By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
John Brennan, the gay Portlander who made national headlines for his naked protest of the Transportation Security Administration’s policies at the Portland International Airport in April 2012, appeared in court May 14 to appeal a fine for “disrupting the screening process.” He was found not guilty of indecent exposure last summer. According to Brennan, the hearing is noteworthy because it marks the first time the TSA has followed through on penalizing someone for a nonviolent and non-obstructive interference as well as the first to have an administrative record resulting from a public hearing. To find out how the hearing (which was taking place as PQ went to print) was resolved, watch our blog.
Washington State Republicans introduced a bill on April 26 intended to provide religious exemptions to the law that prohibitsdiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity after state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland for refusing to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding. The bill would protect “the right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience.”
Basic Rights Oregon recognized Oregon Health and Science University with the 2013 Equality Advocate Award at its 20th annual Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Luncheon for its leadership in providing trans-inclusive healthcare to its employees and their dependents. OHSU President Dr. Joe Robertson accepted the award via a video recording, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion the university’s culture, and recognizing the leadership of Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Norwood Night Richardson, M.D., Associate Director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Sue Orchard, Psy.D.,and employee group OHSU Pride.
Cascade AIDS Project welcomed Glen Gilbert as the organization’s new executive director at its annual CAP Art Auction. Gilbert most recently served as director of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and brings 18 years experiencing managing nonprofits, including the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, the World Forestry Center and Museum, and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation. Gilbert, who lives in Portland with his wife Tori and children Marina and Matthew, started at CAP on May 1. Mary Marshall, CAP’s director of finance and operations, had been serving as interim director since Michael Kaplan left last fall to work as executive director for AIDS United in Washington, D.C. Kaplan announced his departure just before the 2012 AIDS Walk in September.
John Paulk, a Portland caterer and former poster boy for the ex-gay movement, released a formal apology April 24 for his role as a spokesperson and high-profile advocate for the idea “sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination.” The statement came about two weeks after Paulk renounced his past in an exclusive interview with PQ Monthly. Paulk’s estranged wife, Ann Paulk, with whom he co-wrote the book “Love Won Out” and went on speaking tours promoting an ex-gay ministry until 2003, also released a series of statements via the Facebook page for the Restored Hope Network — an organization “committed to serving those seeking Christ-centered answers for sexual and relational problems.” She said she would pray for her soon-to-be ex-husband and encouraged others to do the same.
Ismoon Hunter, a librarian for Q Center and the Forest Grove City Library, has been appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber to theOregon State Library Board of Trustees. Hunter also works with the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) to preserve and share the history of the LGBTQ community.
A panel of gay and lesbian people of color spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about their experiences with racism in the LGBTQ community on April 23 at Q Center. The Our Voices panel included organizer Kathleen Saadat, Rupert Kinnard, Cliff Jones, andDavid Martínez. Though the event was ostensibly a response to the community debate regarding a gay bar’s booking (and cancellation) of a blackface drag performer, the panelist made no reference to the incident, instead emphasizing the importance of self-examination, self-education, and active opposition to racism. During a question-and-answer portion, audience members asked questions about topics including self-care for people of color and advice for white people who want to take action against racism.
A poll conducted by DHM Research in the last week of April found that Oregonians support amending the state constitution to legalize same-sex marriage by a 7-point margin. Almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) supported the change, while 42 percent where opposed and 9 percent were undecided. If Oregon United for Marriage succeeds in collecting enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, voters will decide the issue in 2014.
Charles “Chuck” Knapp, who co-founded the Portland chapter of PFLAG chapter 40 years ago, passed away on April 19 after a long period of illness. He and his wife Rita joined together with Ann and Bill Shepherd after each couple’s daughters came out to start a support group originally called Parents of Gays and affiliated with the national PFLAG organization in 1982. Knapp also helped lead the First Congregational United Church of Christ to become the first “open and affirming” congregation in the Central Pacific Conference and took a leading role in the effort to defeat Measure 9. A celebration of Knapp’s life (open to all who knew him) will be held May 25 at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Ave. Gifts to the Charles M. Knapp Fund for New Music can be sent to the church. Gifts to Fellowship of Reconciliation can be made in Knapp’s memory at: salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2507/donate_page/donate.
The local LGBTQ community is also mourning the loss of David Zagel, a childhood friend of former mayor Sam Adams, who passed away unexpectedly on May 8. As news of his death spread, friends and community members shared moving tributes on Zagel’s Facebook page. Adams described him in a public post as “smart, funny, and with a heart of gold.” Zagel — a University of Oregon graduate and Ducks fan — was a transportation planner who worked for Trimet for nearly a decade before joining URS Corporation.
Marriage equality jumped ahead a few steps in the last month with bills legalizing same-sex marriage passing in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota. As of press time, a similar bill was under consideration in Illinois, while Nevada lawmakers were working to repeal a ban on same-sex marriage. In related news, civil unions went into effect in Colorado on May 1. Same-sex couples are still denied legal status and protections in 25 states.
Republican members of the Senate Gang of Eight warn that an amendment to allow U.S. citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for green cards could kill the entire bipartisan immigration reform bill because it lacks the broad support needed to pass in the House.
A number of athletes have come out in the last month, including two professional basketball players. Brittney Griner, the number one WNBA draft pick, acknowledged that she is gay in April, and NBA center Jason Collins came out in May. Few expressed surprise at Griner’s coming out, while Collins’ was hailed as a breakthrough. NFL hopeful and college football star Kevin Graysonalso came out recently.