Posts Tagged ‘bigotry’


The Time Has Come…

October 16, 2009

The time has come, the blogger said, to speak of lots of stuff

Of how since ’64 is dead, relevancy has been tough

So now we’ll merge this site with his, join the alaskacommons crew

And hopefully have a bit more time to make a difference for you.

Unity for the Anchorage Community

Unity for the Anchorage Community

So I’m not a poet, I’m a blogger, and a neglectful one at that. is going to be merging with, and here’s why it’s a good thing:

  • The battle for the Equal Rights ordinance may be over for now, but simplifying the blogging process will allow more time to work on real-life projects that will further the cause.
  • Merging the two blogs will allow for more frequent updates, instead of simply re-posting things on either site.
  • We feel like we’ll be able to write more relevant articles for the community if we broaden our scope a bit.

I’m hoping that if there are still any readers left (I know it’s been a few weeks since the last post) you’ll follow us over to The Alaska Commons, where we will continue to try to keep the community updated on events and issues of note.  Don’t worry, every post on this blog will be moving to alaskacommons as well, so if you’re interested in reading up on our perspective on the Summer of ’64 you’ll still be able to do so.

I’ve been glad to be a part of this.  It’s one of the things I’m most proud of.

Thank you.


Tim Miller tells Anchorage about the Lay of the Land

September 18, 2009

For those of you who missed it tonight, Tim Miller performed his Lay of the Land show at Out North Theatre.  Miller pulled inspiration from his own childhood and adult life, wrapping it in with experiences he’s had fighting for equal rights around the country.

At the same time, Miller made sure to draw allusions between the struggles that we’ve gone through with Ordinance 64 and similar fights going on in other communities.  He was full of energy, humor, and a sense of awareness about the state of the country that’s quite refreshing.  There was a great discussion afterward, as well, where audience members could bring up some of the topics connected with his show, or ask his opinion on things going on in our own community.

I highly recommend catching his show if you can.

Miller will be repeating his performance tomorrow, Saturday, September 19 at 7:30pm at Out North Theater.  Check here for ticket information.

Thank you to Tim for your great show, and to Tiffany McClain from Equality Works for helping make it happen!

Tim Miller, Me, and his spirit bear.

Tim Miller, Me, and his spirit bear.


Friday Night is Equality Works Night at Out North Theater!

September 17, 2009

Equality Works Logo

Tomorrow Night: Friday, September 18th is Equality Works Night at Out North!

Are you feeling drained after this summer’s activities surrounding AO 64 and searching for a way to re-energize your political and emotional batteries? Are you simply in need of a laugh after months of high drama?

If so, you should join us at Out North for a presentation of performance artist’s Tim Miller’s “Lay of the Land,” a show that explores the current state of the Queer Union with sharp insight and humor, and deftly taps into the emotional experience of what it’s like to be “perpetually on trial, on the ballot, and on the menu.”

Miller has been closely following the public hearings surrounding AO 64, the Assembly’s 7-4 vote, and the Mayor’s veto and he is looking forward to a post-show discussion with all of you. Let’s give him a big Anchorage welcome!

Tickets are $20.00 (plus 1.25 if you buy online)

Students get in for $10.00 at the door with i.d.

We hope to see you there!


Abject Terror: My Experience at the Anchorage Baptist Temple

September 9, 2009

[Contributed by our friend Marcin Druzdzel.]

I have only recently become informed of a very very conservative group within Anchorage. I did not know anything about the Anchorage Baptist Temple until I got involved at the Ordinance 64 Assembly meetings, and they definitely shocked me with their backwardness, stubbornness, and dogmatism.
For the past few months I have wanted to go to an ABT service to see what it’s like—to go to the lion’s den and see what makes the people against gay rights be against gay rights. Earlier today, I finally went to one of the services. Like I said earlier, I was shocked and scared at what I saw.

Grandparent's Day is September 13th

Grandparent's Day is September 13th

The subject of the sermon was “Grandparents Day”, which Pastor Prevo decided to celebrate a week early in order to remind the congregation to send cards to out-of-state grandparents in time for the national Grandparents’ Day next Sunday. Mellow enough topic, right? Nothing controversial there at all. What intrigued me, however, was how he elaborated on the importance of grandparents, telling the story of Noah’s genealogy (from Enoch to Shem in Genesis). Anyone familiar with the Bible should remember that these figures allegedly lived for a very long time (Methuselah being the longest-lived at 969 years old). Pastor Prevo stated that because of Noah’s virtue, he was spared from the flood and lived to father the ancestors of Abraham. He made some allusions to the wickedness of Noah’s contemporaries and the modern world. Touchy, at least getting really close to controversial. Most conservatives are quite worried about the moral decay of society. Also, I was under the impression that the Old Testament wasn’t followed at all, or at least that’s the impression I got in my discussions with the protestors at the rallies. Perhaps they only believe the useful parts (which would make them hypocrites, as they accuse more tolerant churches of doing that too).

Jerry Prevo identifies with Noah

Jerry Prevo identifies with Noah

What started to get disconcerting was the pseudoscience that went into Jerry’s explanation of the flood. Before the flood, he said, there was no rainfall and no oceans, but instead the atmosphere was heavily-laden with water vapor, which kept the plants moistened, distributed heat all across the globe (accounting for dinosaur fossils in currently inhospitable climates [Dinosaurs are apparently just reptiles that lived a long long time and kept growing]), and dissipated the sun’s UV rays enough to allow for the extreme longevity of the Biblical figures (no account, of course, of Telomerase protein caps on the DNA strands in the chromosomes that limit cells to about 50 divisions). That’s scary in itself; that someone with that much sway over the mindset of so many (the congregation is numbered in the thousands) puts absolute faith in an old book with many unknown and anonymous authors (at least he acknowledges that God ‘inspired men’ to write it), and bullshits his way through specific scientific facts to make the story sound legitimate. He also stated multiple times that faith was genetic, hereditary, and in the DNA (does evolution exist or not, pastor?).
Now, the thing that does worry me is the mindset that the Pastor is fostering. Time and time again, he alluded to Noah’s contemporaries. Just as Noah’s contemporaries laughed at him for building a boat on a hill, because they didn’t know what rainfall or floods were, that outsiders of the modern churches would laugh at their (and by extension, his) beliefs. Then, just as in this age, they would realize too late that it was them that were wrong. In Noah’s time it was this mysterious water that fell from the sky, but God’s going to mix it up and annihilate people in some different way next time. They believe that the rapture is coming. Wait, that doesn’t express it enough….they REALLY believe Jesus is going to show up next week and spirit them into heaven, and they don’t get disappointed by the fact that he’s a no-show. They just keep waiting and hope he shows up the week after that. This worries me too, as how much can you care about the well-being of a planet you’re planning on leaving sometime next week?
This mindset that I am so appalled and scared of, the stubbornness the Pastor was instilling in the congregation, has many implications. They are taught to believe that they are the only right ones, and that leaves no room for compromise, as there is only one way to earn God’s salvation–God’s way. This puts them in a black-and-white mindset that undoubtedly transfers into the rest of their lifestyle. How can they compromise in politics, or come to mutual agreements with coworkers at their earthly jobs if they feel like only they are entitled to the truth, and that they are on the path of righteousness? How can they be tolerant of other beliefs? They can’t… any time they refer to the First Amendment, it is an effort to either shield their views from criticism or to try to push them on other people.

This mental block prevents them from being able to debate towards a greater truth. This was quite apparent at the assembly meetings. They stated the same things, over and over and over again, with no regard to counterarguments made by Ordinance 64’s supporters. This arrogant righteousness is what puts me off of debating religion. It ends up being an exercise in futility, as they are too stubborn to question their values and beliefs, much less change them. I saw this all too often. Now I am beginning to understand how this mental block got put in place.
sheepleI must say I felt something when I was there. The music, the lighting, the sermons… something almost supernatural. There was something more there. However, I must hope that I’m not the only one who can see the puppet strings. I saw what technicians labored to accomplish behind the scenes, because that’s all it was, complete with a glitch or two. The congregation was captivated like strung-up puppets. Simple, repetitive musical pitches and vocal inflections along with synthesized drums made a very simple but potent mix of music that sounded damn near inspirational. Prevo used many different vocal tones to captivate the audience. He was definitely a skilled puppet master, a shepherd of sheeple. It was a bit annoying to hear some guy in the pews moaning “amen” after everything the pastor said. They also had a visiting Christian musician, Dennis Agajanian who had some acoustic guitar skills, which did surprise me. I was under the impression that Christian musicians were simply bad musicians cashing in on the faith factor. That’s not based on reality though, but instead on South Park. I’ll look into it if I continue studying ABT’s services.

At the end of the service, Pastor Prevo briefly referred to the bill to notify parents of their children’s abortions, and mentioned something about either a vote or contacting politicians (I don’t remember which it was). Doesn’t that violate the 501(c) status (or whatever the tax-exempt status is called)?


Looking for some entertainment?

September 5, 2009

It looks as though there are  now two opportunities to enjoy some local GLBT-friendly theater in Anchorage.

Dog Sees God

Dog Sees God

First, I became aware of this play after I saw an article on Bent Alaska.  Out North Theater will be holding performances of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.  From the Out North page:

When CB’s dog dies from rabies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. But a chance meeting with an artistic kid offers CB peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful.

The show will run from September 4 – 13, and tickets are $15 at the door or $14.50 online (includes ticketing fees).

Next, Equality Works is hosting a performance of Lay of the Land, also playing at the Out North Theater on Friday, September 18, 7:30pm – 10:00pm.  From the Equality Works event page on facebook:

Are you feeling drained after this summer’s activities surrounding AO 64 and searching for a way to re-energize your political and emotional batteries? Are you simply in need of a laugh after months of high drama?

Lay of the Land

Lay of the Land

If so, you should join us at Out North for a presentation of performance artist’s Tim Miller’s “Lay of the Land,” a show that explores the current state of the Queer Union with sharp insight and humor, and deftly taps into the emotional experience of what it’s like to be “perpetually on trial, on the ballot, and on the menu.” Miller has been closely following the public hearings surrounding AO 64, the Assembly’s 7-4 vote, and the ensuing veto and he is looking forward to a post-show discussion with all of you. Let’s give him a big Anchorage welcome!

Tickets are $20.00 (plus 1.25 if you buy online)
Students get in for $10.00 at the door with i.d.!!!

We’re planning on going to see both of these shows, and you should too.  Supporting intelligent local performances isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the whole community.  Plus, both of these plays sound like they’ll be good.

On a personal note, if you should find yourself with the opportunity to go see The Lion King while it’s still in town, we’d highly recommend it.  Wow.


New Update from Equality Works

September 3, 2009


Dear Equality Works Supporters,

Thanks to all of you have called and e-mailed Debbie Ossiander encouraging her to help override the Mayor’s veto of AO 64. Many of you have forwarded your letters to us and we have been impressed by your passion and commitment to this cause. We believe that Assemblywoman Ossiander’s concerns with AO 64 are matters that could easily be addressed by overriding the veto and offering up amendments to Title V. Unfortunately, she has not responded to attempts to work with her productively to craft the best and most inclusive nondiscrimination law possible.

The deadline for overriding a veto runs out this coming Monday, September 7th, and while we are still willing to work with Assembly members to achieve an override, we have also begun to look ahead at other ways in which we can work with members of the LGBT community and our allies to ensure that Anchorage becomes a city that protects all of its citizens from discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the short run, one way that you can help us achieve our goal is to contact Senators Begich and Murkowski and encourage them to become co-sponsors of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). If passed, ENDA would make employment discrimination a violation of federal law. While it is not a law that is expansive as our local laws—it would not protect people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations, for example—it would nonetheless be a huge step forward in our goal of achieving equality for all in Anchorage. While we would have preferred for such a law to be passed on a local level, we are willing to use every tool available to us. As we said months ago, our opponents may have prepared for a sprint, but we are prepared to go the distance and hope that you are too.

Thank You,

Tiffany McClain


Where do we go from here?

August 22, 2009

I’ve been feeling a little directionless this past week.  This past Monday, my husband and I woke up and immediately checked the local blogs and to find out if Mayor Sullivan had made a decision.  We made plans to check out the UAA campus, as our classes would be starting the next week.  We spoke to our friends on facebook, each of us manically updating the page and then checking to see if an announcement had been made yet.  I called the Mayor’s office, trying to find out if the rumors of Mayor Sullivan making an announcement that day were true.  She confirmed the rumor, but wouldn’t confirm a time.  Less than twenty minutes later, John shouted from the other room.


I was expecting the news in an intellectual sense.  We had heard from numerous people who had talked to the Mayor that he would veto.  Reading it in his pitiful press announcement, however, was very different.

“My review shows that there is clearly a lack of quantifiable evidence necessitating this ordinance,” Sullivan said. “My review also shows that the vast majority of those who communicated their position … are in opposition.” from

I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  A lack of quantifiable evidence?  I know he wasn’t there for every Assembly meeting that I was, but surely he managed to hear one of the testimonies from those supporting the ordinance?  In the words of Barney Frank, “On what planet to do you spend the majority of your time?”

And so the word came down the line that there was going to be a protest outside of City Hall.  We had short notice, but made some signs and found a parking spot close to Kaladi Brothers Coffee. (Sidenote: I was please to hear a rumor that Kaladi Brothers pulled their endorsement of Mrs. Alaska after she showed up in red at the Assembly meetings.)  There were already a few dozen people there, but our numbers would grow to over a hundred people, venting a Summer full of hurt and frustration at a mayor who refused to hear them.

If we scream loud enough, will Dan Sullivan hear us?

If we scream loud enough, will Dan Sullivan hear us?

In the days after, many people have reached out, trying to figure out what the next course of action is.  Some people want to try to change Debbie Ossiander’s mind.  Some people want to force Dan Sullivan into talking to a GLBT contingent.  Some people want to curl up and disappear from the world for a bit.

We here at are still taking a look at what the best options for moving forward are.  But we can guarantee you this, dear readers, we’re not done.  Not by a long shot.

What do you think the next best thing  to do would be?  I’m not asking in a rhetorical sense, I really want to know what the readers of this site think.  If you’re not up for leaving a comment, send us an email.