Thursday, October 20, 2022
City of Cleveland LGBTQ+ Heritage Day
Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ Heritage Day takes place during the month of October in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month. It is a day for the community to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the vitality and betterment of Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community in the areas of Advocacy & Activism, Health & Wellness, Public Service, Arts & Culture, LGBTQ+ Legacy, Rising Leader, and Workplace Inclusion.
In order to respect the privacy and safety of individuals who will be publicly honored, your nominee must be an out member of the LGBTQ+ community. We strongly encourage community members to re-nominate past nominees. There are many highly qualified individuals who have been nominated, but have not yet won an award. Past nominations will be taken into account in the selection process. Individuals who have won an LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Award in the past will not be considered for another award. Nominations of past winners will be respectfully omitted. Nominations for 14th Annual City of Cleveland LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Awards have now closed.
ADVOCACY AND ACTIVISM AWARD
Marisol Martinez is a community advocate who has helped found the Latin Pride Project, which aims to continually elevate those individuals at the intersection of the queer and Latinx communities. Through her work, she has been able to spotlight the Latinx LGBTQ+ community in new and exciting ways such as organizing the Puerto Rican Pride Parade LGBT float and strengthening community through local groups like Jeepers Creepers, which she has rallied to come and be a major part of the LGBT Community Center’s Pride Ride event. Most recently, her work on the Studio West 117 board has allowed her to provide the perspective of the Latinx community while the new organization was in critical developmental stages. Marisol remains a hard-working leader that continues to inspire other burgeoning activists by showcasing the importance of being present in the work and the communities that they are working for.
ADVOCACY AND ACTIVISM AWARD
Ryan Clopton-Zymler is the Co-Founder of Sage and Maven, a consultant practice specializing in social justice and leadership development. Throughout the past decade, Ryan has been a fierce activist 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 more recent volunteerism has included helping bring Stonewall Sports National Tournament to Cleveland and was in charge of organizing the Tournament’s annual social justice summit. Through creating opportunities for others, challenging status quos, and never backing down to speak up, they remain a champion for all marginalized folk.
ARTS AND CULTURE AWARD
Kyle Kidd is a Cleveland-based musician, and their work has been described as expansive in ways that are hard to quantify. Kyle’s music appeals to a wide range of individuals and the messaging within their music addresses issues of gender, race and sexuality. With a large following in Cleveland as well as being a great ambassador of our city in Europe, Kyle lives the truths spoken through their music as a gender expansive Black performer whose style and affect span across the lines of gender. Their art has advocated for true social equity, especially at the intersection of racial and LGBTQ+ justice.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS AWARD
ChrisTina Reed is the Manager of LGBT+ Gender Care programs at University Hospitals. For many years, ChrisTina has worked to promote the health and wellness of the LGBTQ+ community. They have made a huge impact on the accessibility of care throughout Cleveland. In addition to having also helped create the LGBTQ+ service line at Cleveland Clinic, they have been involved in training staff members throughout the hospital systems leading to widespread improvements in regards to LGBTQ+ care within these two large hospitals. Approaching work within health networks around Cleveland with grace and passion, ChrisTina’s open and non-judgmental attitude makes them approachable to all and inspires all that work with them.
PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
Carey Gibbons is the Queer Youth Outreach and Engagement Manager at 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. Carey has served the community with a fervent dedication and deep commitment to the folx she works with by helping launch NEOCH’s Trans Affirmation and Advocacy in the Shelter System Training to help support service providers who work with the trans and gender non-conforming community experiencing homelessness. With an understanding that LGBTQIA+ folx bear complex histories of trauma, Carey continues to show up every single day for her clients with a fierce presence and deep empathy, helping those around them see the root causes of injustice through their work.
WORKPLACE INCLUSION AWARD
Rem Wransky works with the Cleveland Orchestra as a web developer. This past August, Rem filed a suit against the Cleveland Orchestra, alleging discrimination when the institution refused to cover a surgery that was deemed medically necessary by the company’s own insurance policy. The ensuing lawsuit would go on to publicly out her to the organization and the rest of the community. Rem’s bravery to advocate for both her own medical needs as well as trans employees around the country has left a huge imprint on inclusive workplace practices. With the Orchestra settling to cover Rem’s surgery, she has set a precedent that these exclusions in healthcare coverage can be fought and defeated. Rising above the tremendous pressure brought on by the case’s public notoriety, Rem courageously fought back to create workplace inclusion for countless individuals who have experienced the general silencing of trans employees in organizational healthcare practices.
LGBTQ+ LEGACY AWARD
Dean Rufus is currently the owner of Dean Rufus House of Fun located in the culturally significant Hingetown neighborhood where the Center and Living Room once proudly stood. Few storefronts in the Greater Cleveland area cater to the LGBTQ+ community outside of Pride season. Dean’s attention to queer culture has allowed generations to come in and shop the carefully curated queer items that are available at his store. Prior to owning this store, many knew Dean for his time as a local DJ and radio personality. Dean continues to contribute to not only the local Cleveland queer community’s culture, but also its safety. Recently, he partnered with local health organizations to sponsor a Monkeypox vaccine clinic just behind his shop invoking historic parallels of the Living Room services decades before. An open and caring individual, Dean continues to remain an integral piece of Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community, having established a unique legacy.
LGBTQ+ LEGACY AWARD
Gil Kudrin is the founder of Nightsweats & T-Cells Printing, a Cleveland-based clothing company that has produced many memorable shirts and signs over the last three decades, particularly during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Gil’s activism during the 80s and 90s helped save countless lives in the Cleveland area and beyond. He was instrumental in bringing awareness to HIV and AIDS, speaking across the country and demanding that more done to help those afflicted by this disease. His work with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, one of the first HIV/AIDS support groups, led to a longstanding friendship with Larry Kramer and involvement with the ACT UP movement. Gil remains a force within the movement to this day and most recently was involved with the 30th anniversary of the Living Room here at the Center, a space where those with HIV/AIDS could come to receive the resource, care and comfort free of judgement. Gil’s innumerous contributions have led to an immense legacy here in LGBTQ+ Cleveland and around the country.