSVP here.
 
Stand up for LGBTQ people in South Euclid on December 11th.
 
South Euclid could become the 20th city in Ohio to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections at this meeting. At the last meeting, there were people organized by the Cleveland Diocese speaking out against the nondiscrimination law, so we want as many supporters there as the fire code will allow.
 
Please wear blue to the council meeting, so council and any media present know we’re all there in support. Arrive at 6:45, committee meeting is at 7:00, full council meeting is at 8:00. Add it to your Facebook calendar here.
 
Note: the people who oppose this ordinance may say things that are hurtful. We will be present and peaceful and encourage you to not directly confront or communicate with the opposition.

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<![CDATA[Donor Spotlight: #GivingTuesday]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/donor-spotlight-givingtuesdayEric Hayes, Communications & Development Coordinator

We’d like to say thank you to everyone who made a donation to the Center on #GivingTuesday this year.

#GivingTuesday takes place each year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It is a global movement to celebrate generosity and kindness by giving to nonprofit organizations around the world. In the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday kicks off the holiday giving season.

A special thank you to all of the people who volunteered their time and their voices to help us with our #GivingTuesday campaign. Thank you to Tom, Artima, Ace, and Judy for sharing their Center stories on our YouTube channel. Thank you to Erin Fox for her time and talent in the production of those videos.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, this year The Center was able to raise more than double what we raised last year. We are humbled by your support and are committed to honoring all of your contributions by continuing to work hard at our mission of enriching the lives of the diverse LGBTQ community through advocacy, support, education and celebration.

In this time when we are seeing new and renewed attacks on LGBTQ people at the local and federal level, support from the community means more than ever.

For more information about how you can support the Center, visit our website or call Shae London at (216)651-5428 ext. 109. Donate now.
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<![CDATA[The Center Breaks Ground]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 18:28:51 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/the-center-breaks-ground​The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is excited to come together with community members and key stakeholders to break ground on its new facility in the Gordon Square Arts District on Wednesday, December 13, 2017
 
The new facility will be located at 6705 Detroit Avenue across the street from The Center's current location, and will provide a versatile and modern space that will include programming and meeting space more than twice as large as the current Center location.
 
"When we were looking for a new home for the Center, a few universal themes emerged. It must be visible, accessible, sustainable, and within the city. What we will have is a traditional community center operating within a 21st century model. It is a place that all LGBTQ people, allies, and partner organizations can access in one location, with a spirit of community and welcome." - Tom Schiltz, President, Board of Directors.
 
The ceremony will begin at 12 PM and will include a gathering outside of the new facility location, a ceremonial groundbreaking by Executive Director Phyllis Harris and the Board of Directors, followed by photos and a brief reception. For those unable to attend this historic moment in person, the groundbreaking event will be livestreamed on the Center's Facebook here.
 
The new facility was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous angel donor who contributed nearly $5 million dollars to cover the cost of the building, including the purchase of the lot, demolition, new construction and related expenses. The Center will own its property for the first time in its history. The Center will be sustained well into the future with a $1 million endowment made possible by a $500,000 challenge grant awarded by The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation and the generous investments of hundreds of donors.
 
"We are incredibly grateful to our generous donors and dedicated community partners for helping us realize this dream. Collectively, we are creating an environment where LGBTQ people throughout northeast Ohio and beyond will be affirmed, celebrated and provided with the best services and programs that we all deserve. We look forward to welcoming the community to The Center's new home." - Phyllis Harris, Executive Director. 
 
Please join us on Wednesday, December 13th at 12 PM at 6705 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102. For more information about the event, contact Development Manager, Shae London at (216) 651-5428 x 109 or by email at SLondon@lgbtcleveland.org
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<![CDATA[How One Mother is Trying to Change the World of Children's Clothing]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:22:53 GMThttp://lgbtcleveland.org/blog/how-one-mother-is-trying-to-change-the-world-of-childrens-clothingBy: Nikki Yeager

Hey readers! Say hello to The Community’s first guest blogger, Nikki Yeager. Nikki is an entrepreneur, writer, and mother. She’s a Cleveland native and now splits her time between New York City and Ohio City. Check out her store
Every Bean, which sells non-gendered infant and toddler clothing! - Eric Hayes, Communications and Development Coordinator
 
I remember reading an article years ago about a boy who liked to wear tutus. He was somewhere between 5 and 8 years old, identified as a boy (as much as a typical 5-8 year old gender-identifies), and was photographed playing with trucks in a field while wearing his princess tutu. I read the anecdote and thought he was awesome. I should have stopped there, but I didn’t; I opened the comments section.
 
Like every time I read the comments, I immediately regretted the decision. The amount of vitriol being hurled at the writer/mother was heartbreaking. The fact that so many people cared if a kid wore a bunch of tulle around his waist was appalling.
 
That story stuck with me when I had my own child; a boy of my own. When he was born, we got hand-me-downs in both traditional boy and girl patterns -- the donors too lazy to sort through them. We were thrilled by the supply of clothing and I favored the most practical items regardless of appearance: a pair of footie pajamas in leopard print, neon pink leggings, and every single onesie we could get our hands on. It wasn’t unusual to see my kid rolling around in a NYC onesie under pink pants and thigh-high football patterned socks. People would come up to us confused, not sure how to refer to him. It was as if when I took away the overt gendering of his clothing, the world no longer knew how to interact with him. At the time he couldn’t even talk, he couldn’t even walk. But still, people felt the need to gender identify before cooing at him or touching his pudgy little hands.
 
It was odd, but not particularly bothersome at first. Until one day he was wearing those same pink leggings and a relative told him he needed to pick up a tool belt and hang out with more boys. He wasn’t even 18 months at the time! He didn’t even know what a boy was. It was the first time I felt the blinding, protective anger that only a parent can feel. The kind that reaches to your very core.
 
So I decided to do something about it right then and there.
 
I decided to change the world of children’s clothing. Lofty goal? Yes. Was I still going to try? Of course. So I tested my design chops and made a line including several onesie designs out of the softest material I could find, and set to work making tutus that were adjustable for extended sizing. The onesies included sayings like “I wear every color in the rainbow” and “Anything I want to be” and had product descriptions that avoided the use of gendered pronouns. I styled the photos exactly how I style my kid -- in whatever clothing combination was most fun for the little one.
 
Throughout the course of product development, I started to do my research and found that the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys didn’t even exist until the ‘50s. Pockets disappear from “girl” pants as early as 12 months. I spoke at TransOhio on gender neutral childhood. I created PDFs for boutiques on how to remove gendered language and merchandising from their store.
 
Did I change the world? Not yet. But I have gotten my message out to a wider audience and was recently accepted into a consortium of likeminded businesses called Clothes Without Limits. I’ve provided a safe place to shop for families who feel like me and my family and I plan to continue doing so as we expand. We’re starting to sell partner company’s brands during a Black Friday Sale this year and we’re working on some dynamite leggings for next winter.
 
Our goal is to remove gender stereotypes from clothing because clothing is not gendered. Clothing is simply fabric sewn into various patterns. It should be seen as such -- free for anyone to wear. And when it comes to children we believe that clothing should be chosen based on practicality and enjoyment. If a little bean likes it, that child should be able to wear it. We hope to see more stores, and more brands taking notice. Between us all, maybe we can make a future that’s accepting to everyone.
 
To follow Every Bean's journey, check out our website or our Facebook.
 
If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on The Community, contact Eric Hayes at EHayes@LGBTCleveland.org
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