LDS Leaders refuse to meet with Soulforce Equality Riders

Despite numerous requests for a meeting with high ranking church officials this week, a group of gay activists were instead forced to discuss their concerns with members of the church’s public relations and public policy teams.

According to Q Salt Lake,”Members of the Soulforce 2012 Equality Ride reached out to Church leaders to ask them to cut ties with to Evergreen International, a group that promotes so-called reparative therapy, to stop funding and promoting groups that are fighting marriage equality, to encourage LDS Business College to bring its policies on gays current with Mormon teachings and to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the faith’s policies for church employees.”

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports,”Equality Ride had sought a meeting with Mormon higher-ups, including apostles or members of the church’s governing First Presidency. Instead, the advocates huddled with LDS legislative lobbyist Bill Evans, public-affairs representative John Taylor, former TV reporter Ruth Todd and LDS attorney Alexander Dushku, who helped write briefs defending the church’s position on California’s Proposition 8.”

Equality Rider Robert Moore, tells Q Salt Lake, “I am a member of this church, and because I am gay my leaders apparently find me so revolting they refuse to be in the same room as me. It just makes me realize how important it is to have this dialogue.”

Jason Conner, Equality Ride’s co-director, described the meeting to the Tribune as “overall positive,” noting that Evans in particular was “very gracious and hospitable.”

The Equality Ride, launched in 2006, targets its tour at college campuses and those communities in which religious oppression and prejudice have major strongholds, most often at the expense of those who are part of sexual orientation or gender identity minorities.

The riders will pull into Boise this afternoon for a 4:00 pm press conference on the State House steps. The stop in Boise will include a potluck dinner, screening of the award-winning documentary film”Love Free or Die” and an informal discussion with the riders themselves.

“An Evening with the Soulforce Equality Riders” will be held tonight from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at The Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship located at 6200 North Garrett Street in Boise. The event is free and open to the public.

You are encouraged to bring a dish to share during the dinner.

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Watch: Gay Mormons at BYU say “It Gets Better”

A panel discussion on homosexuality at Brigham Young University drew a standing room only crowd this week.

According to blogger Trevor Antley, the “panel of three self-identified homosexual students and one bisexual student talked openly regarding their struggles with their sexuality and how they have coped with their same-gender attraction along with their Mormon faith.”

“All four students were attending BYU and had committed to living Church standards and the BYU Honor Code,” Antley reports.

While the students are to be commended for creating positive dialog regarding a subject that has long been taboo in most LDS circles, as Queerty’s Dan Avery points out, positive is a relative term.

“Most disturbingly, one of the speakers, Brandon Bastian, is married to a woman and has a young daughter. The secret to his “success” over homosexuality? “A genuine love… not based on physical intimacy,” he told the crowd.”

“That’s not a healthy marriage—that’s a perversity.  Is it any wonder, as Bastian casually mentioned, that his blushing bride is on medications that suppresses her libido?”, writes Avery.

Still, it’s a far cry from the days when the university ran a program that used electric shock therapy and other methods in an attempt to change a student’s sexuality.

Carri P. Jenkins, assistant to the president of BYU, told ABC News last march that,”Our understanding is that most behaviorists no longer believe this is an appropriate treatment for those who are seeking change.”

As further proof that attitudes among the university and its leaders maybe changing, a group of gay LDS students have produced an amazing video for the “It Get’s Better” project.

According to the video, there are over 1800 LGBT students who attend the church owned university.

 

 

New Company Puts Pride in the “Weekend Getaway”

If you’re looking for a perfect weekend Vegas getaway without all that flying or driving, Pride Tours USA maybe just what you’re looking for.

Think of the Pride Tours USA bus as a party on wheels and you get the picture, “Our tours start with fun from the moment you get on the bus! We have created a fun atmosphere on the coach that include games, music, movies and informative narration,”  Says Co-Owner Peggy Day.

Set to make its inaugural tour on April 6th-8th, Pride Tours USA is the brain child of former College of Southern Idaho students, David Beach and Peggy Day.  Together the pair have over 20 years experience in the travel and transportation industry, so you know your going to be in safe hands.

It’s  an easy way to book an all-inclusive weekend for one low price. For example, Beach says  the inaugural tour to Vegas includes Hotel stay at the Luxor or New York New York, cocktail party and dinner and admission to “An evening at La Cage.” Other tours are also in the works.

Beach says Pride USA Tours is working hard to make sure every one has more than just a good time, “We’re striving to provide our guests with a safe, fun, affordable quality adventure that they will remember…for time and all eternity.”

This is also a one of a kind regional tour where the LGBTQIA Community is definitely welcome.

Beach, who is a former member of the now defunct of the Twin Falls’ LGBT Community Center as well as former officer of CSI’S Gay-Straight Alliance says,“The idea for Pride Tours USA came after driving a bus tour through San Francisco and speeding past the Castro… two passengers, who were obviously more than friends, came up and asked me why we weren’t going to stop… I went back to the hotel that night and couldn’t find any tour company that catered specifically to a LGBT and allied crowd.”

Day says it was Beach’s community minded vision  that sold her on the idea,”“When David approached me, I was excited because I too have wanted to go on a tour that was more LGBT friendly. When I told my children about it they were very excited also and wanted to make sure they could go as well. Hence the ‘…but we do everyone’ slogan… We want to include everyone in our adventures and hope every business will strive for that in the future as well.”

They’ll even pick you up and get you back home. “We will leaving from Boise on April 6th, making stops in Twin Falls and Salt Lake. We can also make other stops if arrangements are made at time of booking,” says Beach.

Prices are cheap too. Only $399.00 per person or $650.00 per couple. Where else can you get a deal like that?

Better hurry and book your package now though. With Valentines Day coming up, you know that the bus is going to fill up fast.

Call 1-801-349-2420, visit their website or Facebook page to book your seats  now.

A Candidate For The 99 Percent? Former SLC Mayor Kicks Off Presidential Bid

Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, who for years has been a champion of  progressive causes such as LGBTQIA rights, global warming and immigration, announced Monday that he is seeking the newly formed Justice Party’s nomination to be the next President of the United States.

Before you think that Rocky has gone off the deep end, listen to this, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, “The Justice Party wants to see a constitutional amendment curbing corporate money in politics and limiting the amount wealthy people can give to candidates.”

Sound familiar?

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune,“Organizers such as Lenny Brody of Chicago hope to merge the Occupy protests with the Justice Party, creating a broad grass-roots campaign supported by small donations. Anderson said he would not accept more than $100 per person.”

For decades Anderson has been an outspoken champion of human rights, government reform, and environmental advocate.  According to a press release,”He has fought vigorously for compassionate and rational immigration reform, for full equality for the LGBTQIA community, for campaign finance reform, and for an end to the disastrous so-called war on drugs. In addition, he has championed the implementation of effective substance abuse education and treatment programs, for effective action to end the worsening climate crisis, for reform of our criminal justice system, and for the protection of human rights.”

He also had the balls to not only call out GOP talking points parrot Sean Hannity on a potential impeachment of George W Bush a few years ago, but he obliterated him as well:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

As for a possible split in democratic votes? Anderson isn’t all that concerned. He tells the Guardian UK that,”The more time has gone on, the more it has become clear that we’re not going see change in this country with these two parties,” he says. “There are lots of good individuals in the Democratic party, [but] without Democrats voting the way they did in Congress, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. We wouldn’t have suffered as a nation because of these Bush tax cuts. Obama received more money from Wall Street than any presidential candidate ever. And they got a great return on their investment.”

Paul Zeitz, the acting chairman of the Justice Party who has primarily worked on international AIDS prevention, tells the Salt Lake City Tribune,”We are not a third party. We plan to be a major political party,” he said. “We are not doing this to be an irritant.”

Two Spirits: Salt Lake To Screen Documentary on Life and Tragic Death of Transgender Teen

On June 16th,2001 16-year-old Fred Martinez was was attacked and beaten to death in Cortez, Colorado. His attacker, 18-year old Shaun Murphy,  would later brag to his friends that he had,”beat up a fag.”

Martinez’s decomposed body was found June 21, five days after his disappearance, in a desert canyon on the edge of Cortez, known as “The Pits”.

Martinez’s incredible life  story as a Navajo nádleehí, a male-bodied person with a feminine nature, has been captured on film by Director Lydia Nibley.

On the website for Two Spirits, the film’s producers write,”Fred became one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at sixteen. Between tradition and controversy, sex and spirit, and freedom and fear, lives the truth—the bravest choice you can make is to be yourself.”

The heart breaking film which was shown earlier this on most PBS stations through out the county as part of the “Independent Lens” series, has won numerous awards and is being shown in communities and churches across the country.

Folks in the Salt Lake and Logan areas will be able to see the film tonight, Tuesday, November 8th at the  at the City Library auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, and at the Taggart Student Center, Utah State University, Logan.

The free Screenings are presented by the Utah Film Center. Nibley will be on hand at both events to answer questions and to share her thoughts on the film.

For those of us who can’t make it to the screenings, if you haven’t seen the film it’s worth tracking down a copy. You can order it from the producers website HERE.

 

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