Historic Rainbow Flag Brightens Fairbanks Parade

It didn't rain on the Golden Days Parade, and the forty-five-foot rainbow flag from Key West, Florida cast multicolored light on the girl skipping beneath it as the PFLAG contingent marched down Second Avenue in Fairbanks, Alaska.

For the third year in a row, the Fairbanks chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) carried the big rainbow flag, a segment of the longest gay pride flag ever made, and this year it was the top parade photo published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

"The flag did not arrive until the afternoon before the parade," said Terrie Donovan, marcher and organizer of the PFLAG Golden Days Picnic after the parade. "There was a lot of anxiety that it might not get here in time."

In 2003, Key West Pridefest commissioned Gilbert Baker to make the world's longest gay pride flag, which was sixteen feet wide by a mile and a quarter long and took 3,000 volunteers to carry. Baker created the original rainbow flag design in 1978 at the request of the late Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay San Francisco City Supervisor.

After the Key West Parade, the flag was cut into sections and loaned to gay pride groups around the country. Peter Pinney of Fairbanks PFLAG and Tim Stallard of Out in Alaska arranged to borrow a sixteen foot by forty-five foot section for the Golden Days Parade.

The Golden Days Parade celebrates the gold rush origins of Fairbanks. Many local groups and politicians march in the parade, and spectators camp out in folding chairs to reserve a good spot. 

PFLAG marcher Beverly Chmelik was interviewed for the Channel 11 live parade broadcast, and her interview was on the local news. "They asked what PFLAG was about and what we do. I told them it was a support group for parents of gay, lesbian and transgender children, and for those who are coming out and wanting to tell their families."

"I forgot to say that for more information, please see our booth at the Fair." PFLAG Fairbanks is building a themed booth for the Tanana Valley Fair, August 1-9. 

PFLAG held their annual Golden Days Picnic at Nussbaumer Park, providing hamburgers, hotdogs and lemonade to a group of lesbians, gay men, transgendered women, straight allies and children. The picnic was funded by a grant from the Imperial Court of All Alaska.

The historic rainbow flag segment was returned to Florida - until next year.

Before the parade, Beverly Chmelik, Pete Pinny and another PFLAG member hold the Fairbanks chapter banner while the rest of the contingent holds the historic rainbow flag from Florida. Photo by Shayle.

Alaskan Vigils for UU Church Shootings at "Welcoming Congregation"

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowships in Anchorage and Juneau are holding vigils in support of everyone effected by the tragic shooting at the UU Church in Tennessee, and as an expression of solidarity with all people of faith who engage in spiritual work for social justice.

The Juneau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship vigil is at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29 in the Marine Park shelter. The Anchorage vigil is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30th at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3201 Turnagain Street.

"We invite all members and friends of Juneau's faith community to join us in this solemn moment," said Dave Dierdorff, the current lay leader of the Juneau Fellowship. "The shattering of the sanctity of any sanctuary, no matter the faith, is an attack on all of us."

On Sunday, Jim David Adkisson went into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville and shot several congregants, killing one man on the spot and fatally wounding a woman from the Westide Unitarian Universalists congregation, who died shortly after being taken to the hospital.

The evidence now strongly suggests that hate was the motive for the crime. Adkisson had in his car a four-page handwritten note in which he blamed what he called 'the liberal movement' for his inability to get a job, and targeted the church because it received publicity regarding its 'liberal stance.'

"He disliked blacks, gays, anyone who was a different color or just different from him," Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the Knoxville News Sentinel. 

TVUUC is a Welcoming Congregation and hosts numerous LGBT groups, including the Knoxville chapter of PFLAG and the Spectrum Cafe, which "especially welcomes teens who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or who are questioning their sexual or gender identity." One of the transgendered teens was in the church at the time of the shooting, in a special youth performance of the musical Annie. Her new foster father, Greg McKendry, stepped in front of the gunman to protect others in the church, and was killed. 

On Monday evening, the Second Presbyterian Church — next door to the TVUUC, which is now a crime scene — held a candlelight vigil that drew hundreds in solidarity.

The Anchorage UU is also a "Welcoming Congregation" and sent this message to the community:
We were all shocked and saddened to learn about the horrible events that took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.

Apparently a deeply disturbed man entered the sanctuary yesterday during Sunday morning service, shouted "hateful things" according to a witness, and opened fire into the crowd during a children's program. Two adult members of the church were killed, and 6 others are currently in the hospital being treated for serious injuries.

Such senseless violence happening in a place of worship and peace is difficult to process. Especially difficult is the fact that this horrible incident is now being investigated as a hate crime after a letter was found in the shooter's car indicating that his motivation was born out of hostility toward "the liberal movement."

Details of the letter are unavailable, but the church had just become a UU "Welcoming Congregation," openly showing their support and welcome to the GLBT community, in addition to promoting religious tolerance and acceptance of those with differing or no religious beliefs.

The Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, also a "Welcoming Congregation," will be holding a candlelight vigil in support of all those affected by the tragedy, and all those who hold dear the ideals of freedom, reason and tolerance for all people.

We invite any and all to attend who wish to be together in reflection, compassion and support.

Sen. Stevens Indicted

U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted this morning by a federal grand jury, on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil services company, and from its CEO, Bill Allen, over an eight-year period.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the 84-year-old senator concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."

During that time, the indictment says, Allen and other VECO employees were soliciting Stevens for "multiple official actions .... knowing that Stevens could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of VECO during that same time period."

VECO's requests included funding and other aid for the company's projects and partnerships in Pakistan and Russia, and federal grants from several agencies, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Local Station Airs Lesbian & Gay Radio Program

Update: This Way Out also airs on KEUL 88.9 FM in Girdwood and 105.3 FM in Hope on Wednesday evenings at 10 p.m. (Thanks to DJ Ultraviolet)

Every Wednesday, listeners in Anchorage, Eagle River, Kasilof and the Mat-Su can tune in to This Way Out, an award-winning and internationally distributed gay and lesbian news and music program, on KWMD from 8:15-8:45 p.m.

KWMD broadcasts in Anchorage on 104.5 FM and 87.74 FM, in Eagle River on 92.5 FM, in Kasilof on 90.7 FM, and in the Mat-Su on 107.9 FM. 

This Way Out begins with a summary of major news events in or affecting the lesbian & gay communities around the world. The 30 minute magazine-style program continues with interviews of authors and performers, music by openly-Lesbigay recording artists, humor, readings from GLBT literature, and news feature stories.

The weekly show was broadcast in Fairbanks on KSUA 91.5 FM, but has not been aired since the Homophonic Radio program was discontinued.

This Way Out recently celebrated 20 years on the air. The all-volunteer operation accepts donations, and CD or tape subscriptions are available for those who live outside the broadcast areas.

This Week in LGBT Alaska

From Alaska GLBT News (subscribe):

Bac'untry Bruthers plays Americana at the Down East Saloon on Thursday 7/24 at 10 p.m.

Ever Ready plays rock, country and blues at Del Rois on 7/26, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

The Last Frontier Men's Club (and friends and visitors) Last Saturday Brunch at Snow City Cafe in downtown Anchorage, 7/26 at 10:30 a.m.

Pride Outside: Cid Celebrates in San Diego

Cid from Kodiak wrote in about the San Diego Pride parade and festival she attended last Saturday. The theme was "Live, Love, Be" (the national Pride theme for 2008.) She enjoyed watching the parade and had a good time at the women's dance party (photo below).

"It was a great event, and huge! It was $15 to get in, but had 3 beer gardens, 2 with dancing, and a wine tasting area that was wonderful. All very well organized and put together. I volunteered: my job for 5 hours was to search people's bags and purses!"

Cid is in San Diego this summer taking college classes, and she met up at the parade with several other students. Her overall review of San Diego Pride: "I would recommend this one for future travelers."

Thanks for sharing the Pride with us back home in Alaska!


Big city LGBT Pride parades are exciting in big city ways: Crowds of gay people and our allies ride the public transit system to the parade, cheering as they approach the festival. Dozens of sexy Dykes on Bikes rev and honk at the front of the parade, roaring past sidewalks filled with spectators. Floats, bands and uniquely-costumed individuals march past rainbow-decorated lamp posts, courtesy of the city. Local businesses encourage their gay employees to march with the company banners. National icons provide high quality entertainment.

Perhaps best of all is the experience of thousands of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people taking over a public space and becoming the dominant culture for a day.

Did you attend Pride Outside this summer, or are you planning to attend another big LGBTA happening? Tell us about it - the best moments, something cool and different about the event - and bring home the Gay Pride.

Anchorage Celebrates Our "Diverse City"

The Mayor's Office of Equal Opportunity, along with Anchorage's Diversity Commission, is hosting a free community-wide "Diverse City (Diversity) Barbecue" on Friday, July 25 on the Delaney Park Strip, 5-8 p.m.

What do they mean by "diversity?"
Diversity in this Administration's book means, in addition to differences based on ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, national origin and sexual orientation, an infinite range of individuals' unique characteristics and experiences, such as communication styles, career, work, life experience, educational backgrounds and other variables.  
Eat free hamburgers, hotdogs, and samples of ethnic foods while listening to live music from local bands. Beer and wine will be sold in a secured area. Adults can participate in the diversity barbecue cook-off and the karaoke competition, and look for jobs at the Department of Labor's mobile employment station. Kinds can enjoy free youth activities.

The Mayor's Office is also organizing the 2008 Mayor's Diversity Month, September 1 through September 30, bringing together a wide variety of community organizations "to host events that combat bias and promote a respect for diversity."
All events and programs help build positive relationships, partnerships and bridges to encourage acceptance of Anchorage's broad diversity base. The community is invited to participate in the celebration by hosting a diversity event in conjunction with Mayor's Diversity Month or to assist with an already scheduled event.
Organizations that are interested in hosting a diversity event can download an event form on the MOA's Diversity page. Want to get involved? Diversity month organizing meetings are every other Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Mayor's Conference Room, 8th floor, City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue. Meeting dates are: June 26, July 10, July 24, August 7, and August 21. 

Rev. Johnathan's New Journey: From Anchorage MCC to Edinburgh

Reverend Johnathan Jones, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Anchorage for four years until his resignation in May, accepted a position as Interim Pastor at Edinburgh MCC and was introduced to Scotland's LGBTA community during last Sunday's service. 

Rev. Jones worked hard to build the all-inclusive MCC church in Anchorage. His efforts and his personal manner were appreciated by many in the community, and his resignation was a shock.

The church hosted a farewell potluck in Johnathan's honor, and he left Alaska in early June. He was back last week to deal with visa issues and visited with friends and church members. When he returned to Scotland, he sent this message to MCC Anchorage, the LGBT community and our allies:
It was such a pleasure to see you all again so soon. Now I am back in Edinburgh and have started working at a fast pace. Yesterday (July 20) was my first Sunday back and we celebrated MCC Edinburgh's 13th birthday. We had over 40 people in attendance and had a wonderful service. 

I have recently been reading a Thomas Merton book and there was a fabulous quote in there that I would like to share with you:

"Only when we see ourselves in our true human conditions as "one body" will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from the failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another's achievement." (Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island)

As I read this passage, I was reminded of my time in Anchorage. I thought about my successes with the church and my failures with the church, but this passage made me realize that neither the successes nor the failures were solely my own. WE worked hard as a Church to outreach to the GLBT community of Anchorage. WE worked hard to establish a strong Building Fund account. WE worked hard to build An Inclusive Church. And there is a liberation in knowing that where we failed, we failed together and we learned together.

As I now move on another journey with MCC Edinburgh, I will always remember with joy my time with my first church. I will always keep in mind the invaluable lessons I learned during my four years with all of you. In the same manner, there are many things that MCC Anchorage can learn as you grow into your new journey.

I will pray for you often, and I will be back in January to visit with you. If you would like to keep in contact with me, I am keeping the same email address.

God Bless You.

Rev. Johnathan

Interim Pastor
MCC Edinburgh

Imperial Court Float Makes Waves in Anchorage Parades

The Imperial Court of All Alaska won float honors at two Anchorage parades, winning Best of Theme in the Independence Day Parade and Best Overall in PrideFest's Celebrating Diversity Parade.

The float was built by the 2008 Anchorage Ducal Court, led by Keith Heim and Donna Parsons. 

The float's "Out is IN" sign for PrideFest was changed to "We're ALL In" for the July 4th Parade, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Alaska's Statehood.

Myster of Own The Sidewalk took a picture of the float (left) and pointed out the Court member in the blue and white dress:
This lovely lady called out over the loudspeaker to the very conservative Dan Sullivan, standing next to us on the sidewalk: "Dan Sullivan! Dan Sullivan! I went to high school with you! You probably don't remember me."
In her post on the Independence Day Festival, Myster said, "One of the many joys of living downtown is proximity to Park Strip parties. Another is that sometimes you get to see a drag queen heckle Dan Sullivan."

In March, the ICOAA float got attention at the Fur Rondy Parade. "The only actual float was the Imperial Court of All Alaska, which is the oldest gay community organization in Anchorage," wrote Troy B. Thompson. "They also happened to be playing the best music and seemed to be having the most fun."

This Week in LGBT Alaska

From Alaska GLBT News (subscribe):

  • Golden Days Parade and Picnic with PFLAG, 7/19. Meet for the Parade at 10 a.m., space 31 behind the Carlson Center. Picnic at 2 p.m. in Nussbaumer Park, corner of Haines Street & "E" Street, in Hamilton Acres.
  • Bac'untry Bruthers at the Saltry in Halibut Cove on Friday 7/18 at 6 p.m. and at the Down East Saloon next Thursday 7/24 at 10 p.m.
  • "Spank Your Bottom" 7/19, 9 p.m. Mr. Alaska Leather Fundraiser for The Last Frontier Men's Club. Held at Mad Myrna's. $5
  • Transgender Support Group 7/20, 4 - 6p.m. at the GLCCA.
  • Emperor and Empress Interview Meeting 7/21, 6:30 p.m. in Mad Myrna's Ballroom.
See also the list of GLBT Recurring Events.

Pride and Politics in Anchorage Parade and Festival

Three political candidates participated in the Anchorage PrideFest 2008 Parade and Festival on the Park Strip, adding a strong political presence to this year's LGBT Pride.

Supporters of Mark Begich, Diane Benson, and Ethan Berkowitz marched down 9th Avenue in the Celebrating Diversity Parade, along with the Anchorage Democrats, the ACLU of Alaska, and a variety of LGBT and gay-friendly social and community groups. 

Mark Begich walked with his supporters at the beginning of the parade, then left to attend the Statehood Celebration. He returned later with his son, and read the city proclamation establishing the third Saturday in June as Gay Pride Day. Begich, a democrat running for US Senate against Sen. Ted Stevens, has attended PrideFest every year since becoming mayor.

During the Festival, Diana Benson talked with PrideFest attendees, but did not march in the Parade or speak on stage. Benson, a progressive running for the US House of Representatives, supported Out North when it's funding was challenged by the Assembly several years ago, and supports gay marriage. 

Ethan Berkowitz did not attend PrideFest, but sent a press release of his endorsement by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest LGBT rights organizations. Berkowitz, also running for the US House of Representatives, supported same-sex partner benefits as a state legislator, and includes sexual orientation and partner benefits in his civil rights statement.

In addition to the candidate contingents, two allies showed their support for LGBT equality by participating in PrideFest.

The Anchorage Democrats marched in the Parade behind a banner stating "Equal Civil Rights for ALL People." The Anchorage Democrats also had a booth at the Festival, registering voters and providing material about the candidates, including Begich, Benson, Berkowitz, and Representative Les Gara, a member of the State House who is up for re-election.

Tiffany McClain, the LGBT Public Policy Coordinator for the ACLU of Alaska, led a group of marchers wearing yellow "Get Busy. Get Equal" t-shirts from the LGBT Project of the national ACLU and green foam statue of liberty crowns. The ACLU of Alaska was a sponsor of PrideFest again this year.

No republican candidates or signs were seen at the Parade or Festival, and no anti-gay protestors were present this year.

CowGal Val and Ravenhurst: Lesbian and Gay Bloggers Who Lived in Alaska (But Don't Now)

CowGal Val and Ravenhurst are two blogs by LGBT people who used to live in Alaska.

CowGal Val is written by Valerie and Deborah, a lesbian couple from Anchorage who are now living in Portland, Oregon.

In early June, Valerie was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Val and Deborah created the blog to keep "friends and family all the heck over the place in the loop about Val, Deborah, lung cancer, and our community's capacity for amazing generosity of spirit." 

In addition to treatment updates, they post about their dog, their friends, learning from cancer, and enjoying daily life. When Val began chemotherapy, they posted video of shaving her head and wrote about the experience of being bald. 

If you know Valerie and Deborah, or even if you don't know them personally, drop by CowGal Val and leave a note of encouragement. A message from someone who cares can brighten a dark chemo day.


Ravenhurst is written by Richard, a 56 year old gay widower who lived in Fairbanks for 19 years and now lives on a five acre ranch near Paradise, California. He writes about gay news, politics, and his life in rural California, including his participation as a friend and witness in the first gay and lesbian marriages in the county. 

Like CowGal Val, Ravenhurst was created in response to a life-changing event. Five months ago, Richard's life partner and soulmate Steve passed away. Richard began blogging through the grief and just kept going.

Richard was almost evacuated last week because of a fire burning out of control near Paradise. Luckily, Ravenhurst - his homestead and his blog - was spared, and Richard continues to post on life, love, and interesting gay news. Go say Hello from Alaska.


Do you know other LGBT (ex-)Alaskan bloggers? Send in their links and they will be featured in another post. While you're here, check out the category Where Are They Now? for news about LGBT people who once lived in Alaska but now live somewhere else.

State House Candidate David Newman Supports Same-Sex Marriage

David Newman is running for State House against Juneau Representative Beth Kerttula. David recently posted a statement
Repeal Alaska's Constitutional Amendment Prohibiting Same-Sex Marriage

David submitted the following article to the Juneau Empire as a My Turn piece on June 11. He just found out that the Empire doesn't run candidate pieces, so he's published it here.

In 1998, Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage by a vote of 152,965 to 71,631. This marked the first and only time in Alaska's history that a constitutional amendment took rights away from a group of people. Yet despite the fact that this amendment passed by a 2-1 vote, it's a violation of the U.S. Constitution and directly conflicts with the Alaska Constitution, because both documents guarantee citizens equal protection under the law.

Ratified in 1868, the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court in rulings which eliminated discrimination, including the desegregation of public schools in Brown v. Board of Education, and overturning Virginia's ban on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. The Loving case, decided in 1967, is relevant in this debate, because the arguments against interracial marriage parallel those against same-sex marriage.

In Loving, an African-American woman and a white man were sentenced to one year in jail for living in Virginia as husband and wife. The trial judge suspended their sentence on the condition that they leave Virginia and not return together for 25 years. In his ruling, the judge stated that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with this arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia's law - and the law in 15 other states as well - based in part on the fact that "(m)arriage is one the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

Most people would agree that the statements made by the Virginia judge are not only supremely offensive, but ridiculous as well. Yet we should ask ourselves - Are the arguments made today against same-sex marriage really any different than those made against interracial marriage? The reasons for and against same-sex marriage have been made numerous times in the pages of this newspaper [Juneau Empire]; I won't recite them again. But, I believe there is no difference. The disparate treatment of one group versus everyone else, whether it be based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation, is discrimination, pure and simple.

Not only does Alaska's amendment violate the U.S. Constitution, but it is in direct conflict with Alaska's Constitution as well. Article 1, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution guarantees Alaskans equal rights, opportunities and protection under the law. It also guarantees everyone the right to pursue happiness, which most people believe is one of the basic human rights of a civilized society. This idea was not lost on the Loving court, which stated that "(t)he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men." Yet our own Constitution contains an amendment that denies same-sex couples the ability to pursue what the U.S. Supreme Court recognized as one of the most vital personal rights - not only the right to marry, but the right to enjoy all the additional benefits that accompany marriage.

When those 152,965 people stepped into the voting booth in 1998 and voted to amend Alaska's Constitution to remove rights from an entire group of people, what were they thinking? Were they motivated by religion, fear, hate, bigotry, ignorance, or something else entirely? I don't know. What I do know is that we as a people must reject all forms of discrimination, regardless of where it comes from or how it materializes.

No TransAlaska Love for Calpernia Addams

Calpernia Addams, the star of LOGO's reality dating show TransAmerica Love Story and the subject of the film Soldier's Girl, lived in Alaska for almost two years as a Navy medic, before returning to Nashville and coming out as transgendered. 

Calpernia was stationed on Adak, and later received undergrad credits from the University of Alaska. She also founded a theater company of soldiers, and performed "Steel Magnolias," "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and other productions.

While in Adak, she helped rescue passengers from a Chinese airplane, according to an entry in her blog diary:
Early morning on April 6th, 1993, when I was still a field combat medic in the Navy and living on a remote Alaskan island (yes, really!), a Chinese airliner encountered some kind of severe turbulence and had to land on the even more remote Alaskan island of Shemya. I was on duty in the emergency room that night, and volunteered to fly the quick hop over to Shemya and start processing the wounded.
The entry describes the medical needs of the Chinese passengers and the efforts to communicate with them, and concludes:
We got everyone stabilized, except for one poor soul who died. Later that day, a big plane from the mainland in Alaska arrived with medical teams to medivac the wounded back to Elmendorf Air Force Base hospital. I made the long trip (7 or 8 hours?) from Shemya to Anchorage with my patients, monitoring IV bags and vitals. It was quite a day for all of us on the Adak medical team.
Calpernia Addams is an actress, author, musician and activist currently living in Hollywood. As a co-founder of Deep Stealth Productions, she works to provide more accurate and positive portrayals of transgendered people, and to give a voice to transgendered actors and entertainers who are frequently relegated to roles which are demeaning stereotypes.

Last weekend, Calpernia was an honorary grand marshal at Atlanta Pride 2008, along with Grand Marshals Shonia Brown and Scott Turner Schofield. Scott, another trans artist with a connection to Alaska, performed his show "Becoming a Man" at Out North Theater earlier this year.

Valerie Miner and Judith Barrington Read at UAA

Two lesbian authors, Judith Barrington and Valerie Miner, are among the sixteen distinguished writers of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry who will be in Anchorage this month giving free public readings and talks.
On Tuesday, July 15, Judith Barrington reads with Anne Caston. Barrington is a memoirist, poet and teacher who was born in the U.K. and lives in Portland, OR. Her memoir, Lifesaving, won the Lambda Book Award, and her writing guide, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, is a bestseller. Her most recent poetry book is Horses and the Human Soul. Her work has been published in many literary journals, and she gives memoir workshops in Europe and America.

On Wednesday, July 16, Valerie Miner reads with Zack Rogow. Miner is the author of 13 novels, collections of short fiction and nonfiction. Her new novel, After Eden, presents urban planner Emily, whose annual return to a Northern California women's land collective for rest and relaxation in her cabin turns to tragedy when her life partner's flight goes down in flames. Miner's work has appeared in many literary journals, and her stories have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. She is a professor and artist in residence at Stanford University.

The UAA Campus News lists the full schedule of authors and readings.

UAA's first Northern Renaissance Arts and Science Series is part of a new graduate writing program of the UAA Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts (CWLA).

The Low-Residency MFA program focuses on writing with a sense of place and exploring the landscape of memory, family, and culture.

The public readings run July 13 through July 22. Readings are scheduled for 7:45 to 9:15 each evening in Room 150 of the Fine Arts Building, on the east side of the UAA campus. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.

This Week in GLBT Alaska

From Alaska GLBT News (subscribe):

Golden Days Parade Sign-Making Party for the PFLAG contingent. 7/12, 1:30 - 4 p.m. Shayle.

Bac'untry Bruthers playing Americana / Roots Music at the Down East Saloon 7/17, 10 p.m., and at the Saltry in Halibut Cove 7/18, 6 p.m.

Ever Ready plays rock, country and blues at a Garden Party Benefit for Betty Pierce at the Palmer Train Depot. 7/13, 2-6 p.m.

Laugh Over Matter, The Comedy Hypnosis Show by Jay Her. 7/12, 9 p.m. at Mad Myrna's. $10
Identity & PFLAG annual Picnic & BBQ 7/17, 5:30-8 p.m. Goose Lake Pavilion.

See also the list of GLBT Recurring Events.

Human Rights Campaign Backs Berkowitz

Congressional candidate Ethan Berkowitz has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest GLBT rights organizations. In recognition of their endorsement, Berkowitz made the following statement on his civil rights policy:
Civil Rights—Fighting for Freedom and Fairness for All Americans


In 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland, my mother's mother knew that it was time to leave Europe. The immediate family made it to the United States, but those who stayed behind perished.


I grew up listening to my family's history, and I know what it's like to suffer persecution. My grandparents came to America because this is a country where all things are possible, where you should be judged based on who you are, not what you are. The values that unite us — work, family, freedom — are far more powerful than the issues that divide us.


No American should ever feel fear because of what they are. When I represent our state in Washington, D.C., I will fight to ensure that all Americans are treated fairly by their government in their communities, schools, workplaces and homes.


That fairness is part of who we are as Americans. Our nation's creed holds that all people are created equal.


We all have the right to live free from discrimination, safe in our communities, with opportunity for all. Discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, income level, or status violates our founding principles. Schools in low-income neighborhoods should be as good as the schools in the next neighborhood. Every victim of crime should receive justice, no matter the location or the crime or the victim's personal circumstance.


I am proud of my record on civil rights. During my ten years in the Alaska State House, I fought to protect the personal liberties enshrined in the state constitution and to defend individual civil rights against the tyranny of the majority. Those positions might not always have been popular, but they are founded in the belief that the rule of law extends constitutional rights to all Americans, and protects minorities against institutional prejudices and bigotry like racism and sexism. That's why I stood for subsistence rights. That's why I spoke out for same-sex benefits, and against changes to the state constitution. That's why I know that a better future for this state and this country means living up to the values of "liberty and justice for all."


Alaska is the second most ethnically diverse state in the Union (Hawaii is number one). That diversity is a strength for us. I am proud that my daughter goes to elementary school in a Spanish immersion program, and that my wife served on the Tolerance Commission. I am honored to have the support of individuals and groups that represent the many communities that make Alaska and America diverse, strong and great. I'll work every day to honor that trust and to protect civil rights for all Alaskans.

Another Alaska Legislator Charged with Bribery and Conspiracy in VECO Scandal

A grand jury has indicted state Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage, on bribery and conspiracy counts in an ongoing federal investigation of corruption. The two-count indictment accuses Cowdery of conspiring with executives of VECO Corp. to bribe another unnamed state senator for votes to support oil and gas legislation. 

Three former Alaska lawmakers have been convicted in this investigation, and four current lawmakers are indicted.

U.S. Rep. Don Young and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, both Alaska Republicans, are under scrutiny for their relationships with VECO executives. Neither has been charged and both deny wrongdoing. (Associated Press)

Huckabee Endorses Young as "Pro-Family" Despite Outrage from Supporters

Mike Huckabee's political action committee has endorsed Rep. Don Young's re-election in Alaska, saying "Don Young has been a consistent pro-family, pro-life vote in the Congress."

Huckabee may like Don Young, but his supporters do not. They're worried that the endorsement of the scandal-ridden Young will tarnish Huckabee's image:
Given that Don Young has spent $900,000 of campaign funds on legal fees and will lose in the fall if renominated, I can't go along with this one. 

I think that endorsing such a clearly controversial subject...and someone with skeletons in their legal closet, does more to hurt your credibility, than to help his.

You blew your reputation on this...and a reported 70% of Alaskans disagree with you. For Huckabee to support someone who has a $1M legal bill trying to defend all of his questionable deals, and tried to name one of the "Bridges to Nowhere" after himself, you obviously didn't do your homework on this one.

... while I understand the value of loyalty, endorsing Don Young with his ethical baggage and his addiction to earmarks does not lend itself well either to your message and cause or to the Republican party.
Why didn't Huckabee endorse Sean Parnell, Young's challenger for the Republican nomination? Probably because Parnell endorsed Mitt Romney during the primaries, while Young backed Huckabee.

Pride Foundation Fall 2008 Grants Available to Alaskan Non-Profits

Pride Foundation, the organization that runs the popular Raffle with a Twist, announced the opening of the Fall 2008 grant cycle.

Organizations helping the LGBT community in Alaska, Seattle/King County, parts of Idaho, Oregon and Washington can apply for funding through Pride Foundation's Northwest Grants, which are due on August 29, 2008.

Since 1987, Pride Foundation has granted over $7.2 million to organizations helping the Northwest's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Grants are made in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington to 501c(3) nonprofit organizations (or nonprofits with a 501(c) 3 fiscal sponsor) in the following categories: Arts and Recreation; Education, Advocacy, and Outreach; Health and Community Service; HIV/AIDS Service Delivery and Prevention; Lesbian Health; Youth and Family Services.

If you are an organization seeking a grant, please read the Grant Guidelines.

Project or Program Support will be considered for projects/programs that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender people, and/or the allied community.

General Operating Support will be considered for those organizations that target services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender people, with an emphasis on small grassroots organizations.

Pride Foundation maintains a commitment to funding:
  • In a wide range of programmatic areas including education, advocacy, and outreach; HIV/AIDS education and support; arts and recreation; youth and family services; lesbian health; and other health and community services.
  • A balance of projects among those that serve women, men, and all inclusively. Projects serving communities of color are especially encouraged.
  • In diverse geographic areas in the Northwest states, both urban and rural. Regional Community grants applications must operate within the geographic area specified in that application.

Minimum Requirements
  • An organization must have 501(c)3 non-profit tax status or be affiliated with an organization that has 501(c)3 tax status that will assume fiscal responsibility for all funds received and expended.
  • Projects or programs must directly benefit the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual community; people affected by HIV/AIDS; and/or their friends and families.
  • Organizations or projects must operate within one or more of the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

General Restrictions
  • Grants to individuals cannot be considered.
  • Maximum Grant Award is $5,000 for Pride Foundation Northwest grants. This amount varies for Pride Regional Community grants.
  • Pride Foundation grants are not meant to convey a commitment to ongoing funding. A grant in one year does not make it any more likely that an agency will be funded in the future.
  • Organizations can apply for only one grant and one project per cycle.
  • Organizations that apply for a grant from Pride Foundation Clark, Pierce and Whatcom-Skagit Regional Communities may also be considered for a grant from the Northwest granting fund. Please note that if you apply for a grant for the same portion of a project/program from these Regional Communities and Northwest Grants, you will not be awarded funds from both. Organizations with projects in other Regional Communities cannot apply to Pride Foundation Northwest Grants.

Mr/Ms/Miss Gay Anchorage 2008

The new 2008-2009 Gay Anchorage title holders were chosen during Pride Week at the Anchorage Pageant, held at Mad Myrna's. They posed with the current Gay Alaska title holders, who hold their titles until October.

Pictured from left to right: Miss Gay Anchorage - Delicious, Miss Gay Alaska - Ashley, Mr. Gay Anchorage - Steve, Mr. Gay Alaska - Kevin, Ms. Gay Alaska - Leslie (above), and Ms. Gay Anchorage - Stacey (below)

Photos of all the current title holders, the Pageant and other Court events are posted on The Imperial Court of All Alaska (ICOAA) web site.

Congratulations to the new Anchorage title holders!

Alaska Ranks High in Chlamydia, Low in HIV Rates

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Alaska continues to rank high nationally in the rate of chlamydia cases but relatively low in the most serious sexually transmitted disease, HIV, according to reports by the state Division of Public Health.

The 2006 figures were compiled by the Centers for Disease Control.

Alaska ranked first or second in chlamydia, 25th in gonorrhea and 28th in syphilis but low in HIV.

"We have a low prevalency rate in the state and we would like to stay that way," said Mollie Rosier, manager of the Section of Epidemiology's HIV/STD program.

The most common method of HIV transmission in Alaska was men having sex with men. Other categories included heterosexual contact with a partner known to have HIV, or injection drug use.

Rosier said statistics were divided into two time periods because there were not enough cases for year-to-year analysis: 1982-2002 and 2003-2007.

There were 1,206 known HIV cases in Alaska from 1982 to 2007. Thirty-seven first-known HIV diagnosis cases occurred in 2007. Of the cases reported, 81 percent of people with the disease were males and 58 percent were white.

The chlamydia bulletin said the disease plays a role in facilitating HIV transmission. However, with such a high rate of chlamydia and such a low rate of HIV, it was impossible to tell if chlamydia played a role in contraction of HIV in Alaska, Rosier said.

The bulletin stated that 4,911 cases of chlamydia were reported in Alaska during 2007, an 8 percent increase over 2006. That was part of a significant increase of chlamydia cases in Alaska since 1996, reaching a rate of 49 cases per 100,000 people on average.

The program's Donna Cerere prepared the bulletins and said there was no easy or simple answer to why Alaska has such a high rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea. The rise could be a byproduct of a more sensitive test, she said.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics. However, the more times a woman contracts the disease, the higher the risk of infertility, Cerere said.

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.