By: Jennifer McMillen Smith, MSSA, LISW-S, Division of Infectious Disease and medically reviewed by Ann Avery, Infectious Disease Physician at Metrohealth Medical Center
You deserve to feel safe in your community. Lots of folks feel the same way. They’ve created safe spaces where LGBTQ people can be themselves and get a break from sneers, bullying, microaggressions, and bias.
A safe space is more than a place to hide from abusers. It can be anywhere you feel comfortable with yourself — with no pressure from people who don’t understand you.
Cleveland has all sorts of safe spaces and resources for the LGBTQ community. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ones (there’s a link to dozens more excellent resources at the bottom of this blog):
Stonewall Sports Cleveland
Sports teams and games create a perfect opportunity for LGBTQ people to come together as a community. That was the idea of Stonewall Sports when it started in Washington, D.C., in 2010. Now, Stonewall Sports has programs across the United States, and Cleveland is no exception. The Cleveland group offers:
- Kickball at Fairview Park, West 38th Street and Franklin Boulevard
- Dodgeball at Estabrook Recreation Center, 4125 Fulton Road
- Bocce at Edgewater Park, 6700 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway
- Yoga at Pilgrim Church, 2592 West 14th Street
Teams compete in spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons. Visit the Stonewall Sports Cleveland website.
If you like singing, performing, or helping musical groups manage their performances, check out these groups in Metro Cleveland:
- Cleveland Transgender Choir. This is a non-auditioned group, which means you can sing along even if your vocal skills won’t get you into the “American Idol” top 10. Stop by their Facebook page for their latest news and events.
- Blazing River Freedom Band. You have to play an instrument — wind, brass, percussion, string bass — to be in this band, but you can always attend their rehearsals and see if they need any help from volunteers. They also stage concerts you can attend. Visit their website.
- North Coast Men’s Chorus. NCMC is the real deal: excellent singers, professional productions, and concerts with famous vocalists. You need top-tier singing chops to join the group, but there are all sorts of volunteer gigs where anyone can help out. Get the facts on their website.
Get together and talk about work and careers with fellow LGBTQ professionals:
- G2H2. The “Gay Guys Happy Hour” happens on the third Friday of each month at locations throughout Metro Cleveland. Check out their website, get more info on their Facebook Page, or read a profile on Cleveland.com.
- Plexus. Business people in northern Ohio’s LGBTQ community have banded together with Plexus, which helps them build connections and create opportunities. They host job fairs and schedule meetups where you can talk to people about careers and business opportunities. Check out their website.
Come join our private, stigma-free, supportive community.
Health management tools with medication & appointment reminders.
Social networking in a community conversation & private chats.
A welcoming atmosphere and people who understand what you’re going through can make all the difference in your wellbeing. These clinics and care providers will help you stay healthy and strong:
- Pride Clinic. MetroHealth, the co-founder of Positive Peers, created Cleveland’s first clinic staffed with doctors, nurses, and other professionals who specialize in caring for LGBTQ people. The clinic is in the Thomas F. McCafferty Health Center at 4242 Lorain Ave. Stop by their website.
- LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. Stop by for free HIV testing, alternative health advice, tai-chi classes, programs for over-50 people, and much more. The community center is at 6600 Detroit Ave. Visit their website.
- Cleveland AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. This local organization helps people participate in clinical trials of new HIV medications. Clinical trials are the critical final step in the testing of new medications. Your participation could change the lives of people living with HIV around the world. The unit is in University Hospital’s Foley Medical Building, 2061 Cornell Road. Check out their website.
- Riley Sober Home. This sober living facility helps LGBTQ people overcome addiction and live healthy lives. They provide therapy, out-patient treatment, and group programs on topics such as grief/loss, transgender support, sexual health, and many more. Stop by their website.
Improve your life with these services targeting the LBGTQ community:
- Find a gay-affirming Christian church at org
- LGBTQ Jews in Cleveland can gather at Chevrei Tikvah Chavurah in Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, 23737 Fairmount Blvd. in Beachwood.
- Black Space Productions offers safe spaces for queer and trans people of color. Visit their Facebook page.
- Safe on the Scene offers HIV testing, hosts events, and provides a safe space for LGBTQ people of color. Stop by their website.
- TransOhio. Find out about local services, education, and support for trans individuals. Visit their website.
- 216 Teens. Learn more about sexuality and reproductive health. Stop by their website.
- Positive Peers Resources Page. Our page is packed with links for people living with HIV. Visit the page.
A great big list of LGBTQ-related links
The LGBT Community Center, which we mentioned above, keeps a long list of links that dive deeper into the topics we’ve covered on this page. Check out the list.