The Daily Agenda for Friday, June 8

Jim Burroway

June 8th, 2012

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY; Anchorage, AK; Athens, Greece; Birmingham, AL; Blackpool, UK; Bologna, Italy; Boston, MA; Bromsgrove, UK; Brooklyn, NY; Cheyenne, WY; Des Moines, IA; Edmunton, AB; El Paso, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kalamazoo, MI; Key West, FL; Huntington, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Milwaukee, WI; Olympia, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Prince Albert, SK; San Antonio, TX; São Paulo, Brazil; Saskatoon, SK; Split, Croatia; Spokane, WA; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Washington, DC.

Other Events This Weekend: Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Hartford, CT; Razzle Dazzle Dallas, Dallas, TX; Sierra Stampede Gay Rodeo, Rio Linda, CA; and Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Florida Bans Gay Marriage and Adoption: 1977. Florida’s gay community took a triple whammy today. On the very day after Miami voters overwhelmingly sided with Anita Bryant to rescind that county’s anti-discrimination ordinance, Florida governor Reubin Askew signed into law two anti-gay measures. The first one banned same-sex marriage and the second one banned gay adults from adopting. State Sen. Curtis Peterson, (D-Eaton Park) sponsored the measures, and said that the new laws tell homosexuals “We are tired of you and wish you would go back in the closet.” He continued, “The problem in Florida is that homosexuals are surfacing to such an extent that they are infringing on average, normal people who have a few rights, too.” The bills sailed through the legislature with little opposition and became effective immediately upon Askew’s signing.

In 2008, Florida voters made same-sex marriage even more illegaler when they passed Amendment 2. In 2010, a Florida appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that found the adoption ban unconstitutional.

First Gay Days at Disney World: 1991. It started as a very modest idea: a time for about 3,000 gays and lesbians in central Florida to enjoy a day at Orlando’s top attraction — and to become more visible. “Twenty years ago, there were hardly any visible portrayals of our community other than the pride parades,” Chris Alexander-Manley, president of Gay Days Inc., told Time in 2010. He was also one of the volunteers who helped organize the first event in 1991. He said, that the media tended to show “the drag queens and the extremes, the leather people, but that’s only a small part of the overall community.” To increase their visibility, gay attendees wore read shirts in the park. And it was that very visibility which caught the attention of anti-gay activists. The Southern Baptist Convention launched a boycott of all things Disney, despite the fact that Disney never sanctioned the event. Disney always instructed their employees to treat the first Saturday of June just like any other Saturday, which put the SBC in an odd position of, I guess, demanding that Disney ban red shirts or something.

Gay Days at Disney World has grown from that modest 3,000 assemblage to an estimated 150,000 participants in recent years. And with that growth the nature of the event has changed somewhat. There are still family events taking place catering to LGBT families, but they occur alongside pool parties, dance raves and other circuit party-style activities of a more specifically adult orientation. But within the confines of the park itself, it’s all about Mickey Mouse and Magic Mountain and getting the kids in line for the spinning teacups. And despite ongoing grumbling from social conservatives — Disney typically issues refunds to families offended by the sight of red shirts — Gay Days continues to appeal to the kids in all of us.

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

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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