LGBTQ Panel at UAA Tonight

A panel of lesbian, transgendered and Samoan "fa'afafine" students and community members will discuss LGBTQ personal experiences and issues on campus and in the community, on March 31, 7 p.m. in the UAA/APU Consortium Library, room 307.

"Ultimately the goal is to get people talking," writes Kimberly Pace, Director of Women's Studies at UAA. "We don't necessarily have to agree, but let's keep the conversation alive."

The LGBTQ discussion is presented by the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) Women's Studies Program as part of Women's History Month.

The event is open to all members of the UAA community - students, faculty & staff - as well as to community members from Anchorage and surrounding areas, whether LGBTQ or straight. It is free of charge and refreshments will be served. 

LGBTQ Personal Experiences at UAA, in Anchorage & Beyond: a panel discussion 
Tuesday, March 31, 7-9 p.m. 
UAA/APU Consortium Library, room 307. 
Sponsored by the UAA Women's Studies Program

Equality Works Everywhere

Tiffany McClain is in the perfect position to write a gay rights column: she is the LGBT Coordinator for the ACLU of Alaska, the organizer of Equality Works, and on the board of Alaskans Together. Tiffany recently wrote a guest post on her experience at the Creating Change conference, and I am pleased to welcome her as a regular contributor to Bent Alaska.

Equality Works in Florida Too: LGBT Rights Activists Victorious in Gainesville
by Tiffany McClain
Over the past year, conservative groups have been trying to strip Gainesville's LGBT citizens of protection from discrimination. They've been whipping up opposition with fear-inducing lies, including demonizing attacks representing transgender people as sexual predators. For weeks leading up to the vote, all the news was dire, but we finally found reason to hope on March 24th when the citizens of Gainesville stood up against prejudice and handily defeated the initiative by a vote of 58% to 42%.


As most of us well know, when activists, legislators, or court officials take positive steps to end discrimination against LGBT people, we often end up fighting efforts to impede our progress. The Prop 8 debacle in California is the most recent example of this, but we need only look back to the 2007 advisory vote to roll back the Alaska Supreme Court's ruling on domestic partnership benefits as an example of the tug-of-war that has come to characterize the national movement for LGBT civil rights. With this in mind, we have been keeping an eye on Gainesville for lessons on how to overcome obstacles as we continue on the path of protecting LGBT Alaskans from discrimination and harassment.


So what can we learn from the Gainesville victory?


We can learn that as much as the fear-mongering might hurt and offend us, it doesn't necessarily translate into votes against equality.


We can learn that while we might do what we can to avoid being dragged into an ugly—and inherently unfair—battle for votes, we shouldn't assume we've lost until every ballot is counted.


We can learn that as much as we have come to depend on judges and lawmakers to recognize the rights that the Constitution promises us, and as much as we might hate to legitimize the idea that anyone's civil rights should be determined by a popular vote, our losses are never inevitable.


Win or lose, a fight for civil rights is always worth it.


Support efforts to advance and protect the rights of LGBT Alaskans:  Working to protecting Anchorage citizens from discrimination and harassment  Dedicated to the cause of civil liberties for all Alaskans Advancing civil equality for LGBT Alaskans

Palin's AG Pick Called Gays "Degenerates"

Update: I posted this on Pam's House Blend and the intro was picked up by the Huffington Post! They want to know what Alaskans think of Ross, so please join the conversations at HuffPo and the Blend - and be sure to tell your legislators what you think of WAR as our AG.

Gov. Sarah Palin named Anchorage lawyer Wayne Anthony Ross as her new attorney general on Thursday. We did not expect her to pick a gay-friendly AG, however his blatant prejudice expressed in a public letter to the state Bar shows that he is a poor choice for our top attorney:
"During a fight several years ago over gay rights, [Allison] Mendel helped organize Anchorage lawyers in support of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Ross wrote a nasty letter to the Bar Association newsletter, using words like "immoral", "perversion" and "degenerates." The language went way beyond reasonable disagreement, Mendel and others said."  [Wayne Anthony Ross never a quiet force, ADN]
Other interesting facts about Wayne Anthony Ross:
  • He was a founder of Alaska Right to Life and represented, without fee, anti-abortion protesters charged with trespassing. "I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord (but) if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket," he told a reporter.
  • He was the defense lawyer for former Rep. Vic Kohring, who is now serving time in prison.
  • He opposes Native subsistence rights and was the lead lawyer in the case that got Alaska's subsistence law declared unconstitutional. When running for governor in 2002, he said he would hire a band of "junkyard dog" assistant AG's to challenge the federal law that requires a subsistence preference, or seek changes through Congress.
  • He wrote for the old Anchorage Times, then for the Voice of the Times in the ADN, with titles like "KKK ' Art' Project Gets' A' For Courage" listed on the publications page of the Ross & Miner law offices.
  • He represented Palin in her ethics case against state GOP chair Randy Ruedrich when both were on the Oil and Gas Commission, and became the co-chair of Palin's 2006 gubernatorial campaign. He was hoping for an appointment to the Department of Health and Social Services so he could "stop the department from interfering with families when they should not be interfering and get them interfering with families when they should be interfering" but he was passed over.
  • He defended a Soldotna man who twice poured buckets of water from a passing pickup onto peaceful demonstrators in the rain and snow. His client was convicted of harassment and violating constitutional rights.
  • He was the co-chair of Alaskans for Phil Gramm. (Gramm is one of the people responsible for the current economic crisis, and as co-chair of John McCain's presidential campaign he called us "a nation of whiners.")
  • He is a former vice president of the National Rifle Association and was in line to become president, but was voted out of office.
  • He ran for governor in 1998 and 2002. (Think he'll use the AG position as a stepping stone to the governor's mansion?)
The state House and Senate Judiciary committees will hold confirmation hearings on his appointment.

Signs of Gay Life at the End of the Road

Homer now has its very own PFLAG chapter, and the potential leaders of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

"We had a fundraiser with a showing of Milk at the Homer Theatre and got an amazing turnout," wrote Jennifer, President of Homer PFLAG. The group brought handouts on LGBT issues and 'Homer PFLAG' buttons to the theater. "We plan to have another fundraiser soon to raise money for a scholarship."

Alaska has active PFLAG chapters in Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Chapters in Kenai and Palmer are not currently active.

At the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer has a reputation for being artistic and progressive, but in many ways it is also a conservative fishing town.

"We are so excited about the two outspoken high school student allies who recently wrote letters to the editor in the Homer News," Jennifer wrote. The letters were published in the March 11 issue of the paper, calling for more acceptance of gay people and less discrimination by students, teachers and society.

In "GBTLs are human too," Lukas compares the lack of tolerance at Homer High to the acceptance seen at his previous school:
"I just moved to Homer from Portland, Maine, seven months ago. I was really surprised at the lack of acceptance of gay, bi, transgender and lesbians (GBTL) in the community. Where I went to school in Portland almost half the freshman class was GBTL, and more than a third of my friends were, too. They were accepted into the community like everyone else. We celebrated Gay Pride Day and had a Gay-Straight Alliance at school. On Gay Pride Day we had guest speakers who were GBTL speak to our school about their experiences. We listened to their stories in complete silence, some brought to tears. Even those of us who were homophobic listened with respect, acknowledging the speakers for who they were.

"Here at Homer High School it is as if being GBTL is an infectious disease. People cringe at the mention of gay love. In my Alaska studies class the role of gay men in Inupiat communities was briefly mentioned. Our books said that they had an important role in the community; they were honored for their fine skills in medicine. Immediately my classmates started to gag and proclaim how disgusting this was. I confronted one of them and told him I saw no problem with being gay. He started to laugh. I see no education in the school promoting GBTL, or even promotion for acceptance from the teachers. Whenever something is boring or frustrating it is automatically referred to as gay.

"GBTLs are human too; there is no difference between them and me. Some may not see eye to eye with them, but I see no reason to bash them. Just as I accept you for who you are, can we not live our lives and accept them for who they are?"
In "Nation needs more acceptance," Emerson argues that accepting those who are different by nature is a moral act:
"It has been recorded that a gay percentage of the human race has existed ever since we first came onto this earth. This makes me wonder why it is that we can't accept them as just another faction of our race. The population of this country doesn't seem interested in making gays a welcome part of society as shown in the recent banning of gay marriage in all states [DOMA], and especially by proposition 8 in California, which intends to nullify all of the gay marriages in the state. I consider this a terrible tragedy, and am baffled by our inability to accept the fact that this is the way humans are and always will be.

"I think it's time that this country matured as a people, to accept those things that are different and stop being afraid of those things unfamiliar. We have all seen the good that can be done when we join together for a cause or a belief. Beautiful things can happen, but at this point in time we seem incapable of achieving unity. If we have the ability to accept, than there is no valid excuse not to; and I can tell you here and now that every human has the capability to accept those who are different, and I say that it is morally incorrect not to do so."
Thank you to the students for writing these letters, and thank you Homer News for printing them. Congratulations to Homer PFLAG on a good start.

National Progress on LGBT Rights

America is experiencing a burst of progress on LGBT rights:

  • The United States finally signed the U.N. declaration to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, 
  • voters in Gainseville Florida beat back a repeal attempt of the city's LGBT non-discrimination policy, 
  • the Vermont Senate and the New Hampshire House each passed a same-sex marriage bill, 
  • a banned Gay-Straight Alliance club was reinstated by court order, 
  • an out lesbian attorney was appointed general counsel for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (the director is a gay man) 
  • and another lesbian attorney (who is legally married to her wife and is an ordained Episcopal priest) was appointed Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. 

This is just the beginning. For a full round-up of current efforts to improve the lives of LGBT Americans, see Keori's list on Pam's House Blend.

Here are a few national LGBT events and resources that crossed my screen recently:

  • 40 Years of Pride - June 28, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, internationaly recognized as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
  • Faces of Us - Send a picture to this LGBT photo project so they can add Alaska to the list of participating states.
  • Day of Silence - The National Day of Silence, celebrated this year on April 17, brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. 
  • Think before you speak - Don't say "that's so gay."
  • Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends - PFLAG's most recent trans resource.
  • Day of Decision on Prop 8 - Day of Decision actions, held the evening of the California Supreme Court Prop 8 decision.

This Week in LGBT Alaska 3/27/09

March 31 is the deadline to apply for the PFD and use Pick.Click.Give to donate to Alaska's LGBT organizations.

Early voting has begun for the Anchorage municipal election. 

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has updates on Mt. Redoubt's activity, currently at Red Alert.


SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown. 

Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center is open M-F 5-8 p.m. The social group meets Wednesdays, 5 p.m. at Vagabond Blues in Palmer. Election of the Board of Directors 4/1, 5 p.m. at the Center.


"Sordid Lives" 3/27-3/28 at 7 p.m., 3/29 dinner at 5 p.m. & show at 8. Mad Myrna's.

Boot Camp: Fetish Ball, 3/28, 9:30 p.m. Fashion show by The Look, piercing demo by The Hole Look. $15, proceeds to benefit the Four A's food bank. Mad Myrna's.

Fifth Sunday of Lent with Rev. Norman Van Manen and MCC Anchorage in their new location. 3/29, 2 p.m.

Sheila Selkregg house party 3/29, 4:30 p.m. 

LGBTQ Personal Experiences at UAA, in Anchorage & Beyond, a panel discussion for Women's History Month, 3/31, 7 p.m.

Gay AK Round-up

The Last Queer Frontier
Anchorage PrideFest 2009 will be June 13-21 with the theme The Last Queer Frontier. The highlight of PrideFest is the Celebrating Diversity Parade and the Festival on the Delaney Park Strip on June 20. The Festival features live entertainment, vendors, food, friends and fun, all under the glorious Midnight Sun. Parade and Vendor applications are available on the Links page.

Growing Mat-Su Center seeks funding
The Mat-Su LGBT Community Center opened its doors on Monday. "I'm very encouraged by the size of our coffee meetings," writes Brianne. "At this time we could really use a contribution towards setting up Internet and phone access in our office. Also we very much need bookshelves." The Center is open Monday-Friday 5-8 p.m. and the coffee social is on Wednesdays, 5 p.m. at Vagabond Blues in Palmer.

Conservatives notice Alaskans Together
Alaskans Together was mentioned by The Catholic Anchor and the Alaska Standard in an article opposed to the Fairbanks school board's decision to add gender identity to the non-discrimination policies: "The policy change was a welcome move by an increasingly well-organized group of gay rights advocates in Alaska. The Web site for the activist group Alaskans Together expressed hope that the new policy would set an example for future action by other schools and governments across Alaska."

Men of Anchorage on Meetup
Men of Alaska is a group for gay men in Anchorage, Alaska and surrounding areas who meet for social events and community service projects. Gay men visiting from outside of Alaska are also welcome to join to find events that are happening during their visit.

Out in Alaska summer trips
Out in Alaska has awesome adventures planned for this summer, including backpacking in Gates of the Arctic National Park (June 5-13), backpacking in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (June 15-21 – women's trip, and August 18-24), rafting the incredible Copper River (July 18-25), and kayaking in Kenai Fjords (Aug. 3-7). No experience necessary, just be in good shape and ready for adventure. Ask Tim about the local discount.

Straight Audiences Enjoy Drag Show at Anchorage Gay Bar

The Divas Drag Show at Mad Myrna's is featured in the Sunday Anchorage Daily News, with a headline and photo displayed on the front page.

Gay bars change acts to appeal to straight customers, written by Julia O'Malley, focuses on the performers, the show, the bar and how the audience is now more straight than gay.
"Myrna's has been home to a drag show for a decade, and straight people have long been part of the audience. But on some Friday nights lately, gay patrons have thinned dramatically, replaced by military couples, bachelorette parties and curious young professionals. It's part of a national trend."
Read about the drag queens, gay go-go boys and straight girl co-host who perform the weekly drag variety show. 

Thanks to Julia and the ADN for this article about the gay citizens of Anchorage and the straight people who enjoy our company.

Boot Camp: Fetish Ball 2009

The Fetish Ball, where the people are the show!

"Please help me and The Alaskan Kinksters raise money for the Four A's, and have one hell of a party," wrote Scott, organizer of the Ball.

The Fetish Ball will be held at Mad Myrna's on March 28 at 2130 hours (9:30 p.m. civilian time.) There is a $15 "enlistment fee" (cover charge) and all proceeds benefit the Four A's food bank. Events include a fashion show by The Look and a piercing demo by The Hole Look. Come on down and check it out!

This Week in LGBT Alaska 3/20/09


SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown. 


Gender Bender Party, a fundraiser for Fairbanks PFLAG and Interior AIDS Association. 3/21, 8 p.m. 21-and-over.

Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center social support group meets Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Vagabond Blues in Palmer.


LunaFest women's film festival at Out North 3/20-3/21, 7 p.m.

Electronox 3/21, 9 p.m at Mad Myrna's.

"Sordid Lives" performed live at Mad Myrna's. Sunday Dinner Matinee on 3/22, 5 p.m. 

Fourth Sunday of Lent with Rev. Norman Van Manen and MCC Anchorage at their new location. 3/22, 2 p.m.

Transgendered Alaskans' Social Group (TASG) meets Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Happy 40th Anniversary, Dan & Al

Dan & Al Carter-Incontro have been together for 40 years, and 32 of them were spent in Alaska. 

They got together in 1969, three months before the Stonewall riots began the modern gay rights movement, and lived in Alabama four years before moving to Alaska. In 2005, they moved to Florida and are celebrating their 40th Anniversary on March 21.

During their decades in Anchorage, Dan & Al were involved in the gay community and were plaintiffs in the case that won partner benefits for state and city employees. The conference room at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center (GLCCA) is named in their honor.

"At the GLCCA, we have created a celebratory photo booth to help Dan & Al celebrate their 40th," wrote Phyllis of Identity. "Come by any time the GLCCA is open and the volunteer on duty will take your photo with the 'Happy Anniversary Dan & Al' sign." The complete set of digital photos will be sent to Florida as a present from their many friends in Alaska.

Visit the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, M-F 3 to 9 p.m. and S-S noon to 6, to take the 'Happy Anniversary' photo, browse the library collection, use the computers and socialize in a safe LGBT environment. 

Dan & Al, congratulations on your 40th Anniversary! May you enjoy many more good years together.

MCC Anchorage is Moving

MCC Anchorage will hold the March 22 Sunday service in their new location at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, on the corner of Lake Otis and Tudor Road. The service marks the fourth Sunday of Lent, and Pastor Van Manen's sermon is titled "Day of Action." The worship will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the A-frame chapel.

"Come and enjoy an action packed day of celebration and worship," wrote Pastor Van Manen in his Pastor's Ponderings. "Come and worship with us as we move through this Lenten season."

The MCC newsletter includes this message of appreciation: "Thanks to our Board of Directors for all of their hard work in making this move a reality, and thank you to the good people at St. Mary's who saw fit in welcoming us into their home. This move, which has been three months in the making, affords the congregants of MCC Anchorage the opportunity to worship God in a welcoming, accepting & collaborative environment."

"We are excited to say the least," wrote Vice Moderator Matthew Moak about the move. "It is the second step in rebirthing MCC in the community [and] our attendance has grown dramatically over the months."

MCC Sunday worship: St. Mary's Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. Beginning on March 25, MCC's mid-week program Step by Step will be held on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.

Equality Works Update

Equality Works is the coalition working to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Municipality of Anchorage. We are grateful for your support and hope that we can work together to bring equality to Anchorage in the upcoming year.

February was a busy month for our coalition:
* We held a well-attended Town Hall meeting on February 12 to spread the word about Equality Works and recruit volunteers.
* We added five new organizations to our coalition: Alaska Women's Lobby, Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network [GLSEN], Parents, Friends, & Families of Lesbians and Gays [PFLAG], and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest ... Bringing our total to 15 coalition organizations.
* And we tripled our contact list!

Thanks to all the people who helped to make February a success, including Steve, who is responsible for those nifty neon-colored Equality Works buttons, Mia, who moderated the Town Hall meeting, and Jackie, who helped to gain the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's support for Equality Works. Our work will not be successful without people willing to volunteer and speak up for our cause, and in the following months we're going to need you even more.

Here Are More Ways You Can Help:

Host a Party for Equality Works
If you're interested in raising money for our cause and helping to spread the news about our efforts to your friends and associates, we encourage you to host a party for Equality Works! You can host your party at home, work, church, or wherever you can secure a good amount of space. If you are worried about turnout, consider co-hosting a party with friends. We will provide you with any resources and volunteers you might need to make your party a success. Email Equality Works for the house party kit and guidelines.

Raise Money as Fundraising Chair
Equality Works is looking for two well-connected, organized, outgoing people who know how to put the "fun" in fundraising to head up our Finance Committee. You should be energetic, aggressive, and like asking people to donate to a good cause. Fundraising and/or event-planning experience is ideal. You will not serve as the Treasurer (but you might help us recruit one.) If this description sounds like you or someone you know, please send a note of interest or referral to Equality Works.

Become a Neighborhood Ambassador
Equality Works needs your help recruiting community councils to join our coalition! Do you live or own a business in any of the communities listed below? Do you want to help Equality Works while getting to know some of your neighbors? Do you enjoy working with a team? Are you ready to speak up for equality in Anchorage? 

If so, please sign up to become a neighborhood ambassador in one of the following communities:
Airport Heights, Bear Valley, Downtown, Fairview, Girdwood, Glen Alps, Government Hill, Hillside East, North Star, Portage Valley, Rogers Park, Spenard, Tudor, Turnagain, University Area.

Tell a Friend
Help us double the number of people in our network during the month of March! Do you have friends or family members who should know about Equality Works? Have you been looking for an easy way to get them connected and involved? Encourage them to sign up for email updates on the Equality Works newsletter sign up page.  You can also join Equality Works on Facebook and invite your friends to join as well. 

Share Your Story
Our Story Gathering Committee is looking for stories of discrimination or harassment. If you're interested in sharing yours, please contact Equality Works, attention Melinda.

Thanks, again!

Tiffany McClain
ACLU of Alaska
Equality Works

One Year of Getting It On

Friday was the one year anniversary of the Get It On Campaign by the Four A's.


A few highlights of the campaign over the past year include: 
  • 1,744 page loads from 1,529 visitors on the website
  • A trip to Homer to launch the campaign to the local Public Health and Family Planning Center
  • A trip to Bethel planned for March 20th to launch the campaign                                            
  • Over 350 posters sent to individuals and organizations throughout Alaska
  • Over 60,000 custom Get it On Condoms distributed to organizations in rural Alaska
  • Statewide airing of the Get It On PSA on GCI Cable

Most importantly, the campaign has educated countless individuals about safe sex and how they can make and keep their community a safe place!

 What can you do to help the Four A's GET IT ON throughout the next year?

Thank you for your support of the Get it On Campaign and the Four A's!

This Week in LGBT Alaska 3/13/09

Check out this week's events from Alaska GLBT News.


SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown. 


MILK at the Blue Loon, the last showing is 3/14, 8 p.m.

Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center social support group meets Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Vagabond Blues in Palmer.


"Sordid Lives: A Black Comedy About White Trash" opens tonight! Performed live at Mad Myrna's, Fridays & Saturdays 3/13-3/28, 7 p.m. (the date on the poster is incorrect.)

Third Sunday of Lent with Rev. Norman Van Manen and MCC Anchorage 3/15, 2 p.m.

Transgendered Alaskans' Social Group (TASG) meets Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

PFLAG meeting 3/17, 7 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Bent's First Birthday

Bent Alaska is one year old today. 

When I became the editor of Alaska GLBT News a year ago, I saw in the Readers' Survey that you wanted photos, videos, and reports of the events listed in the newsletter. So I created Bent Alaska, a blog that could contain all of that and much more. 

It's been quite a year. I've had the great pleasure to meet dozens of interesting LGBT people and our allies from all over the state, and to tell you about them and their events week after week. I've learned about Alaska and blogging and news writing and the LGBT community. I even won an award for Bent from the Imperial Court. (Thank you, ICOAA!)

And it's all because of you: You've sent news of our community's weddings and funerals, dances and drag shows, protests and parades. Your reports and photos keep us connected across the vast distances of Alaska, and beyond to our friends Outside. Your knowledge and opinions inform the LGBT communities and allies in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and rural Alaska. Your words give comfort to gays new to Alaska and long time Alaskans just coming out, isolated Alaskans looking for 'family' and family members needing support. Your comments engage others who search for signs of queer life in Alaska. 

Bent Alaska and Alaska GLBT News would not be possible without the many, many people who take the time to write messages, send photos, forward links and add comments. I'm just the messenger - without you, there wouldn't be anything to say. 

Thank you for this incredible year.

Lucy Frey Inducted into Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame

Lucy Frey, a founder of Alaska's lesbian community, was inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame on March 6 as a member of the inaugural class. Frey is honored as a "social studies educator [and] feminist leader."

The Hall of Fame inducted 50 women who have made or are making significant contributions to the shaping of Alaska. Seven of the 13 living inductees were present and most are supporters of the lesbian and gay community, according to the Grrlzlist, including Carol Comeau, Dana Fabe, Katie Hurley, Sarah James, Arliss Sturgulewski, Fran Ulmer and Esther Wunnicke.
"I remember Lucy Frey for two things," wrote Rosemary Shinohara in an ADN editorial Some Teacher

"She was my most memorable teacher at Clark Junior High. I loved social studies in seventh grade. Getting to stay after to work on the bulletin boards was a big treat. She put up with troublemakers. She furthered a passion for school that carried me through many years. And she often played Scrabble with my mother, a school secretary and die-hard Catholic. I went along for the games.

"I had no idea at the time that Lucy Frey had a life outside Scrabble and classrooms. But last week, she was among 50 women named to the first Alaska Women's Hall of Fame induction, alongside such notables as Tlingit civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich and Mary Louise Rasmuson of the Rasmuson Foundation.

"Now I find that she was a peace activist, noted Alaska feminist and rabble rouser.

"She handed out pledge cards downtown, asking people to resist violence. She co-owned the Alaska Women's Bookstore. She helped launch the Alaska Women's Political Caucus.

"Organizers of the Hall of Fame -- a handful of women's organizations -- say many feminist causes originated over potluck dinners in her living room.

"I don't know how Lucy and my mother became friends -- I've always thought of my mother as having been a more traditional mom, certainly not someone to hang out with feminists. But I'm glad it happened.

"I always knew Lucy Frey was a special teacher. Now I know she was a special human being too."
Many LGBT people and our allies knew Lucy and enjoyed the lesbian groups and events she helped to create. Although I moved to Alaska just after she retired to Missouri, I heard much about her, especially the potlucks and the Sing-Along. 

What are your thoughts on Lucy Frey's contributions to Alaska? Share your stories of Lucy in the comments.

Gay AK News & Notes

DJ Trina spins for 2,000 Lesbians
Babes Around Denver celebrated 6 years of "First Friday" - the biggest monthly event for lesbians in the US - with a massive event on March 6 that was expected to draw thousands of lesbians from around the country. The resident DJ for First Friday, Trina Johnson "DJ Trina J" flew down from Anchorage to spin Top 40 Dance and Hip/Hop for the record-setting crowd, and will continue her tradition of donating all of her fees and tips to various humane societies in Colorado. Babes Around Denver.

Concert and Movie Night entertain Juneau
"Our Pride Chorus concert and dance went very well," writes Marsha. "We had 166 people in attendance for the concert and many stayed for the dance. The women thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to socialize after the concert. The big spread of food and the dance time allowed that to happen. People loved the choice of music and the quality of the singing during the concert. We did indeed sing many FUN songs in this concert."

"The men's movie night was a success," writes the Webmaster of SEAGLA. "We had about 20 guys, about half couples and half singles. It was a wonderful potluck dinner and the film was a romantic comedy."

Alaska AFL-CIO Asks for Our Support
"Congress will soon debate the Employee Free Choice Act," writes John Lepley, of the Alaska AFL-CIO. "Also known as EFCA, this act will help restore the rights of working people and punish employers who violate current labor law. Alaska is a union-dense state and, on a national level, the LGBT community is gaining a larger presence in the labor movement. Pride at Work is a national LGBT organization and member of the AFL-CIO." Check out the Pride at Work Fact Sheet on The Employee Free Choice Act.

International Two Spirit Gathering
The 2009 International Two Spirit Gathering will be held on October 7-11, 2009 in Estes Park, Colorado. The annual Gathering is for all two-spirit people and their family members. For application, financial assistance and updates, please visit the Two Spirit Gathering.

LGBT Power Summit, April 24-26
The annual LGBT Power Summit is "a three-day intensive training designed to provide activists with the skills, tactics and strategies for moving lawmakers and voters to support the LGBT community." The Summit is co-sponsored by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and EqualityMaine, and they hope to bring a team from each of the 50 states. "If you're thinking about getting involved in a campaign for an LGBT cause or pro-LGBT candidate," writes Elias, the contact person for Alaska, "please consider attending this training." For more info on the 2009 LGBT Power Summit, visit NGLTF

Alaska's Suicide Prevention Grant Includes GLT Youth
Alaska received a $1.5 million, three-year grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will enable the state, Indian tribes, colleges and universities to develop suicide prevention and intervention programs. Alaska will target youth ages 14-24 with the grant, including young Native men in rural Alaska; gay, lesbian and transgender youth; young veterans; and youth in foster care.

Celebrate Women in March

March is Women's History Month. The 2009 theme is Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet, and the National Women's History Project is honoring 100 women who have taken the lead in the environmental or "green" movement.

March 8 is International Women's Day, celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some countries, IWD is a national holiday.

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. "HIV is Right Here at Home" is the theme for 2009. Women comprise about 27% of HIV infections in the United States, and 19% of reported cases in Alaska.

Locally, The Alaska Women's Hall of Fame inducts its inaugural class on March 6. The ceremony honors 50 women who have made or are making significant contributions to the shaping of Alaska. Lucy Frey, a founder of Alaska's lesbian community, is one of the women being honored.

Another of the inductees is Lena Morrow, subject of the play Make Good the Fires by Arlitia Jones. Lena came to Alaska in 1912 when women were just getting the vote. She was a socialist, activist, journalist, feminist and even ran for office in 1916. The play runs March 13-29 at Cyrano's.

The LunaFest Film Festival on March 20-21 presents ten short films by and about women. Proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Fund and local nonprofit women's organizations. LunaFest is showing at Out North and is sponsored in part by UAA Women's Studies. 

If you know about other Alaskan events celebrating women during March, please share your information in the comments.

This Week in LGBT Alaska 3/6/09

Check out this week's events from Alaska GLBT News.


Women of Distinction Dinner, with the Pride Chorus and Marsha Buck, 3/7

SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown. 


The movie MILK, about Harvey Milk, is showing at the Blue Loon 3/5 - 3/6 at 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m., and 3/10 - 3/14 at 8 p.m., except March 13. See the Blue Loon for details.

PFLAG meeting 3/8 at 4 p.m.

Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center social support group meetings to discuss LBGT issues in the valley. Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Vagabond Blues in Palmer.


Alaska Rainbows dinner 3/7, 5-7 p.m.

Gothique Leather & Lace Divas Goth Fashion Show hosted by Kynt & Vyxsin. 3/7, 9 p.m. Mad Myrna's. $10.

Men of Atlantis 3/8, 9 p.m. Mad Myrna's. $10.

The second Sunday of Lent with Rev. Norman Van Manen and MCC Anchorage 3/8, 2 p.m.

Transgendered Alaskans' Social Group (TASG), meets Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Juneau Student says Gay Marriage should be Legal

An 8th grader in Juneau wrote a great essay in support of same-sex marriage and it was published in the Capital City Weekly:
by Madeleina Ellingson-van Sickle, Floyd Dryden Student
Ten percent of America is gay. That's 1 in 10. Chances are that's someone you know or someone you come in contact with every day. Why should they be given different rights just because of their sexual orientation? They shouldn't. Gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states.

The government shouldn't tell people how to live their lives. Right now, only two states allow gay marriage: Connecticut and Massachusetts. For a short time California allowed gay marriage, but then the people overturned the decision and it is no longer allowed. The problem is, only a small percentage of our country's population live in those states. What about the millions of others who are gay and love each other? Many people say they should just get a domestic partnership (which is similar in some ways to marriage, except for the 1,138 other rights that married couples have), but still 19 states don't allow that either. As George Sand, a famous French novelist once said, "There is one happiness in life, to love and to be loved." Should the laws choose who can and can't have that happiness based on their sexual preference? People should choose whom to love; we don't need the government to intervene. 

Gay marriage is similar to interracial marriage. People used to say interracial marriage was wrong because it wasn't "normal" and it was a tradition for couples to get married that were of the same race. But eventually they realized that it was unconstitutional for making individuality illegal. There isn't much difference with gay marriage. Banning it is unconstitutional. As Charles Evans Hughes, the former Secretary of State, once wrote, "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free." 

All in all, there is no plausible reason to ban gay marriage. Just because you think it's gross, or that your friends don't like it, doesn't give us the right to tell people who to love or how to live their lives. This country has freedom of religion, so we shouldn't make law because our religion says it's wrong. 

As a nation, we should come together and make it legal for gay couples to get married. In the Pledge of Allegiance, it doesn't say with liberty for the straight people, liberty for the white people, or liberty for men. It just says with liberty and justice for all. 

Gender Bender Party in Fairbanks

The Fairbanks Duke and Duchess of The Imperial Court of All Alaska invite you to a Gender Bender Party as a fundraiser for Fairbanks PFLAG and Interior AIDS Association, on March 21, at the former Cafe Alex downtown (310 1st Ave.) Doors open at 7, show at 8 p.m. Due to the location, this is a 21-and-over event.

Gothique Fashion Show with Kynt & Vyxsin

This Saturday is the Gothique Leather & Lace Divas Goth Fashion Show, presented by American Gothique and hosted by Kynt & Vyxsin.

"Alaska's Finest models go GOTHIC for a Fashion show that is Wild, sexually charged, and hosted by Amazing Race stars Kynt and Vyxsin. This is a night that you do not want to miss. Exciting and unlike any other fashion show. The show includes nudity, so viewer discretion is advised." 

American Gothique is based in Chugiak?!

The Leather & Lace Fashion Show is March 7, 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. 21 & over. $10 at the door. One night only, at Mad Myrna's.

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.