Articles in Homer
What’s buzzin’, cuzzin? The Rockabilly Ball, that’s what!
All cats and daddy-o’s are invited to the Rockabilly Ball, a benefit for Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, on April 16, 2011 at Alice’s Champagne Palace! So slap on your boss threads, coif your pompadour and join KBFPC for this rockin’ bash!
Don’t be a square, come and dance to the sounds of Iron Mermaid, eat scrumptious morsels from Maura’s Cafe, gawk at the babes from Mad Myrna’s and fork over your bread at the live auction.
Tickets are $25 in advance, available at KBFPC and Two Sisters Bakery, or $30 at the door. For updates, check out the Rockabilly Ball event page on Facebook.
A benefit for Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic
Saturday, April 16 · 7:00pm – 11:30pm
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
Entertainers from Mad Myrna’s
Live Music by Iron Mermaid
Auction of paintings by Steve Collins
Junkyard Auction ~ auctioneer Dave Aplin!
Hors d’œuvres by Maura’s Cafe
Divine drink concoctions by Homer’s best mixologists
Alice’s Champagne Palace
195 E Pioneer Avenue
Folksinger and straight ally Carrie Newcomer performs three concerts in Alaska this week, March 24–27, 2011, for her Before and After tour: Seldovia on Thursday, Anchorage on Saturday, and Palmer on Sunday. She was in Sitka last week.
The main annual events held by the LGBT organizations and local communities in Alaska are listed here in calendar order, along with city-wide events that we participate in every year.
Fur Rondy Grand Parade (Feb 26) – The Imperial Court creates a float for the Rondy Parade in downtown Anchorage.
Femme Fatale (mid-April) – The Imperial Court’s Juneau show closes the state legislative session and is a benefit for Four A’s.
Day of Silence (April 15) and Pride Prom (April 23 in Anchorage) – Alaska’s students, teachers and Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA’s) join the National Day of Silence, and break their silence celebrating at Pride Prom.
Celebration of Change (April 23) – Radical Arts for Women’s ‘break-up’ performance celebrates women, music and art in Anchorage.
Juneau Pride Chorus spring concert (April 30) – The concert is a spirited evening of women, song and dance at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, and the chorus performs at various events during the spring and summer.
LGBT Pride Picnic (May 30, Memorial Day) – The Anchorage Picnic and BBQ celebrate unity in the community and the beginning of summer.
Alaska Pride Week and Festival (3rd week in June) – The summer solstice parade and festival celebrates LGBT Pride in downtown Anchorage, following a week of Pride events.
Northern Exposure (during Pride Week this year) – Alaska’s new gay & straight BDSM/Leather conference returns for a second year.
Juneau Pride Picnic and Glacier Hike (summer) – Juneau celebrates Pride with a GLBT community picnic and glacier hike organized by SEAGLA.
Marching in July 4th Parades – LGBT contingents design floats and march in July 4th parades in Anchorage and Homer.
PFLAG in Golden Days Parade (late July) and Tanana Valley State Fair (August) – PFLAG and the Fairbanks LGBTQA community march in the annual Gold Rush parade, host a Pride Picnic after the parade, and create a booth for the Interior state fair.
Coronation (Labor Day Weekend, Sept.) – An extravaganza of performances in Anchorage invests the new Emperor and Empress of the Imperial Court of All Alaska, and announces community awards and scholarships.
Pride Conference (Saturday near October 11) – Identity’s back-to-school youth conference is inspired by National Coming Out Day, celebrated nationally on October 11.
Alaskans Together annual meeting (Sunday after Pride Conference) – The state-wide LGBT advocacy group holds a strategy meeting each year in Anchorage.
Thanksgiving Community Meal (Thanksgiving Day) – Several gay-owned businesses in Anchorage host a Thanksgiving Day meal for the LGBT community.
World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) – Alaska commemorates World AIDS Day with red ribbons and candlelight vigils sponsored by Four A’s and IAA in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.
Arctic Heat (Jan. 2012) – The Men’s Club chooses the new Bear and Leather titleholders every other year.
Alaska’s LGBT groups hold many other events and performances, as well as weekly and monthly meetings and events, that the community is invited to attend. Visit the links in the side column of the blog for more lists of Where to find LGBT Alaska.
The results are in from the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, and Team Alaska kicked butt! Five gay and lesbian athletes and four supporters traveled from Alaska to Germany as Team Alaska, competing in squash, martial arts, road racing and sport shooting. Their medal count is impressive.
“It has been brought to the attention of the Homer Chamber of Commerce that part of the narrative provided by Homer PFLAG for its participation in the Fourth of July Parade was not read during the parade. The Chamber regrets this oversight and apologizes for the omission.”
“Along the route, when the crowd realized who we were, they often loudly increased their cheering. However, the emcee in the judging booth who read every other group’s information or prepared statement refused to announce our name, mission, wouldn’t say PFLAG, GSA, lesbian, gay, or anything about us other than “Float #10… uh… building community… and diversity.”
“I appreciate both your taking the time to meet me in person and the emailed response you sent last week. PFLAG were and remain very concerned about the fact that the emcee chosen by the Homer Chamber of Commerce omitted the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered” during our participation in the Homer 4th of July Parade. I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some background about who we are and what we stand for, respond to a couple of points in your email, and hopefully identify some positive ways to move forward. I have decided to reply publicly in hopes of answering some questions among our constituency that have been raised since the incident, and since the incident occurred in a public venue I think that the discussions that come out of it ought to be public as well, so I will be forwarding this message to our Homer PFLAG list and to other groups and individuals who picked up the story. I hope that you will share it with the board of the chamber as well.First, I’d like to say that marching in the Fourth of July parade is enormously meaningful for our organization. Last year when we entered the parade it was the first time that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (lgbt) people and their friends and allies publicly marched down a Homer street in the town’s history. For many of our participants it was the first time that they publicly identified themselves either as an lgbt person or a straight ally to our community. I think it’s safe to say that we were all terrified, and with no small of amount of reason, many of us having been victims of harassment, violence, and discrimination at various points in our lives. So to say that we were thrilled by the overwhelming support we had in terms of numbers (our float fielded more participants than any other in the parade) and from the amazingly supportive on-lookers would be a great understatement. For me, and I’m sure for many of our marchers, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Hopefully that gives you some idea why our reaction to what happened at the parade this year is so strong. When your emcee failed to read the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered” it felt like a slap in our collective faces. The amount of personal courage it takes to stand up as an lgbt person in Alaska, where it is perfectly legal to fire us from our jobs or kick us out of our apartments solely because of our sexuality, is enormous and to be met with such a bold dismissal from the professional announcer chosen by the Chamber of Commerce was awful.Second, I’d like to respond to a couple of points from your email. You write that the emcee “has the option to reword material for time, readability, etc.” and that this is a normal practice of “adlibbing” which occurs every year. I’m curious because there were a number of much longer and wordier statements announcing other floats in the parade. Our written statement was a bit less than 25 words long. It takes less than 30 seconds to read. So I don’t see how time could have been a factor in the emcee’s “editing” process. As for readability, I can see that a word like transgendered might be a mouthful, although one would think that an emcee who works as a talk radio host could probably tackle it, [but] a word like gay, consisting of three letters and only one syllable, is extremely pronounceable. Next I would ask why it is the policy of the chamber to allow their emcees to personally and without any accountability edit the contributions of parade participants. I’m curious if you would find it acceptable for one of your emcees to edit out references to military service from the VFW folks, or references to boats from the Homer Wooden Boat Society. Either one would render the statement meaningless, just as what your emcee announced was completely devoid of meaning. You also state explicitly in your email that you did not speak with the emcee regarding what happened. Is it the policy of the Homer Chamber of Commerce to ask no accountability from its employees and volunteers when evidence exists of possible willful discrimination against a whole segment of the population? It’s my understanding that people like this represent the organizations they work for; is discrimination a proper representation of the Homer Chamber? If so I think that there are many of your members who would like to be made aware of that fact.Third, I would like to offer two suggestions for moving forward in a positive way. While I’m outraged by the emcee’s actions during the parade I do not believe that the chamber as an organization is one that favors discriminating against people based on their sexuality or gender identity, but the events of the 4th cast some doubt on that. I think it’s fair to ask that the chamber both make a public apology for what happened and to publicly clarify the organization’s position on this form of discrimination. In addition, I think that it’s fair to ask that the chamber make a commitment to more carefully screen emcees in the future to prevent against selecting one that has such an ideological bias as to prevent them from reading references to the race, gender, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity from the written statements provided by the parade participants.In closing, the emails I’ve received from you end with a quote that I rather like, it says “it is curious that physical courage should be so abundant in the world and moral courage so rare.” I agree with Mark Twain here, and I can only assume that you do as well, so while it takes a degree of moral courage to take a stand against hate, fear, and discrimination, I hope that you and the Homer Chamber of Commerce have that courage. I would hate for the young people who courageously marched in the parade with us to have their first experience with public support for lgbt people to be insulted.
“We would like to thank the Homer community for the support you’ve shown us, and look forward to continue working with all of our partners and allies to make Homer a community free of hate and discrimination.”
“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.”
“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.”
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!
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? Simple….as a community WE ALL are largely invisible….how 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!
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.
Community Memorial Day Picnic