Thursday, June 08, 2006

Nuvo On Pride, Prejudice And Politics

In recognition of Gay Pride Week for Indiana's GLBT community, Nuvo's latest edition features a lengthy piece by Laura McPhee which takes a historical look at the struggle for gay civil rights, what's happening in Indiana right now and who's involved in the battle. She traces the fight back to the famous Stonewall riot in New York City in response to police arrests in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn of patrons for being homosexual. McFee writes:

If there is such a thing as a “homosexual agenda,” it was born at Stonewall and doesn’t seem to require homosexuality as a condition for its advocacy. Even with the diverse range of opinion within the various gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movements, most individuals and groups agree that all human beings deserve equal rights, respect and protection under the law, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Advocates also agree that prejudice is dangerous, not just for GLBT individuals but for all members of society.

Gay rights advocacy continues to require political activism as a necessary means of informing our democratic process. This can be as simple as casting a well-informed ballot on Election Day, writing letters to elected representatives or wielding economic power by shopping only at businesses that support equality. It might include joining a particular organization or supporting a particular cause with your money, time or talents. And it can still sometimes mean taking to the streets, angry and proud, brazenly demanding an end to institutionalized oppression.

There are many reasons to celebrate Gay Pride this weekend, not the least of which is to honor those who were first brave enough to publicly do so. But it is just as important to remember the roots of political activism inherent in any Gay Pride celebration and to honor the legacy of those who have made the advances in equality for gay individuals since the summer of 1969 possible.

McPhee examines several GLBT groups in her story. The Log Cabin Republicans and Indiana Stonewall Democrats are both featured political organizations. Karen Bell of the Log Cabin Republicans tells McPhee, “We’re not the type to protest at the Statehouse; our efforts are more quiet — supporting candidates financially and lobbying our positions in a more behind-the-scenes way.” Reacting to the Indiana Democrat Party's recent decision to give ISD a seat on its state committee, Ellen Anderson said, “By taking this step, the Indiana Democratic Party is showing its commitment to the politics of inclusion.” She added, “Groups like ISD need to be at the table when questions of policy and priorities are considered.”

Republican Indianapois city-county councilor Scott Keller gets a mention for receiving the "Heartland Hero Award" from the national Log Cabin Republican organization. McPhee notes that "In Indiana, the Stonewall Democrats have received as much opposition to gay rights from state and local lawmakers in their own party, as Log Cabin Republicans have in theirs. She points out several notable exceptions, including Sen. Glenn Howard, Sen. Billie Breaux, Rep. David Orentlicher, Rep. Mae Dickinson, Rep. Greg Porter, Rep. Ed. Mahern, Rep. Bill Crawford, Rep. Vanessa Summers and Rep. John Day.

McPhee's article also discusses a number of organizations and resources available to Indiana's GLBT community. McFee has a very flattering listing for Advance Indiana. She writes:

Gary Welsh’s blog, “Advance Indiana,” is perhaps the best resource for GLBT individuals, activists and supporters in the state. For more than a year, Welsh has provided intelligent and accurate news, commentary and blog postings of unparalleled intelligence and insight on matters of equality.

Thanks very much to Nuvo and Laura for the mention. The special edition for Pride is a great service to Indiana's GLBT community. And if I might add, it is far superior to the coverage provided in Indiana's largest GLBT publication, The Word. Please pick up a copy of Nuvo to get a full run down on the Pride activities this week.


Wilson46201 said...

fwiw, who are the GOP State Legislators who have openly supported and voted for LGBT rights? How many GOP City-County Councillors voted with Scott Keller on the Indpls HRO? Which GOP Senator voted for the FMA?

Advance Indiana said...

Wilson--I can think of no Republican state legislator who has openly supported and voted for GLBT rights. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me. One Republican councilor voted with Keller, and that was Lance Langsford. Indiana's Lugar voted for FMA, while 7 of his GOP colleagues voted against it.

Gary E. Spittal said...

Laura McPhee deserves to be applauded as a first-rate journalist. Personally, I think her investigative reports and feature stories are among the very best I've read in Nuvo since the thought-provoking, always on-target commentaries of the late, great Harrison Ullman. Also agree with your observation about Nuvo vs The Word (and not just in relation to Pride coverage).