“Just like everything else in Cleveland that can be easily overlooked if you don’t have a little guidance and insight, there is a very rich LGBT community in our town,” said Phyllis Harris, the Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland as she welcomed the Executive Arrangements staff for a tour of the brand new building in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood (close to their former location in the basement of a building across the street).
There was a time not very long ago when the topics the center deals with on a daily basis were not talked about at all; Phyllis was open and honest about the need to work for equal rights for her community. “We are not at riot level, but we need to march,” she said. And they do. The LGBT Center has hosted Pride in the CLE, which brought together over 8,000 LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to march for visibility and equality.
With the help of a generous $4 million anonymous donation, the LGBT Center was able to move to their new location and still offer tons of resources for the 55+ crowd; LGBTQ+ youth; transgender and non-binary individuals; companies; and more. It is the fifth oldest center in the U.S. out of over 250, having opened the doors of its first non-residential location in 1977 under its founding name, the Gay Educational and Awareness Foundation.
The LGBT Center’s priority is to offer support and resources to anyone who enters, and their front desk receptionists are trained to handle a wide variety of questions and concerns. In addition to the LGBT Center, Cleveland continues to grow its resources for its LGBTQ+ family.
Here are a few LGBTQ+ organizations for locals or people considering a move to Cleveland:
- Colors+ is Fairview Park’s safe space for LGBTQ+ youth. GLSEN also advocates for LGBTQ+ youth across Northeast Ohio.
- LGBTQ+ Allies Lake County offers support and resources for LGBTQ+ families, including a list of LGBTQ+-friendly businesses.
- North Coast Men’s Chorus is Northeast Ohio’s largest LGBTQ+ arts organization for gay singers and allies. Their sister choir, Windsong, is Cleveland’s only feminist chorus.
- For college students, the Case Western Reserve University LGBT Center and Cleveland State University LGBTQ+ Student Services are a few on-campus LGBTQ+ organizations.
- Business owners can join NGLCC, the national LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.
- Cleveland also has a robust LGBTQ+ sports league: Stonewall Sports.
For businesses who want to be more inclusive, consider adding a diversity and inclusion policy to your site and employee handbook. Include a list of resources in your employee welcome kit that has a bunch of awesome, local organizations, including LGBTQ+ organizations. Businesses have the capability to be safe spaces, but only if everyone is on the same page.
We love Cleveland, and the Executive Arrangements team wants you to know just how much. Send these blogs to your top job candidates to show them all our city has to offer. And, if you have any questions along the way, we would be happy to help you out with relocation services. Please contact us here or give us a call at 216.231.9311.