Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Day In Gay Utah History June 11th

11 June
1965-An editorial in Life magazine warned readers of the danger that other states might follow the example of Illinois by legalizing homosexual acts.

1966 A specific ordinance to outlaw women’s topless apparel in Salt Lake City is being sought by Police Chief Dewey J. Filis. In a letter to Public Safety Commissioner James L. Barker Jr., the chief asked that Barker to “Contact the city’s attorney office relative to an ordinance pertaining to topless bathing suits or other wearing apparel, or girls performing in night clubs. Chief Filis said he was asking for “a precautionary measure.”

1977-Saturday Gay Pride Symposiums were held at the Salt Palace including “Homosexuality and the Law” given by Shirley Pedler of the ALCU and a representative of the Vice Squad,: a session for Parents of Gays,: and a symposium given by Reverend Jim Sandmire an elder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church and a former LDS Stake President from Utah County.  A special session for Gay Youth under the age of 21 was also held. Attending the event was Leonard Matlovich. Sgt.
Matlovich spoke on what happened in Dade County, Florida and how Homosexuals are a minority group. Sgt. Matlovich was to speak in the Empire Room of the Hotel Utah followed by a Champagne reception but was canceled. The attendees of the symposium broke out into various caucuses and it was on this day that Affirmation: Gay Mormons United was formed by Stephan Zakharias (a.k.a. Matthew Price), and about nine other men and four women (believed to be Camille Tartegilia., Dorothy Makins., and two women only known as Marcia and Jennifer; Zakharias called these four women “the glue of Affirmation” that kept it together. Tight security at the hotel prevented LDS infiltration, and in fact, two Mormon security agents posing as Gays, were caught and turned away from the convention; attendees were told by word of mouth to wear any color of shirt but white and these two men showed up in white shirts and were thus caught. Other than organizing the group, the newly formed Affirmation decided to set up weekly “Family Home Evenings” in which members would meet on Monday nights to fellowship together in Salt Lake and I believe also in Provo. Zakharias claims that there were two Gay people in BYU Security at the time who would quietly let Affirmation know “what was going down, to help them dodge any booby-traps” set by the Church. The following day, Sunday the 12th, there was simply a kegger and barbecue held at Memory Grove and thus ended the Salt Lake Human Rights Convention. Gay Mormons formed Affirmation-Gay Mormons United to meet the needs of Gay and Lesbian Latter Day Saints. Gay Mormons in Los Angeles founded a support group for Gay and Lesbian Mormons. Originally called the Gay Mormon United (GMU), it soon changed its name to Affirmation. Other GMU chapters were organized in Salt Lake City and San Francisco within the year. Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons is the oldest surviving formal organization of gay and lesbian Mormons in the world.  Affirmation is the brainchild of Stephen James Matthew Price (who later changed his name to Stephan "Zak" Zakharias), a 22-year-old Gay convert to the church from Davis, CA (near Sacramento) was living in Utah at the time and personally knew the two men who had committed suicide during Thorne and McBride’s electric shock therapy on them, and this became the driving force behind his conviction that a support group for Gay Mormons needed to be formed ultimately in order to prevent any further suicides. Steve Zakharias, who, during 1976-77, lost two friends, both BYU students, to suicide.  Both friends had submitted to electroshock therapy in an attempt to cure their orientation.  When the therapy failed, they became overwhelmed by feelings of massive unworthiness, which they felt they could resolve only by taking their own lives.  Both had been counseled by ecclesiastical leaders to cut off contact with all gay friends as part of their "recovery" process—thus effectively cutting themselves off from a network which might have been able to provide the support necessary to prevent their deaths.  Zakharias determined that a formal support group for gay and lesbian Mormons was needed.  Affirmation’s earliest meetings were called, appropriately enough, "family home evenings."  The group—gay and lesbian Mormons whom Zakharias had met, or who learned about Affirmation through the grapevine—met monthly in the home of a Salt Lake lesbian to share their stories and establish a social network.  The name "Affirmation" was chosen to indicate that participants affirmed their identity as children of God and their right to simply talk to one another.   The organization also maintained a phone number and P.O. Box for inquiries. In 1978, Zakharias’ work transferred him to Denver, where he formed a new Affirmation group.  It was at this point that Paul Mortensen, a gay Mormon in Los Angeles, inquired about Affirmation and subsequently helped start the Los Angeles chapter.   When Zakharias had to abandon Affirmation leadership for health reasons, he asked Mortensen to take over.  Mortensen became the driving force behind Affirmation from that point on.  (It is sometimes said that Mortensen is the father of Affirmation, Zakharias its grandfather.) When Mortensen took charge of Affirmation, the organization suffered from a general lack of vision and leadership.  An early focus of the organization had been reconciling homosexuality with LDS scripture. With time, this became less of a priority. Under Mortensen, Affirmation’s mission focused on providing a forum in which gay/lesbian Mormons could meet each other, discuss issues, and find the sympathy that was generally unavailable through ecclesiastical channels.   Participating in Affirmation also served as a way for gay/lesbian Mormons to keep alive the cultural aspects of their faith (or former faith, as the case was). And the organization retained its original mission, as conceived by Zakharias: to provide support to stop the suicides. Today, Affirmation claims several hundred participants, mostly in the United States, but in other parts of the world as well.  The organization produces a monthly newsletter and maintains an on-line discussion group called Q-Saints.   A independent but closely related organization called Gamofites holds retreats throughout the country for gay Mormon fathers. A women’s outreach program becomes steadily stronger as more and more women participate in the organization and take on leadership roles, both in local chapters and at the national level. Shortly after the AIDS epidemic began, Affirmation launched its own quilt project to commemorate Mormons who have lost their lives to AIDS. Affirmation holds yearly conferences to allow participants from all over to meet each other, to discuss the unique issues facing gays and lesbians from Mormon backgrounds, and to celebrate both aspects of their dual identity—gay and Mormon.  Increasingly, Affirmation is becoming an active, visible presence in both the gay and Mormon communities.  At a time when the LDS Church is increasing its own visible engagement in gay-related politics, it is important that Affirmation be available to affirm the human dignity of gays and lesbians.  Most importantly, Affirmation aims to assure gay/lesbian Mormons who are still struggling to come to grips with their orientation that a "gay lifestyle" is not incompatible with a happy, fulfilled, even spiritual life. Though Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons had its genesis in Salt Lake, the organization’s national "headquarters" shifted to the L.A. area when Paul Mortensen took charge.  Even so, the Salt Lake chapter—which came to be known as Wasatch Affirmation—remained important, given its location in the heart of Mormondom.  In a region where most gays and lesbians come from Mormon backgrounds, and in a culture that emphasizes looking first to one’s own people for help, Wasatch Affirmation has served as many Utahns’ first tentative contact with the gay/lesbian community.  Until very recently, WA was the only organization offering support to gay/lesbian Mormons.  Indeed, for many years, WA was the one of the only organizations offering support to gay/lesbian Utahns period, predating institutions the Utah gay/lesbian community now takes for granted: the Stonewall Center, the Human Rights Coalition, the Utah AIDS Foundation.  As a result, WA has been called on to serve a variety of needs over its 20-year history.  How the organization has gone about meeting those needs has changed somewhat over time.  It is difficult to trace a pattern in these changes, because new chapter leaders are elected yearly, and because the organization’s membership changes almost entirely every few years as different people pass in and out of it.  Many of the people who seek out WA characterize themselves as "moving out" of Mormonism and find the organization useful as a "stepping stone" to a new, non-Mormon identity.  They therefore participate in the organization for a time and then move on.  This makes continuity of development very difficult for the organization—and perhaps unnecessary.  Still, some general trends in the organization’s development can be traced, however broadly or imprecisely.  In the early 80s, WA served chiefly as a social group, a place where gays and lesbians from Mormon backgrounds could mingle. At a time when ecclesiastical authorities counseled their homosexual members against such interaction, social gatherings such as potlucks or swimming parties became a way of affirming the value of a gay Mormon community.  As the 80s progressed, that community focused more heavily on its ability to offer support to its members.  Meetings became more structured; guest speakers were invited; discussion groups were held; coming out issues received special attention.  As the AIDS epidemic incited public panic, WA took on the responsibility of educating gay/lesbian Mormons about the disease (this, again, before the founding of such organizations as UAF).  Some people came to WA with alcohol and drug abuse problems, the result of an "I’m damned anyway, let’s do it all" mentality during their coming out.  Chapter leaders sometimes found themselves called on to provide suicide intervention. Because WA was listed in the Gay Yellow Pages, chapter leaders even found themselves being contacted by the LDS Church.  One chapter director received a phone call from a missionary in the field , seeking information.   Another time, a Church disciplinary council asked WA to make contact with a suicidal gay man they’d just excommunicated.  During 1987-88, the chapter communicated with an LDS official over homosexual concerns, who was surprisingly—and, as it turned out, prematurely—optimistic about the possibility of Church support for WA, for instance, allowing the chapter to meet in an LDS chapel (rather than the First Unitarian Church.  Meetings are now held in the Stonewall Center). In the 90s, WA has continued to focus on providing both social interaction and support for gay/lesbian Mormons.  In addition, it has given new attention to spirituality, inaugurating traditions like the semi-annual mission reunion and fireside held since April 1992, a sort of modern-day "Lectures on Faith" series provided by religious writer Michael Chase, or a monthly spiritual discussion group launched in January of this year.  The 90s have also seen heightened concern for lesbian representation in the organization.   In 1992, WA’s first lesbian co-director was elected; in 1997, for the first time in its history, both WA’s director and co-director are lesbian.   Women’s Outreach, as well as Youth Outreach, are new chapter priorities.   In at least one regard, though, there has been no change since WA’s founding in 1977: the organization still aims to end the isolation, rootlessness, depression, and self-loathing which lead so many gay/lesbian Mormons, youth especially, to suicide. ©1998 Affirmation Gay and Lesbian Mormons,  All rights reserved.

1988 Saturday John Reeves and I went out dancing and to distribute Beyond Stonewall Fliers are the bars. We have 40 people signed up now. But its time for the big push now. We spent much of my times between in-between and The SUN. We counted only 12 people at Backstreet. It surely can’t hang on much longer like it is.

1990 Deseret News ATWOOD: LONG ODDS LEAVE S.L. GEOLOGIST UNDAUNTED AS SHE STRIVES TO FORCE A GOP PRIMARY. By Bob Bernick Jr., Political Editor Genevieve Atwood is a woman and a non-Mormon trying to win the Republican Party's 2nd Congressional District nomination.  For Atwood, it's nothing new. She was the first woman admitted to membership in the previously all-male Alta Club. But Marriott, who held the 2nd District seat from 1976-1984, may prove her political Waterloo. The only other recent example of a Republican female in the higher candidate ranks is Alice Shearer. Shearer, a former Salt Lake City Council member and also a non-Mormon, ran against former Lt. Gov. David Monson for the 1984 2nd District GOP nomination. Monson, a faithful member of the LDS Church, squashed Shearer in the GOP primary, 67-33 percent. "As I remember that campaign," says Atwood. "Alice didn't confront publicly the fact she was a woman or a non-Mormon. While I speak of these issues - I have to because of the rumor campaign being waged against me - I stress my strengths - fiscal management and the environment." By the way, she says her stand on abortion has been constant since she served as the Avenues representative to the Utah House in the 1970s: She opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when the mother's life is in danger. The Atwood family has lived in Utah for generations. Atwood was raised on the Avenues, attended  Rowland Hall school and then went to Bryn Mawr College, a exclusive private school in Pennsylvania. She was student body president her final year and accepted to law school. But she decided to work a year in Europe. The next year she wasn't readmitted to law school and chose to get a graduate degree from Wesleyan College. There, she fell in love with geology. Upon graduation, she went to work with the National Academy of Science, then came employment back in Utah with Ford, Bacon and Davis engineers - where she specialized in coal geology - and a John F. Kennedy fellowship at Harvard University. Her father, who is 90 years old this year, said she should be a Republican when she talked about going into politics in the early 1970s. She ran for the Utah House in 1974 from her Avenues district and won. She won re-election in 1976 and 1978. In 1980, she decided to challenge Democratic state Sen. Frances Farley. Most thought the pair would meet in the finals, but Atwood was beaten by ultraconservative Ed Rogers in a GOP primary. Charges of negative campaigning followed Rogers into the final against Farley, who easily defeated him. In 1981 she was appointed the first woman state geologist in the state's history and director of the Utah Geological and Mineral Survey. She resigned in 1989 to run for Congress. Atwood, once divorced, is now married to fellow geologist Don Mabey, with whom she worked at the geological survey. They've both left the survey and now operate Atwood & Mabey, consulting engineers. She has no children.

1991 Tuesday At 6 pm I went to a Center’s Operation meeting at the Stonewall Center to support Bobbie [Smith] wanting to move the library into a bigger space. 

1992-Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer
Co. Cammermeyer
was dishonorably discharged because she had admitted to being a lesbian. She was the highest-ranking person ever discharged from the US military for homosexuality.

1995  Salt Lake Tribune Page: D1 The vanguard of the Grand Lesbian and Gay Parade leads the way down Salt Lake's  MAIN STREET ON SUNDAY.   GAY-PRIDE CELEBRATION DRAWS THOUSANDS Byline: By Jon Ure THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  It was a typical warm, breezy Sunday in a typical downtown Salt Lake City park: lovers held hands, danced to live music and cavorted among food and drink concessions.  What was not typical was most of them were gay and lesbians openly showing feelings toward each other in plain view of the general public.    And gratifying, said the organizers of the Utah Pride Celebration, was the size of the crowd, nearly 5,000 at the John W. Gallivan Utah Center Plaza. The celebration began at 11 a.m. with the first annual Grand Lesbian and Gay Parade from the Capitol to the plaza. Some 600 paraded or rode floats to cheering throngs along Main Street.  ``This year the celebration is a lot bigger,'' said co-chairman Jeff
Jeff Freeman
Freedman. ``We used to have it in parks but this year we actually came downtown . . . we're proving that we're more of a mainstream. It's now not only gays and lesbians, but a considerable number of `straight' vendors are here who have realized there is a gay dollar out there.''
    The largest contingent in the parade was PFLAG (Parents of Lesbian And Gays.) But the winner of the float contest was the Stonewall Center and the choice was tough. After all, they were up against floats such as the Brick's Club's ``Homophobia -- It's All Greek to Me'' and the ``Dykes on Bikes'' motorcycle and bicycle ensemble.  ``We're reaching a point
Bruce Harmon
where people realize there is nothing wrong with our sexual preference,'' Freedman said.
  ``This is one day we can come out and celebrate feeling good,'' said Bruce Harmon, another celebration organizer. The weather helped and no skinheads came out to hassle them this year, as has happened in years past.

1995- The First Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade was Dr. Kristen Ries. Pride Day was held June 11, at the John W. Gallivan Center Plaza following the first annual Gay Pride Day Parade. “Some 600 paraded or rode floats to cheering throngs along Main Street.”  Salt Lake’s own Betsy Ross Rev. Bruce Barton, with the help of many volunteers, sewed together a 300 foot Rainbow Flag that was carried by the Gay and Lesbian Youth Group of Salt Lake City. The largest contingent in the parade was PFLAG (Parents of Lesbian And Gays.) But the winner of the float contest was the Stonewall Center. Organizers of the Utah Pride Celebration, estimated  the size of the crowd at nearly 5,000. The Kristen Ries Award was presented to Bruce Harmon, Emperor XV of RCGSE, for his long term charitable service and for his efforts in establishing the annual Gay Pride Day Parade. With the award Harmon joined his partner Rev. Bruce Barton as honorees. A Pride Dance was also held the night prior to parade.

  • ``This year the celebration is a lot bigger. We used to have it in parks but this year we actually came downtown . . . we're proving that we're more of a mainstream. It's now not only gays and lesbians, but a considerable number of `straight' vendors are here who have realized there is a gay dollar out there.''- Jeff Freedman  
  • With the election in 1995 of Jeff Freedman, founder of the Good Time Bowling League, the transition of the Pride Day event from being political, to being primarily a party, began to take form. Freedman discontinued having keynote speakers or using the event as a political forum. Freedman along with co-chair Julie Hale were the last formally elected chairs of the Gay Pride Day committee under the direction of the Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah which dissipated that year.  Freedman was instrumental in preserving the council’s 501 3c non profit status by virtually transforming the Pride Day Committee into being the whole function of the community council. Freedman served as co-chair of Pride Day for five years, longer than any other activist in Utah. His vision of Pride Day, encompassed the entire spectrum of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered/Straight Allies communities of the latter half of the 1990’s. He brought professionalism and continuity to the Pride Day Committee, far and beyond any of his peers. He has endeavored to ensure gender parity serving in 1995  with Julie Hale, and for the next three of Freedman’s five years as co-chair with Carrie Gaylor, a former Anti-Violence Activist and chair of the GLCCU.  In 1999 he served proudly with Prince Royale Kim Russo.

1998-A delegation of Southern Baptists voted to request that congress nullify President Clinton's executive order prohibiting discrimination against civilian federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

1999 Conference on hate crimes opens Friday Deseret News Published: Thursday, June 10, 1999 Hate crimes and how they affect a community will be the topic of the keynote discussion at the Intermountain Conference on Homosexuality to be held in Salt Lake City at Little America Hotel on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12. The talk will be given by Tom Ammiano, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He'll be joined by Jonathan Moscone, son of San Francisco's former mayor, George Moscone, and Paul Beeman, president of the International PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays).In 1978, Mayor George Moscone was assassinated along with Harvey Milk, a
Dr. Kristen Ries
member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The speakers will share their perspectives on that crime. Saturday workshops will include workshops on health issues, rights and responsibilities of same-sex relationships and visibility issues for families with homosexual members. Local speakers include physicians Kristen Reis and Todd Mangum. The conference will conclude with a Gay Pride Parade beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. To register or for more information call Gerry Johnston,

President Clinton
1999-Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to proclaim June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Clinton's Pride Proclamation President Bill Clinton, who had previously issued pride informal greetings, on June 11 issued the United States' first official proclamation of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. "Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month; and, earlier this month, The National Park Service added the Stonewall Inn, as well as the nearby park and neighborhood streets surrounding it, to the National Register of Historic Places. "I am proud of the measures my Administration has taken to end discrimination against gays and lesbians and ensure that they have the same rights guaranteed to their fellow Americans. Last year, I signed an Executive order that amends Federal equal employment opportunity policy to prohibit discrimination in the Federal civilian work force based on sexual orientation. We have also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the granting of security clearances. As a result of these and other policies, gay and lesbian Americans serve openly and proudly throughout the Federal Government. My Administration is also Working with congressional leaders to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination act, which would prohibit most private employers from firing workers  solely because of their sexual orientation. "America's diversity is our greatest strength. But, while we have come a long way on our journey toward tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect, we still have a long way to go in our efforts to end discrimination. During the past year, people across our country have been shaken by violent acts that struck at the heart of what it means to be an American and at the values that have always defined us as a Nation.  In 1997, the most recent year for which we have statistics, there were more than 8,000 reported hate crimes in our country - almost one an hour. Now is the time for us to take strong and decisive action to end all hate crimes, and I reaffirm my pledge to work with the Congress to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. "But we cannot achieve true tolerance merely through legislation; we must change hearts and minds as well. Our greatest hope for a just society is to teach our children to respect one another, to appreciate our differences, and to recognize the fundamental values that we hold in common. As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, earlier this spring, I announced that the Departments of Justice and Education will work in partnership with educational and other private sector organizations to reach out to students and teach them that our diversity is a gift. In addition, the Department of Education has issued landmark guidance that explains Federal standards against sexual harassment and prohibits sexual harassment of all students regardless of their sexual orientation; and I have ordered the Education Department's civil rights office to step up its enforcement of anti-discrimination and harassment rules. That effort has resulted in a groundbreaking guide that provides practical guidance to school administrators and teachers for developing a comprehensive approach to protecting all students, including gays and lesbians, from harassment and violence.  "Since our earliest days as a Nation, Americans have strived to make real the ideals of equality and freedom so eloquently expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We now have a rare opportunity to enter a new century and a new millennium as one country, living those principles, recognizing our common values, and building on our shared strengths.  "NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 1999 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate our diversity, and to remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life. "IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third. [Signed] WILLIAM J. CLINTON

1999 The Intermountain Conference on Homosexuality held a 3 day weekend work shop at Little America Hotel covering health issues, rights and responsibilities of same-sex relationships.

Jackie Biskupski
2000 The Pride Day Committee of 2000 headed by co-chairs Kim Russo and Adam Frost finally formalized the demise of the Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah’s under whose non-profit status Pride Day had been operating since 1994. They reorganized and made Pride Day its sole entity. Pride Day 2000 with the theme of “A New Era of Pride” was held on June 11 with nearly 20,000 Utahns celebrating diversity. State Rep. Jackie Biskupski served as grand marshal for the parade and for the first time the Utah Gay Rodeo Association, which last weekend put on its first rodeo event in Utah, rode down State Street on horseback.  The Dr. Kristen Ries Award
Marlin Criddle
honorees for the new millennium were Marlin Criddle and Brenda Voisard, long time Gay and Lesbian activists and community supporters.  "This
Brenda Voisard
parade is always entertaining and it's a great chance to observe diversity in what can be a pretty un-diverse city."- Michael Mack  If (gays and lesbians) want their lives to be free of prejudice and hatred, they need to not participate in it themselves…Many (gays and lesbians) resent the LDS Church, because they feel they are treated as outcasts; but if (gays and lesbians) don't get rid of their prejudices toward the Mormon church, then they can't expect others not to act prejudicially toward them." "- Jackie Biskupski,

  • Welcome to Pride Day 2000- A New Era of Pride. My name is Billy Lewis. I am your beverage coordinator for this year’s Pride Day.   I would like to personally welcome each one of you to the Beer Garden. I am very honored and excited to be in charge of one of the most popular venues for Pride Day.  For those of you new to Pride Day or new to Utah, you may be confused as to what the Beer Garden actually is.  Utah Law requires that we have a designated place that is fenced off for the sale and consumption of beer.  So, this is the only place you will find beer being bought and sold during Pride Day.   There are some exciting new things to look for this year with the Beer Garden. First, there are going to be more taps allowing more beer to be poured as a faster pace.  Second look for the wrist bands that Budwiser has donated.  They will be given to patrons of the Beer Garden on their first entrance into the Beer Garden.  The wristbands will hopefully alleviate the congestion experienced at the ID check point of the Beer Garden.  Third, look for a new layout of the Beer Garden.  There will be tents for those that don’t want to stand in the sun, and tables out in the sun for those that want to bask in the sunlight.  Fourth, water and O’Douls for those of you that do not prefer to consume alcohol will be available. Because  the Beer Garden is regulated by the law there are a few things that we ask all of you to please comply with through out the day.  So, that we may keep our license to serve beer each Pride Day and related activities. 
  • 1. Please keep all beer in the Beer Garden. No matter what container it is in.
  • 2. Please do not hand beer over the fence. 
  • 3. Please do not try to get minors (under 21 years of age) into the beer garden. 
  • 4. And please drink responsibly. If we keep these simple things in mind we will all be able to have a fun and Gay Pride Day.  The Beer Garden is a great venue to have at Pride Day and something that we would like to keep for years to come.  A special thanks to Budwiser and General Distributing for their contributions and friendly service to the GLBT Community. It’s been great.  If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know.  Sincerely Billy Lewis Beverage Coordinator
  • PRIDE DAY SPONSORS Platinum $5,000+ Coors - M & M Distributing The City Weekly Silver  $1,000 The Sun Club* The Bricks* The Salt Lake Hilton Bronze  $750 Rainbow Mountain Realty Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire Rainbow   $250 Paper Moon* The Trapp* * A private club for its members

2000 Steven Tolman Smith, age 43, died peacefully at home Sunday, after a long illness. At his side were his loving and devoted wife Kim, his youngest son, Parker, and extended family. His eldest son, Tony, is in the Missionary Training Center preparing to serve in the Mexico Tampico Mission. Steven and his identical twin brother were born February 16, 1957 in Salt Lake City, son of Paul W. and Alice Buckmiller Smith. He married Kim Egginton of Bountiful, Utah in the Salt Lake Temple on September 15, 1978. They were blessed with two wonderful sons: Stephen Anthony, 19, and Stanton Parker, 16, of whom he was very proud. He was raised in the Holladay and Mt. Olympus areas -- attending Churchill Jr. and Skyline High schools. He was an Eagle Scout. He served an LDS mission to Milan, Italy from 1976 to 1978. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Utah. After graduation, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Air Force and attended USAF pilot training. In May of 1982, he proudly received his pilot "wings". For eight years, he served as an active duty Air Force pilot. In 1989, he was hired as an airline pilot for Northwest Airlines. He traveled the world extensively and thoroughly loved his career in aviation. Steven loved life and his large circle of family and friends. He particularly enjoyed music and the arts, traveling, the outdoors, gardening, cycling and skiing. He played the violin and found great joy playing in a string trio with his sons, accompanied by his wife. He was certified as a ski instructor by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. As a member of the LDS Church, he served in numerous callings, including branch president, counselor in a Bishopric, High Priest group leader and Elder's Quorum president. His faith in Jesus Christ and his Heavenly Father served him well through the trials of his life. Steven is survived by his wife of 22 years and their children; his parents; his brothers: Randall (Diane), Terry (Stephanie), Byron (Connie) and Stanton (Lisa) Smith, all of Salt Lake City; his parents-in-law, Donald and Shirley Egginton of Bountiful, Utah and their children, Brad (Kim) Egginton, Duff (Patty) Egginton and Mindy (Lowell) Bennett. Special thanks for the unfailing dedication of Dr. Kristin Ries, Maggie Snyder PA, Clinic One staff of the University of Utah Medical Center, and National Institutes of Health Clinic Eight staff. Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 16, 2000 at 12 noon at the Cottonwood Heights 5th Ward, 7075 South 2245 East. Family and friends may call on Thursday, June 15, from 6-8 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 South Highland Drive (1450 East) and at the church on Friday from 10:45-11:45 a.m., prior to services. Interment, Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Kristen Ries Foundation, Utah AIDS Foundation or the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah.

2000 I have the sad news that Steve Smith passed away last night. He had AIDS and fought a courageous battle for many years. He died quietly at home about 8:30 Sunday evening with his family nearby. Although everyone knew his death was imminent, it is still very sad news to those who knew Steve. He was 43 years old and leaves an incredible family:. Steve was an accomplished flyer of state-of-the-art combat jets in the Air Force. He flew planes for Northwest Airlines until his illness required medication, at which time he needed to retire. He kept up his active lifestyle as long as he could. He skied like a madman (and was a member of the ski patrol) and rode his bike even harder. He played the violin, as does Steve loved gardening and through his last few years managed to make his yards a showplace. He wanted to get things done so that he would be able to rest knowing he had left a bit of himself here. In typical fashion, he tried to plant things that were low maintenance so his family wouldn't be burdened. Steve participated in the California AIDS Ride, a grueling task under the summer sun for even the best athletes. Fighting an eye infection, he required over 4 hours of IV medication every day, even on the trip. He rode as fast as he could, an IV catheter in his arm, so he could quickly get the medications started. He didn't want the medical team on the trip to have to stay up too late. He hated to be a burden. Steve and Kim are personal heroes of mine. They have demonstrated tremendous courage over the past few years, speaking out as a couple at Affirmation and Family Fellowship meetings, and being willing to share their story with other. Steve attended several Gamofite retreats. We Gay LDS people owe the softening of more than a few hearts to their efforts to help people humanize AIDS and the dilemma of married Gay LDS people. Because he came to Washington DC to participate in a series of HIV studies, I got to know and love him and his wife dearly. We shared lots of laughs and frustrations whenever he would visit. Eventually he was too ill to travel this far, but we continued to stay in touch. On one of his last trips to Washington I recorded for him part of his life history, a gift to his sons. He was too ill to finish the task, but I am transcribing the parts I have and will pass them on to Kim. Funeral arrangements were pending when I spoke with Steve's brother Stan today. Steve had arranged in advance to have an autopsy performed on him here in Washington, at NIH. It was his wish that the doctors who had given him so much have the chance to learn anything they could to help with the suffering of anyone else. About a year ago he asked me if I could be available for that last journey to Washington in case there was any trouble. After the procedure here, he will be flown back to Salt Lake City for a funeral and burial. Anyone in the SLC area who sees an obituary should post them here for us all.

Jackie Biskupski
2003 A Republican steed: Before making their grand entrance at Washington Square to kick off Pride Day celebrations Sunday, Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights; Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson; and State Rep. Jackie Biskupski took a practice ride.  Biskupski's horse became spooked, began bucking, and ultimately threw the lawmaker to the ground.  Biskupski, a liberal Democrat and lesbian, probably received fewer bruises from the fall than on any given day at the Utah Legislature. June 11 2003 Rolley and Wells SLTribune


this Saturday, June 14th for the 15th Annual Utah AIDS Foundation Walk for Life. Again this year we are partnered with the Folk and Bluegrass Festival at the Gallivan Center.  Register for the Walk and receive free admission to the music festival. There will be fun entertainment, cool incentive prizes, and a great walk through downtown. 
Here’s the schedule: 5:00 p.m.  Registration begins at Gallivan Plaza 6:00 p.m.   Welcome and Warm Up begins 6:30 p.m.   Get ready, get set, go!  The Walk for Life begins! You can walk on your own, with a team, with friends and family members, or you can register your dog to walk with you.  Get your company to sponsor you, set your goal to become a 500 Club member, or sponsor a water station.  The possibilities are endless. For more information and a downloadable registration form, check out our web site. See you Saturday! Utah Aids Foundation:  

2003 This year as a Community will be Celebrating Gay History Month in October. Our Gay History is a vital record for us all, for it reflects the organizations and individuals who have helped involve our Community from our past to present History. So what does our Gay History do for us? And why is it important to keep and preserve our Gay History? Our history is an expression of who and what we are as a people and community. Our history shows our accomplishments as well defeats as organizations and individuals over the past 34 when our movement came to be. The Utah Stonewall Historical Society would like to make Gay History month fun and as well as profitable for your organization. We, would like your Organization to choose a day to celebrate its history along with your members and the members of the Community.    The day you choose in October will be a day our Community can come together and celebrate with your members of all the accomplishments and struggles your organization faced when it was first conceived. It will be a day of memories and reflection for us all.     How can we make this a special day for you, as well as the rest of the Community? The Utah Stonewall Historical Society will take care of all the publicity of the event. Participating organizations will have their logo featured and will advise creating a perfect event. We, also will provide assistance as required to verify data and provide organizations with the necessary tools to properly document and record there past and present history. October, is an extremely busy month as it is AIDS Awareness month, coming out day, and Gay History Month. The Utah Stonewall Historical Society will be bringing renowned author Eric Marcus who wrote Making Gay History, The Half Century Fight for Gay Equal Rights for presentations, book signings, and lectures. This will be a special event for us all to participate in and too help us gain more control of our past and present Gay History from our Organizations as well from individuals.      Let’s all participate and help make Gay History Month in October something we can share and be proud of. As we share our History Organizations accomplish-ments, struggles, and those who made our organization so successful from its past to present History today. Mark Swonson

2003Dear Community Organization This year as the Utah Gay Community will join collectively for the Frist time in celebrating Gay History Month in October 2003. Our Gay History is a vital record for us all, for it reflects the organizations and individuals who have helped involve our Community from our past to present History.  So what does our Gay History do for us? And why is it important to keep and preserve our Gay History? Our history is an expression of who and what we are as a people and community. Our history shows our accomplishments as well defeats myths as organizations and individuals over the past 34 years how our community and quest for equality came to be. The Utah Stonewall Historical Society would like to make Gay History Month fun and as well as profitable for all parties involved. We, would like your Organization to choose a day to celebrate its history along with your members and the members of the community.   The day you choose in October will be a day our community can come together and celebrate with your members of all the accomplishments and struggles your organization faced when it was first conceived.  It will be a day of memories and reflection for us all.      How can we make this a special day for you, as well as the rest of the Community?  The Utah Stonewall Historical Society will take care of all the publicity of the event. Participating organizations will have there logo featured and will advise for creating a perfect and historic event. We, also will provide assistance as required to verify data and provide organizations with the necessary tools to properly document and record there past and present history. October, is an extremely busy month as it is the RCGSE AIDS Awareness Week, National AIDS Awareness month, UAF Invenio, National Coming Out Day, and importantly Gay History Month. The Utah Stonewall Historical Society will be bringing renowned author Eric Marcus who wrote Making Gay History, The Half Century Fight for Gay Equal Rights for presentations, book signings, and lectures.  This will be a special event for us all to participate in and to help us gain more control of our past and present Gay History from our Organizations as well from individuals. Lets all participate and help make Gay History Month in October something we can share and be proud of.  As we share our History Organizations accomplishments, struggles, and those who made our organization and community so successful from our past to the present.  If you choose to participate please send a member of your organization to the July 16, 2003 meeting of the Utah Stonewall Historical Society at the downtown library.  The meeting will beging at 7:00 pm and will Organizational or personal Gay history events for October will be the First item on the agenda.

2003 Hello everyone, Here is a reminder of the University Pride meeting we have tomorrow.  I look forward to seeing all of you there with your updates on what you have accomplished.  We will be meeting in room 311 of the Union at 4:30 PM.  I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Thanks for your participation.  I have good news about the Keynote speaker. Charles Milne Interim Advisor Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center University of Utah

2003 Michael Mitchell to Ben Williams Wow... such service!  Love a timely response! By the way, I thought the history kiosks were AWESOME!  We need to do something like that every year.  I think one of the main complaints by those of us who have worked in the GLBT community (or any progressive movement, for that matter) is that institutional memory isn't handed down... or any history for that matter.  Thank you SO much for keeping that history alive.  I think it's an incredibly important part of who we are as a community.  We need to remember all the work that's been done -- the shoulders upon which we stand -- by those wonderfully brave folks before us. Keep up the good work, sir! Warmest regards,
  • Thanks for your kind words. BTW If you need info for a topic let me know and I'll access my data bank. I have over 5000 pages of documents and articles. Ben Williams

2004 Comedienne Westenhoefer started her career on a dare By Scott Iwasaki Deseret
Suzanne Westenhoefer
Morning News Published: Friday, June 11, 2004 12:00 a.m. MDT Comic Suzanne Westenhoefer owes her career to a dare. "I was a bartender in New York and some of my customers thought I was funny," Westenhoefer said by phone from her home in Los Angeles. "They dared me to participate in a stand-up contest, and I did. I don't know what was more scary — the fact that I won the contest or the fact that I was taking the advice of people who go to a bar and drink." When she won, she says the clouds parted and she saw the light. "I thought to myself, 'Hey, I can do this.' I think I'll give it a try." Westenhoefer began her comedy career later than most people. "I was 30 years old. I wanted to originally be an actress and went to New York, but that city intimidated me. So I ended up being a bartender, and that's where this whole thing started." What was different about Westenhoefer back in the early 1990s when she started developing her stand-up routine was the fact that she is openly gay. "I think that opened some doors for me. People weren't only saying, 'Oh, here's another chick doing comedy.' No, there was another angle that was unique at the time. And when I started doing my thing in New York, since it's so diverse, there were more opportunities for me to perform." Still, Westenhoefer did, and still does, have obstacles to overcome, even though she's been in the business for more than a decade. "Across the board, men have an edge. They get the higher pay. They get the better time slots and they get the better nights. It's like that in pretty much any business. These days, there are a few more gay comics — Ellen (DeGeneres) and Margret (Cho). But in the early days, there weren't many." While Cho and DeGeneres may be more well-known, they both have cited Westenhoefer as one of their influences. "I love what they do. And Margret, being a minority, has some other issues she has had to deal with. I can't imagine being told, like she was when she had her TV show, that she looked too Asian. How do you change your race?" In addition to the first-place win at that stand-up contest so many years ago, Westenhoefer's career has seen other firsts. She was the first gay comic to have an HBO special and perform on "The Late Show" with David Letterman. "I'm an activist," Westenhoefer said. "It's not a responsibility for me. That word is too negative. I think of my activism and routines as more akin to carrying on a family name. I want to see how far I can go. I never thought I'd be on TV. I didn't think I'd be making albums or touring the country." Westenhoefer has also appeared in a few independent films, headlined the Montreal Comedy Festival and co-hosted fund-raisers. She was recently nominated for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's media award for production, a first for a stand-up comic. "I'd like to do more TV in the future. However, I'm happy to be where I am." If you go. . . What: Suzanne Westenhoefer Where: Mo Diggity's When: Saturday, 7 p.m. How much: $20

2004 Westenhoefer's straight talk on her career as a gay comic Suzanne Westenhoefer found success doing gay comedy for straight audiences for one reason -- she's funny, the only requirement of a comic. By Dan Nailen The Salt Lake Tribune Stand-up comics tend to remember their first night onstage as if it were a birthday or wedding anniversary. Certainly, it is the beginning of a new life for those who stick with it, and for Suzanne Westenhoefer, July 31, 1990, marks the beginning of a career that has seen her become the first openly gay comic with her own HBO comedy special and to do a gay-dominant routine on "The Late Show with David Letterman." The idea of a gay comic -- male or female -- might not seem odd now. But when Westenhoefer first took the stage of a New York City cabaret on a dare from the customers where she tended bar, it was virtually unheard of. "At that point, I wrote these really choppy, bad lesbian jokes, like 'Lesbian Barbie,' " Westenhoefer said. "It was 1990, so I did this joke about Leona Helmsley. . . . Still, they laughed, and it was a very big deal because simply no one was out. Like, two women in San Francisco, one woman in New York -- actually Cape Cod -- and these three gay guys who traveled as 'Funny Gay Males.' That was it. That was who was out and saying they were gay in the comedy world, and they were saying that only in the gay world. They were at gay clubs exclusively. "That was almost 13 years ago, and it seems like 50 years ago when you talk about it. So much has happened! It's off the charts. Just the last three years. Just since May. We're allowed to get married! They let us have sex! Of course, now they're letting us get married in order to stop that." Westenhoefer managed to find success doing gay comedy for straight audiences for one basic reason -- she's funny, the only basic requirement of a comic. About 75 percent of her shows are in theaters with both straight and gay audience members, with the rest of her shows coming at PRIDE-related events, including two shows Saturday in Salt Lake City. Early in her career, Westenhoefer said, her shows were dominated by gay-themed jokes, because that was what the audience wanted to hear. She has since expanded her subject matter. "I can really be mean in the straight clubs about how bad straight guys are at sex," Westenhoefer said. "For some reason, even straight guys will laugh at that. Their girlfriends will be howling. I could do that, or I could mock heterosexuals having to have dating shows: 'How could you not meet? I see you all day!' I could kind of mock heterosexual sex and dating habits because I brought a different perspective and made it funny. That was an advantage I had, being on the outside looking in, and it's fun because I can mock weddings and bridal showers. I'd say, 'I've been with my girlfriend for 10 years and we don't have two lamps that match. You guys get TVs!' " Despite Westenhoefer's cross- over appeal to straight audiences, as well as her gay activism, she said she is rarely asked to act as a "gay spokesperson." "Because I've always been out, I don't count in the gay media," Westenhoefer said. "I'm like a utility player. If I had gotten famous, gotten my own TV show, and then come out, oh my god, then you're like a freaking goddess. But if you take the risk from the beginning and kind of ghetto-ize yourself, in their eyes, it's not the same. The gay media -- and I love the gay media, I subscribe to everything -- but if some famous singer who isn't gay says some gay- friendly thing, they'll be on the cover of every magazine. If they find out Harrison Ford's half-brother or stepbrother is gay, he'd be the spokesperson for the gay community. "I don't blame them, because straight or gay, we're so celebrity- driven. They already know about me. 'Oh, Suzanne? She's been gay forever.' " While Westenhoefer clearly would not want to turn back the clock in terms of her own career or the progress made by the gay community, she does miss certain aspects of doing standup before gay celebrities were as common as they are now. "I would get up in an improv in Dallas, Texas, and it would be like five minutes of hell," Westenhoefer said, explaining the appeal of those rough nights. "The audience would be like, 'Oh my god, she really is a lesbian?' And when you won them over, it was such an amazing thrill. It felt like you were changing the world right there. "Sometimes I would do these sets that would start so badly, my neck would be all red and I'd be sweating. And then they would finally turn, because you know what? I'm funny. And they would be totally laughing and clapping and coming up to me and saying, 'You're our first lesbian.' It was such a high. Every time you did it, you just felt like things were going to be better in the world. And now that it is sort of better, you miss that feeling."  At Mo Diggity's * Comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer performs Saturday at Mo Diggity's, 3424 S. State, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. * Tickets, $15 in advance and $20 day of show, are available at the club.

2004  Holbrook is leaving Envision Utah post By Joe Baird The Salt Lake Tribune Envision Utah is losing the only executive director it has ever known. Stephen Holbrook, a former legislator who has guided the Coalition for Utah's Future -- sponsor of Envision Utah -- for almost 16 years, is retiring. "Nobody is irreplaceable, but Stephen comes pretty close," said
Stephen Holbrook
Pamela Atkinson, a fellow Coalition member who will chair the search committee to find Holbrook's replacement. "It will be a daunting task to find a successor." Holbrook, 63, will officially step down in September. As Envision Utah's executive director, he has guided the development and run the day-to-day operations of the state's growth planning partner since its inception. Under Holbrook's leadership, Envision Utah engaged the public and political and business leaders in developing a quality growth strategy for the state. Along the way, Envision Utah has become synonymous with quality growth nationwide, scooping up fistfuls of major awards from organizations such as the Urban Land Institute and the American Planning Association. During Holbrook's tenure, the Coalition for Utah's Future also played a key role in securing legislation to create the State Office of Child Care, state funding for after-school programs, and a variety of education and health care reforms. Holbrook, a former three-term member of the state House of Representatives, also coordinated efforts to build the Salt Lake Community Shelter and founded KRCL 91 FM, a nonprofit community radio station now in its 25th year. Now that he's stepping down, Holbrook says he hopes to see more of the state he has called home his entire life. "I hope to see more of it more often, and perhaps do some consulting and volunteering," Holbrook said.

2004 Friday, Utah Stonewall Historical Society Post Subject: A Day of Mourning? For who? By Ben Williams For those under 40, they can not possible imagine how much Reagan is hated by Gay men over 40. For those under 40 look around. How many  people to you see over 40? To be fair I hated Reagan even before I came out as a Gay man for his  anti-enviromental policies as Governor of Calfornia in the 1960's  where I grew up. He allowed
logging in old growth redwood groves  saying If you seen one tree you have seen them all. How many trees do  you need to look at? Under his watch loggers came in and destroyed the oldest living redwood on the planet over 2000 years old because it made the effort to turn the grove into state park pointless.  He was anti-student during the Viet Nam War and refused to shut down the California University system after the Kent State Massacre in memorial to students slain by the National Guard until political pressure was put on him and he feared for university property.  He was anti-Union, was a McCarthy informer, and alligned himself with the political far right and became the poster child of the Neo Conservative movement (Neo-Cons)which sought to protect America from people like me and you by repealing Gay protection laws. He and his 2nd wife Nancy were the epitomy of family values-but had disfunction children who won't talk to you but keep up the appearence of a loving Father Knows Best family. Kind of like George W. and his alcohic daughters. When President Reagan was elected President in 1980 with the help of the Iranian hostage crisis I knew we were in for a rough ride.  As President of the United States he began the process of reversing the social programs of FDR, Kennedy, and LBJ's America. The rich got richer while the rest of us under Reagan's presidency became 3 trillion dollars in debt. Trinkle down economic was just another way of saying piss on the rest of you. Then let’s not forget that AIDS became a pan epidemic by governmental neglect condoned and inspire by the Neo-Con actor and President, who had George Bush Sr., former CIA director as his Vice President. No I will not mourn for Reagan today- just for the thousands who could have been saved if the CDC would have been allowed to have a rapid response to the epidemic. But until "innocent victims" (read heterosexuals) were affected Reagan remained silent. And he's the great communicator? Ben Williams
  • Ronald Reagan Finally, someone that makes sense. I'm not over 40, though approaching  fast, but I remember. Thanks Ben, love reading your articles.

2005 Dyke March  Rally @ 6PM Meet at City Creek Park. The march starts @ 6:45 and culminates at the Pride Dance.  Utah Pride 2005 Dance @ 6-10PM ~ 200 E 400 S Come dance the night away with Sexy DJ Claudette!

2005 Pride Interfaith Service First Baptist Church - 777 South 1300 East SLC, UT June 11th, 2005 - 6 PM The service will last approximately one hour. After the service, we will have refreshments and hold a social. After the service, please join us at the Pride Dance downtown at: 200 E 400 South, SLC! Make your plans now to join us! Many faith groups are participating in this year's Pride Interfaith Service representing Christian, Jewish, Non-Denominational, Pagan, Native American, and Eastern Traditions.  Other participants include the Salt Lake Men's Choir, P-FLAG-SLC, individuals from the GLCCU, the Utah Pride Day Council, among others.

2006 Sunday – Pride Community Softball – Jordan Park (11am-4pm)Come out and cheer on your favorite team at Jordan Park – located at 900 W. 1300 S. Summer, Softball and super fun people! What more could you ask for?

Rabbi Tracee Rosen
2007 Eye on the Rabbi Some Salt Lake City Jews found a lesbian rabbi too modern for Orthodox tastes. By Kristy Davis Salt Lake City Weekly Today is Jacob Grodnik’s bar mitzvah at Congregation Kol Ami, a lofty brown-brick synagogue in Salt Lake County. The 13-year-old boy celebrates manhood by singing in Hebrew from the Torah scrolls for the congregation. Rabbi Tracee Rosen joins the boy on the “bima” pulpit to congratulate his family, crack jokes and offer him candy. The service’s paper program, illustrated with blue and white stripes similar to those on the Israeli flag, offers the following invitation: “We welcome you to Kol Ami, our house of worship. We hope you will find peace and tranquility here as each of you worships in your own way.” Just as puberty shoves boys into adulthood, Salt Lake City’s Jewish community is forced to grapple with its own changes. If the dawn of that change were audible, it would ring like Grodnik’s soprano. Utah’s largest Jewish congregation hired Rabbi Rosen—a lesbian—in August. Her election angered some synagogue members, who left. Dissidents joined a Modern Orthodox synagogue and hired their own rabbi. While most Jews won’t cop to a conflict, they are contesting each other in the land of Zion. Humanity’s first monotheistic faith—more than 3,000 years old and predecessor to Christianity and Islam—has, throughout its long history, made choices between tradition and reform. Do homosexuality, feminism and intermarriage threaten God’s “chosen people,” who have a covenant to keep his Torah? Or has God endowed his people with enough moral and ethical guidance to make decisions that, at first glance, don’t conform to the old ways? True to the synagogue’s name—which means “all my people”—Congregation Kol Ami accepts all God’s human creation. Men and women sit together. Women participate in the service by reading from the Torah. Unlike Orthodox wings of Judaism, there’s no male quorum necessary for prayer. Though all dress nicely, some women wear slacks. No habits of dress identify either Jewish women or men, although some men wear yarmulkes. Rosen conducts services in Hebrew and English, even giving a sermon about rites of passage from one community to another, and how that relates to modern-day Jews. Her sermon ties together a universal idea of leaving home and striking out for greener pastures, in the Jewish tradition of wandering lost in the wilderness. Herself a journeyer, Rosen grew up inhaling the crisp air of Denver where she attended an Orthodox day school. She remembers her coming-of-age ceremony, or bat mitzvah, as a “welcome to womanhood, now get off the pulpit,” type of affair. She was only able to participate in her bat mitzvah because it was a token ritual.  “I was told I could no longer participate in services, and my father and grandfather were called to the Torah in my honor,” she said. “Things have changed dramatically in my lifetime.” After graduating from high school, Rosen journeyed to Israel, a tradition for intellectual Jews of all affiliations. Later, she attended Washington University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Jewish studies and a master’s in business administration. About 10 years into her banking career, Rosen changed horses midstream, heading for rabbinical school. After a stint in a Los Angeles synagogue, she heard about a Salt Lake City congregation in need of a rabbi.  “She’s deeply not judgmental,” said Maeera Shreiber, a Kol Ami board member. “That is really extraordinarily important for a strong spiritual leader. She takes people exactly where they are. She brings that compassion of struggling and [of] wrestling, herself, with Judaism.” Kol Ami also wrestled a bit with the decision to hire Rosen, according to members of the search committee. Throughout the yearlong process, the committee sifted through countless resumes interviewed more than 20 applicants by phone, then flew four applicants to Salt Lake City for interviews. Even before her first interview, Rosen disclosed a relationship with her lesbian partner. The committee discussed whether or not to pursue Rosen’s candidacy. During that exchange, an elderly member of the search committee, Joel Shapiro, spoke out.  “From the very beginning of its roots in America [the Jewish community] was at the forefront of social reform,” Shapiro recalls telling the board. “They were willing to work for the disenfranchised and the poverty-stricken. They were at the forefront creating interrelations, [among other communities as an] outreach community trying to bring people together. They were hot on education and pushed the public school system.  “The point is: We have a history of being on the cutting edge of social reform, of being accepting, not prejudicial in [our] capacity for doing work. Because of that, even though some of you may feel that there would be a problem having her, we certainly should go ahead with the interview.” The committee applauded, then proceeded with the interview. Rosen impressed them. They presented her to the board of directors, who, in turn, presented her to the congregation. Kol Ami declined to provide the vote tally, though board member Beth Levine said a “very solid majority” voted in favor of Rosen. As the old adage goes, “If you have two Jews in a room, you have 10 different opinions.” Viewpoints vary. But behind the light humor, another saying rings true: “The Jewish community votes with their feet,” says Rosen. Well, Kol Ami won some feet and lost some feet. Before Rosen, of the estimated 1,500 Jews living in Utah, about 375 family units called Congregation Kol Ami their spiritual home. After Rosen arrived, five or six of those families left, according to board members. But since Rosen took over, they point out, 30 families have joined. Michael Walton surfaces from a junk-filled garage. He wears black Converse high-tops and a yarmulke atop his head. A convert, first to Reform Judaism, then to Orthodoxy, Walton’s resumes boasts a Ph.D. in history, numerous published articles, fluency in four languages—German, Latin, Hebrew, Yiddish—and membership in the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry. Walton co-founded Beit Midrash, a group that studied “Halakha,” or Jewish law. About a year ago, the group evolved into Salt Lake City’s first modern Orthodox Synagogue, Sha’arei Tefila—Hebrew for “Gates of Prayer.” They found a meeting place and an Orthodox rabbi from Montreal. Like a literal gate, Sha’arei Tefila swings open and closed. Though everyone is welcome at synagogue regardless of practice, congregants adhere to strict Torah proscriptions that dictate dietary laws, intense study and traditional familial roles.  “In my kind of Judaism, [a lesbian] can’t be a rabbi,” said Walton. “In her kind of Judaism, she can be a rabbi. In the kind of Judaism she espouses, she’s fully a rabbi and competent to officiate in any way within that Judaism. Would she be recognized as a rabbi by Orthodoxy? No.” Rabbi Ari Galandauer hails from Canada. He dropped anchor in Salt Lake City with his wife, Erin, their son, Ahron Shlomo, and month-old daughter, Adina, in late September. A poster family for Orthodoxy, the Galandauers praise their first congregation, Sha’arei Tefila. Ari, wearing a dark oversize suit and black hat, sports a beard. Erin covers her hair and wears a long, matronly skirt. Both have dark hair, speak with a Canadian lilt and affably offer food and drink inside their home.  “None of these things which are happening now in Salt Lake City are new to Judaism,” offers Galandauer. “I’m not even speaking [about] the last 10 years. I’m talking about since the very beginning of Judaism. In Judaism, you’ve always had the spectrum. You’ve always had people on the right, people in the middle, people on the left. It may be more apparent, more focused in Salt Lake City, but it’s nothing new.” That may be due to Judaism’s penchant for compulsory learning. Unlike the sometimes-unquestioned doctrine of some Christian sects, debate and skepticism combust into holy fodder for Jewish religious fervor. Jewish law—the first five books of the Bible (Torah), oral law (Talmud) and commentary by rabbis (Rabbinic law)—is so extensive that a person could not learn it all in one lifetime. Many Jews speak multiple languages, including Hebrew, and show a natural affinity for intellectual careers such as law, psychology and education. Even the feminist movement saw its fair share of Jewish women, such as Gloria Steinem and co-founder of the National Organization for Women, Gene Boyer. But feminism hasn’t made it all the way to Orthodoxy, wherein women do not read from the Torah, nor do they serve as clergy. They don’t wear “men’s clothing,” such as jeans. They don’t count toward the required number necessary for a prayer quorum. However, there are variations from these proscriptions, depending upon the Orthodox community.  “[Women’s] primary role and the highest value that Judaism puts on them is the preservation of the people. Therefore, that most important role is given to women,” Galandauer said. “Basically, in Orthodox Jewish law, women generally do not fulfill public positions that are time-consuming and essentially take away from their other role,” he continued. But in Orthodoxy, women define Judaism: A person is considered Jewish if he or she has a Jewish mother, though converting is an option. Erin Galandauer offers justification: “I love my life. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I didn’t grow up Orthodox, but I always did want to be both those things. I don’t find it oppressive. You can’t say it’s oppressive, because it’s a different role.” Gender roles within Orthodoxy are separate, but equal, she adds. Granted, that’s what Southern segregationists said, but the rabbi’s wife is talking about gender, not race. Men don’t have it much easier. Orthodoxy expects a lot from devoted Jews. Rabbis encourage Jews to marry young, live within walking distance of their synagogue (it’s forbidden to drive on the Sabbath), dress modestly, avoid birth control and observe “kashrut,” or dietary laws. As for homosexuality, Orthodox Judaism unequivocally forbids its practice. “The goal is to do our best to try to keep as many of the commandments as possible. So, of course, one of the commandments is not to be a homosexual, so that would fall within the categories of things not to do,” says Galandauer. But people are not excluded from the Jewish community simply for breaking a commandment, he says, offering Jews an assurance that they will always be Jewish.  “Judaism is not a blind-faith religion,” says Galandauer. “Everything is based on fact, understanding and knowledge. Questions and debates are always happening. We want [congregants] to debate. We want them to think about it.” Judaism’s tradition of debate goes all the way back to Moses’ trip to Mount Sinai. Jews bantered over whether Moses would ever come back. Some, who partied in the wilderness with a golden calf, said he was long gone. Centuries ago, rabbis wondered whether or not the Book of Job was fiction, concluding that Satan was probably just a metaphor. Finally and most recently, the whole of Judaism split in thirds approximately 200 years ago, when the reform movement on the scene. Rosen moves from behind her desk to a round table in the middle of a study crammed with books. She has the look of a humanities professor, ample-bodied with brown, shoulder-length hair. She wears conservative clothing, a long skirt and glasses. She launches into a ready explanation of the differences between Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism with all the flair of a natural teacher. That, after all, is what a rabbi is. Reform and Conservative synagogues, like Congregation Kol Ami, diverged from communal Judaism during the Enlightenment of the 18th century. After Napoleon’s emancipation of the Jews in 1804, they began to move from the ghettos into mainstream European communities. Opportunities for secularization, and for leaving the Jewish community altogether, caused a cataclysmic change for some Jews, who sought to modernize their religion, ditch tradition and integrate into the gentile society. They kept the ethical ideas at the basis of Judaism, but abandoned or redefined some dietary laws and other complex customs.  “In point of fact, whatever labels we give ourselves or each other, probably 99 percent of Jews in the world today, by that identification, are Reform Jews in that we all pick and choose,” said Rosen. The Conservative movement soon followed asserting that Reform had gone too far. Worried that abandoning traditions would compromise Jewish culture, and therefore Judaism, Conservatives sought the middle ground between Reform and Orthodoxy. Conservative Jews, like Rosen, are more likely to keep kosher, dress modestly and observe the Sabbath, yet they adapt certain Jewish laws, such as women’s roles, to the realities of modern life. The Conservative movement began ordaning women rabbis in 1985, but hasn’t yet decided whether to appoint gays and lesbians as rabbis. Rosen hadn’t yet realized and accepted her sexuality. Orthodoxy only came about when Reform and Conservative movements crashed the party. “Orthodoxy, from my perspective, says that the laws of the Torah are immutable; that they were dictated by God at Mount Sinai; and, therefore, we have no authority in our generation to change them. But in the meantime, if you look at Orthodox practice now versus 30 years ago, you’ll see radical differences,” said Rosen. Contrast Reform Judaism’s proud tradition of advocating civil rights with the dichotomy epitomized by Israel, where the Orthodox branch controls marriage to the extent that Israelis don’t recognize civil divorce. According to Jewish law, only a man can grant a divorce to a woman, not vice versa. Yet, the Israeli Constitution guarantees equality between men and women. The comparisons illustrate how far Judaism’s gate sometimes can swing. Through the gates of Sha’rei Tefila on Shabbos (Sabbath), Galandauer rocks back and forth singing Hebrew prayers in a sort of call-and-response manner during a worship service. Traditionally, Orthodox Jews chant the prayers softly, but the rabbi sings out so that everyone can learn Hebrew. The humble synagogue consists of a plain room with dingy mango-colored walls, florescent lights and a “mehitza,” or partition made of wood and white cloth, standing about 6 feet high, separating men from women. Galandauer conducts the service in Hebrew, though some follow along in Hebrew-English prayer books that are read from right to left. About 30 people regularly attend Sha’arei Tefila services. Walton wears his Chuck Taylors to services. The men wear white “talit” prayer shawls over their street clothes and yarmulkes, or “kippot.” Women show up late. They don’t have to come at all, as Orthodox Judaism leaves the religious requirements to men. Women wear modest dresses that fall almost to the floor and extend to mid-forearm. Some women wear wigs to cover their hair, a tradition for married Orthodox women. Others wear hats, like Cynthia Melenson, a former member of Kol Ami, whose khaki-green hat boasts a feather. An older woman with a child’s curiosity and energy, Melenson’s excited demeanor is contagious as she peeks from behind the mehitza to watch the men take the Torah scrolls from a wooden cupboard, or “ark.” She whispers a lot, softly announcing when it’s time to stand up or sit down. Melenson admits it’s difficult to see from behind the mehitza, because it cordons off women into the far corner of the room. Synagogues vary, she says. Lavish synagogues place women in a balcony, where they can see everything. Some separate the women via an aisle, with no partition. Though she doesn’t like being unable to see, Melenson doesn’t mind the divider. “You know, I don’t mind being separated and, in fact, when I’ve gone to Kol Ami, I always sit away from [my husband],” she said. “I need my privacy to pray.” She explains that the separation allows widows and spinsters to sit with other women, instead of by themselves. Michael Walton jokingly gives another reason for the mehitza: “You’ve been around men more than once in your life, haven’t you? What do you think men think about when they see a pretty woman? Do you think that would deflect them from prayer? Men are easily deflected from prayer,” he said. Later, some women complained about Sha’arei Tefila’s mehitza. Subsequently, the congregation experimented with dividing the room vertically, enabling all to see the service. Before, the women sat behind the men when it was situated horizontally. Walton won’t say he left Kol Ami because of Rabbi Rosen, but fellow congregants Richard and Cynthia Melenson freely admit that’s the reason for their departure.  “I strongly believe that the rabbi, as the spiritual leader of a congregation, must exemplify in both their professional and their private life the spiritual principles promulgated by the Torah. [But the reason we left] has nothing to do with her [gender] at all, and it has nothing to do with her competence as a rabbi,” says Richard. Cynthia added that she does take issue with homosexuality. “The stress in Judaism is the family unit,” she says. “So, for example, we don’t have priests. We don’t ask people to be celibate. We encourage them to be married and have children and be good examples for the community. In the Bible, it does say that homosexuality is an abomination. I don’t think we feel like that. It’s the way people were born, like if they were born nearsighted. We don’t consider that these are bad people in any way. But we feel that a homosexual cannot fulfill that role of a traditional family, and we believe that the rabbi should be the role model for the norm.  “We are actually still struggling with this because we feel that Rabbi Rosen is a fine person, a capable person, an excellent teacher and very learned. So this is a real struggle with us to be true to our principles of belief in Torah Judaism [Orthodoxy] within a modern world.” Achieving that belief is no easy feat. Hanging out with the modern Orthodox community feels like finding a cultural gem that, when held up to the light, refracts preconceived notions. Sha’arei Tefila congregants aren’t your fundamentalist “God hates fags” folks. They’re more like, “We’re not quite ready for them as rabbis, but we’ll talk about it” folks. They readily philosophize, while expressing curiosity and diverse opinions. Micha Barach—a bearded patriarch, lawyer and president of Sha’arei Tefila—sits beneath the sukkah. A temporary shelter usually built near the home during October, the sukkah signifies the Jews’ 40-year wandering in the desert before they made it to Israel, the Promised Land. It’s like going to camp. Jews are supposed to live in the shelter during the duration of the festival Sukkot, or about one week. This is Galandauer’s hut. Sha’arei Tefila congregants crowd the table, sitting together, eating kosher food and merrily batting about conversation. From across the table, Barach jumps into the conversation on hearing the question, “Is feminism a threat to Orthodox Judaism?” He answers: “Is Orthodox Judaism a threat to feminism?” He tells a parable about his own daughter, who worked as a sergeant in a co-ed combat unit of the Israeli army.  “So, evidently, I must have oppressed her and suppressed any type of independent view of her capability to do whatever she wants,” Barach says. “But now, she’s married, and quite happily, and she’s pregnant. She, of her own volition, has decided that she’s most comfortable in what we call a traditional role of an Orthodox woman.” Later, Barach reveals hard feelings about Rosen’s comments to the media. In a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, Rosen told a reporter “… no one should have to choose between religion and anything, ‘not politics, gender or sexuality.’” Barach says the statement misrepresents Judaism. “That seems to me to be a mistake in reading, not just Judaism, but any religion, because religion by its very nature is about choice,” he says. “It’s about moral choices. It’s about personal choices. It’s about drawing a demarcation in terms of how you wish to conduct your life. And so if you choose one thing, then, by necessity, it’s no different than any other choice. … A whole life is choices. To make that type of statement seems to me rather self-serving and inappropriate. I think it’s not a very mature and sophisticated view of, not just Judaism, but anything in general.” The debate over how to place gays and lesbians in a religious context is nothing new for Christianity either, as evidenced by the current rage over ordination of an openly gay Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire, a move that threatens a schism in the American Episcopal Church, and maybe even Anglican Communion worldwide. Rosen countered Barach’s statement regarding choices: “My point was that one should not have to choose between one’s internal essence and one’s religious commitment. Yes, religion is a guide to people in life about how one should behave and one should act. To have a religion that completely invalidates the essence of who you are, whether that’s as a woman, whether that’s as a gay person, whether that’s as a single mother, to be told that you are an invalid nonentity within your community is a deeply immoral act.” Here’s the meat: In Orthodoxy, the prohibition against homosexuality comes from three places, all sourced to the Bible. In the book of Leviticus, God says men shouldn’t lie with other men as they would with a woman, calling it an “abomination.” The Oral Law, which God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai along with the Ten Commandments (but that was not written down until the sixth century), states that the prohibition against same-sex unions applies to all people. One of Judaism’s 613 commandments, derived from the Ten Commandments, decrees that Jews not have homosexual relations. Even most Christians and Mormons accept celibate gays. Rosen begs to differ: “The entire foundation of Judaism is built around family life and community life, and to say now we’re going to identify a class of people who have to remain by themselves? No. 1, it’s cruel. No. 2, it wouldn’t work in practicality.” First of all, she says, the Bible doesn’t mention lesbianism. The prohibition against same-sex unions for women came later, through rabbinical interpretation—those spoilsports. Furthermore, it’s all up to interpretation. Rosen delves deeper, cross-referencing Leviticus with two other biblical examples of men who want to have sex with men. First, in the tale of Sodom, Lot welcomes two visiting angels into his home. The men of Sodom surround Lot’s house, demanding that Lot hand over the two angels so that they can fornicate with them. To protect the angels, Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the mob. Second, the book of Judges relates a far more gruesome tale. A man traveling with his concubine through the town of Gibeah is taken in for the evening by town hosts. Men from the tribe of Benjamin surround the host’s home, then demand that the host hand over his male visitor so that the mob can have sex with him. The host offers his virgin daughter to the mob instead. But before the host brings his plan to fruition, the traveler shoves his concubine out the door. The mob rapes and abuses the concubine all night. At dawn, her body falls dead onto the host’s doorstep. The traveler cuts her body into 12 parts, then disperses one part to each of Israel’s 12 tribes. The action brings about a civil war. Both stories parable “rape that is coercive, that is a way of showing inhospitality and dominance and power over a guest. In both cases, the substitute that is offered is a woman,” says Rosen. “When you contrast that text with Leviticus, that says you shall not lie with a man as with a woman, [you find that] these people didn’t care whether the person they had sex with was a man or a woman, they wanted to use it as a way of showing dominance and power.” These sordid stories are the only two examples the Old Testament offers on homosexuality. “The verse in Leviticus is not as broad as people want to say, that it includes all homosexuality, because those aren’t the examples that we’re given,” Rosen says, concluding that you should not have coercive sex with men or women. As for “abomination,” Rosen says, “For many of these people, the same exact term is used in connection with not eating anything abominable, including, according to that definition, pork and shellfish. There are an awful lot of people in the Christian community and the Jewish community who pick and choose what they decide is abominable … [yet] they’re perfectly happy having a ham and cheese sandwich or eating a shrimp cocktail and thinking nothing of it. If we’re going to read the Bible literally, let’s at least be consistent with that literal reading of the Bible.” Furthermore, look at what the Bible approves, yet society discourages: According to the Torah, if parents have a rebellious son, they can stone him to death before the elders of the community. By the end of a rabbinical debate, they decide that stoning kids to death just wasn’t going to fly. Same goes for polygamy and slavery.  “Once society at large abolished slavery, there aren’t Jews going around saying, ‘I want to own slaves,’” says Rosen. “Human society has evolved beyond that point, so we have adapted and adjusted in that way.” Rosen’s lesbian epiphany dawned after her ordination, a fact that an Orthodox customer at a kosher deli, Kosher On The Go, quickly points out when talk turns to Rosen. But restaurant owner Israel Lefler counters, “If they think a woman rabbi helps them do what they want to do, I don’t see a problem with that. Now, being lesbian is just a personal way of life she chooses and doesn’t represent anything. I don’t know why people are jumping on that wagon. She’s lesbian, so what?” Lefler is a member of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, a Hasidic synagogue in Salt Lake City. Hasidic-Jewish males wear traditional black hats, long beards, side curls and “tzitzit,” or undergarments with fringes. They consider themselves Orthodox (and sometimes ultra-Orthodox). Hasidism, an 18th-century Romantic-era movement, stresses enjoyment and enthusiasm during worship. The founder, “Baal Shem Tov,” stressed ideas similar to those envisioned by the American poet Walt Whitman: imagination, emotion, nature and exaltation of the common man. Though Whitman, along with his song-of-my-gay-self, might be a pariah among certain modern-day Hasidic Jews.  “The way I look at it, even if I belong to the Hasidic group, I think that diversity is good and it’s healthy, and I don’t see a problem with it,” says Lefler. “Some people do see a problem with it. Those people see a problem with anything. They’re the same people who don’t come to buy from me because they have a problem with Orthodox. They don’t like modern Orthodoxy because they don’t like [someone] different than they are.” If two Jews can have 10 different opinions, and Jews vote with their feet, then the idea of peace as a constant struggle isn’t such a strange notion.

Connell O'Donovan
2007 Losing Religion/Keeping the Faith By Holly Mullen Salt Lake City Weekly- A couple of weeks ago, Connell O’Donovan e-mailed my husband an invitation to the 30th anniversary celebration of Affirmation, a worldwide support group for gay and lesbian Mormons. We accepted the offer partly out of curiosity, but mostly due to the uniquely human need for reconciliation. Almost 20 years to the day earlier, on June 1, 1987, my husband had sat in judgment of O’Donovan, then age 23 and openly gay, with two other LDS priesthood holders on a “bishop’s court.” Several months before, O’Donovan had publicly come out to the Emigration 2nd Ward, an LDS singles congregation in Salt Lake’s Avenues neighborhood. In keeping with Mormon teachings, it wasn’t O’Donovan’s admitted homosexuality that was the problem. It was the fact that he moved beyond the church’s required celibacy of gays and had sex with another man. And when the bishopric of which my husband was the first counselor learned of O’Donovan’s transgression, the “court of love,” as the church calls it, was thus engaged. O’Donovan offers a beautiful rendition of the court’s decision to place him on probation, and of his eventual church excommunication in a 2005 essay titled “Losing My Religion' Or, How
Ted wilson
I Baked a Custard Pudding and Lost My Belief in Mormonism.” O’Donovan now a writer and historian who teaches summer classes at University of California Santa Cruz notes how the bishop’s court that day actually saved him from languishing as a half-human in the church and from eventually committing suicide. He was clinging to his religion, his battered self-image, his very life just that tenuously. His account of the leniency afforded by my husband and the others is stunning. And also very funny. Go here and see for yourself. So here we are, a few days out from the 2007 Utah Pride celebration. Utah’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community has, besides simply sponsoring a screaming good time, always used the combination parties/parade/interfaith service/film festival as a teaching tool for the mainstream community. As in: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” But there are miles to go. Thoughts of that distance between the gay and straight populations bring me, again, to the Holladay United Church of Christ, a pro-gay congregation that offered its building for the Affirmation event. It was an evening of song, biographical sketches, reminiscing around poignant moments of deciding to embrace or to quit Mormonism. Utah artist Trevor Southey, who recently filled lengthy screen time in the PBS documentary The Mormons, described his split with the faith after years of trying to “de-queer” himself as a younger man through grueling sessions of church-supported aversion therapy. For Southey, who served an LDS Church mission, married and fathered children, much of his life has been a battle between “defying nature and trying to accommodate nurture. Because what the successful painter wanted 'what everyone who attended the celebration that night wanted' was to be seen as complex, conflicted and worthy as any other human being. Southey, for instance, has spent his adult life juxtaposing the labels “father” and “gay. “I have concerned myself with how do I bring [those two labels] together,” Southey said. “Because, you see, it is an ongoing battle to maintain the truth of ourselves. I suppose that reaching for truth of self was another reason we found ourselves driving to the Affirmation celebration. In 1987, the year my husband helped take that “loving action” against Connell O’Donovan, he was the Democratic candidate for Utah governor. He also was a devout Mormon. It was no small conflict, then, for him to reconcile his liberal soul with a religion that denies gay people and women full equality and recognition of their humanity. It is no longer a central conflict, though he keeps hoping' hasn’t given up on the prospect' that the church hierarchy will someday be moved to accept everyone, for exactly who they are. In a perfect 21st century moment, it was the Internet that reintroduced O’Donovan and my husband. Earlier this year, a friend e-mailed him O’Donovan’s essay. My husband immediately sat down and wrote his former congregant a long electronic letter, part of which included an explanation of how time and experience had changed his heart forever. The fight for gay rights is centered in the understanding that all people are equal and deserve fair and humane treatment, he wrote. “I am sorry for the pain my action caused you.” I walked into that Affirmation celebration wondering why anyone would devote so much time and energy to what seemed a lost cause. Why turn such organized effort toward being “affirmed” by this religion? I, for one, would never seek membership in a club that wouldn’t be proud to have me (apologies to Groucho Marx for roughing up his joke). But then I’ve never stood on the outside looking in. Not really. Not in any fundamental way. So then, Utah Pride still matters. Happy humanity

2007 Club Dread By Brandon Burt Salt Lake City Weekly Last week marked the first meeting of the Provo High School Gay-Straight Alliance, a student club intended to foster tolerance of gay and lesbian students. These days, such clubs exist in high schools across the country. The surprising bit is that this one exists in Utah County, not exactly a bastion of tolerance. Less of a surprise is news that the club may be short-lived. Word has it if reactionary members of the local school board can’t quash the club by requiring parental permission slips, they may opt for a policy banning nonacademic clubs altogether'a policy that proved disastrous at Salt Lake City’s East High School nearly a decade ago. At the
Kelly Peterson
time, Kelly Peterson upset members of the Uptight Community by forming a similar club in the expectation that fostering tolerance for sexual minorities might make the brutal world of high school slightly more bearable for some students. The school board, faculty and student body proved less than supportive; if they allowed a club promoting acceptance of gay students to rent space, sooner or later, somebody would demand that S/M leather orgies be held on school property at taxpayer expense. The orgies never materialized, but interesting legal discourse ensued. It turned out that a troublesome federal law, the Equal Access Act, prevented public schools from violating students’ First Amendment right to assemble. In 1984, conservative Christian groups lobbied for the law, because it would force school boards to allow gospel-study groups. Oh, and Sen. Orrin Hatch was a sponsor. Now, however, it was being taken completely out of context: Yes, the good, clean-cut youth of America would still be allowed to peddle Bibles, but it was clear that perverse forces of evil, with their unsettlingly spiky, bi-level hairstyles, would also need to be tolerated. It was quite a blow. The school board held out for a couple years, making a half-hearted attempt at compliance by banning such noncurricular clubs as the Meat Club, the Chinese Checkers Club and the Young Republicans. This unpopular move brought the wrath of the students, not upon the intolerant members of the school board who caused the whole ruckus, but upon the gay and lesbian students, who were perceived as having caused the whole ruckus. If you were a queer at East High during those years, your life wasn’t worth a plug nickel. The school board, however, eventually capitulated when a student named Ivy Fox brought suit against the district because East High forgot that the Future Business Leaders of America was not an academic club. Lambda Legal and the ACLU'not to mention students like Fox with unusually supportive parents' were amazingly effective, and the upswing was that the following school year, nonacademic clubs, including the GSA, were allowed to meet normally. Thus, if the Provo City School District is serious about holding the line against its gay and straight students, it had better make damned sure no Future Business Leaders of America ever darken the door of PHS. It should also ferret out any students with unusually supportive parents, because we’ve seen how problematic they can be. Or, perhaps it could look at the hundreds of public schools across the nation'the ones who have treated both their Bible-banging and their gay students even-handedly'whose roofs have not fallen in and which haven’t been swallowed up by the flames of hell. Because they haven’t seen hell until they’ve had the ACLU and Lambda Legal after their asses.

2007 Salt Lake City Weekly Sodom Do By Ben Fulton Say what you will about Utah’s antiquated sodomy laws, at least they prompt Utah Eagle Forum head Gayle Ruzicka to enlist the word “semen” in their defense. “Anytime you put semen into those cavities of the body not made to receive the semen, you have a much higher chance of disease and infection. So there’s a very good health reason why those acts should remain illegal,” Ruzicka told this paper two years ago.  From the ancient biblical city of its namesake to the corridors of power in modern America, nothing strikes fear into the hearts of people everywhere quite like sodomy, those sexual acts that involve something other than the direct contact of a pair of genitals, hopefully those of the opposite sex. Anything else besides the simple missionary position sets off apocalyptic visions. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia warned in his dissenting opinion of Lawrence v. Texas that his fellow judges had “taken sides in the culture war.” That’s pretty belligerent language when talking about sex in America’s consensual bedrooms. Scalia no doubt stews in his tortured thoughts that somewhere, somehow a whole lot of people are having more fun than he is.  Sex is rarely a comfortable topic for public conversation. Remember the sheer terror you felt at even the possibility that you might hear your own parents going at it? Nevertheless, a staunch contingent of us insist that the state keep its powers over the bedroom door in reserve because ... well, just because.  Sodomy isn’t altogether illegal in Utah. In 1977, our enlightened Legislature made it legal for married couples. You want pleasure? Commit to marriage and it can be legally, rightfully yours. Single people and gays can revel in breaking the law which, let’s be honest, adds excitement to an already exciting act.  Alone in the crusade to scratch this so-called “law” is local civil rights attorney Brian Barnard, a man faced with the unenviable task of escorting a matter of human sexual desire through bureaucratic court proceedings. Barnard also gets to wince at Attorney General Shurtleff’s argument that, while certainly unenforceable, Utah sodomy laws pack a certain “pedagogical value,” as he described in a brief. To paraphrase his brief, grown-ups teach the young about what’s right and wrong. In other words, older folks have taken a spin around Sodom’s city square, didn’t like it one bit, and neither should you. Nice to know, but not terribly helpful in a consumer culture that stresses variety of choice from crackers to credit cards. Count on an attorney to take the fun out of sex. But don’t count on Utah’s sodomy laws biting the dust anytime soon, even if they’ve been effectively invalidated by Lawrence v. Texas. Our Legislature will never let go of any tool that lets them beat up on gays and lesbians. Meantime, expect Barnard to forge ahead with his obvious legal argument that the state has no business sniffing between your sheets. Problem is, Barnard has had a dickens of time persuading the court that his client, one unmarried heterosexual D. Berg, has suffered sufficient enough harm from the law to present a case. Of course, it’s doubtful the state could persuade D. Berg or anyone else that they’ve suffered harm while practicing consensual sodomy.

Orrin Hatch
2010 Hatch says he was trying to praise gay activists By Thomas Burr The Salt Lake Tribune Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch wants the gay community to know this: He meant it as a compliment. The Utah Republican is drawing fire from gay-rights groups and others after telling a town hall meeting earlier this month that “gays and lesbians don’t pay tithing, their religion is politics.” Hatch made the comment in St. George while urging Republicans to band together like unions, environmentalists, personal-injury lawyers and gay-rights activists do for Democratic candidates. “Many gay people are vociferous Democrats who are willing to pony up money for politics. That’s something I admire,” Hatch said this week. “I don’t know how I could have been much more complimentary the way I said it.” The six-term U.S. senator said he was trying to motivate the crowd to be active in politics and was using those groups as examples. He said he wasn’t trying to imply that people who are gay aren’t religious. “There are some very, very good gay people who are very religious who undoubtedly pay tithing,” Hatch said. “That wasn’t what I was talking about. I was talking about politics and praising them for getting involved. I was making the point that they don’t just stand on the side, they actually support their Democratic candidates with their money.” Hatch said his comments were taken out of context. “That was a distortion of what I said.”
David Melson
David Melson, executive director of Affirmation, a support group for gay Mormons, said Hatch has done “some great things, but I think there probably is some bias there.” “If Senator Hatch is rewording his statement or apologizing,” Melson said, “we’re certainly accepting of that apology.” Melson, who is gay and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Hatch may have been playing to the audience — or at least goaded into it — because southern Utah tends to be more conservative. “Town hall meetings can sometimes bring out emotions or words or thoughts that one would probably not utter in a controlled situation,” Melson said. “I doubt very much he would have made the same comment if he were speaking in Salt Lake City.”

Peggy Bon
2012 Utah panel to discuss removal of book about lesbian moms Schools • District's recent action sparks complaints, discussion. By Melinda Rogers The Salt Lake Tribune Theresa Novak and Anne Spatola moved to Utah from California five years ago, after raising three children together in a community 20 miles north of San Francisco. The Ogden couple, together since 1975, had a support system of lesbian and gay families in their former hometown. Their oldest son ran into occasional bullying for having two mothers, Spatola said, but their younger twins reached adulthood during a time when diverse families weren't out of the norm. They read the picture book Heather Has Two Mommies to their children at home, helping them understand that families sometimes have two moms or two dads. So the couple was taken aback by a recent decision in the Davis School District to limit students' access to a book about children being raised by lesbian mothers. "I feel that any kind of censorship is a problem," said Spatola, who moved with her partner to Utah after Novak got a job as a minister at Ogden's Unitarian Universalist Church. "It doesn't surprise me that some families might not want any exposure to families that are different than your very-limited nuclear family.... but children need to be exposed to all kinds of different families." Spatola and Novak plan to participate in a Monday panel discussion about the district's recent action. The event will also include Eric Ansel, a psychology professor at Weber State University; Rev. Jamila Tharp and her partner Michelle Hasting; and the Rev. Rob Trujillo, his partner and their son Dillon. The forum started as a series on bullying and suicide, but book banning made its way into the mix as the Davis controversy continues to reverberate, said Peggy Bon, a volunteer with Ogden-based OUTreach Resource Center. In Our Mothers' House, by Patricia Polacco, was recently removed from shelves of elementary school libraries in Davis County after a group of parents objected to the story's content. The book remains accessible but only if a student presents a permission slip from a parent. The decision to keep the book behind the counter followed an April 30 meeting during which a seven-member committee determined it didn't align with district curriculum standards. The committee, comprised of teachers, administrators and parents, voted 6-1 to keep the book off shelves, with Bountiful High librarian Trudena Fager casting the dissenting vote. "State law says schools can't have anything in the curriculum that advocates homosexuality," said district spokesman Chris Williams earlier this month. "That is why it is now behind the counter." Williams said the district has received only three to five phone calls in recent weeks complaining about the decision. Concerns about the book surfaced in January, when the mother of a kindergarten student at Windridge Elementary in Kaysville became upset when her child checked out the book and brought it home. The mother and her husband brought their concerns to elementary school officials, according to Williams. Williams said the book was purchased in part because a student who attended Windridge Elementary has two mothers and librarians wanted to foster inclusion. Bon characterized parental lobbying efforts to have the book removed as a form of bullying. "They are bullies," she said. "People need to understand each other." She argues that limiting access to the book is sending a message to children of same-sex families that their families are not OK. "Kids who live with straight parents, they can go to any old shelf and can pull out a book about families that look like theirs," she said. With LGBT-themed books behind the counter, it makes kids wonder "what is wrong with my family that books about us have to be back against the shelf? Are we a bad family?" Meanwhile, the Utah Library Association met Friday to discuss the Davis School District's action. And the New York-based Kids' Right to Read Project, sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, is also looking into restriction of books in the school district and assessing the First Amendment implications, said Acacia O'Connor, a spokeswoman for the organization. DaNae Leu, a media specialist at Snow Horse Elementary School in Kaysville, said earlier this month that the district is taking a proactive stance on pulling other books in the wake of the controversy. Also marked for removal is And Tango Makes Three, the story of a pair of male penguins who sit on an egg at a zoo until it hatches; and Totally Joe, a book for ages 10 and up about a teenager who is gay. Bon said she's hopeful that Monday's meeting will draw people on both sides of the issue.  "I don't want to legislate anything. I don't want to force anything down people's throats. I just want people to understand why the books should be there," she said.Spatola agreed. She said some parents may not realize they are relaying a message of intolerance to children by preventing their exposure to LGBT families. "I think they have to realize that they are not just saying something to the adults in the situation, they are saying something to the children and that is wrong. People need to give some thought to that," she said.

2017 A rally was held at the Wallace Bennett Federal Building to support the national march in Washington DC. Created by Becky Moss, Mark Angus, and Terry Gillman. Salt Lake Tribune The event — which was one of 97 events held nationwide as part the Equality March for Unity and Pride — featured Sen. Jim Dabakis, LGBT historian Ben Williams, Salt Lake City Council candidate Chris Wharton and Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

2:00 PM Salt Lake Men's Choir - Cups, Good Old Acapella Dennis McCracken Salt Lake Men's Choir
2:10 PM Emcee - Moesha Montana  Moesha
Speech - A Call to Action and introduction to the memoriam Terry Gillman Utah Gay Men's Resource Network
Memoriam for those who lost their lives to AIDS  - 30 seconds of silence Terry Gillman Gay Men Aloud
2:15 PM Jim Dabakis Utah State Senator
2:20 PM  Mr. Friendly Michael Sanders  Black Board and Mr. Friendly
2:25 PM  The Importance of Gay History Edgar Ben Williams Utah Stonewall Historical Society
2:30 - The importance of being politically involved Rudy Miera Utah Stonewall Democrats
2:35 - Being a Trans Candidate Sophia Hawes-Tingey Candidate for Mayor of Midvale
2:40 - Legal System Chris  Wharton Salt Lake City Council Candidate
2:45 - Human Rights, teaching empathy education and facilitating conversations Carla Kelley The Human Rights Education Center of Utah
2:50 - Lucas Fowler - Trans in America Lucas Fowler TEA of Utah
2:55 - LGBTQ Bullying - Don's Story Don Chugg Provo Activist
3:00 - Encircle mission, bringing families and their LGBTQ children together to prevent youth homelessness and suicide Jacob Dunford Encircle LGBTQ Family & Youth Resource Center - Development Director
3:05  Gay Parenting, challenges of adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, single parenting, starting a family, etc. Ben Visser Utah Gay Father's Association
3:10 - Gay Immigration Issues Connell O'Donnovan Utah Pride Center's Heart and Home Project for LGBT International Refugees
3:15 - Immigration Story, Importance for us to let Gay asylum seekers into the country Barnabas Wobiliya Wah-Bee-Leah Ugandan Immigrant
3:20 PM Salt Lake Men's Choir - Fields of Gold Dennis McCracken Salt Lake Men's Choir

2017 The Equality March for Unity and Pride – Utah 2017 In what local organizers are calling a “call to arms,” two local marches will take place a week before and during the national LGBT March on Washington, dubbed “The Equality March for Unity and Pride.” “Our LGBTQ rights and protections around the world are under attack,” organizer Mark Angus wrote in a statement to the organizers. “We need every one of you and all of your allies to come together in order to convince our nation and the world that we are fabulous and that they need our contributions as part of any vibrant society.” The first march will coincide with the planned marches before the Utah Pride Festival on Friday, June 2 at 5 p.m. “To start the festivities with a bang, we will walk hand-in-hand at the end of the ‘Pride in Solidarity March’,” Angus said. “Everyone who wants to march with us is welcome. Please make protest posters and wear rainbow colors.” Ideas for posters include “We Can’t Keep Quiet,” “Silence = Death,” “Religious Freedom = Freedom to Discriminate,” “Stop the Hate,” “Resist!,” “When We Rise,” “Marriage Equality is Settled Law, Never Again!,” “Gay Rights are Human Rights, And Still We Persist,” “LGBTQ Rights are Under Attack,” “Love = Love, And Justice for All.” The Pride in Solidarity March will begin at 5 p.m. at Harvey Milk Blvd (9th South) and 9th East. A rally will begin at 6 p.m. and the first marchers will step out at 6:45 p.m. with an expected 7:30 p.m. arrival at the Utah Pride Festival grounds. March participants will be allowed on the Festival grounds free of charge. “Every time we stop along the march route we will have a chant caller,” Angus explained. “Let your voices be heard. Let yourself be seen and counted. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous.” Volunteers will distribute flyers for the following march to be held Sunday, June 11. The national march will begin in Washington D.C. at 10 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. MDT) on June 11. Sister marches will take place on the same day all over  the country and around the world. “Those of us who cannot travel to Washington D.C. will participate in unity and support with a local rally,” Angus said. “Together we will make this the greatest rally the world has ever seen.” Marchers are encouraged to wear T-shirts from their favorite LGBTQ organization or choose one with a rainbow color and “accessorize with all the rainbow stuff that you bought at the Pride Festival.” Posters made during the previous march are also encouraged. “We will have speakers of three to five minutes max, chanting and an open mike,” Angus said. All LGBTQ organizations, as well as local, state and national representatives, are invited to speak. The Equality March for Unity and Pride – Utah 2017 Rally agenda: On Sunday, June 11, marchers will begin to gather at Washington Park, on the west side of the City and County Building. The rally will begin at 2 p.m. with a memoriam to those who helped build the LGBTQ community in Utah and those who sacrificed to get the community where it is today. “Lay down your posters and stand hand-in-hand in silence to honor those of us who have lost their lives, who have been persecuted, bullied, tortured and murdered around the world and throughout history for daring to be who they are. We enjoy the rights and protections they have built for us over many years. We will not let them be taken away from us now,” Angus said. Beginning at 3:30pm will be a half hour of open mike. At 4 p.m. the rally will end hand-in-hand with a last cheer of Pride. The rally hopes to address along list of important issues: Bullying and teen suicide; Immigration of gay refugees fleeing for their lives; Ostracism from families and religion; Invisibility by being left out of the Census; Unity by bringing the margins of our LGBTQ community to the center; Continued activism by rallying the Millennials and our allies to keep what we have gained; Fighting against religious freedom which encourages discrimination; Speaking out on International human rights abuses; Protecting funding for HIV research and free PREP; Protecting funding for Planned Parenthood, sex education, free contraception and reproductive justice; Protecting Transgender rights in schools and all public buildings. If you would like to speak on one of these issues or another, email to get on the speaker’s list with a time slot.
  • Proud to see the leadership of Gay Men Aloud at today's rally for equality ... Good going Dennis J Lee and Kent McKay Scadlock. MA members Mark N Angus and Terry Gillman helped in organizing this event.

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