Cheers for PFLAG at Golden Days Parade & almost 100 attend Fairbanks Pride Picnic

Reports and thank you's are coming in from the Fairbanks Pride Picnic and the LGBT marching group in the Golden Days Parade.

PFLAG marched in the Golden Days Parade with the huge rainbow flag that made a big splash at Anchorage PrideFest this year, and it drew a good response from the crowd in Fairbanks as well.

The Pride Picnic after the parade was also successful, with almost 100 people stopping by to enjoy the food, music, performers, information tables and a vendor booth selling rainbow items.

Jenn, organizer of the Pride Picnic, and Pete from PFLAG have the story. First Jenn thanks everyone and shares a behind the scenes view of the Pride Picnic:
I would like to give my gratitude to the many members of the community who stepped up to make an amazing Fairbanks Pride Picnic!! I tend to be long winded so if you get bored just skip down to your name and smile. Don't see your name?? That means you should expect to be recruited to help in next years picnic!!!

First I would like to thank PFLAG and the ICOAA, for without their sponsorship you would have been listening to a little boombox and wishing there was food. No seriously, without their financial support and community connections this event could not have been the success it was. Thank you!

I would also like to thank College Floral for donating gift certificates to our performance winners. Donations are the bread and butter of non-profits, grassroots, and small community organizations. Every little bit counts and yours was greatly appreciated.

The Center for Non-Violent Living, IAA, and IWILL all provided positive community education information. Thank you for taking the time to provide these for us. I hope that we can continue to work together in the effort to educate the masses.

A big round of applause to Cheri and Jene, who provided the vendor booth this year. It added a festive aura to the event and gave everyone an opportunity to show their pride on a regular basis. Why get all your pride paraphernalia on the internet when you can support your local businesses and community members by buying local. Look out for these two… they will be spreading rainbows again in the near future.

Were you dancing at the picnic… shaking it on a picnic table perhaps? Maybe you were tapping your foot or simply listening to announcements? We have Bernie to thank for that. Bernie responded to my pleas and rushed in to save the day with sound and music. Thank you so much Bernie… you rock!!

Many thanks to Pete and Miss Maxine for shuttling people from the end of the parade to the picnic. Thank you to our Emcee Donald who saved me from having to talk in front of all of those people. And put your hands together for our performers Micheal and our current Grand Duchess Kara!!! They took the spotlight from all of you who didn't manage to get out of bed!!!

As many of you know I am still recovering from shoulder surgery and this makes me unable to lift, tote, or move anything. After listening to me make plans for 2 weeks and "puking rainbows" (as she called it) everyday, when the time came my Poppie was there to DO everything. All the hauling, moving, shopping, cleaning, packing… that was all her. Thank you my love, I could not have gotten through it without you.

I have one last thank you. To all of you that stopped by, dropped in, hung out, or otherwise attended the picnic, thank YOU. None of this would have been worth it without the guests. It is YOU that made the fun. YOU provided the conversation, YOU provided the dancing, YOU provided the games! And just so everyone knows, there were almost 100 of YOU throughout the day. Thank YOU!!

Oh, and don't forget! There will be voting at College Floral on August 21st for Emperor and Empress of All Alaska. Get out there and cast your vote! Don't know who to vote for? Find out! Ask your candidates questions, engage them in conversation; find out what they plan to do if they become the new Emperor or Empress. Informed decisions are our own responsibility.

Also… PFLAG is still looking for volunteers to sit at their booth at the Tanana Valley State Fair. Please contact Kerry at 45-PFLAG to sign up. Help spread the positive through our community with information!
Pete describes the LGBT parade group and the reaction of the crowd, and has the scoop on PFLAG's booth at the Tanana Valley Fair:
On behalf of the members and supporters of PFLAG, I would like to give a big, heartfelt thanks to Shayle for pulling together the colorful contingent of participants that carried the borrowed flag from Anchorage (thanks, Anchorage), the signs, and the new PFLAG Fairbanks banner in yesterday's Golden Days Parade. Most of Fairbanks was there. What a difference a few years of visibility in community make. The crowd was receptive, with pockets of cheers and salutes along the route.

Also a big thanks to Jenn for organizing the picnic. Thanks to the Imperial Court of All Alaska in helping underwrite the expenses. It was a good turnout of all ages and talent in the community. It was great to reconnect with friends who hadn't seen each other in a while.

The next big event will be the Tanana Valley State Fair. Kerry is still signing up volunteers and will have free passes for those willing to spend two hours at the PFLAG booth in the Borealus Pavilion anytime between noon and 10pm. (Leave a message at 45-PFLAG.)

Dates for the fair: August 6th through the 14th. If you are coming to Fairbanks during that time, stop by and say hi and see how Beverly has adapted the booth to fit the theme of "Barn in the USA." We aim to be contenders for the decoration prize. Thank you to Alaskans Together for supporting the costs of the fair booth.

If you know allies who support our community and would like to become members of PFLAG or provide funds for community events in conjunction with the Court and individuals creating gay-friendly space in Fairbanks, point them to Fairbanks PFLAG at or join our Facebook page.
Thanks to Jenn and Pete for providing this news from the Fairbanks LGBT community, and kudos for organizing a great picnic and parade group!

Memorial & Open House for FKen - Aug 5th

Some people did not hear about the initial memorial service for FKen Freedman held soon after his passing, so we're having a second memorial celebration of his life to coincide with the sale of his home and belongings. Friends and community members are invited to an Open House Remembrance Ceremony and Private Estate Sale on August 5, beginning at 5 p.m.
5-6 PM Hors d' oevres: Hearty hors d' oeuvres & open house. Catered by his favorite restaurant – Thai House!

6-7 PM Remembrance Ceremony: FKen's Celebration of Life was at the U/U Fellowship Hall on May 6th and was hurriedly organized to accommodate FKen's family from out of state. This is an opportunity for those who were not able to make the original service to collectively gather and share their memories. Those who were at the first service are again invited to this more informal event.

This will be a time to share stories and memories of a remarkable man who is a long-time friend and community organizer. His home, where this event is taking place, is the birthplace of the NorthView and the Identity Helpline. We hope you will join us for an evening with our community, as FKen liked to say, "our tribe" in this very special place.

7-8 PM Private Estate Sale for friends and community members: FKen's house will be on the market for sale in the next two weeks. Most of FKen's belongings are in place. This is an opportunity to purchase items from the estate sale before they are offered to the public on Friday and Saturday August 6 & 7th. The proceeds will go to continue FKen's support of his mother.
Please RSVP for the location and directions.

Arson? Anchorage Gay Float was torched *UPDATES* AFD needs our help!

UPDATE 3: The Butners have verified that the insurance inspector has not made a final report. That information came from a usually reliable source, but is incorrect and has been removed from the main post. My apologies to the Butners and the community for this series of misunderstandings and updates.


UPDATE 2: The Anchorage Fire Department has now posted their report HERE. "At this time, the cause will be listed as undetermined. The AFD Fire Investigator is seeking the public's help in identifying an unknown white male who was observed in the area by a witness only moments before the fire was discovered. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Anchorage Fire Department's Arson Hotline 267-5060 or Anchorage Crime Stoppers (561-STOP)." So it was probably arson, but they call it undetermined until they catch the guy.


CORRECTION: [The report stating that the fire was arson came from the insurance fire inspector. -- this information is incorrect and has been removed from the post.] The Anchorage Fire Department is still seeking information that will lead to the arrest of the potential arsonist and has not released a report yet. [The report is released and linked above.] Apologies for the confusion.


The Anchorage Fire Department has concluded [correction: is seeking the public's help in identifying an unknown white male who was observed in the area by a witness only moments before the fire was discovered and may have] deliberately burned down a Gay Pride Float two days before it would appear in the city's 4th of July parade.

The fire also destroyed the garage and damaged the house of Ken and Paula Butner, allies who kept the Imperial Court's float in a car tent in front of the garage. Their daughter was awakened around 5:30 a.m. on July 2 by the sound of paint cans exploding outside her window, and she woke the rest of the family. Luckily, no one was injured.
"They have finally finished the investigation, and said that it is not our fault or an accident," wrote Paula. "They said that it was started by someone! They are still asking for information from anyone who may know who started it."
The LGBTA community rallied and built a new float in less than 48 hours that included burned pieces salvaged from the original. They named the new float Phoenix Rising, and it won the Grand Prize in the July 4th parade.

Meanwhile, the city Fire Inspector labeled the fire "suspicious" and asked the state to assist in the investigation.
"This has been a horrible situation for everyone involved, and worse to know that this may have been a targeted crime," wrote Miss MeMe, Empress of the Imperial Court of All Alaska.

"I have been incredibly proud that our community has shown great courage and Pride, and I know that we will continue to work together to conquer hate towards our community and its allies. We also continue to support the Butners during what has been a challenging time for them, and continue to be grateful for all of the support they have shown the LGBTA community over the years."
A fund was set up to help the Butners repair their home and rebuild their garage, with security cameras and a big enough garage to store the float inside. A fundraising dinner has been announced for August 14 to replace the destroyed float equipment.
"Insurance will not cover the sound equipment belonging to Daphne Do All LaChores, emcee of Drag Queen Bingo and PrideFest Parade announcer," wrote Phyllis of Identity, Inc.

Hence, a fundrai$er to replace the equipment—a spaghetti feed with salad on Saturday afternoon, August 14, 2010, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at Guido's, 549 W. International Road. Tickets $10.00 per person, $5.00 under 10 years old. $5.50 of every adult ticket sold will go to Daph. There will also be a 50/50 split the pot and silent auction to raise funds for the equipment."
Daphne rode the Imperial Court float and dished to the crowds at both the July 4th parade and the Fur Rondy parade in February, and is co-host of the Friday Night Diva Show. Daphne and the Butners have organized the creation of the Imperial Court's annual float since 2002.
"We lost our trailer and all of the sound equipment, tools and supplies," Daphne commented on Linda's photo essay of the fire. "Ken and I started to upgrade the space into a workshop and storage facility to house all of the decorations and scraps of previous award winning floats. It's all gone now."
Tickets to the spaghetti feed fundraiser are on sale at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage, 336 East 6th Avenue. Cash or check donations will also be accepted.

If you have any information that might lead to the arrest of the arsonist, please contact the Anchorage Fire Department.

When Mayor Sullivan vetoed the equal rights ordinance last year, he said there was no evidence of anti-gay prejudice in Anchorage. Does he still think that? No one was injured - this time. What will it take for the mayor and city assembly to pass and sign, or override the veto and approve, a law that protects the LGBT residents of Anchorage?

- hat tip to Linda of Celtic Diva for her report on the fire, and the photo of the burned float. The Phoenix Rising photo is from Daphne's Facebook page.

Answers to "Why do you need a gay parade?"

A straight couple asked this question at the Alaska PrideFest parade and I posted my reply on the blog after reading the answer Homer PFLAG gave to a similar question about their float in the July 4th parade. The post got an interesting comment, and when I shared the link on Bent's FB page readers gave even more great answers - as I knew you would. (It's true, the readers are my best source of ideas. How did I do this blog before setting up the Facebook page?)

Our answers form a wonderful set of responses to anyone who faces this question, and show the diversity of Alaska's LGBTA community. Are the PrideFest committee chairs taking notes?

Jennifer from Homer PFLAG began the discussion with her letter on the emcee who dissed the LGBT Youth float in their July 4th parade:
"Some people have said, "Why do those gay people need to have a special float in the parade at all?" I would answer, that the reality of discrimination and ignorance towards LGBT people is very real in Homer, Alaska---particularly for young people."
I faced a similar question at Alaska PrideFest in Anchorage, struggled with the negative implications of the words "you need" and replied,
"Well, why do we need a July 4th parade?" I asked. "We don't - we have it because we want to celebrate our country."

"Even if we didn't need a gay pride parade, we'd want to have it to celebrate the LGBT community. We celebrate our LGBT groups, mostly run by volunteers, we celebrate the LGBT people in Alaska, we celebrate our friends and allies, and we celebrate that we can have a gay parade in Anchorage, that we have the right to peacefully assemble and celebrate our community. Like the 4th of July parade."
First, a reader made good points in a blog post comment:
I would have also mentioned that the Pride Parade comes at the end of Pride Week, which is celebrated in cities all over the country... during a month proclaimed by the President of the United States!

The LGBT celebration is no different than that of February and African-American History Month, or March and American Red Cross. Cheers for sticking to your guns, and educating... without getting up on a soap-box... LOL!
Then the FB readers jumped in with these interesting comments:
Why have a parade at all? To express our pride in something, to show how far we've come, to make known that we all are great. Parades are great shows of triumph. We have a gay pride because, hello, we're in the 21st Century, not the 18th. We have a gay pride because we're proud, too.

Because it's much friendlier than an equal rights march.

Processions have in all peoples and at all times been a natural form of public celebration, as forming an orderly, and impressive ceremony. Symbolic processions were an important tool in the non-violent protest of Gandhi. Marches on Washington include formal processions. I think for us, as a community, to have the parade we are demonstrating our heritage as well as our unity as a community.

Why? a community WE ALL are largely else are we to show that we are here?

In one respect, it's less about being proud of ourselves and more about showing ourselves to the world at large. We're showing the richness of our diversity and the support we enjoy from our friends and family. But just as much as highlighting our differences, we're celebrating the things that make us like everyone else, we love, laugh, party and share our lives with friends and family just the same way everyone else does.

Is "Why do we need a gay parade? the real question or is it more "Why must you publicly flaunt your gay selves? You know some folks are just not comfortable with anyone who does not fit inside their closet.

Unless every GLBT turns purple tomorrow they'll never know we are even here....THATs why we need a parade. Without it how will they even know we exist? If they don't know we exist then laws or omissions will be made to make out lives even MORE unequal.

To liven things up!

The answer to the question should it have been asked by someone who is not comfortable with gays is this: We do not need a gay parade, but you do.

To raise awareness that gays are everywhere/can be anybody and to celebrate that we are not alone!

I have met so many people who are still struggling to come out of the closet. When I was in the closet I felt ashamed of who I was as a person. Its important to see people who can assert their own identity for everyone who is still struggling, because no one should have to feel ashamed of who they are.

I love the ideas expressed here (it WAS one of our bigger parades)! With what happened to the Imperial Court's float showed the entire community who and what we're about. We are a loving, inclusive, and as expressed here, diverse community. Our friends, family, and allies especially showed true colors and really came together. I couldnt be more proud of the face we showed. And THAT'S why I feel a Parade is a celebration of who we are and a very healthy way to express our Diversity!
Such great answers. I learn more about this community with every post and discussion, from the generous people who send information to the responses of readers after the post is up. (Sometimes, they write the post for me!) I'm a lucky blogger.

This discussion began with straight people who are not supportive asking us to justify our parade. However, LGBT people also ask why we still have these parades. Next time you hear an LGBT friend - in Alaska or elsewhere - say they aren't going to their Pride Festival and we don't need gay parades any more, remember the answers above and the gay and straight people who do need and want an annual gay parade, for all kinds of reasons. Remember, and come to the parade!

FotF targets Murkowski on DADT & Defense Budget, part 2

Bent Alaska's report that an anti-gay national group Focus on the Family is calling Alaska voters to pressure Sen. Murkowski to vote against the annual Defense Budget because it includes the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was picked up by the blog Lez Get Real, and they filled in the missing information about the Burris Amendment.

The pre-recorded call received by Alaskan voters "summed up by using all the buzz words and concepts, something like 'if you don't condone 'open homosexuality' in the military or want your tax dollars spent on abortions at military bases, call Lisa Murkowski and tell her to vote no on the defense budget which has amendments to repeal DADT and bar abortions on military bases.'"

We know about DADT. Lez Get Real explains the pro-choice measure:
"The Abortion amendment FoF is talking about, is the Burris Amendment, which does not in fact affect the prohibition that currently exists on publicly funded abortions at armed services hospitals and even if the amendment passes, female service members will still be forced to privately finance the procedure, thanks to the Hyde Amendment. What it does, is allow military hospitals to provide abortions to women service members in war zones only, at the service member's own expense."
Yes, FotF wants to punish all service members by withholding the Defense Budget just because of these two amendments:
"Because that budget also includes the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and a provision for female service members to pay for an abortion at a military hospital, with funds out of their own pockets, should they happen to be raped in a combat zone… so of course the FoF does not like that at all, because as we know its better not to buy bullets and body armor for our service people should the budget include anything to do with the queers or women."
Please call Senator Murkowski and urge her to vote YES for the repeal of DADT: 202-224-6665, or toll free in Alaska at 1-877-829-6030.

Her other Alaska phone numbers and online email contact page are listed HERE.

Thanks to LGR for adding to this report.

Gay Games 2010 begins July 31

The Gay Games VIII will take place in Cologne, Germany from July 31 to August 7. Around 12,000 participants from more than 70 countries are expected to attend the Gay Games and celebrate the principles of participation, inclusion and personal best.

The invitation is open to everyone, whether heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, male, female, transgender or transsexual, and regardless of religion, nationality, ethnic heritage, political convictions, age or physical condition.

The motto is Be part of it! and Team Alaska will be there to represent us. You can follow the international action at Gay Games Cologne, and I'll post updates from Team AK!

Watch the PSA "Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 Welcomes You"

The new Duke & Duchess of Fairbanks

Congratulations to the Imperial Court's new Grand Duke Lynnette and Grand Duchess Kara of Fairbanks!

I am honored and thrilled to hold the title of Fairbanks Grand Duke XVIII. Thanks goes out to everyone who attended [Saturday] night's show and for those of you who encouraged me to run this year.

I have lived in Fairbanks since May 1998 and have been a non-active participant of the community for years. My first drag show I ever attended was back in the "Palace" days.... where I had the great opportunity to meet some of the best Kings and Queens.

I am interested in helping this community not only grow in size but grow together for the good of outreach and community togetherness. During my year as Grand Duke XVIII I hope everyone will support me, advise me, and help me help OUR community be stronger than its ever been. I am open to any and all suggestions to make this year a FABULOUS year!! LET'S DO THIS TOGETHER!!!
Kara, Duchess of Fairbanks, doesn't have a new page set up, but she's smiling in the Ducal Ball photos! Congrats to both of them, and to the Fairbanks community.

Cory for Emperor 38 of All Alaska

Cory Crowder, a previous Imperial Crown Prince of Anchorage, is running for Emperor.
Hi Everyone... my name is Cory Crowder and I'm a candidate for Emperor 38 of All Alaska!!! That's right, I finally decided to run. I hope to see all of you Saturday, August 21st at the G&L Community Center for voting!!!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or I'm sure I'll run into you on the campaign trail!!!
Cory will also be at Wii Wednesdays - EnE Candidate Edition at Mad Myrna's with the other candidates.

Howl (trailer)

A new film Howl was the opening night feature at Outfest, the 11 day LGBTQ film festival in Los Angeles.
The film interweaves three stories: the landmark 1957 obscenity trial over Ginsberg's epic poem, an imaginative animated journey through Howl, and a portrait of a gay man who found new ways to express himself and in doing so, galvanized a generation. Howl will open in select theaters on September 24.

James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg - poet, counter-culture adventurer and chronicler of the Beat Generation. In his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style, Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career, the poem HOWL. Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, HOWL is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn) sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Hamm) argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alesssandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban).

HOWL is simultaneously a portrait of a renegade artist breaking down barriers to find love and redemption and an imaginative ride through a prophetic masterpiece that rocked a generation and was heard around the world.
Watch the Howl trailer:

Stephen for Emperor 38 of All Alaska

Stephen 'Little Duck' Moore, the previous Duke of Fairbanks, is running for Emperor. (Stephen and Miss Dixie stepped down at last Saturday's Ducal Ball, a fundraiser for the ICOAA.)
To the Community Members of the Great State of Alaska:

My name is Stephen Moore and I am also a Candidate for Emperor 38. Over the next few weeks, you will have a great time getting to know all of us candidates and learning what each of us want to do to support you! If you would like to know more about me, the Imperial Court of Alaska, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Vote Stephen for Emperor XXXVIII of Alaska is my official FB page that will be updated all along this awesome journey! I love to have fun and do outreach to the community as much as possible.

Please come vote on August 21 at the GLCC in Anchorage, or in my hometown at College Floral in Fairbanks. Polls open at 9 am and will close at 8 pm. EVERY VOTE COUNTS!

VOTE STEPHEN on April 21, 2010! Stephen for Emperor XXXVIII of Alaska!

Samantha for Empress 38 of All Alaska

Joseph Williams, the Alaska Make-up Queen, is running for Empress as "Samantha SoWrong."
Hi EVERYONE, I am Joseph Williams, AKA Samantha SoWrong, and I am aspiring to be Empress 38 of ALL of Alaska!! Love, Unity, and Universal White Light FOR ALL! If you would like to know more about the I.C.O.A.A check out their web page: ICOAA. SEE YOU ALL ON THE CAMPAIN TRAIL! "gosh I hope I get a book deal..."
Samantha hosted a back yard grill and fundraiser last week, and will be at the Wii Wednesday candidate meet 'n greets at Mad Myrna's.

I am running for Empress 38 of All of Alaska under the stage name, Samantha So Wrong. Yes something so "wrong" really is SO RIGHT!

The Imperial Court of All of Alaska started in 1971 and is the oldest Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Allied organization in Alaska. Their mission, to raise money and give it back to the community. As Empress, I will be representing the community and holding fundraisers and traveling out of state to represent our court on the circuit. I have to win first.

I win by YOUR VOTES. Anyone who is an Alaskan Resident, is 18 and has an Alaskan ID can request an absentee ballot, but you have to do it now! You have to email your request. You will get a ballot that will have all the info on it. They will need proof you are of legal voting age. It will not count with out it!! (making sure I say it enough....) Email your request to Joani.

Make sure you VOTE FOR SAMANTHA SoWRONG! I will need EVERY VOTE I CAN GET!! There are three of us girls running for the Title!!

If you are going to be in Anchorage, vote at the GLCCA on Saturday Aug 21, 2010. If you're in Fairbanks, you can vote at College Floral.

I love you All, and thank you for your time reading this!

Aka " Samantha SoWrong "

Republican senator apologizes for anti-gay career

Roy Ashburn, an outed Republican state senator from California, apologized for his years of anti-gay votes and explained why the republican party should support LGBT rights, in a guest essay on Gay Politics:
"I should begin with an apology. I am sincerely sorry for the votes I cast and the actions I took that harmed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Just as important to me, I am sorry for not stepping forward and speaking up as an elected official on behalf of equal treatment for all people. For nearly 26 years, the voters in my area of California trusted me as their elected representative. I look back now knowing there is so much more I could have done to inform the public about LGBT people and to fight for equal rights under the law. Regrettably and selfishly, I took another path in my life and political career—I chose to conceal who I truly am and to then actually vote against the best interests of people like me. All this was done because I was afraid–terrified, really–that somehow I would be revealed as gay.

My past actions harmed gay people. In fact, all people are harmed when there is unequal treatment of anyone under the constitution and laws of our country. I do not believe in discrimination, and yet my votes advanced unequal of treatment of gay people and promoted the suspicion and fear that limits people from being forthright and accepted in society.

Now, from what I have lived and learned, I want to do the best that I can to advance equality and freedom for all people. Given the shame and confusion that many feel over their sexual orientation, perhaps my situation can serve as an example of both the harm that can come from denial and fear, and the opportunity to try to make things right.

... Now, I am somewhat of a novelty in politics. I am a gay Republican. I have always been a Republican, even as an eight-year-old boy with an intense interest in campaigning, elections and government. To me, Republican principles hold that each individual is special and unique; each individual should have the maximum freedom and opportunity under our Constitution; that government has no business in the private lives of our citizens.

If these truly are the guiding values of Republicans—how did we ever get into the situation where my party is viewed as the anti-gay-rights party? Well, maybe because Republicans, including myself, have voted and acted to oppose equality and freedom for gay people.

It's time for fair-minded Republicans to speak up for what our party really stands for—individual freedom and limited government. If we truly believe the greatness of America is founded on the individual achievements of ordinary citizens acting with the maximum amount of personal liberty, then there should be no debate over where Republicans stand on the rights of LGBT Americans."

I'm impressed that he apologized and seems to have learned important lessons. And he makes an interesting case for why the real values of the GOP support gay rights. He is being honest now, instead of denying the truth and crawling deeper into the closet, like other outed homophobes (Larry Craig, George Rekers, etc... there's a long list.) I hope this new honesty will make his life more joyful and less stressful.

Too bad he built his fame, fortune and political career on voting against every LGBT issue that would have made life better for the people of his district.

Paige for Empress 38 of All Alaska

Miss Paige Langit, co-host of the Friday Night Diva Show at Mad Myrna's, is running for Empress.
I am happy to announce that I am running for the title of Empress 38 of the Imperial Court of All Alaska! I would appreciate your support! I have a fan page up aptly titled Vote Paige for Empress 38 of All Alaska! LOL Follow me on the campaign trail!
Paige shared "just a lil' bit" about herself:
My name is Paige Langit, and I've been an active member of the ICOAA for the past eight years.

As a straight ally, I wish to enlighten the straight community as to what it is the Imperial Court does, and hopefully with that understanding, be able to form a more cohesive bond between the GLBT and straight communities, especially the new generation. (Not quite Star Trek...) I want to see more involvement in the fundraising efforts this organization puts together, because in the end, everyone benefits; from the students who are awarded the scholarships and charitable organizations that are given donations, to the people who donate their time and effort who will build and create better and new relationships and networks with others, regardless of their personal lifestyle.

I'm 29 years old. I think my age gives me an upper hand at this point in time. During my time as Duchess, I found that I was able to associate with the younger crowd, and help introduce them to the Court and involve a new generation of the GLBT community who, in turn, help give back to their own community. (It's a wonderfully vicious cycle...)

I have never felt more part of something, as I have with the GLBT community and the Imperial Court of All Alaska. With the experiences that I have had in (most specifically) the last two years within the Court and community, with involvement in almost every fundraiser in the State, including Fairbanks and Juneau, I feel that I am ready to give back to the a community which has welcomed me and let me find my own place within it. (... kicking and screaming of course...)

I know this isn't really much about my past or what my favorite foods are... do I like long walks on the beach, etc... but it's the important things that are going through my mind right now. :)
Starting this week, Mad Myrna's is hosting Wii Wednesdays and the first few weeks are called "EnE Candidate Edition". Miss Paige - Anchorage's Diva will be hosting Wii Wednesdays, and all of the local candidates running for Emperor and Empress will be there to meet people and talk about the community. See the candidates in action and get your game on at the same time - Wii Wednesdays, 6-10 p.m. at Myrna's.

"Why do you need a gay parade?"

In a letter from Homer PFLAG about the emcee who wouldn't say the words gay and lesbian at the July 4th parade, Jennifer also responded to a loaded question asked by some locals, "Why do those gay people need to have a special float in the parade at all?" She wrote that "the reality of discrimination and ignorance towards LGBT people is very real in Homer, Alaska---particularly for young people."

A straight couple visiting from Texas asked me a similar question at the Anchorage Pride parade, the week before July 4th: "Why do you need to have a gay parade?"

The tourists were stuck at the intersection of 6th Ave. and I St. because the APD blocked the cross streets along the route for the hour long parade without bothering to divert traffic or even warn the cars to turn at 7th. (Who's bright idea was that?)

Like Jennifer, I started to answer the question as asked, explaining about the ordinance veto and the red-sirts demanding that we be fired for being gay... but the parade wasn't a protest, and the answer felt incomplete because the question was biased.

The question asks us to prove why we need a gay parade, or an LGBT float, as though we were taking something we might not deserve. It makes us defensive, and lets them argue that we don't need the parade and shouldn't be allowed to have it.

But the parade is a celebration, not an argument.

"Well, why do we need a July 4th parade?" I asked. "We don't - we have it because we want to celebrate our country."

"Even if we didn't need a gay pride parade, we'd want to have it to celebrate the LGBT community. We celebrate our LGBT groups, mostly run by volunteers, we celebrate the LGBT people in Alaska, we celebrate our friends and allies, and we celebrate that we can have a gay parade in Anchorage, that we have the right to peacefully assemble and celebrate our community. Like the 4th of July parade."

The woman just stared at me, but the man nodded. "OK, I can see that," he said.

Five candidates run for Emperor & Empress 38

The Imperial Court of All Alaska has five candidates running for their highest positions of Emperor and Empress this year, and the campaigns are in full swing. Four of the candidates sent introductions to Bent Alaska, and they'll be posted over the next few days. Get ready to meet the new top title holders of the ICOAA!

If you are 18+ years old and have a valid Alaska ID, you can vote. Voting day is August 21, in Anchorage at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center (336 East 5th Ave.), in Fairbanks at College Floral (3260 College Road) and throughout the state by absentee ballot. (To request an absentee ballot, contact Joani.)

The candidates for Emperor are Stephen Moore and Cory Crowder. The Empress candidates are Mariquita, Paige Langit and Samantha SoWrong. The new Emperor and Empress will be crowned at Coronation on Labor Day weekend.

Samantha held the first candidate meet 'n greet back yard barbeque on Thursday. Starting tonight, Mad Myrna's is hosting "Wii Wednesdays - EnE Candidate Edition" featuring Wii games and the candidates every Wednesday from 6-10 p.m.

The candidate intros will be posted one a day, starting tomorrow. Good luck to all of the candidates!

Homer July 4th emcee "would not say the words lesbian or gay" *Updated with contact info

Tim White, DJ at K-WAVE, was the emcee who dissed the LGBT float in Homer's July 4th parade, and Jennifer Baker of Homer PFLAG wrote this letter to the local newspapers about the incident:
I am writing on behalf of the Homer Chapter of PFLAG, to express my heartfelt appreciation to the community of Homer for the cheers and support we received for our float during this year's 4th of July Parade. This year, PFLAG (Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) marched with the newly-formed Homer Youth Gay-Straight Alliance, in order to strengthen efforts at providing support and solidarity for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) youth in Homer.

I am also writing to express my concern about the significant omissions by the emcee of this year's parade, Tim White, while he was reading the description of our organizations and float. Rather than reading the prepared statement as written, he omitted the names of our organizations and would not say the words lesbian or gay, which were part of our statement. This omission was quite obvious and did not appear to be accidental.

It is tragic to think that this incident might be related to anything other than a logistical mishap, especially on a day when we are celebrating a day that is all about freedom. It is my sincere hope, and that of Homer PFLAG, that the Homer Chamber of Commerce is committed to having the voice of the 4th of July Parade be one that would never in any way be associated with discrimination, censorship, or homophobia.

Some people have said, "Why do those gay people need to have a special float in the parade at all?" I would answer, that the reality of discrimination and ignorance towards LGBT people is very real in Homer, Alaska---particularly for young people. The intention of PFLAG and the GSA in our community is to promote equal treatment of all people---regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In the words of the ACLU, "freedom does not protect itself." Silence is deadly---and the silence of this year's parade emcee has given us an opportunity to speak a bit louder.
White owes an apology to PFLAG, the GSA and the people of Homer! And the Homer Chamber of Commerce needs to choose emcees who will read the LGBT group's prepared statement as it's written, the same way they introduce all the other floats and marchers.

Make sure the LGBT youth of Homer are not dissed again - Call the Homer Chamber of Commerce at 907-235-7740, or write a letter to the Homer Tribune and the Homer News.

And if White doesn't apology, don't listen to K-WAVE.

Sara's News Roundup 7/18/10

Recent LGBT news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, MSNBC, July 15, 2010

Washington, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, July 15, 2010

England, Advocate, July 16, 2010

Washington, Human Rights Campaign, July 15, 2010

Toronto, The Record, July 17, 2010

Queensland, ABC, July 12, 2010

Vienna, Advocate, July 17, 2010

More Light Presbyterians, Flashnet, July 14, 2010

Michigan,, July 16, 2010

DimeWars, July 17, 2010

Lappeenrenta, Finland, AFP, July 16, 2010

U.S., Net Imperative, July 14, 2010

Mailbag: the Good, the Bad and the Clueless

As Alaska's only LGBT news and events blog, Bent gets mail with a variety of questions, suggestions and tips. In addition to events and news from locals, this week included a donation, a hater, a rude reporter and a clueless outsider.

The Good
A wonderful reader made a donation to Bent Alaska through the donation button on the blog. THANK YOU. As a volunteer blogger, I write because it's important and useful and fun. I also appreciate contributions, for the financial support and for the compliment that you consider Bent worthy of support.

If you like Bent, please consider making a contribution through the Donate button on the top right side of the blog. Thanks!

The Bad
As an LGBT blog in the moderate main city of a conservative state, Bent also receives mail full of anger, fear and hate. I don't take it personally - those messages say more about the person who spent several minutes of their life attacking someone they have never met just because that person is different. For example, today's hater said that I'm going to Hell for being gay, a common theme:
"Homosexuality is a sin against God. God loves you so much. He will allow you to live a lie if you so choose; not because He hates you, because He is HOLY, set apart from sin. Your sin will result in death. You will spend eternity in hell - forever seperated from God. You must repent of your sin, and except Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you are a homosexual, repent. Your eternity draws near."
This comment was on a post about Jerry Prevo calling gay Christians "deadly" and attacking the popular Christian musician Ray Boltz, who is gay and recently performed in Anchorage. Since Prevo is not HOLY and he spreads lies about us all the time, I guess this hater thinks Prevo's lies will result in his death.

The Good and Bad
Bent gets media requests from local reporters as well as from LGBT news agencies all over the country. The national focus is often "What is it like to be gay in Sarah Palin's home state?" and "I'd like to interview someone gay in Wasilla."

The local reporters ask about specific topics, and they're reporting LGBT stories more often since the equal rights ordinance. The LGBT community has developed good connections with the local reporters.

Last week, I had an unpleasant exchange with a straight young reporter I'd never heard of. He kept asking for my phone number, over and over, but offered no reason to work with him - no story, no introduction, no knowledge of LGBTQ issues - and was rude when I declined.

This reminds me to be grateful for all the polite media professionals - print, online, TV & radio - who report our community's news with accuracy and respect. Thank you.

The Clueless
Bent Alaska has many readers who subscribe to the blog through RSS and email. They get each post when it's published, with all the photos and links, including the title linked to the post's permanent page and the words "You are subscribed to Bent Alaska" with the blog name linked to the home page. [The subscribe tabs are on the top right side of the blog.]

One subscriber from the Lower 48 clicked the Reply link and asked, "Do you have a website?"

We all have brain-dead moments, and I try to be polite no matter how absurd the question. I explained that yes, this post came from my website.

His reply: "What is the address of your website?"


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