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How Will Cleveland Leverage Hate Crimes and Gay Games to Brand Itself an LGBT-Friendly City? — VIDEO


Leaders in Cleveland's LGBT community talk to the Northwest Ohio Media Group about how recent hate crimes at the city's Cocktails Lounge and the upcoming Gay Games in 2014 are an opportunity to raise awareness about how LGBT are disenfranchised in the state and lift Cleveland's reputation as an LGBT-friendly city.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... adds:

The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio has developed a four-hour training to give to businesses that wish to be a sponsor of the games or a certified vendor.

Peggy Zone Fisher, the group's president and CEO, said the training would examine companies' policies and procedures and rate them on how LGBT friendly the business is.

"We're not going to rewrite their handbook," she said.

Fisher, pointing out that it's not against the law in Ohio for employers to fire employees for being gay, said the training is a way to use the Gay Games as a spring board to make Cleveland more LGBT friendly long term.

"The sustainability piece of this training is going to be getting those protections in place in the policies and procedures of the companies," she said.

Public attention to the hate crimes has also brought light to what LGBT leaders see as another omission in the law - one that Ohio Rep. Nickie Antonio plans to address.

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  1. As someone who works in the city, and lives in Shaker Heights, I can say that there are some really great LGBT friendly people here. Hopefully all this attention can help keep that progressing.

    Posted by: Pitt90 | Sep 25, 2013 1:38:37 PM

  2. It's ironic, but maybe the "Diversity Center" can reach out to the young black guys - you know - the ones perpetrating all these hate crimes in Cleveland?

    Posted by: Antoine | Sep 25, 2013 1:47:07 PM

  3. Whose brilliant idea was it to have the Gay Games in the interior?

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 25, 2013 3:03:40 PM

  4. Cleveland beat out Boston and DC. Not saying the latter 2 are perfect places, but they're a hell of a lot better than Cleveland.

    Posted by: Sean | Sep 25, 2013 3:32:59 PM

  5. @Sean: Other than outdated stereotypes of non-coastal US cities, what makes Cleveland inferior to Boston and DC?

    Posted by: ali | Sep 25, 2013 4:33:22 PM

  6. *Lack of world-class attractions (take away the rock and roll HOF, and there's nothing anyone wants to see)
    *High crime rates (ok, come parts of DC are pretty bad)
    *Lots of urban blight (lots)
    *Lack of great restaurants
    *Crappy professional sports teams
    *Lack of world-class universities

    I could go on, but I don't really have any desire to trash Cleveland. I'm just saying it wasn't the best choice.

    Posted by: Sean | Sep 25, 2013 4:57:18 PM

  7. Ali - I'm sure that Cleveland is a wonderful place to be from. But compare it to Vancouver, Sydney, or even Fort Lauderdale. How many gay people have Cleveland on their list of places they want to visit?

    BTW, I think that DC or Boston would both be dreadful choices. Dallas or Denver might be interesting. Almost anywhere that has had an actual olympic games might be a good place to start.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 25, 2013 5:26:03 PM

  8. Totally disagree with Hagatha. Dallas + Denver = snoozefest.

    We're talking about an international event here. People from OUTSIDE the US are looking forward to visiting and experiencing America.

    DC - It's the nation's capital. The President. The White House. The Capitol and memorials and a zillion other things. Non-Americans want to experience that.

    Boston - great pro sports city (remember - the gay games = sports, not circuit parties). Birthplace of our country. Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, and all that. Harvard. MIT. Home of JFK and the FIRST state in the America to legalize gay MARRIAGE. Gays will find interest in those things too.

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 25, 2013 5:40:20 PM

  9. I'm not from Cleveland. In fact, I've never been. I just happen to hate people that trash cities or entire states simply because they are not one of the big cities on the coast (or Chicago).

    You seem to be confused about the reason for the trip to Cleveland. People are there to watch/participate in the Gay Games. That means the perceived lack of professional sports teams and universities is irrelevant. (Do you think tourists routinely stop by Harvard or GWU to audit a class?) Although, for the record, Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University has been named one of top 25 LGBT-friendly schools (out of 380 surveyed). None of the Boston or DC-area universities made that list.

    And no great restaurants? That's just silly. There are great restaurants everywhere. Also, Trip Advisor lists several pages of things to do in Cleveland. (Just because you don't think they are worthy of your doesn't mean other people will agree.)

    Posted by: ali | Sep 25, 2013 7:18:12 PM

  10. Most people who trash certain places usually don't know anything about them.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Sep 25, 2013 8:00:32 PM

  11. Name five things in Cleveland that a person who has never been there wants to see as part of his trip to the Gay Games.

    Now do the same with Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 25, 2013 10:21:58 PM

  12. Five things for Gay Games attendees to do in Cleveland:

    1. Gay Games Opening Ceremony
    2-4. Sporting events
    5. Gay Games Closing Ceremony

    None of those things can be found in any other city.

    Now, I'm being facetious...although only slightly. People are going there to compete or watch the sporting events. They also will go to official social events. They will not be visiting museums or universities.

    Look. I'm not saying Cleveland will ever be a vacation destination. But, that doesn't mean they can't do a great job of hosting the Gay Games.

    Posted by: ali | Sep 26, 2013 2:52:40 AM

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