Rich Sherman is one of the founders of CNKY Scene (cnkyscene.com), a monthly magazine highlighting LGBTQ entertainment, nightlife, businesses and the allied community in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Born in Iowa and raised in Minneapolis, Sherman moved to Cincinnati two years ago and began work on his publication.
“I came out about 10 years ago,” Sherman says. “I was really fortunate in that my friends, family and co-workers were amazing. With my family, I really didn’t know what to expect; I actually thought the worst when I told them. But in the process I learned so much about my own strengths and weakness, and ultimately I was very fortunate to have a family who loved me regardless.”
During his time in Cincinnati, he has witnessed changes in scenery, businesses and attitudes, ultimately confident in what the future holds for both the LGBTQ community and the Greater Cincinnati area as a whole.
“It has been amazing to see all the changes,” he says. “I love seeing the vibrancy of the OTR district and how foot traffic has really helped all the local businesses in the area. I think the LGBTQ bar owners would agree that clientele has become much more diverse from the traditional gentrification of the area.
I think the idea of the ‘gay bar’ is becoming obsolete and the concept of an ‘everybody bar’ is becoming more acknowledged.”
With an eye on businesses and the ever-changing Cincinnati landscape, Sherman is pleased with the city’s embrace of its LGBTQ community and the activity it provides.
“I think Cincinnati is much more liberal than it lets on,” he says. “Personally, I think the Cincinnati LGBTQ community has grown in recent years. More people are coming out, and in terms of the LGBTQ bars, we have had them close and had others open — that’s just business. Seeing them thrive and find new ways to offer something different to patrons is always great. I think people are just working together to make a difference and have fun.”
But the one thing Sherman saw lacking when he moved here was a comprehensive publication targeted at the LGBTQ community.
“CNKY Scene is the same concept that appears in all the other large cities around the country for the LGBTQ and allied community,” he says. “When I moved here I was shocked to learn there was no publication like it.”
And though he believes Cincinnati (and the rest of the country) is moving forward, he admits that one cannot predict the future.
“I have no idea what is in store for the Cincinnati LGBTQ community,” he says, “but I know business owners are working really hard to bring the excitement they see in other cities to Cincinnati. … I think in general people are caring less and less about ‘LGBTQ’ and viewing each other as a community.”
“And we can’t forget about the younger generations — keeping them active and staying in Cincinnati will help bolster the community and the positive attitudes toward it.” ©