Last Friday, June 28th, The Center for Community Growth partnered with the
Indiana Cares Campaign to End Homophobia to celebrate Indiana Pride 2013.
The event included a panel discussion from LGBT activists, and a screening
of the film 8: The Mormon Proposition.
Indiana Pride 2013 came at a timely moment, the overturning of the
California’s controversial 2008 gay marriage ban being overturned just a
few days before, in a ruling from the Supreme Court which threw out the
Defense of Marriage Act.
Lynn Alvine, the moderator of the night’s panel and longtime activist with
the Indiana Cares Campaign and the IUP Safe Zone, admitted during the panel
that the recent events changed her outlook on the film. “I had seen the
film once before, and to be honest, if it weren’t for Wednesday’s events, I
wouldn’t have been able to watch it again tonight” she mentioned as she
started off the panel.
In addition to Dr. Alvine, the panel featured local and Pittsburgh-area
activists coming from all kinds of viewpoints. Rita Drapkin, who works at
IUP’s Counseling Center, is greatly involved with making sure that IUP is a
safe place for LGBTQ students as a founder of the IUP Safe Zone and a
member of the IUP LGBT Commission and PASSHE LGBTQIA Consortium. Dave
Porter works with both the university and the local community by working
with the Indiana Cares Campaign and the Indiana LGBT Film Festival.
Reverend Joan Sabatino, the minister of Indiana’s First Unitarian
Universalist Church and an ally to the LGBTQ community, works with the IUP
LGBT Commission and performs same-gender marriage ceremonies for LGBTQ
couples. Bonnie Humphrey is an ally from the Pittsburgh area who is
president of the New Castle chapter of PFLAG as well as the advocacy chair
for Pittsburgh’s chapter of PFLAG. Ted Hoover works at PERSAD, America’s
second oldest mental health center that specifically serves the LGBTQ
community, and he is the coordinator of the Safe Zone there.
While each panelist celebrated the Supreme Court victory, they all agreed
that for many in the community, the right to marry is a symbolic victory,
and what folks really need is job protections.
The Center for Community Growth will be researching how we in Indiana
County can use the DOMA decision to move the conversation forward with
regard to equal rights. One place to start would be for Indiana County and
local municipalities to adopt policies which protect workers from
discrimination due to sexual orientation.
Special thanks to The Indiana Cares Campaign to End Homophobia.
Written by Melissa King, edited by Gerald Smith