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"Following this remarkable woman's journey through life will change your attitude about yourself, your past, and your future." -- Héctor A. Polanco, MBA, CMA, JD
Carol Sherman-Jones was born in 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. At an early age, she showed an affinity and a gift for singing and while still a youngster, joined her entertainer-mother on stage performing in community theatre shows. In her teen years, however, she discovered boys and drugs and as a result, her showbiz dreams quickly evaporated. She gradually isolated herself from her family as she fell deeper and deeper into the clutches of narcotics and loveless sex.
By the time she turned twenty-three, Sherman-Jones felt that the walls of Tucson were closing in on her. Her already strained relationship with her father was now in tatters, she couldn't hold a job because of her recurring theft problems, and through her own behavior she'd lost all of her close friends. Then she met a young woman who also wanted out of Tucson. In October 1984, they headed east with a vague idea that New York City would be their destination. But when their car broke down in Cincinnati, Ohio, a feeling of belonging led them to remain there. Sherman-Jones soon landed a job bartending at a gay bar where she found herself nourished with warmth, love, and acceptance of others and herself.
In 1990, she was offered the rather unusual opportunity to buy a rundown bar in downtown Cincinnati for one dollar. Although she'd worked as a waitress and a bartender since graduating from high school and had no idea how to run a restaurant, she jumped at the chance, somehow knowing that this was meant to be. In the middle of this staunchly conservative city, Carol's Corner Café quickly became a success. It was known as a place for everyone-gay, straight, black, white, sewer worker, doctor, student, and lawyer.
During this time, Sherman-Jones slowly became comfortable with herself. Looking back on this period, she still finds herself asking, "Why is it so hard to love yourself and believe that you deserve the best?" She eventually fell in love with a man who respected both himself and her. They married in August of 1993.
In that same year, Sherman-Jones moved her restaurant to a larger space, sixty feet north of the old one. The new place was just as successful as the original location, perhaps even more so. The restaurant received rave reviews in the local media both for its food and for the many AIDS and human rights benefits that were held there. But when the demands of the business combined with the pain from watching so many close friends die from AIDS, she slowly began to unravel. By the middle of 1997, Sherman-Jones suffered a mental breakdown. Further plagued by chronic insomnia and a lifelong eating disorder, she realized her time at Carol's had come full circle and that it was time for her to move on. Early in 1998, she sold the restaurant.
Since then, Sherman-Jones has written her autobiography titled My Life as a Gay Man in a Straight Woman's Body and has formed a cabaret act and performs at nightclubs, private functions, and many AIDS-related benefits. In addition, she is frequently invited to speak about spirituality, tolerance, self-love, and acceptance.
Sherman-Jones resides in Northern Kentucky with her husband Don and relishes the time she gets to spend with her stepdaughter Amy. She loves to garden, cook, read, and has surprised herself by discovering that she is actually quite domestic! Her autobiography is only the first of many books she intends to write. "There so much to say!" she says emphatically. "And I want to say it in a way that hopefully will help the world laugh, think, and heal."