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HEARTSIQ Creates Visibility for LGBTQA+ Community in Dayton

HEARTSIQ Dayton | Photo by Kacie Lawrence |

Ky Totten’s experience at an LGBTQA+ Pride event at Dayton’s Yellow Cab Tavern in June 2022 sparked an idea to create a space to celebrate the queer community.


Soon after the Pride event, Totten reached out to Yellow Cab to inquire about a monthly event celebrating the music and art of the queer community.

“I moved here in the midst of heartbreak and trauma, I was feeling heartsick, and it really stuck. I think we as LGBTQ people are intimately familiar with the feeling, and I wanted to turn that into something fun,” Totten said.

In November 2022, HEARTSIQ hosted its first event at the Tavern. Beginning in January 2023, it started hosting different events on the second Friday of each month at the Tavern. There is also a Social Hour on the fourth Sunday of each month.

Kacie Lawrence, the marketing director of HEARTSIQ, discussed the fun of choosing different themes for events.

“It gives each individual person a chance to also express art. We’re trying to feature as many queer artists as we can, like performance artists and filmmakers,” Lawrence said.

Queer Prom

On April 14, 2023, HEARTSIQ, in collaboration with Yellow Cab, hosted the inaugural Queer Prom. The event featured a live DJ, elaborate costumes, a photo booth and paintings and sculptures by local LGBTQA+ artists.

Lawrence felt the Queer Prom was a great way for people to experience a prom atmosphere for the first time.

“I think we really thought that a lot of queer people don’t get to have any classic experiences in high school,” Lawrence said. “I know when I was in high school, they literally wouldn’t sell you tickets to same-sex couples. When we were brainstorming monthly things, we thought ‘April is Prom season. Let’s give the local queers in their 20s, 30s and 40s a chance to go to a prom and be themselves.’”

Totten expressed gratitude to Yellow Cab for hosting the event. 

“None of this could have happened without Yellow Cab and they’ve just been so unbelievably supportive. I feel so lucky to be working with them,” Totten said.

Future events

On May 12, HEARTSIQ and Yellow Cab will host a Met Gala. According to its Facebook page, the event starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. 

June is LGBTQA+ pride month, and HEARTSIQ will host “Mixtape: A Queer Arts Festival,” a three-day event beginning on Friday, June 2 to celebrate.

“We’re trying to do as much as possible that weekend,” Lawrence said. “We’re going to have a silent disco in the tent and a whole vendor market in the lot, and then we’re going to have fine artists in the gallery space and actual live performances on the stage,” Lawrence said.

Totten discussed the importance of hosting these events and giving the LGBTQA+ community a place to belong.

“I get scared every single day putting this thing on because I’m creating this out loud, very public event,” Totten said. “But I think what’s more important than that is just the fact that we do show up and that we say we’re here, we exist and we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to keep being here and we’re going to keep being loud and proud of it.”Anyone interested in more information on HEARTSIQ can visit its Facebook page. Yellow Cab Tavern is located at 700 East Fourth Street in Dayton.

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