The Daily Agenda for Saturday, June 18

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Protest Against Municipal Pool Which Barred Gay Swimmers: Hazard, KY. Earlier this week, an organized group of special needs clients from Mending Hearts, Inc., was asked to leave the Pavilion public pool during a special group outing when a city staff member discovered that two of the developmentally disabled men were gay. Shirlyn Perkins, executive director of Mending Hearts, said in a statement Monday that the Pavilion staff member used the Bible to order the couple to leave the facility. “My staff asked the Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that ‘gay people’ weren’t allowed to swim there,” she said. “My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it. My staff continued to argue with this man but was ultimately forced to leave. My clients, who already feel ridiculed and different, left the city-owned facility crying and embarrassed for trying to participate in ‘normal’ activities that everyday ‘normal’ people do.”

In response, Kentucky Equality Federation is planning a protest at the Pavilion on Deaton Street in Hazard, beginning at 2:00 p.m.  Jordan Palmer of the Kentucky Equality Federation told the AP that he received several angry emails, including one that said Palmer would leave the protest “with a bullet in his head.” With attitudes like that, a strong show of support is urged for anyone in the area. Folks in Huntington, Charleston, Lexington, Knoxville, Asheville, and Johnson City — you’re really not that far away.

Trans Youth Summit: Boston, MA. This summit is for youth 24 and under from Massachusetts/New England who identify with, or could fall under, the label ‘transgender’ or youth who are in some way connected to the transgender youth community, such as partners/friends. The goal of this summit is for youth to meet and connect with other transgender and gender variant youth. Young people will have the opportunity to share ideas, learn about their legal rights, learn about the larger transgender community, participate in workshops and fun activities. The summit takes place at Fenway Health, 1340 Boylston St, Boston, and will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Symposium: Waltham MA. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will hold a symposium on suicide prevention in the LGBT community, “A Call to Action.” The symposium will educate attendees and propose interventions aimed at reducing suicidal behavior and suicide risk in the LGBT community, which has been receiving more attention recently in the news but has been a health crisis for decades. The symposium will also call to reduce the stigma against seeking mental health services, as well as for the funding necessary for health research and for changes in discriminatory laws that stigmatize people based on their LGBT identities. The symposium will be held at Bentley University at the LaCava Conference Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m.

AIDS Walk: Oakland, CA.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Baltimore, MD; Bisbee, AZ; Boise, ID; Bozeman, MT; Calderdale, UK; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Flagstaff, AZ; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Grand Rapids, MI; Iowa City, IA; Lancaster, PA; Las Cruces, NM; Louisville, Ky; Memphis, TN (Black Pride); Nashville, TN; Norwalk, CT; Portland, ME; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Syracuse, NY; Tijuana, BC and Vienna, Austria.

Agnes Goodsir (left), Girl With Cigarette, 1925 (right)

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Agnes Goodsir: 1864. An Austria Australia-born painter, Agness Goodsir joined a mass exodus of Austrian artists seeking the artistic stimulation and freedom that had blossomed in Paris in the early 20th century. That’s where Goodsir studied at the Académie Delécluse, the Académie Julian and then the Académie Colarossi. Her constant companion was Rachel Dunn, depicted in several of her paintings, including Morning Tea (1925), Girl with Cigarette (1925), The Letter (1926) and The Chinese Skirt (1933). She was best known for her portraits including, reportedly, one of Mussolini. When she died in 1939, she left her remaining paintings to Rachel Dunn, who sent about forty to Agnes’s family in Australia and others to Australian galleries. The Agnes Goodsir memorial scholarship at the Bendigo Art Gallery where her work first appeared is named in her memory.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. PLEASE, don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

Gus

June 18th, 2011

We should remember Hazard, KY when the New York legislators write ‘religious protections’ into marriage equality. From the cupcake wars in Indianapolis to this incident, the religious want a blanket exemption on discrimination. Some of the wording seems to give individuals the right to do what this man did, as long as he misquotes the Bible.

james

June 18th, 2011

The Pavilion Pool is not a religious institution, but a public one. Rules and regulations about who can and cannot swim in a public pool must not be based on religion. Those rules must be available to the public. They should have been passed by the Parks Board or the City Council.

I would guess there is no rule in Hazard prohibiting gay people from swimming in the pool. The staff member acted beyond his authority and made it up on the spur of the moment out of personal animus towards gay people.

I would also guess, though, that neither the City of Hazard nor the State of Kentucky have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discrimination is wrong, but if the law does not protect against it, people of ill will can still practice it.

jpeckjr

June 18th, 2011

I hope the march is a success. I’d go if I didn’t live in the Pacific Time Zone.

I hope the parents, siblings, and friends of the special needs folks who were forced to leave will go to the next Parks Board or City Council meeting to demand an explanation and an apology. That protest would be very powerful and wouldn’t be organized by “outside agitators.”

Don

June 18th, 2011

Note: Agnes Goodsir was Australian born, not Austrian. Thanks for the mention of this important artist.

lurker

June 18th, 2011

The Pavilion Pool is publicly owned, so presumably anti-discrimination laws trump the religious-based prejudices of any of its employees.

But what about Catholic owned hospitals that receive public funds? You could make a case that they can refuse to admit gay patients (or, more likely, refuse to acknowledge their families). But at the same time these hospitals take public dollars and take up a niche that could otherwise be filled by a secular institution(especially in rural areas where there is often only one hospital around).

Given the current trend in acceptance, hopefully these will be transitional growing pains problems that become more and more rare.

TomTallis

June 18th, 2011

My husband is Austrian and we live in California. Every time he writes to his parents in Vienna he always has to include, Vienna, Austria, EUROPE! We’ve had several things go to Australia and, apparently, disappear into the Outback.

james

June 18th, 2011

@lurker: Anti-discrimination laws trump the religious views of an employee only if those laws exist. As I noted, I doubt if either the city of Hazard or the State of Kentucky have laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I know it is not a protected class under federal non-discrimination laws.

Jutta

June 19th, 2011

As you mention the Pride parade in Vienna, Austria, here are some of the youngest participants of Saturday’s parade: http://www.queernews.at/uploads/wast_kl.JPG

The city’s antidiscrimination department had “rainbow-families” as this year’s motto and had their car decorated as playground, with at times up to 10 or 12 toddlers playing there and even more following behind with their parents. The blond woman sitting on the car is our city-councilor for antidiscrimination, Sandra Frauenberger.

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