Western Reserve exhibit displays Cleveland's LGBT history
Posted August 06, 2014 in Articles
Author: Dan DeRoos
This weekend, athletes from all over the world will arrive in Cleveland for the 2014 Gay Games. Students at Case Western Reserve University are taking a look back at the history of Cleveland's own lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with a special exhibit.
The history of the LGBT community in Cleveland is now on display, just in time for the Gay Games. The exhibit at the Western Reserve Historical Society is small, but powerful.
"The title of this is 'The Victory of Self' and it's the ability of somebody to live openly as they are themselves," said John Grabowski, a professor and historian with CWRU.
Grabowski is responsible for putting the exhibit together. It's a collection of publications, letters, posters and artifacts important to the development of Cleveland's LGBT community.
"We're looking at the first real gay publication in Cleveland, out in the open if you want to call it at that time. It's High Gear. It's published by the Gear Foundation," said Grabowski.
You'll learn that it was only after the Stonewall Riots in New York that the gay community started to become visible in Cleveland in 1969.
But these mural pieces were taken from one of Cleveland's first ever gay-friendly bars. It was called The Cadillac Lounge and it operated in 1940 near East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue.
"Cleveland's LGBT center, which dates back to the 1970s, is one of the first in the nation. We're doing this -- our LGBT archives here at the historical society is one of the biggest ones in the nation. So Cleveland has a lot to be proud of," said Grabowski.
For this exhibit space, they've displayed less than 1 percent of their collection.
Daliah Greenwald is a CWRU student who helped decide what made the cut.
"It's not something that people normally look deeply into, but we tried to sort of give everybody a good sense of the history of the community, and how deeply involved it is in the Cleveland community," she said.
The exhibit at the historical center will be up through January.
Gay Game participants get a discount with credentials.