With “Go West” the theme of this year’s “One City One Pride” series of LGBTQ arts, history and culture events, it’s an interesting co-incidence that one leader in West Hollywood’s gay community is being recognized in his Midwestern home town for having gone West and assumed the role of WeHo’s mayor — for the eighth time. This from Cleveland.com, the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“WEST HOLLYWOOD, California – A Cleveland native has been chosen to serve as the mayor of West Hollywood – a southern California town known for pioneering LGBT legal rights – for an eighth term.
“John Heilman, a 1970s graduate of John Marshall High School, was chosen Monday from among a five-member city council to serve as mayor, according to a news release from the city of West Hollywood. Heilman also served as the city’s mayor in 1985, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2010.
“Heilman is one of the longest-serving openly gay elected officials in the United States, according to the news release. He has served on the West Hollywood City Council since the town’s incorporation in 1984.
“West Hollywood was one of the first cities to pass a marriage equality resolution, which created the path toward same-sex marriage legislation.
“Heilman participated in the Gay Games 9 in Cleveland in 2014 and spoke to The Plain Dealer about his hometown’s progress in accepting people of all races, genders and sexualities.
“ ‘As I was thinking about it, I was thinking of Cleveland embracing the [Gay Games] and embracing the gay and lesbian community … I think it is symbolic of what really has to happen for Cleveland,” Heilman told The Plain Dealer. “It really has to welcome the broad range of diversity. I feel good about it, but there still needs to be more of an embrace of all sorts of diversity’.”