Rick Cordaro is a Cleveland based activist and community leader.
Early Life and Education
Rick was born in East Cleveland, Ohio on October 14, 1952. In 1962 his family moved to South Euclid where he graduated from Charles F. Brush High School. He attended Cleveland State University where he was an arts and business major. In 1970 his interests turned from art to music when he became the lead singer of a popular local band.
Music and Theater
In 1972 Rick began a 12 year journey away from Cleveland when his band secured a recording contract and had a modest regional hit record. Although the recording contract didn’t last, it opened the door to theater when Rick auditioned for Jesus Christ Superstar. He continued performing and touring in theater in several shows including Oklahoma and Fiddler on the Roof. In 1984 he had a hit record on the country music charts, but pressure within the industry to keep his orientation hidden caused him to decide to leave the business, return to Cleveland and stop touring.
In the Leather Community
Freed to be himself. Rick became a fixture in the local leather bars as a patron and bartender. He was an early activist for gay rights, participating in the first ever Cleveland Gay Pride Parade. During the AIDS crisis he was a tireless activist, fundraiser and organizer helping to support the community by raising thousands of dollars. He was an active member of North Coast Knights and Excalibur leather clubs.
Rick was an active member of the Rangers leather and uniform club. The Rangers remain Cleveland’s largest and second oldest Ohio club. In 2016 he was honored to serve as club President. During his tenure the club substantially increased charitable giving and received the CLAW Club Participation award. He is currently a Ranger alumni, having been forced to step away due to recurring health problems, he hopes to return to active status eventually.
In 2014, Rick and Tina Mackay were approached by some younger members of the community who wanted to be more involved in fundraisers, but did not want to join a leather club. They founded CREW as a mentoring organization that could give those individuals an opportunity to give back to our community through bar nights. CREW has raised several thousand dollars for charity and continues to give young GDI’s an opportunity to shine and learn.
In 2003 Rick began his association with CLAW when he was asked by a friend to volunteer. He would continue volunteering moving up through the organization as a coordinator, manager and ultimately senior manager. Rick became known for his work for CLAW through social media and as director of the Sunday Night Show which were only a few of his CLAW responsibilities. Today Rick is a member of the CLAW Board of Directors and remains active within the organization.
Rick lives in Lakewood, Ohio with his husband of 10 years T. K. and their cats Holmes and Watson. He is currently partially retired and works on a contractual basis when he chooses.
Awards and Honors
2015 Runner Up – Mr. Cleveland Leather
2015 CLAW Cleveland Volunteer of the Year
2016 Mr. Ohio Leather Cornerstone Award for Service
2016 Inducted into Mama’s Family as “Mama’s Producer”
2016-2017 – CLAW Board Member
Nominee – Pantheon of Leather Great Lakes Region Man of the Year 2016