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An Interview with Sue Doerfer of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland

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An Interview with Sue Doerfer of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland

Sue Doerfer is the executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center of Greater Cleveland, a community resource for over 30 years.

The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland offers a wide range of programs, including a youth program, a drop-in senior center, free HIV testing, a reading/resource center, and "Wild Plum," the cultural arm of the LGBT Center.

I spoke with Ms. Doerfer recently. This is what she had to say.

Question: How long have you been with The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland? What are your duties as executive director?
Answer: "I have been the Executive Director of The Center for 2 1/2 years. My duties are various. I supervise the staff, manage the budget, write grants, attend events, represent the Center politically and through the media, develop programs, report to the board of directors, manage major donors."

Question: What would your like Clevelanders not familiar with The Center to know about the programs and services offered there?
Answer: "That we are a community center as well as a social service center. We have a variety of programs for people age 1 - 100."

Question: What's next for The Center? Anything you'd like to share with "About Cleveland" readers?
Answer: "We just launched a new program called Metro Youth Outreach. This is a mobile outreach effort to homeless adolescents (all adolescents). The mobile van will offer health screening, STD and HIV testing, pregnancy testing, crisis intervention and case management.

The goal is to offer basic services and to work with teens to find permanent placement. The services will be lgbt friendly, but are offered to any teen who needs/wants the service."

Question: Recently, PlanetOut.com named Ohio as one of the least gay-friendly destinations in the world. Do you agree? If not, what would you like gay potential visitors to Cleveland to know about our city?
Answer: "I think that Ohio is listed as the least gay friendly state because the lack of legislation protecting Ohioans and the legislation that actively discriminates against lgbt people (constitutional amendment). It is perfectly legal in the state of Ohio to fire someone or deny then housing for no other reason than that they are lgbt.

Still, there are some wonderful things about Ohio and some great places to visit. I think that the more presence lgbt people have in Ohio...the more likely that things will change...for the better."

Question: Do you see Cleveland becoming more or less tolerant of its gay citizens and visitors?
Answer: "Well, we have a long way to go...that is for sure...but I believe that Cleveland is becoming more tolerant."

Question: I've received a lot of correspondence from gay women traveling to Cleveland for the NCAA women's Final Four tournament in March. Do you have any suggestions for them on things to do or see while they are in town?
Answer: "There is a variety of things happening that weekend. Comedians, parties, that kind of thing."

Question: When you're not working at The Center, what do you do for fun?
Answer: "I read, knit, hang out and watch TV, play with my dog, go to the movies and out for dinner. Just regular stuff."


Thank you Sue for taking the time to talk with us. For more information on the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, visit their Web site.

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