With many Cleveland gay bars closing even before the pandemic, owners are relied on their close community ties to keep their businesses afloat when Covid-19 posed an existential challenge.
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From her studio in Cuyahoga Falls, Coco Miletti and her assistant of 2 years, Jake Hallett, ply a trade synonymous with transformation: cosmetics. In their perch above Front Street, Miletti and Hallett offer a wide range of services, from hair and make-up styling for boudoir photography and weddings to ground-up makeup lessons and instructions for people who are transitioning.
Not every nun lists their pronouns in their e-mail signature. But let’s be clear: not every nun is quite like Sister Susan Zion. Zion has spent more than a decade as the executive director of Ursuline Piazza, an organization she founded to address gaps in service for the HIV-positive community.
Tierramarie Lewis had the drive to be one of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland’s success stories. She came to Cleveland for a fresh start last year, but on June 12, police responding to a gunshot report found Lewis face down on the ground. Lewis’ death is weighing on the hearts and minds of those who tried to help her avoid the fate of far too many Black transgender women in Ohio and across the county.
“It’s been a bumpy road,” said the 17-year-old who is currently in the permanent custody of the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (CCDCFS). “A really bumpy road.” Over the past five years, Anastasia has moved between foster homes to group-living arrangements to a brief time at a residential care facility. She remembers being terrified at age 12 when she was first told that she was going “into the system.”