There are not many places these days where lesbians can go to enjoy one another’s company and culture in the exclusive presence of other women and lesbians. The Ohio Lesbian Festival, that convenes every summer just outside of Columbus, is one such venue. Now in its 21st year, this festival celebrates music made by and for women, and offers a range of workshops from religion to hula hooping to politics to sex. There are numerous vendors too and one can purchase women’s art and get informed about a range of issues.

I attended the festival to build support for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, getting petitions signed that we’re delivering now to Ohio Senators in advance of the vote the Senate will soon take, we anticipate. One of the first women I asked to sign the petition is one of my heroes — Alix Dobkin — the legendary lesbian singer who was performing at the festival. I loved her quip before signing the petition:

Alix Dobkin (R) adds her name to the petition

“Wasn’t one of the good things about being gay in the past the fact that we didn’t have to get married or join the military?”

But of course she recognized that everyone should have the choice and readily signed the petition. So did scores of other women at the festival, many of whom were veterans themselves and thanked me and HRC for doing this work.

I also had the pleasure of spending time at the festival with Sue Doerfer, the Executive Director of Equality Ohio, the statewide organization that is fighting every day for equality legislation. Sue had a table at the Festival and she invited me to join her in her workshop on LGBT Equality in Ohio.

I can’t think of any more enjoyable way to spend a weekend—in the Ohio woods with music, politics and my sisters. If at all possible, I’ll be back next year!

Visiting the Equality Ohio tent

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