Greetings friends! Well, spring sure comes and goes around here! Our first 2 OutSupport activities of the spring/summer left participants just a little bit frostbitten, so don’t worry! Hopefully, the rest of our gatherings will have warmer weather, right?
OutSupport has had plenty to do the past several weeks…so here’s a rundown of what we need you to know, and action steps that you may want to participate in.
1) Firstly, please make sure you vote this time around. If you live in Medina County, our amazing Medina County Health Dept. has a levy on the ballot and we hope that you vote YES, to keep them doing what they do best, including serving the LGBTQ individuals and families in Medina County. There are a few more days of early voting, and Tuesday, May 3 is voting day. If you didn’t know, the MCHD is one of the only locations in the county that provides PreP for pre-exposure to HIV treatment; PEP, which is a medication for up to 72 hours post exposure to HIV; and free, confidential HIV screenings at both the main Medina Center on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, 4-6pm and at their Wadsworth location the 2nd Thursday of each month from 1-4pm. On top of that, they have partnered with OutSupport to educate the LGBTQ+ population, including LGBTQ+ youth, about tobacco prevention and cessation, and how much more heavily marketed to LGBTQ+ people than the general population. For all of this work they do, please spend a few minutes in the next couple of days to make sure you vote YES! for our friends at the MCHD. They do so much to keep ALL of us healthy and safe! Levy info sheet attached.
2) Elephant in the Room Time. Legislators in Columbus are really doing their best to hurt the most vulnerable members of society, namely LGBTQ+ youth and also people of color. HB 454, which has already heard proponant testimony, seeks to deny healthcare for transgender youth, regardless of supportive parents who want this medical care for their children. It also threatens the licence of medical professionals who treat trans youth. OutSupport has produced 500 postcards, which we will be stamping and addressing this week, and we are happy to distribute to your GSA or group and we will also be hosting a postcard party with postcards directed at the members of the Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee (the committee that is hearing HB 454). Additionally, HB 616 has been proposed, but hasn’t yet been assigned, seeks to limit free speech by teachers in the classroom. The bill aims to limit “divisive” topics related to race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Once HB 616 is assigned a committee, OutSupport will have more postcards available to send to members of that committee. For now, several of us mama bears spoke during public comment to request Medina City Council write a letter of opposition at their April 25 meeting. We are planning to speak to the Medina School Board also, to ask them to draft a letter of opposition to HB616. SIGH! The Committee Chair for HB 454 is Susan Manchester, and her phone number is 614-466-6344, if you’d like to call and leave a message of opposition on the healthcare bill 454. I wrote a letter to the Medina Post a few weeks ago, and it was published, regarding these bills. If you want to do the same, the more the public hears about how harmful these bills are, and that there are supportive people for our LGBTQ+ youth, the more we can conceivably change hearts and minds. Please consider doing whatever you can to oppose these bills.
3) Save the Date! The Gay Community Endowment Fund is having it’s annual exhALE Fundraiser for Scholorships for LGBTQ+ students. The date is Friday, June 3,2022 at 6:00pm. For more info and tickets, please visit www.akroncf.org/exhALE
4) Stark County is really getting active!! So happy to see all of the action down there! www.queerincanton.org and Stark PRIDE is working to have its first PRIDE Fest on June 11 at 3:00-10:00pm! Visit them on Facebook Starklgbtq+ Pride Festival! Additionally, Stark Sings has just started SingOut, a choir for Queer voices and Allies, dedicated to celebrating diversity, inspiring equity, and building a community of acceptance. Hosted by New Vision United Church 3129 Market Ave. N. Canton. Mama Bears also meet in Jackson Township, so really happy to see all the activity down there!!!
5) Medina G2H2 Social Community will be hosting a dinner party at the Corkscrew Saloon, 811 W. Liberty St. Medina on Wednesday, May 18 at 5:30pm. Reserved outdoor patio if the weather cooperates:otherwise, indoors. All are welcome!
6) You may have seen a commercial that was filmed at North Canton Hoover High School from a candidate who shared a transphobic view. That fired up the Hoover GSA to take action and a local mother to organize an educational program in North Canton. I’ll be attending to share what OutSupport does for LGBTQ+ youth as well as Akron Pflag and other resource groups. Kudos to that mama bear for the quick organizing action that happened in her community. Monday, May 23 6;00-7:30pm. North Canton Library 185 North Main St. North Canton.
7) OutSupport activities continue….today, MCHD Community Educator Rebecca Parkhurst and I will be presenting to the AIRoot Middle School GSA to let them know about how their community does what we can to support them. Our nextLGBTQ+ Family Friendly Hike will take place on May 10, 6-8pm at Buckeye Woods (please park in the Wedgewood Dr. Parking Lot) All are welcome! Our next LGBTQ+ Youth and Parent/guardian meeting will be Tuesday, May 17 at 6-8pm. Hopefully, Mother Nature will provide warmer weather than our April events!
Attached, please find the full schedule of events for OutSupport through September.
8) Attached, please find info regarding HB616, provided by Andrew Snyder. He is happy to share the art and info sheet that can help you as you oppose HB 616. Thanks for sharing this, Andrew!
9) The Medina Democratic Club will be welcoming Taylor Sappington, openly gay candidate for State Auditor from Nelsonville, Ohio and also James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio’s Board of Directors, to speak about House Bills 454 and 616. For more information or to register to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you swing by downtown Medina June 1-13, and enjoy rainbow flags throughout the city to celebrate Pride month, and plan to picnic with us on June 14 6-8 pm and chalk up Medina Square! Chalk provided, and dessert provided by Medina City Councilperson, Jessica Hazeltine! Thanks, Jessica!!
Be well, friends!