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The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland hosts its 14th annual Heritage Day Awards

by Oct 22, 2022Health, Local News

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland celebrated the winners of its 14th City of Cleveland LGBT Heritage Day Award with a special ceremony earlier this week.

The intimate affair was held Thursday at the organizations building on Gordan Square, according to a recent press release.

The awardees even received congratulations from Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb via Zoom.

Nominations for the award began in late August and lasted through the end of September, the release said.

For the past 14 years, the annual award ceremony, in collaboration with the City of Cleveland, has celebrated individuals within the local LGBTQ+ community for their contributions to the betterment of the city’s LGBTQ+ Community through advocacy and activism, arts, culture, and more.

Once the nomination period closed, a selection committee reviewed the applications, which were submitted by the awardees’ fellow peers within the Cleveland LGBTQ+ community.

In a surprising turn of events this year, the organization received an overwhelming response from the community and had “numerous applications being submitted across all the categories.”

The categories include Advocacy & Activism, Arts & Culture, Health & Wellness, Public Service, Workplace Inclusion, and LGBTQ+ Legacy.

One of the winners, ChisTina Reed, who uses pronouns they/them, said they were brought to tears after finding out they had been nominated. Ironically enough, Reed was one of the members of the selection committee for selecting awardees. The other board members had nominated Reed without their knowledge.

“I literally just cried. That’s all I could do,” Reed said.

For the past decade, Reed has been the manager for LGBT+ Gender Care programs at University Hospitals. Before that, they worked at Cleveland Clinic for nearly 18 years, founding the first transgender medicine and surgery program at the Cleveland Clinic.

Reed has also been involved with training staff members at these two large hospitals, leading to widespread improvements regarding LGBTQ+ care throughout the hospital systems, the release said.

Reed said the award allows them to reflect on the brave individuals who paved the way for future generations.

“That’s what drives my work today, making sure others following me have the love, support, and care they need without having to needlessly suffer,” Reed said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but there are so many incredibly brave, compassionate folks in Cleveland working together to make the world a more equitable place for everyone, and it’s a privilege to call those people friends and colleagues.”

Here is the complete list of winners of the 14th Annual City of Cleveland LGBT Heritage Day Award:


Marisol Martinez:

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 the community through local groups like Jeepers Creepers, which she has rallied to come and be a significant 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. Martinez remains a hard-working leader who inspires other burgeoning activists by showcasing the importance of being present in the work and the communities they work for.

Ryan Clopton-Zymler:

Ryan Clopton-Zymler is the Co-Founder of Sage and Maven, a consulting practice specializing in social justice and leadership development. Throughout the past decade, Clopton-Zymler 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 he was in charge of organizing the Tournament’s annual social justice summit. Through creating opportunities for others, challenging the status quo and never backing down to speak up, they remain a champion for all marginalized folk.


Kyle Kidd:

Kyle Kidd is a Cleveland-based musician. Kidd’s work has been described as expansive in ways that are hard to quantify. Kidd’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, Kidd 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.


ChrisTina Reed:

ChrisTina Reed is the Manager of LGBT+ Gender Care programs at University Hospitals. For many years, Reed 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 regarding 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.


Carey Gibbons:

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. Gibbons has served the community with 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, Gibbons 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.


Rem Wransky:

Rem Wransky works with the Cleveland Orchestra as a web developer. This past August, Wransky filed a suit against the Cleveland Orchestra, alleging discrimination when the institution refused to cover a surgery deemed medically necessary by the company’s insurance policy. The ensuing lawsuit would go on to publicly out her to the organization and the rest of the community.

Wransky’s bravery in advocating for her own medical needs and trans employees around the country has left a huge imprint on inclusive workplace practices. With the Orchestra settling to cover Wransky’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, Wransky courageously fought to create workplace inclusion for countless individuals who have experienced the general silencing of trans employees in organizational healthcare practices.


Gil Kudrin:

Gil Kudrin is the founder of Nightsweats and 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. Kudrin’s activism during the 80s and 90s helped save countless lives in Cleveland and beyond. He was instrumental in bringing awareness to HIV and AIDS, speaking across the country and demanding that more be 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 judgment. Kudrin’s numerous contributions have led to an immense legacy here in LGBTQ+ Cleveland and around the country.

Dean Rufus:

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 Pride season. Rufus’ attention to queer culture has allowed generations to come in and shop the carefully curated queer items that are available at his store. Before owning this store, many knew Rufus for his time as a local DJ and radio personality. Rufus 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 historical parallels of the Living Room services decades before. An open and caring individual, Rufus continues to remain an integral piece of Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community, having established a unique legacy.

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

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