The Kinsey Institute chose not to dignify minister Douglas Wilson with a protest when he gave a talk in Bloomington described as a two-part lecture called "Sexual by Design," the first half Creation Sexuality and the second Redemption Sexuality. His April 13 speech in IU's Woodburn Hall included a commentary on Alfred Kinsey's ideas and activities.
Though the Kinsey Institute chose silence as the appropriate response to Wilson's presence in Bloomington, IU students and members of the larger community thought Wilson's views were too repulsive and dangerous to ignore. About 75 people gathered outside Woodburn Hall with signs lauding diversity and condemning hate, with some wearing "Out and Proud" buttons and either carrying or wearing rainbow flags, the symbols of LGBTQ liberation. The group walked over to nearby Ballantine Hall, where Wilson spoke.
Americans who feel betrayed by timid, capitulatory leadership from Democrats like President Barack Obama and Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly now have a candidate to consider at the presidential level. On Dec. 12, 2011, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced his candidacy on the Justice Party ticket and the next day laid out a cogent progressive agenda on Democracy Now!
"Although hailing from a solidly red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years," host Amy Goodman said in her introduction to the report. "During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War."
Colorado passes a civil unions bill, and Indiana is busy trying to write discrimination into the state constitution. Why are we living here instead of there?
It’s been a long time since we’ve been in touch. Are we a couple of slackers or what?! It’s not that we haven’t been busy reading, working, observing and thinking (uh oh!), and it’s certainly not that we didn’t want to share our opinions with our wonderful readers. In fact we weren’t sure why we’ve been so quiet until we realized how angry we were and that the anger forced us to be silent for awhile.
Another holiday season has come and gone, and here we are at the dawn of a new year and a new decade. Regardless of religious, social or philosophical differences, it seems that nearly everyone celebrates the holidays in some way and for one reason or another. But even with the various views of importance placed upon the holidays we do share one common aspect as individuals as demonstrated by our annual nostalgic review of the previous year with high hopes for a better one to come.
We wonder is each year so bad or disappointing that we persistently hope for the better? If that's true, then what are we doing so wrong that each year is a disappointment? Our own philosophy is such that we try to live in the moment and enjoy what we have rather than seeking fulfillment in time yet to arrive.
What is it about nonprofit organizations that they readily lend themselves to self destruction? They just kind of gnaw away from the inside until nothing is left but a name and a list of unattained goals? True enough, there are many successful nonprofits, but it seems that most of those are centered in larger cities or have a more business-like approach, such as The Trevor Foundation or the successful Middle Way House here in Bloomington.
Our attention has been drawn to the smaller groups that organize to address a lack of community support for their causes or to fulfill unmet social opportunities, in particular as related to the LGBTQI community. While these organizations are in dire need, their existence tends to be short-lived, and their failure rate is fairly high.
The formula for organizing seems simple enough. A few well-meaning, well-intentioned folks sense a personal or community need and come together to share ideas and suggestions in an effort to help their fellow citizenry. Then an organization is created, a list of goals developed and a hierarchy of leadership established, based upon individual qualifications, expertise, willingness to serve and availability.
White River Valley PFLAG
Bloomington PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a local not-for-profit organization centered in Monroe County, is merging with the nearby White River Valley PFLAG. While both organizations share a common mission and values and are both local chapters of the national PFLAG organization, the two groups have maintained distinct geographic areas.
The merger aims to maximize the resources of the two organizations to increase their effectiveness and influence within the communities.
"We strongly feel that this collaborative effort is our best opportunity to serve south-central Indiana," said Judi Epp, president of White River Valley PFLAG. Judi and her friend Jackie Hall, who leads the Bloomington PFLAG, recently sent a letter to their memberships announcing the merger.
This has been a most interesting week for us, what with all the boy scouts in town. In case you missed it, there were over 7,000 Order of the Arrow boy scouts and their leaders on campus and about town dressed in various quasi-military uniforms and sometimes Native American costumes. Seems like they would have been difficult to miss, but admittedly our offices are located in the heart of campus in an area that also served as base camp operations for the troops.
Maybe we are just suffering from testosterone overload, but it was our sense that their presence stimulated a variety of emotions that led to public discussion, community dissension in some instances, and yet there was a camaraderie that was visibly shared by boys and men of all ages and difficult to ignore. And, we are pleased to say, the community didn't entirely ignore their presence. In fact, a panel discussion titled "Order of the Arrow: Racism, Homophobia, and Religious Appropriation in Scouting?" was held at Rachael's Cafe.
Sponsored by the Bloomington Committee Against Racism and Homophobia in Youth, the Native American Community Center of Bloomington, Inc., OUT, Ohio Valley Two Spirit Society and bloomgOUT, the panel drew a sizeable crowd for summer in Bloomington and was a mixture of community members, IU faculty, students, high school students, native Americans, scouts and members of the LGBTQ community and friends who came together to discuss the various charges of homophobia and racism leveled at the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Gay teens -- gay males, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people -- are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. For all youths, those aged 16-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
Gay teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. Young gay people in grades 7-12 are twice as likely as straight young people to plan suicide and four times more likely to make a suicide attempt that requires medical care.
Growing up gay is very, very difficult for most people. As Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America reports, gay teenagers are at high risk of developing mental illness because of the "hatred and prejudice that surround them, not because of their inherently gay or lesbian identity orientation." That is the crisis referred to in the book's title.
Ah, spring is in the air, and we are slowly emerging from our somewhat self-imposed winter hibernation. Indiana weather being what it is, with its taunting hints of warmth interspersed with chilly, dank and even snowy days, we have ultimate respect for the brave little flowers and buds that pop up to face whatever the elements toss their way.
Those of us who are in some way affiliated with the academic community know that the pace on campus picks up rapidly in March and that April ranks as probably the busiest time. Coincident with the energy of spring, there are final reports due, frantic test taking, grades to determine, award ceremonies and receptions, graduation parties, last-minute parties and nights out on the town, and parents and families on campus.
Obviously there are many events competing for attention, and it’s difficult to attend all of them, but we want to call your attention to an annual event that is special in that it is fun, historic in its very existence and longevity and famous on a national level.
The annual Miss Gay Indiana University pageant is held each spring, produced and sponsored by IU’s undergraduate LGBT Student Union OUT.
A new president, a new administration and renewed energy stemming from a fresh view of America -- it has indeed been a celebratory week across the nation. And it’s wonderful to see our cultural melting pot reflected in the many folks represented on TV, radio, and other media this past week.
Is it a fact that we are truly becoming an equally representative society? We hope so, and we say it’s about time! We watched much of the pre- and post-inauguration festivities, and while we certainly enjoyed the entertainment, some nostalgic and some uplifting, and want to believe that a new era has dawned, we can’t help but be a bit skeptical that all may be too good to be true.
It’s a start you say?! Yes indeed it is. And we’re not naysayers; we share in some of the excitement and anticipation of better things to come.