Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

In honor of National Coming Out Day, the Know Theatre Tribe staged readings of Cincinnatians' true coming-out stories Oct. 10 and 11 at Arnold's Bar and Grill. Writers spoke of the WEBN firework

Oct 13, 2004 at 2:06 pm
Anthony Antal

Ian James (left), political director of Ohioans for Protecting the Constitution, and the Rev. K.Z. Smith of Corinthian Baptist Church debate a state constitutional amendment on marriage.

In honor of National Coming Out Day, the Know Theatre Tribe staged readings of Cincinnatians' true coming-out stories Oct. 10 and 11 at Arnold's Bar and Grill. Writers spoke of the WEBN fireworks, toothsome St. X boys and what being out in Cincinnati means to them.

One man's partner of 20 years had a midlife crisis and left for someone half his age. "Yes, it happens to us, too," he said.

A young woman wrote about her mother's coming out process. Looking back, she said, she could write a book called 352 Signs That Your Mother Might Be a Lesbian. One sign: "My Indigo Girls kept going missing."

A lesbian said, "I was living two different lives, and neither one of me was happy."

One man wrote a letter to lay it out to his parents point by point: He didn't choose to be gay; his homosexuality wasn't their fault, nor his; his life doesn't revolve around his sexuality; and he's happy and comfortable being a gay man.

Many still struggle with faith. "I could never believe that a just and righteous God would condemn me to hell," a gay man said.

Yet he stays in Cincinnati despite Article 12 of the city charter, which allows the city to discriminate against him and his longtime partner simply for being gay. "We remain here because we love this town," he said. "We were born here, we will be buried here."

Ted Jackson, field manager for Citizens to Restore Fairness, the group spear-heading the repeal of Article 12, addressed the diverse audience at intermission.

"You come out every day of your life when you hold hands in a restaurant and maybe you're asked to leave that restaurant because of it," he said. "Coming out is not a day. It's a process."

Jackson reports that the campaign to repeal Article 12, now called "Yes on Issue 3," needs to hold 4,000 more conversations to identify 2,800 more voters and then to recruit 3,000 election-day volunteers to bring the votes home. Three hours is all the commitment they ask; call 513-591-3247.

State Treasurer Joe Deters was a no-show Oct. 7 at the Community Issues Forum. The forum at Christ Church Cathedral would have been the first public meeting between Deters, a Republican, and Fanon Rucker, a Democrat, during the campaign for county prosecutor. Deters' staff called to say he was busy in Columbus and couldn't make it, according to Bill Woods, forum coordinator.

Rucker used the occasion to challenge Deters to meet in front of voters. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mr. Deters, any time you're ready to debate, let's pull up a chair or pull up a podium and talk about the issues," he said.

As Halloween Nears, Politics Turns Scary
The same forum featured a debate about a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage. The Rev. K.Z. Smith of Corinthian Baptist Church supported the proposal.

"Marriage is a sacred institution because it was established by God," he said. "Marriage is intended to be a union brought together by a man and a woman."

Speaking against the proposal was Ian James of Ohioans for Protecting the Constitution. He argued that the wording of the amendment would threaten the rights of unmarried straight couples who live together, as well as the rights of gays and lesbians.

"It's going after straight people, too," James said. "If you have a daughter and she happens to be co-habitating with some young man — your straight kids, your gay kids, we're coming after them. We're going after the benefits they've got right now. It's a radical, radical piece of legislation."

The race for Hamilton County Coroner seems to be heating up in all the wrong ways. Dr. Carl L. Parrott, the incumbent, is distributing a two-sided campaign mailer. On one side of the postcard is the usual "Vote for me because..." text and on the other is a photo gallery of 13 alleged felons, eight of them African-American men. The caption says, "Felons in Prison Can't Vote."

What's wrong with this picture? Everything, according to the Democratic challenger, Dr. O'dell Owens. "This smacks of Willie Horton," he says.

Horton was the rapist whose face former President Bush used in TV ads in 1988 to paint his Democratic opponent as soft on crime.

Parrott's not-so-subtle racist play on white suburban voters' fears isn't the only problem with the postcard. The campaign pitch touts his role in helping police and prosecutors lock up criminals. But the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Parrott's challenger.

"If (Parrott) has so much of this experience, why did the people who actually arrested these felons support me?" Owens asks.

Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or [email protected]