Cleveland is where the fight against apathy, ignorance, injustice, and discord happens all the time, whether it regards racial rights, economic rights, environmental rights, or gay rights. The fight of our generation is for equal rights for our brothers and sisters in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.
The domestic partner registry legislation lead to the domestic partner benefits legislation and ultimately lead to the anti-discrimination legislation for the LGBT community. Together, these pieces of legislation allow the City of Cleveland to compete on an international scale for things, such as the Gay Games.
By showing our commitment to all of Cleveland’s residents, the City of Cleveland is able to demonstrate to people across the world how dedicated Cleveland is to all of its children. Councilman Cimperman’s Cleveland is one of openness, creativity, and respect toward one another as the people we are. That is what Cleveland is to Councilman Cimperman. He believes that Cleveland is for everyone, including those that society wrongly deems as castaways. Councilman Cimperman was raised as a person for social change and that is what Councilman Cimperman focuses on in his legislation – creating and being a person for social change.
In 2008, Councilman Cimperman lead his fellow members of Cleveland City Council in the passage of legislation creating Cleveland’s Domestic Partner Registry. This Registry was one of only three in the State of Ohio at the time, and enabled same-sex and unmarried couples that live in or out of the City of Cleveland to make an official record of their relationship. The Registry recognizes the relationships of unmarried people and affirms that the City of Cleveland is a city that promotes human rights.
Following the creation of the Domestic Partnership Registry, Councilman Cimperman was a leading voice stressing the need for an ordinance banning discriminatory hiring practices based on gender-identity. In 2009, Councilman Cimperman introduced legislation amending Chapter 663 in the City of Cleveland Municipal Ordinance to include gender identity. Every individual deserves an equal opportunity to work towards the lifestyle they desire free from discrimination, yet transgendered individuals face frequent discrimination. Municipal Ordinance Chapter 663 prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment and housing and updates the law to protect all Clevelanders, regardless of gender identity because at the end of the day, we are all just that – Clevelanders.
The creation of the Domestic Partner Registry and anti-discrimination amendment lead Councilman Cimperman to start advocating for extending health care benefits to the domestic partners of City employees. In July, 2011, Cleveland City Council approved a proposal sponsored by Councilman Cimperman that would extend health care benefits to the domestic partners of City employees who are registered in Cleveland’s Domestic Partner Registry. Councilman Cimperman’s goal with this legislation was to keep opening the door for equality for all people of Cleveland.
One of the most exciting moments in Cleveland’s LGBT scene came when Cleveland was selected to host Gay Games 9. Councilman Cimperman was chosen as a delegate to represent the City of Cleveland in Cologne, Germany and present to an international committee on why Cleveland should host the Gay Games.
Cleveland was competing against other cities from all over the world. With the support of Mayor Jackson and Cleveland City Council, a delegation, which included Councilman Cimperman, traveled to Cologne to present the case for why Cleveland should host the Gay Games. Councilman Cimperman presented to the selection committee that Cleveland is a place where social change is welcome. Cleveland is not a sleepy Midwestern city as many see it, but a place that cares for itself. Cleveland was selected because it is a city that exemplifies that it is equal and just to people of all backgrounds and walks of life.
The Gay Games is expected to bring over $60 million in economic stimulus and attract 100,000 visitors to the City of Cleveland.
Most recently, Councilman Cimperman is excited to announce the creation of the Transgender Community Outreach Committee. The role of this committee is to make the quality of life better for the transgender residents of Cleveland. These individuals are the highest targeted and assaulted group for hate crimes in our community. Councilman Cimperman wants to do more for these members of our city and be proactive for those individuals who are looking for a high quality of life that others enjoy. Councilman Cimperman wants to hear from these individuals and work with them, police officers, faith-based organizations, and others in order to make a better Cleveland for all, which includes transgender individuals.
The Transgender Community Outreach Committee was inspired by the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is significant to Councilman Cimperman because it is important to recognize what these individuals have been through. It is a day centered on moving away from mourning tragedies to celebrating progress and preventing loss.
Additionally, through Councilman Cimperman’s leadership, Cleveland is in its sixth year of LGBT Heritage Day. LGBT Heritage is a day to celebrate the LGBT community as a distinct culture within the City of Cleveland. This culture needs to be recognized as much as the other cultures which we celebrate.