Cover Story: Fighting the Good Fight

The organizations influential in the gay rights struggle

Jun 7, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Progress doesn't just happen by itself. There are people and organizations out there helping to push the GLBT community forward. Here is a look at a few new organizations and truly community-minded business that are making their mark in today's GLBT community.

OutReels: During the 2006 Gay Pride season Cincinnati will experience its first annual GLBT film festival. For three days (June 14, 15 and 17), the Esquire Theatre will host this program of feature length and short films exploring the lives of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. The festival will open with a screening of Small Town Gay Bar, a documentary that garnered praise at Sundance this year for its poignant look at the struggles waged by gays and lesbians in the rural South, focusing on the only social institution available to them. Find the complete festival schedule and film details at

Your Forefront: Organized by a group of local college students, this new youth organization launched in February with an event at the Fifth Third Bank Theatre at the Aronoff Center (see "Gay Youth Take the Forefront," issue of April 5-11). Your Forefront's mission is to help LGBTQ youth between the ages of 14 and 24 develop positive self-esteem and self-concept, promote leadership through community engagement, debunk stereotypes and decrease discrimination through educational programs and activities. Though the group follows in the footsteps of other local GLBT youth groups such as the Cincinnati Youth Group (CYG), Twentysomething and the local college gay-straight alliances, Your Forefront is generating buzz throughout the gay and lesbian community.

This summer the group is ramping up its fundraising and starting to plan a regional youth summit for December. (Visit

National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Cincinnati (NCCJ): Under the leadership of executive director Chip Harrod for more than 20 years, the NCCJ is one of the less recognized but no less significant allies that has helped fight bias, bigotry and racism in all its forms in Cincinnati. "We take 'isms' and make them 'wasms'," Harrod says. In the past five years, NCCJ started looking at public policy and was immediately drawn to the issues around Article 12. In March 2002, the group, together with five other fair-minded organizations, released "Issue 3: Eight Years Later," an extensive study of the feasibility of a repeal. The study found that 60 percent of voters indicated they would vote to remove such a law. An additional survey of the 50 largest employers in the area found that local companies were starting to mirror the national trend toward more inclusion of gays and lesbians in the workplace. The survey helped build momentum for the 2004 repeal of Article 12 and will hopefully help keep the momentum going as the community fights the subsequent ballot issue this November. (Visit

Universal Grille: In my day, Carol's Corner Café, which later became Carol's On Main, was the place in town to eat, drink and make merry just about any night of the week. Besides Carol, David, Curtis and the always-friendly staff, the best thing was the crowd. You could go there by yourself and always be sure to run into people you knew. These days Universal Grille, formerly known as Hamburger Mary's, has taken up the torch. Always supportive of good causes in town, Universal Grille has been welcomed by the community as the hangout.

The Great Wide Open: The Internet has revolutionized the GLBT community's ability to connect with each other locally, nationally and even globally. Here is a listing of Web site URLs, or phone numbers if no Web site exists, for the groups and organizations mentioned in this story, as well as a few other important community resources.

AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati (AVOC):

Alternating Currents: 3-5 p.m. Saturdays on WAIF (88.3 FM)

Caracole Inc.:

The Center:

Cincinnati Country Day School:

Cincinnati Men's Chorus (CMC):

Cincinnati Youth Group:

The Coalition:

Equality Cincinnati:

Equality Ohio:

Gay Cincinnati:

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN):

Greater Cincinnati GLBT News:

Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church:

National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Cincinnati:

Northern Kentucky University Common Ground: [email protected]

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG):

The Point Foundation:

Pride Alive 2006:

Pyramids Boutique: 907 Race Street. 513-621-PINK

Queen City Careers Association (QCCA):

The Seven Hills Schools:

University of Cincinnati LGBTQ Alliance:

The Xavier Alliance:

— Eric Hunter