As Founder of the first ever Toledo Gay Pride Day, Sunday, June 25, 1995, I have much to say about the comments I've read.
This is NOT about the targeted building and this is NOT about Lair Scott. Most of you failed to mention Joe's contributions to the LGBTQ community. He was a mentor to many and now, those people are coming out with the POSITIVE side of Joe, most of you, again, fail to remember or even know of. Some of you, drunk at one of his bars or ousted from one of his bars, still hold a grudge against him.
We're now uniting in a way we've never done before to HONOR this man you scorn in his death and have no idea how he physically suffered before his death.
Joe brought in millions of dollars in revenue to Toledo and not just in his pockets. He supported so much in our community that most fail to recognize like feeding the homeless, raising funds for HIV/AIDS, giving people jobs that were down on their luck, wheeling a damn baseball bat when the Toledo Police Department should have been keeping safety for LGBTQ people in his area and there are dozens of other positive issues about Joe, too many to explain in this thread.
On Friday, June 1 at noon, One Government Center, I will have my fifth civil rights march in Toledo and this one is closer to my heart than any of them. We'll not just be protesting the HOMOPHOBIC downtown business men who have placed a SMOKE SCREEN upon Joe's honor, but other facts like Mayor Bell NOT signing the Ohio Mayor's Petition for Freedom of Marriage and other issues Toledo itself fails to offer the LGBTQ community. Domestic Partnership?? LOL! Where's our RIGHT to marry? etc, etc ...
So many thousands of Toledoans have exiled themselves, included hundreds and hundreds of LGBTQ community members due to the fact that Toledo has nothing to offer them. In fact, besides myself, Crystal Bowersox has done the same thing in the name of survival. All of you will be hearing from Crystal on these issues in days to come.
I don't live in Toledo (again, neither does Crystal), which is sad, but I've been an activist in Toledo since the age of 14. It's documented. Would I move back to Toledo? You bet I would IF there was something tangible for me to respect the Glass City again. Why am I an outside activist? Because NO ONE has stood up to the microphone to take any leadership. Toledo Pride?? A gender exclusive group, like many many organizations before them and it's all about Lexi's bar and filling her pockets with the "hope" she attempts to lay onto a apathetic group of people. I NEVER piggy backed on Toledo Pride. Get your facts str8. My march was set in June of that year and it was LEXI who offered me her date and then, she turned on me. Lexi and I have history together going back to 1995. Just ask her. Equality Toledo?? When was the last time any of you have attended one of their meetings? It's because they DO NOT have public meetings. I could go on and on but all this territorial pissing would be cured if we just had a neutral community center, and this is how it all started about.
Joe showed me a number of buildings he was going to offer me for a community center way back in 1995. Somehow, lack of interest in the LGBTQ community and APATHY caused it to be on hold for many years. I wanted to name the center after Joe. When he passed, I waited 2 years to see if anyone would come forward to honor his legacy. Not one person did until I realized that a street could be named to honor him. I mean, do any of you know the names and reputations of those honored thus far?? I think not.
That's when I approach Councilperson Steve Steel with the idea and then he proposed it to council but not after people wanted to target Joe and bring him down even in death.
All of you should be ashamed of yourselves for continuing the negativeness that Toledo is so well known for.
This is not even about Joe any longer. It's now about LGBTQ rights in Toledo, that so many of you are ignoring.
Peace and Pride,
A Toledoan ;)
PS: I don't even see anything in ToledoTalk topics that has anything for LGBTQ community members to discuss their needs and issues. What does that say, mom??