LGBT in CLE
Cleveland loves everyone
By Adam Sockel
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, allies, whatever.
The truth is, we like you just the way you are. And, frankly, we’re not worried about your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or who you love.
You see, everyone is welcome here in Cleveland.
And, that’s not just a line of fluff.
You can feel that very energy and acceptance during Cleveland’s annual PRIDE Parade, festival and rally at the gorgeous Voinovich Park along Lake Erie Downtown. The event celebrates the welcoming nature of our fine city with food, entertainment and, of course, beverages. Everyone’s invited to this annual celebration, which is now in its 28th year.
But Cleveland’s no stranger to hosting big, important LGBT events.
In 2014, Cleveland hosted the Gay Games or, as we called them here in CLE “GG9,” which welcomed more than 20,000 people from around the globe.
This international sporting and cultural event invites participation from all athletes – regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender identity, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status.
The event, according to former executive director of GG9 Tom Nobbe, was truly a testament to Cleveland’s ever-welcoming vibe.
“The folks who came in from out of town, out of state and out of the country were impressed by the embrace they received from the community – and I’m talking the whole Northeast Ohio community, not just the LGBT community,” said Nobbe.
Nobbe felt so strongly about the region’s embrace of the visitors to GG9, that he penned a heartfelt letter to the editor following the event.
“We know that there were athletes who would get on the trolleys or the HealthLine bus and Clevelanders would see their medals and actually applaud! There was a real air of embraced diversity,” he said.
The truth is, Cleveland is not only welcoming to all kinds of diversity, but it offers numerous cultural amenities, an unparalleled culinary scene and world-class attractions toward which all communities gravitate.
“We demonstrated during the Gay Games that you could go anywhere in Cleveland with your partner or group and feel comfortable,” he said.
So, whether you’re experiencing the world-famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or checking out the show tunes and fabulous choreography of the Northcoast Men’s Chorus, you just focus on enjoying yourself.
LGBT CLE NIGHTLIFE
So, you’ve checked out the neighborhood hotspots, taken a saunter through our cultural institutions and have finally figured out why everyone goes crazy over Cleveland’s food scene. Now, you want to see some of CLE’s LGBT nightlife. Here's a few to get you started.
AURA Ultra Lounge Cleveland: From cosplay parties to circus-themed events, this weekend hotspot is anything but ordinary.
Cocktails Cleveland: This quaint Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood spot offers is a great place for kareoke and has some killer drink specials.
Flex Spas Cleveland: While not technically a bar, this all men’s spa includes an indoor pool, outdoor pool, saunas, gym and hotel rooms.
The Hawk: This neighborhood bar is often referred to as the “Gay Cheers.”
Leather Stallion: One of the oldest leather bars in the Midwest, this saloon now welcomes everyone – in or out of leather.
Bounce Nightclub & Hinge Lounge: House music, dancing, kareoke, drag shows--this club is known for its live entertainment.
Twist Social Club: Probably the most popular gay nightlife spot in the area, Twist is welcoming to all. Visit their always-happening front patio.
REGULAR LGBT EVENTS/HAPPENINGS
Looking to hang with some like-minded Clevelanders? Explore these popular LGBT events and happenings.
Cleveland Pride Parade, Rally and Festival
The Cleveland Pride parade, rally and festival offers live entertainment, drag shows, food, fun and (like all CLE parties) a beer garden. In addition to exhibitors and sponsors, the festival also features special areas for families and teens
G2H2 (Gay Guys/Girls Happy Hour)
Often the most happening LGBT night out in town, the G2H2 moves around to different restaurants and bars the third Friday of each month. Attracting hundreds of participants, the events tend to be mostly men, however everyone is welcome.
WH2 (The Women’s Happy Hour Cleveland)
The ladies in the LGBT community have their own happy hour at a trendy restaurant every fourth Friday of the month. The gathering features drink specials and entertainment while offering the chance to mix and mingle.
For more than a decade, the Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend has been considered one of the most welcoming LGBT fetish events in the world. There’s no title competition, so attendees can focus on camaraderie.
LGBT TRAVEL RESOURCES
Learn how to contact Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center or find an LGBT-friendly church by checking out Destination Cleveland’s LGBT Travel Resource page.