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United Church of Christ Becomes First Denomination to Join Gay Games as Major Sponsor: VIDEO

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This year, the United Church of Christ is set to become the first religious denomination to serve as a major sponsor of the Gay Games, The New York Times reports:

UccThe denomination, the United Church of Christ, has its headquarters in Cleveland, which, along with Akron, is one of two cities that will play host to the more than 35 sporting and cultural events scheduled to be part of Gay Games 9. Geography, however, is only one reason the church agreed to become a major sponsor; ideology loomed larger.

Indeed, the UCC has a long history of promoting LGBT-inclusivity, becoming one of the first mainline Christian churches to support marriage equality back in 2005. More recently in April, the UCC filed a suit in North Carolina challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that the law’s penalties against clergy who conduct ceremonies for same-sex marriages violates their free exercise of religion.

Check out a UCC video of the sponsorship announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Gay Games 9 will take place Augus 9-16. More info here

Continue reading "United Church of Christ Becomes First Denomination to Join Gay Games as Major Sponsor: VIDEO" »


Boy George to Headline 2014 Gay Games White Party in Cleveland

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The 2014 Gay Games are set to take place in Cleveland from August 9-16 and just announced that Boy George will help them celebrate when he headlines the official Gay Games 9 White Party at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in downtown Cleveland on August 11:

Gg9Boy George will be joined by internationally-known deejay Marc Vedo and Cleveland-based electronic dance deejay/producer Evan Evolution to present a night of electronic music during this Gay Games signature event. Party goers can expect a massive sound, light and visual stage production powered by Advanced Concert Productions. ACP is best known for its national and international stage builds for Life In Color “World’s Largest Paint Party,” Ultra Music Festival in Miami and The Spring Awakening Festival in Chicago.

White Party event coordinators, Liquid Nightclub , Tru Events and Jacobs Pavilion, proudly announce further support of Northeast Ohio’s LGBT community by donating $1 from every ticket sold to the new LGBT fund being established by Gay Games 9 at the Cleveland Foundation.

Tickets go on sale starting today HERE.

After May 31, the registration cost for GG9 increases - so any participants wanting to take part should sign up by Sunday to get that deal. Sign up HERE.


'Religious' Taxi Drivers in Cleveland Refusing to Drive Cabs Bearing Ads for the 'Gay Games': VIDEO

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The 2014 Gay Games are set to take place in Cleveland from August 9-16 and The Plain Dealer is reporting that some drivers of the zone-based taxis operating out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have notified their bosses that they will not drive the cabs for religious reasons, because the cabs have signage advertising the Games.

Hopkins released a statement saying that two of the three taxi companies operating at the airport -- Ace and Yellow Taxi – were informed by several of their drivers they will no longer participate in the airport's dedicated taxi cab program.

Patrick Keenan, general manager for the third company, Americab, said two of his drivers also have opted not to drive because of the Gay Games ads. The drivers are Muslims, Keenan and Hopkins spokeswoman Jackie Mayo said.

The drivers told their companies that their decision was based on religious reasons, Hopkins said in its statement.

WOIO adds:

19 Action News reporter Brian Duffy spoke with about 20 cabbies at the airport who are still driving and all of them confirmed there are drivers who have walked off the job on protest. Representatives of AmeriCab, one of the three cab companies on the job at the airport, also confirmed the protest but say only one of their drivers has been reassigned.

We're told at least 16-17 drivers who work for Ace Taxi, another company working out of the airport, are no longer driving. We went to Ace but were told they were too busy to talk to us. Yellow Cab, a third cab company at the airport, never returned our calls.

Watch a report on the walk-off from Cleveland's WOIO, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Religious' Taxi Drivers in Cleveland Refusing to Drive Cabs Bearing Ads for the 'Gay Games': VIDEO" »


'Gay Games 2014' Commercial to Air in Some Markets During Sochi Opening Ceremony: VIDEO

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An ad for the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland will run in several markets during tonight's broadcast of the Sochi Opening Ceremonies, Outlook Columbus reports:

Thirty-second commercials for the Gay Games are set to air during NBC’s telecast in Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Buffalo and the host cities of Cleveland and Akron.

The Gay Games, an international event that takes place every four years, are scheduled for Aug. 9-16 in Cleveland and Akron. About 10,000 competitors and another 20,000 spectators are expected from around the world.

“These are great times we live in – exciting, complicated, extraordinary times,” a narrator says as the commercial begins with scenes of Gay Games medals, athletes, welcoming residents of northeastern Ohio and Cleveland’s annual Pride festival.

“And while the rest of the world tries to decide what its legacy will be, here in the United States we have a running start. This summer, the most inclusive sporting event in the world will take place in Ohio.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Gay Games 2014' Commercial to Air in Some Markets During Sochi Opening Ceremony: VIDEO" »


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

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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...

Cleveland.com 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.

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


Cleveland Public Safety Director Responds to Outrage Over Letter Threatening Gay Bar Owner

Last night Towleroad published a letter to Brian Lyons, the owner of Cleveland's Cocktails Lounge, which has been the focus of a series of neighborhood hate crimes against both the gay bar and its patrons. The letter, from the City of Cleveland's Director of Public Safety Marty Flask, said Lyons had been calling the police too often and threatened him with further action if he continued to do so.

FlaskIt also provoked immediate outrage on social media, so much so that Flask published a response late last night on the city's website. Flask claims that the incidents he refers to in the letter are not related to the alleged hate crimes at Cocktails Lounge but are related to other disturbances. He calls his letter "bad timing" and rescinds it.

The Mayor of Cleveland has also directed Flask to set up a meeting between the police commander and the owners of Cocktails Lounge to address the issues of crime against the bar.

Flask's statement below, also posted on the city of Cleveland's website:

Statement from Marty Flask, Director of Public Safety regarding a nuisance warning letter sent to the owner of 9208 Detroit Avenue

The letter received by the owner of Cocktails on Detroit Avenue is not related to recent alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated by the Division of Police. Rather, it is an early warning letter that the Department of Public Safety sends to property owners to help prevent a location from becoming a “nuisance property”, as identified in Chapter 630 of Cleveland’s codified ordinances. 224 such letters have already been sent to various property owners this year.

The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence. If I had to do it over again, I would have handled this particular situation differently. After reviewing this issue with Mayor Jackson, he has directed me to rescind the letter and instead set up a meeting with the District Commander and the property owners so that we can work together to address the issues raised by the calls for service to 9208 Detroit Avenue. Cleveland Police responded to 9208 Detroit Avenue nine times between September 2, 2012 and September 1, 2013 for a variety of complaints, including fights, disturbances and robbery. 13 complaints were received during that time frame. None of these complaints were related to the alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated.


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