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July /august 2015

Love Wins !
The Wedding Issue

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table of contents
PUBLISHER Michael A. Monks
Editor - in-chief Chuck Beatty
MANAGING Editor Jerod Theobald

Rob Bucher, Michael Chanak, Ron Clemons,
Sean Howley, Christian Johnson,
Nate Moster, James Reynolds, Bree Singler,
Shannon Smith, Jason Wiff
Rivendell Media-908.232.2021
Chuck Beatty-513.813.8246
Cover photo:

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Letter From The


at Northern Kentucky, recently took to the dance floor with
his new husband, and I had the great fortune of seeing that,
too. So did a lot of our fraternity brothers, the grooms’ families and friends. And when that song ended and the couple
embraced, inside this iconic hall in our hometown, everyone
in the room applauded just as they would have any of the
straight couples there.
Because what’s the difference? Love is love, and love wins.
Love always wins.

Down, down, do your dance, do your dance

For many reasons, the love between some has to fight harder,
but it always wins, eventually.

I recently found myself in a small crowd of couples at Arthur
Murray Dance Studio in Cincinnati, lingering along a wall,
watching these people learn how to do The Cupid Shuffle, that
American line dance staple of every cousin’s wedding ever.

Everyone deserves the right to love and to be loved, and to be
married, and to be led to the dance floor and spun and lifted
off your feet by arms or by a moment. And to have a wedding
reception where your cousins do The Cupid Shuffle.

The instructor, clad in western wear because this was a party
night Friday at the studio, lovingly barked the instructions,
echoing Cupid’s commands.

After all, as a wise hip hop artist once said, Down, down, do
your dance, do your dance.

To the right/To the right/To the right/To the right

Michael Monks is the publisher of UNiTE Cincinnati.

The couples were obedient and enthusiastic, if imperfect in the
feet. They laughed at each other and clapped with each other.
They blushed, they encouraged.
To the left/To the left/To the left/To the left
They held hands and twirled and experimented. They kicked
(Now Kick/Now Kick/Now Kick/Now Kick) and ultimately, per
the song’s instructions, walked it by themselves (walked it by
They danced.
Then the lesson ended and the instructors called for showcases
where some of the couples would show off the dance they had
been learning at private lessons. As everyone else joined me
along the wall surrounding the dance floor, two ladies joined
hands and led one another to the center. Their wedding was
approaching, one of the instructors (dressed as Kenny Rogers)
told us, and this would be their First Dance at the reception.
The music, a slow tempo love song, started and the pair floated
around the mirrored room and everyone watched quietly, smiling. I’m sure the moment wasn’t lost on any of us that these
soon-to-be newlyweds are both women and their very attempt
to promise each other forever was a legal question before the
United States Supreme Court.
It also wasn’t lost on us that this was more than watching two
women dancing. This was love, and when the showcase ended
in a graceful hug and a proud embrace, everyone in the room
applauded just as they would have any of the straight couples
Because what’s the difference? Love is love, and love wins. Love
always wins.
A longtime friend of mine, a fraternity brother from our time

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Unite News
Mama once said
by Michael "Goose" Chanak

Unite CinCinnati

My Mama always says to me, “Be careful of what you wish
for, it might come true.” For once in my life, I am hoping
she’s right. The other question some might have is what in
the goddess’s name does “wedding and marriages” know of
the Goose?
So, okay, I don’t have a mate, partner, spouse or even a
“boyfriend”. But I see the marriage equality struggle not so
much through a personal lens, but its broad implication of
progress. I don’t feel I need a husband or the “lead activist/
group of the moment” to feel pride in the promise of marriage equality. For me and others, it reflects years of struggles, half steps forwards, and a quarter back or sideways, but
always forward. We have been part of this grand effort.
When I see friends now serving openly in the Armed Forces
with their partner in full embrace, I say good for them and
good for us. I see the work my generation and those whose
shoulders we all stand on that made these events possible.
Ever wonder how or why certain governors of some great
states so oppose marriage yet claim this or that state is open
to business? I always did. After all, imagine the market
for all those little expensive things that go with marriage,
including divorce attorneys.
It doesn’t end with marriage anyway. There will still be plenty of work ahead in housing, employment protections, etc.
for all of us. So, to me, marriage is just another step along
the journey of full equality for all of us. Let us not forget
our Trans brothers and sisters that will need our support in
their journey for equality.
Meantime, I feel love in the air. Who knows, maybe even
Goose can catch that bouquet?
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I'ze Married Now

by Ron Clemons

Unite CinCinnati
The Color Purple is one of my favorite movies. Not only does
it have a stellar cast and script, it also contains the timeless
message of “love wins”. There is a scene in the movie where
the honky-tonk singer, Shug Avery, comes running up to
her estranged, minister father who shunned her for walking
away from the church and becoming a bar singer. As she
is running towards him, she has her left arm outstretched,
waving her ring finger in her father’s face, and says, I’ze
married now, see, I’ze married now”. He stared icily ahead
without a glimmer of acknowledgement about his daughter’s
Her hope was that somehow, being married would melt the
wall of ice between them and she would once again become
daddy’s little girl. She believed that by getting married, he
would automatically change his mind and see her as a good
woman. She married a man she didn’t love but thought that
by getting married, it would somehow change her status
from unacceptable to acceptable.
With the current campaign for marriage equality, I sometimes wonder if part of our emotional fuel getting through
this struggle isn’t the same as Ms. Avery’s. Somehow, by
virtue of the blessing of SCOTUS, we will be granted
admission to the country club and gain access to full rights
and all privileges and we’ll feel better about ourselves. Don’t
get me wrong, I do firmly believe that as tax paying citizens,
we are entitled to enjoy the same rights and privileges as
everyone else. The right to marry whom we choose is basic
in that belief.
As a therapist, I had the vantage point of observing how
couples tended to view marriage both collectively and individually. While it typically was a crisis that brought couples
in to my office, once the immediacy of the drama abated,
people were able to look at some of the core issues that led
up to the crisis.
While there were many recurring themes with the couples I
saw in my practice, there were three that were pretty consistent. First, money and economics. Second, was lack of
respect. The third, and by far the largest, the rage over how
the marriage or partner didn’t follow the ideal about what
marriage and or a spouse is supposed to be.
Whenever I would ask about who set the standard about
what marriage and spouses are supposed to be, the common
answer was based on religious teachings. I always found that

somewhat amusing in that we are living in the 21st century,
but our beliefs about marriage are based on books and teachings from a culture that existed thousands of years ago and
on a culture that was very different than the one we live in.
However, these couples were bent on making the ideal of the
marriage work rather than looking at what works for the two
individuals that were involved in the marriage.

tections. Nothing more, nothing less. It is the quality of the
dynamic between the people involved that truly determines
the success of the marriage. Be kind, be compassionate, be
patient, be forgiving and above all, be authentic.
It isn’t up to SCOTUS to make that determination. That is
entirely up to you.

With the rate of divorce hovering around the range of 5055%, it would seem the standard is more impossible than it
is practical. Even the non-married couples found themselves
in the same conundrum. They couldn’t live up to the ideal
standard, felt like they were failures and as a result, began to
take their frustrations out on one another. I don’t think it will
be any different for the members of the LGBTQA community. We all grew up in the same culture and our perceptions
about what marriage is supposed to do and be are based on
a formula with a 50+% failure rate. This doesn’t mean that
marriage is a bad thing. In addition to the legal and economic benefits, having someone to build a life with is a wonderful thing. However, it would appear that how we approach
marriage and live within marriages are key questions to ask
ourselves prior to making the commitment.
If you do decide that marriage is the right choice for you,
I encourage you to sit down and talk about more than the
color arrangements and caterer for your ceremony. As your
relationship moves towards marriage, sit and talk with your
intended and create a dynamic within your marriage that
works for the two people involved because nothing else matters. Marriage won’t improve your status in the community,
it won’t make sex better nor will it make loneliness magically
disappear. The truth is, getting married gives you legal pro-

Unite Magazine | 5


The Art of Customer

by Shannon C. Smith, Esq

Unite CinCinnati

I find myself writing this article after terrible experiences with
customer service. Although hell hath no fury like a woman
scorned, I have stifled my desire to publicly admonish these
companies (you’re welcome, Voldemorts) because mistakes
happen and companies have bad days. The problem is that
lately, it has seemed A LOT of companies are having A LOT
of bad days. It seems customer service is no longer a priority.
The extra effort and expense of customer service may be tough
to reconcile because it is difficult for a business to quantify the
impact it has on the bottom line, but the bottom line is without question positively impacted. Despite the positive impact,
the question remains are the expense and effort justified? In
short, yes!
The Struggle is Real
The struggle with customer service is more prevalent today
because we are in a world where instant gratification and
technology are highly valued. Technology negates the need
for personal interaction and efficiency limits the time for it.
Technology not only reduces personal interaction but increases
competition, allowing a customer infinite options. “The world
at their fingertips.” (Note: Technology is not all bad – it is an
excellent opportunity for those that know how to harness its
power and service its issues). These barriers disrupt the development of a topic which was at the epicenter of my previous
article: the necessity of building a relationship with customers.
The easy part is to recognize the importance of efficiency, technology, and customer relations. The difficult task is reconciling
the above with the need for excellent customer service – and
there is a need, indeed!
Although there are several factors that determine the success of
a company, customer service is certainly one of the most important. Customer service increases repeat customers, creates
a good business reputation, increases employee morale, and
combats higher prices. (According to CEO Colin Shaw, 55%
of Customers will pay more for better customer service. How
much more? American Express’s Global Customer Service
barometer suggests approximately 13%!)
As a business owner, customer service is a priority of mine, but
these companies- who-must-not-be-named further opened my
eyes to how largely lost this art was. I was in disbelief at the
repeated negative experiences. I had a company drop furniture

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on the sidewalk in front of my office (which is located on a
busy street) where no one was there to receive it and no call
or apology was made. I paid extra for a company to deliver
heavy materials to particular floors and they delivered them
to the wrong floors and tried to charge me fees to correct
their mistake (which they acknowledged). At least two companies set a meeting with me and never showed up. Another
company began work on a project six months late, and the
list goes on. Most of these errors were corrected but I’m not
sure they would have been had I not been an attorney. I
never put that hat on unless I have to and unfortunately, I
had to.
Although being an attorney has its advantages, from a
business perspective it comes with its disadvantages and one
of the greatest of those is this: notoriously poor customer
service. I’ve heard my fair share of attorney jokes and heard
the laundry list of why people hate attorneys: dishonest,
uncaring, snobby, heartless, etc. With so many legal options
today and so many negative perceptions I knew for my
business (and really the legal field) to thrive there needed
to be a separation from that perception. It is this logic from
which my Office slogan was created. We would be Client
Focused. Results Driven.
Channeling My Inner Archeologist
Equipped with a catchy slogan and the desire to distance
myself from that laundry list, I began the excavation of
customer service and attempted to unearth and learn
everything about this lost art. I did not possess the traits
of the above hated attorney but I wanted it to be shown in
my practice and wanted to see the impact customer service
would have on my business. I could not measure directly
the impact, but I saw it. My business grew primarily from
repeat customers and word of mouth. (Remember above
the specific indicators of quality I knew there had to be
evidence somewhere demonstrating a numerical correlation
between the two and I soon found it.)
Consider the following:
In 2014, USA Today published a study in which 1500 customers were polled regarding their experience with over 150
of America’s best known companies across several industries.

The number one company? Amazon. This customer centric
company is doing something right as they have tripled their
sales over the last few years. Not only is Amazon number one
in customer service, according to Business Insider, Amazon
owns 10 percent of North American E-Commerce. This 10
percent matches that owned by Office Depot, Staples, Apple,
Dell, WalMart, Sears and Liberty combined. Coincidence? I
think not.

expressed needs. Empower your employees to do
the same. Consider this: the most highly rated
company in terms of customer service, Amazon,
is also one of the most highly rated companies in
terms of employee satisfaction. The environment
where employees feel empowered and valued is an
environment which will promote high morale - that
translates into a great customer experience.

(Sidenote: The USA Today Customer Service Hall of Fame
had little to no tech companies on the list. What is the highest rated tech based companies in customer service? Apple; the
world’s most valuable company. So all you techy companies
consider the digital needs your customers may have in order
to be a cut above the rest. I’m looking at you Uptech grads!)
So, whether you are starting a law practice or a lawn mowing
company know customer service drives financial success. With
that in mind, and with my experience running businesses, I
compiled the below tips to help efforts to become ‘customer
1. Set Expectations. Let customers know up front
possible outcomes. Be realistic and do not set a bar
that will ultimately result in a face plant. Set a goal
that can be cleared and anything better is icing on the
cake. There is always the possibility you do not meet
expectations, so be prepared to address undesired
outcomes and do not be afraid to apologize for an
error and correct it!
2. Celebrate Customer Success. Listen to what a client
wants and get it for them. Sounds simple so it is
hard to understand how so many get it wrong. I
would venture to say it is one of the two l’s: not listening or lazy. “God gave us two ears and one mouth,
so we should listen twice as much as we speak.” Listen to what the customer wants, make their success
(desire) your priority, and your bottom line will grow.
3. Be Memorable. Providing memorable customer
service could be an article all its own. At the core of
memorable service is a personal connection. Realize
what your customer wants, produce it, then go beyond that to meet an unexpressed need. Think hot,
fresh, coffee every day in the lobby at the Hilton or
those chocolate chip cookies they bake in the evenings. Neither were requested, but more importantly, neither were forgotten.
4. Don’t be a robot. (DANGER WILL ROBINSON
DANGER) Be Flexible. Answer unusual requests
with how instead of yes or no. If it causes you an
inconvenience, you are probably providing excellent
service. Remember, if you do not do it - it is likely
your competitor will.
5. Take ownerhip and empower employees. Make
customer problems your problem. Meet their un-

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Health & Fitness

Fit For Life: Find YOUR
Summer Adventure
How long has it been since you went on an adventure? A
month? A year? Decades ago? When we were children, our
whole lives were part of a grand adventure. In fact, our sole
focus and desire in life often revolved around playing. As kids,
to “play” is in our very DNA. We are wired to run, jump,
crawl, and climb. There seems to be a natural affinity for kids
to explore, to get dirty, and to be downright fearless.
Then somewhere along the way, we grow up and become
sudden victims to the unwritten code telling us that being a
“grown up” and “playing” cannot coexist. I don’t know who
made that rule, but it’s a stupid rule and I have a bone to
pick with them. I firmly believe that when we stop playing,
we start not only aging, but aging exponentially (I’m talking
physically, mentally, the whole gamut of it). Finding time to
play, no matter your age, is important.
I found my summer adventure last month when I participated in my first ever Spartan Race® with a team of clients
and friends. Quickly growing in popularity, obstacle course
races (sometimes referred to as OCRs) appeal to a wide range
of ages and fitness levels. Everyone from elite athletes and
weekend warriors to those just looking for a reason to get up
off the couch seem to be following the hype, but what is the
appeal of these obstacle course races and mud runs?
One of the main draws is that there really seems to be something for everybody. Races range in length and difficulty
which allow every fitness level to be adequately challenged. A
healthy dose of competition attracts athletes of many disciplines from cross-fitters to marathon runners. The teamwork
and camaraderie combined with a chance to push myself
training for a specific event is what pulled me in. OCRs are
putting play back into people’s lives and if you ask me, that is
a VERY good thing.
What if obstacle course races or mud runs just simply aren’t
your thing? That’s okay! If the idea of climbing over cargo
nets, carrying sandbags through a mud pit or crawling under
barbed wire doesn’t tickle your fancy, then I encourage you to
go out and find your own adventure. If you like being out on
the water, buy a kayak! If you have a need for speed and love
being in the great outdoors, go mountain biking! If you cannot stand being outdoors, look into indoor climbing! Whatever your passion may be - hiking, swimming, rock climbing,

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by Bree Singler, CTP
Unite CinCinnati

free running, roller derby - go out and attack it. Relentlessly.
After all, one of the most awesome benefits to being healthy
and fit is the ability to go out and live your life to the very
*As with any type of exercise program, it is important to consult with your doctor before you begin training for an Obstacle Course Race, mud run, or other
extreme activities.

3435 Michigan Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208


Voted Best Happy Hour in the City
50 wines by the glass
open 7 days a week

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Join the
Harvination EfforT
by James Reynolds
Unite CinCinnati

Up until March 2015, the word “Harvination” was synonymous with great energy, undeniably well-laid danceable
beats, and a group of great people assembled wherever the
mohawk donning DJ was doing her thing. After her diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), however,
“Harvination” morphed into a far more complex version of
its former self.
The people are still using music to unite and the energy is
still on high, but time with Harv is not just about letting
go anymore. Along with hundreds of friends and fans, she
is making the rest of her time as a fully-functioning person
about raising money and awareness so nobody else has to
go through a diagnosis of ALS with the minimal medical
advancements made to date. Harv has a dedicated fan base
and keeps them informed and motivated via her website
( This is part of her story and vision, taken
from that same website:

she was going through both mentally and physically.
“Having muscles spasms every day till you are paralyzed for
your predicted new life span of about 800 days is pretty much a
bummer. But the face cramp I just had felt like being punched
by 6 Mike Tysons and having a broken jaw. It was like feeling
the pain of every person who has ever had or has ALS and the
pain of everyone that hurt for them all at once. Sad truth. It was
the first of many. This is why we stand up and make a difference
to fight this disease! I will continue to say this until I can’t, this

“Harv was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, on
March 11, 2015. That was the day “Sh*t got real”. And on that
day began an epic journey like none other. Harv is loved by a
lot of people, and keeping up with all of them using the various
devices and social media accounts will be taxing on her as this
thing progresses. So this website is setup as a way for Harv to
communicate with the countless people who love her.
This site also exists to help Harv and all of those stricken with
ALS. Use this to raise awareness. Share the things we post on
treatments and medical breakthroughs and research. Share this
site and Harv’s story with those more powerful or more connected than you (Ellen DeGeneres, are you listening?) so that we can
help Harv, share love and support, help change legislation to
approve new drugs for ALS patients, and raise funding to help
those going through life with this crappy disease. And donate.
Let’s get real, insurance will only cover so much. Help out in any
way you can. It adds up fast and you can help more than you
The words crafted by Harv are undoubtedly the most moving
though to describe both what she is going through and how she
views the situation she has found herself in. After processing,
Harv came out with an honest and very real account of what

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disease could grab any of us. Find a way to fight and bring treatments and a cure! NOT JUST FOR ME...FOR THE FUTURE
OF YOUR LOVED ONES. Who could get picked for this next
in your world a niece or nephew, a sister or brother, your child,
your husband or wife, your best friend, or YOU?”
“There is no cure for the disease that takes a big piece of me each
day I have left to rule this damn world! The medical field has
only come as far as to help make life a little more comfortable
with sleeping aids and muscle relaxers, better powered wheelchairs (though the tank chair is not covered through insurance),
technology to help me continue to communicate down the line.

But....since there is no answer I am free to choose my own path
of dealing with it, I chose LIVING REALLY FU**IN HARD,
eating lots of fruits and veggies (as well as donuts, ice creams,
and steaks medium rare), I WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVE
that the only results I have had to ease the pains (mentally and
physically) have been through music. Being a lifelong junkie
addict of music, I am faithful you cannot overdose on this and
therefore take in an average of 80-200 filthy nasty beats, or
super smooth lyrical freestyles or belted out vocals per day. I
find that I am more likely to move and smile once these have
kicked in, and also when a tune reminds me of someone I love,
I go directly to my massage bed and stretch during that song in
their honor and reflect on how thankful I am for that person
and hope we get to dance together soon (even if my feet don’t
work...I still dance...KNOW THAT)! So once again, this is the
public Spotify playlist I add to on the regular (“HarvCore” on
Now, how about you look at the events link on and go see for yourself what this amazing person
is doing with the cards she has been dealt. The only warning
worth offering is this: do not expect to find a somber tone
anywhere near her events. All in attendance are expected to
help Harv keep that energy flowing and create some amazing memories as they spread the word about and help fund
research for ALS.
Want to donate? Visit

The Cis Jungle
by Christian Jackson
Unite CinCinnati
In March of 2014, a new identity was born unto me through
the aid of education, language and resources. I was a trans
woman of color, always had been, but I didn’t have the language or resources to understand this identity.
One year later in March of 2015, The Cis Jungle was born.
My blog is a creation of my mind, words, and hands. The Cis
Jungle’s tagline, “It’s a cis world and girls like us live in it”,
refers to the world that we as trans people live in. Trans people navigate a world that has not been developed with their
identities in mind.
The blog covers a multitude of topics that explore and focus
around identity and extracting the parallels between cis and
trans identities. In The Cis Jungle, I explore my truth and
discuss the systematic oppressions reflected in the lives of
trans people and specifically speaking from my own life and
personal experience as a trans woman of color.
As the layers of The Cis Jungle continue to unfold and expand, there will be a continuance of guest writers who share
their experiences and write about topics that focus on physically transitioning as well as a list of medical, mental health,
and self-care resources
You can find The Cis Jungle at
and on social media using the hashtag #cisjungle.

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Cody & Christian

by Jason Wiff
Unite CinCinnati

Marriage: noun

lead into their plans for their big day.

1. (broadly) any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is
recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating
partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities.

“We are having our ceremony and reception at the beautiful Wiedemann Hill Mansion in Newport overlooking our
favorite view of the city skyline followed by a honeymoon
in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Donna and her husband
Roger who run Wiedemann have been nothing but accepting,
helpful and completely supportive,” adds Gausvik.

By definition marriage sounds like a typical contract between
two entities, a business deal covering multiple “adult” institutions. I believe this definition to be a cold, senseless idea of a
wider concept.
Sitting across from me at a long, low mahogany table, Cody
Roberts and Christian Gausvik tell me about their engagement
and upcoming marriage. The never ending smiles and glances at one another tell of another definition of marriage that
Webster’s Dictionary and half of the United States seems to
ignore – love.
Cody, a native of Taylor Mill, is a University of Cincinnati
graduate in operations management and Christian is from Fort
Thomas, and a student at UC College of Medicine. The two
met thanks to the help of a few friends and overlapping social
circles one night at Unwind Wine Bar just outside the Hyde
Park Square in 2013. Three hours of conversation, nervous
glances and a few glasses of Riesling later they had planned
their next few dates. Dates turned into dating and on their first
anniversary, February 8, 2014, Christian popped the question.
“I proposed to Cody at Unwind. I had planned ahead and had
a wine bottle label made with ‘Cody, will you marry me?’ on it.
I had it put on our favorite bottle of Riesling and coordinated
with Darrick the owner of Unwind to have the bottle delivered
when we ordered. From there, we went to Sotto downtown. I
had made up a bouquet of roses and Calla lilies and had them
at the restaurant before we got there. We had dinner as an
engaged couple and headed home. At home, I had made him a
video of our year together and we watched it together.”
With the excitement of engagement fresh on their faces they

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Cincinnati has always been known for its conservative nature
- a beacon of “proper living” for the Right Wing. In recent
years, this time-honored cloud of conservative nature has
dissipated. Cincinnati has gone from a model of what not to
do to your LGBTQ community to being the model of how to
accept and honor this community.
While marriage in Ohio is still seen as one man/one woman,
it is inspiring to see this young couple take steps toward their
own definition of happiness, regardless of whether or not it is
accepted in the eyes of the government.
“Marriage is such a common word in our political sphere
today and I think it kind of distracts people from what this is
really about. Yes there is a legal fight – and we’ll see how that
turns out perhaps before this issue comes out – but there’s
more to it than that. Our marriage was and is happening no
matter what government has to say about it.”
Cody and Christian are the next step in the evolution of our
community; the take-charge attitude that says, “This is how
I am going to live my life: happily ever after.” The two were
married at the 60-seat Weidemann Hill Mansion on June
14th before heading off on their honeymoon. Then, it’s back
to Cincinnati where they plan on moving from East Walnut
Hills to Hyde Park and starting their family.
Politics aside, definitions aside, and cultural norms aside, these
two are doing exactly what generations of LGBTQ people
have wished they could do but have lived in fear of the consequences. Love, in any form deserves recognition and praise.

No one is asking permission for marriage. Because real love
needs no permission.

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Get Over the Gown
by Becky Haltermon

Unite CinCinnati

smack of antiquated gentility and I love the way they
elevate an ensemble. Perfect for a big day.

I have been known to publicly announce that weddings are
My sister was wed a couple years back and while I lectured
her on the evils of the diamond industry and the untenable
imbecility of thousand-dollar parties like the cold-hearted
harpy that I am, she coolly and quietly planned her matrimonial masterpiece.
And while I enjoy belittling the unfounded and often idiotic
traditions that wrap even the most modest of social gatherings, I was forced to admit that her marriage did occur during
what was decidedly a damn good time.
Her wedding was really a reflection of her personality. The traditions that she chose to follow or flout or invent conformed
to the image she had created of her own future.
What makes wedding dumb? Feeling like you have to follow
the same steps of matrimonial monotony that everyone else
does. Love exists in all varieties. Shouldn’t our celebrations of
love be just as varied?
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite ways to innovate on the special day:

Matrimonial millinery. Oh boy, do I love me some
hats. Brides (and grooms, too, I guess) of all types can
skip the stuffy veil and instead indulge in a masculine
boater (an easy way to be fancy without being frilly)
or a fabulous derby-style flowered monstrosity (EMBRACE THE FRILL).


Casual coupling. I don’t care what you say, the most
powerfully attractive attire is that in which you feel
fabulous. So, why not wear a simple white button-up
shirt? It looks fantastic on all variety of humans and
it belies a confidence that is just as sexy as any bosom-bearing ball gown.


I’m just going to leave this here: vests. They are awesome. I have a 70s nipped-in number that makes me
feel like a natural woman, but I’ve also indulged in a
boy’s pinstripe vest when I feel like being manly. Vests

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I’ve been told that it’s tacky for same sex couples to
wear the same thing, but frankly I love it when couples of any persuasion dress alike. A duo adorned in
duds that make them look like a pair of mid-century
salt and pepper shakers? Swoon. Complimentary color palettes, echoed accessories or similar silhouettes,
I adore any configuration that visually identifies you
as half of a partnership. So what if your wear isn’t the
usual wedding garb? When you match your lover,
you don’t need to match expectations.

And what, you may query, would I wear if ever wed? Actually, I’m going to wear my mom’s wedding dress. It may be the
“traditional” choice, but I love it. And that is what a wedding
is all about.

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Theater listings
by Rob Bucher

Unite CinCinnati

● 1776 This musical follows four founding fathers as
they attempt to convince the members of the second
Continental Congress to vote for independence from
the shackles of the British monarchy. July 8-26. Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre.
● 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL Pushed to the boiling
point, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get
even with the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical
bigot they call their boss. In a hilarious turn of events,
Violet, Judy and Doralee live out their wildest fantasy
- giving their boss the boot! August 12-30. Warsaw
Federal Incline Theatre.
(ABRIDGED) The brilliant (and deranged) minds of
Reduced Shakespeare Company have done it again.
This time reducing centuries of American history into
one madcap evening of theater. Three actors take you
on a whirlwind historical tour. July 24-August 15.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
● HUNDRED DAYS The fierce, triumphant story of
a young couple who fall in love, only to have their
time together cut short by a fatal illness. They decide
to try and live the 100 days they have left together as
though it were the 60 years they had imagined July
24-August 22. Know Theatre of Cincinnati.
● QCQTC TBA The Queen City Queer Theatre Collective seeks to be a safe space for LGBTQ stories and
conversation. Upcoming readings to be announced.
July 13 and August 10.
● THE BOOK OF MORMON This outrageous
musical comedy follows the misadventures of a
mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across
the world to spread the Good Word. August 18-23.
Victoria Theatre Association.

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● 42ND STREET Plucky Peggy Sawyer tries to make it
big on Broadway in this splashy, tap-happy show. July
23-26. The Lexington Theatre Company.
● OTHER DESERT CITIES Brooke Wyeth returns
home to Palm Springs after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas with her family. Brooke announces
that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up
a tragic event in the family’s history - a wound they
don’t want reopened. July 23-August 2. The Bard’s
Town Theatre.
SPELLING BEE An eclectic group of kids vie for
the ultimate spelling trophy and along the way we
learn their hopes and the humorous stories of their
lives. A hilarious and warmhearted musical tale of
overachievers’ angst. Includes dinner. July 8-26.
Commonwealth Theatre Company.
● THE ADDAMS FAMILY A creepy and kooky
musical love story. Wednesday Addams is all grown
up and falls in love with a normal young man from a
respectable family. Chaos ensues as the Addams Family tries to host a normal dinner for the young man’s
family. July 10-26. Kincaid Regional Theatre.
● COMPANY Robert is single, but all of his friends
are married. On his 35th birthday, they surprise him
with a cake and a birthday wish that will leave him
pondering the life he’s chosen. Full of lively, idiosyncratic characters and some of Sondheim’s best known
songs. August 15-30. The Carnegie.

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Limited Partnership
by Sean Howley

Unite CinCinnati

In 1975, a clerk in Boulder Colorado didn’t see any reason to not alter marriage license forms to reflect same sex
couples because love is love right? Forty years later, the
crusade for full U.S. marriage equality is almost at a victorious end. The film Limited Partnership has been a long
time coming. When the battle for marriage equality started
to gather steam, many filmmakers approached long time
partners Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan and many were
sent away. Fortunately for us all, Richard and Tony finally
said yes to director Thomas Edward, who managed to craft
an insightful and entertaining documentary that will take
you on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
I was fortunate enough to hear Tony speak about the film
in person at the Florida Film Festival, where it won the
audience award for Best Documentary, one of several audience awards it has collected as it plays the film festival
circuit. In rare form for a documentary, it is actually getting
a theatrical release on June 23 so look for it in your area.
While I remain unlucky in love myself, I think about how
I myself was born in 1975 and my entire life has lasted for
their entire struggle.
At issue for Tony was his inability to get a green card. The
U.S. government even sent Tony a letter declining his request because they don’t issue green cards to faggots. Such
a thing feels impossible today, though maybe not in Alabama.The more they fought to have their love recognized,
the harder it got for them. Tony was ostracized in Australia
so deporting him wasn’t really sending him home at all.
In the end, they wandered Europe for a while until someone had the bright idea of trying to reenter the country
via the U.S.-Mexico border. Tony is white after all so he
doesn’t look illegal. Since arriving back in the states successfully, they lived as illegal immigrants would, under the
radar, taking low paying cash jobs, and ultimately ran the

22 | Unite Magazine

risk of expulsion again, which makes their willingness to publicly be filmed about their struggle while living as illegal aliens
in America that much more awe inspiring. Sometimes enough
is enough.
While the firestorm of publicity has grown around them and
the marriage issue at large, they seem to now be in a protected
state, despite having been told that their original marriage still
doesn’t count. So if you find yourself lucky enough to be in
love with someone so completely that you want to get married
- and you live in a state that will let you - take pause and remember Richard and Tony as they helped get you the ability to
get there in the first place. And go see the film as it is wonderful
and what little bit I’ve spoken about it really only scratches the
This Queen was deeply humbled to be in the same room as
Tony Sullivan and loved the film. 4 out of 5 rainbows. It may
yet be a 5, but I need to see it again to be sure.
1 Rainbow - How did this get funded?
2 Rainbows - You might find something of interest here but
3 Rainbows - You should probably see this movie sometime
in the near future
4 Rainbows - Stop reading this review and find a theater
showing this film now!
5 Rainbows - I’ll need to find a spot for this in my Top 100
list. Absolutely flawless.

The Valley :
season 2 underway

by Jerod Theobald

Unite CinCinnati
Dayton’s CW (WBDT-TV) hit reality show The Valley, has
begun production for Season 2. The show is set to premiere
in September.

“The Valley isn’t your typical reality show. This is reality
with a purpose,” said Steve Bailey, The Valley Executive Producer. “Each cast member has something unique to prove
and this is their journey. We have some exciting things
“I’m incredibly excited that the The Valley is coming back for planned for the cast this summer.”
a second season,” said Joe Abouzeid, President and General
Manager, WDTN-TV and WBDT-TV. “It was a ratings hit To learn more about the cast, see behind the scenes photos
this past fall and we are even more excited for Season 2.”
of production, visit The Valley will air
each Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. beginning in September
The Valley was a reality show for young and old and was
and is preparing to air 12 episodes. Full episodes will also be
reflected in the ratings. It achieved a 2.3 in P25-54, 2.5 in
available at
F18-49 and 2.6 in F25-54.
Here are the members of this season’s cast: Aaron (20, Troy);
The Valley Season 2 began production in May and will wrap Alexys (19, Springfield); Ally (19, Springboro); Casey (23,
up in mid August. The Valley centers around six new cast
Dayton); Chris (19, Centerville); Don (19, Dayton); Ellis
members as well as some of the cast from Season 1. The
(20, West Carrollton); Nathan (19, Christiansburg); Noelle
cast will be showcased taking part in numerous adventures
(19, Fairborn); Ryan (22, Kettering); Sol (22, Centerville).
throughout the greater Dayton region.

Visit our booth at Cincinnati
Pride Festival
Many products also
available at On Broadway
Bar & Nigh Club

Unite Magazine | 23


Going to the Gay Chapel
by Nate Moster

Unite CinCinnati
Weddings. They’re not just for our hetero friends and family
any more.
Throughout time, the celebrated nuptials of historic couples, celebrities, and our own family and friends alike have
dominated our culture. Partnering up before God and the
government has evolved as the social norm for most straight
Now, fast forward to 2014. At the time of press, 19 states
have legalized gay marriage with more on the docket to
debate and deliberate the government’s role in homo unions.
That’s why this issue of CNKY Scene is timely in its dedication to gathering two grooms and bonding two brides.
Since the race to the gay altar has become the new norm, it’s
opened a whole host of etiquette queries: What the hell does
a gay wedding even look like? Do you marry in a state where
it’s legal or host a non-legal ceremony? And most importantly, can Crate and Barrel keep up with the gays’ wedding
My hubby and I sealed our long-term commitment with
the non-legal option: a surprise backyard wedding at our
Ohio home in 2013. Surrounded by just under 20 folks who
had been duped to attending an open house, we toasted to
friends and family, announced “Welcome to our wedding!”
and immediately handed out planned-ahead tasks to our unsuspecting community - for they would be the ones building
our wedding.
Here, I share tips from my own wedding that may inspire
Nuptials Notion #1: Get by with a little help from your
A mere hour before our ceremony, we doled out tasks to
guests to pick up pre-ordered food while others went to work
sourcing flowers. Tables had to be set in the backyard, along
with chairs, table runners and place settings. Vows were compiled (also outsourced to friends – best decision ever, as they
often know you better than you know yourself!), toasts were
written and in an hour, our wedding began. I know…the
thought of outsourcing some of these items seems scary, especially for a control freak like me. But with advance planning,
you can let go the day of and watch your friends make the
magic. My example: I set up a sample table in my basement

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with the chairs, table cloth and place settings just how I wanted it, then said “Please go make six of these.” It works! And,
everyone feels like an important part of your special day.
Nuptials Notion #2: Go natural.
Establish a nice neutral, natural base for your event that will
make any added colors pop. I used white table cloths and
homemade burlap table runners to ensure the brightly-bursting flowers got all the attention. To make the runners, we
measured our long tables, bought burlap off the bolt at the
fabric store (cheap), cut to size (easy) and gently frayed the
edges by pulling off threads. You could also make burlap table
“squares” if you have round tables.
Nuptials Notion #3: Add at least one personal element to
your tables.
Outside of the bar, your guests will likely spend the majority of their time at your tables. Besides the norm – candles,
flowers, other décor – offer at least one personalized piece
to give them something to talk about. In some cases, this
might be your wedding favor with the inclusion of a note; for
others, place photos of the happy couple throughout different
times in your courtship on tables. Or, theme table numbers
or names based on your favorite sports teams, travel destinations, foods – or go REALLY gay…did somebody say Broadway shows?!
Do I know your special day will be as special as you are? As
long as you make it your own…I do!
For more hosting, décor and lifestyle inspiration, follow Fellow
Does Fab on Facebook, Pinterest or

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How does one have a gay day?
Lots of ways, and a committed, passionate group of people in
Dayton, Ohio has spent the past three years encouraging you
and everyone else to Have A Gay Day.
“There were so many people talking about suicide and bullying and Facebook pages and social sites in general, they had
momentum for a tragedy, they were propelled and excited to
share all this tragedy because people almost made it popular,
and it was so sad,” said Michael Knote, founder of Have A
Gay Day. “There was no safe place to go on that was a fun,
random, happy kind of place. Everyone was saying ‘it gets
better’, but there was nowhere to go to look at random fun
It worked. The Facebook page now has nearly 700,000 followers.
Though the motivation in starting Have A Gay Day as a
Facebook page may have been a commitment to irreverent
and lighthearted gay-related messages, Knote is a committed
activist and the social media effort has become a fully functioning organization with a board of directors, and new office
space in downtown Dayton.
“I never saw it being an organization,” Knote told UNiTE
Cincinnati. “I made it more of a place where in the middle
of the night, when everything was quiet, we would take over
Facebook with rainbows.”
While there are still plans to occasionally take over Facebook
with rainbows, the mission is often quite serious. Have A Gay
Day staffs a phone line for several hours a week where young
people who may be suicidal can find a friendly voice. Knote
said that Have A Gay Day has saved lives.
The group’s Facebook page will receive messages from distraught youth with suicidal feelings. “We do everything we
can to try to locate that person, to get help,” Knote said.
Once, a would-be suicide victim was found by police with a
loaded weapon. Another time, a teenager was found with a
gun near the grave site of another teen who died.
The group’s messages have also been prominently featured
on billboards in cities across the region, paid for through

26 | Unite Magazine

by Michael Monks

Unite CinCinnati

crowdfunding online. “Hate Is Not Holy”, “Be The Change
You Wish to See”, and “Be Careful Who You Hate. It Could
Be Someone You Love.” are messages seen on billboards in
Dayton, while one on I-65 near Indianapolis says, “Indiana
Welcomes All”.
“We do have a large following on Facebook and social media
has empowered us to do everything we have to expand our
growth,” Knote said.
Next, Have A Gay Day is preparing to open its new office in
the Key Bank Building. “What we’ve done is create an outreach center. It’s providing a space for different organizations.
It promotes different organizations in the community,” Knote
said. “The biggest thing for us to find a need in the community and bring the community together.”
An opening celebration is scheduled for August 8, from 1 – 4
p.m. Have A Gay Day will also continue to explore models
to ensure its own sustainability, an effort that includes T-shirt
and merchandise sales, grant writing, donations, crowdfunding, and possibly memberships.
“A lot of our work is in education or creating safe spaces and
it’s also about empowering organizations that are in existence,” Knote said. It’s very complex just to describe it but
every time we find a need or a case of visibility – it’s so much
more than marriage equality. A person is well-rounded, and
maybe it’s senior housing or whatever. We’re trying to fill as
many needs as possible.”

Unite Magazine | 27

LGBT Business Directory
ART & Culture
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45202

The New School Montessori
3 Burton Woods Ln.
Cincinnati, OH 45229

Shawn P. Hannegan, CPA
10979 Reed Hartman Hwy
Suite 331E
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Eagles Savings Bank
6415 Bridgetown Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45248

Body by Bree
605 Madison Ave. Suite 1
Covington, Kentucky 41011
Over 40 N Fit

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Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith
605 Madison Ave. Suite 2
Covington, Kentucky 41011
859.414.0543 or 502.498.4739

The 404
404 Pike St.
Covington, KY 41011
The Annex
901 Race St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Bar 32
701 Bakewell St.
Covington, KY 41011
Below Zero
1122 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
The Cabaret
1122 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
The Dock Complex
603 West Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202

On Broadway
817 Broadway St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Old Street Saloon
13 Old St.
Monroe, OH 45050
Rosie’s Tavern
643 Bakewell St.
Covington, KY 41011
927 Race St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202

HIV Project
4138 Hamilton Ave.
Cincinnati ,OH 45223
700 Enright Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45205

Mikki Schaffner Photography
2511 Essex Pl. Room 104
Cincinnati, OH 45206


Ellen O. Bierhorst Ph.D.
513. 221.1289.

Piper’s Cafe
520 W. 6th St.
Covington, KY 41011

flow - a shop for men
5 West Pike St.
Covington, KY 41011

The Man Cave
One Levee Way
Newport, KY 41071
Just 4 Kids
One Levee Way
Newport, KY 41071
Kelly’s Kloset
One Levee Way
Newport, KY 41071
Past and Present
521 Monmouth St
Newport, KY 41071
Tier Haus Pet Salon

Gateways to Healing, Chiropractic
& Nutrition
Drs. Michael and Julie Nichols
4027 Allston St
Cincinnati, Ohio 45209
Timothy’s Florals
8818 Reading Rd
Cincinnati, Ohio
Mayerson JCC
8485 Ridge Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45236

5970 Harrison Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45248


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