Twin Falls tells Gays, ‘No Rainbows’ in ParadeMay 30th, 2008 | By Jody May-Chang | Category: Uncategorized
Wherever there is oxygen, there are queers – including Twin Falls, Idaho, where the local LGBT community has permission to put their float in the annual Western Days Parade as long as they don’t show a rainbow, use their official organization name, or appear gay in any way.
Parade organizers refused to allow the local group in last year’s parade when they showed up with a float decked out with a rainbow and the acronym “GLBT” on it. But rather than go away, these brave and feisty souls parked their float on property adjacent to the parade route in protest making headlines around the state.
This is the float from 2007 that was not allowed
to participate in the community Western Day’s parade
parked along side the parade route with protectors.
Members of the of Southern Idaho Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center decided to give it another shot this year and in spite of the roadblocks put up by the Western Days Parade Committee, in an attempt to make it so difficult they would just go away. SIGLBT decided to play by the rules dictated to them and get their float in the event.
Basically there is one rule, remain invisible! Aside from being told that they are not permitted to show rainbow colors, gay symbols, or anything about homosexuality, they were also told they could not enter under their official name. They had to sign up as the “Southern Idaho Community Center” â€“ in other words, something less queer-sounding.
Mary Ann Taylor, Western Days Parade coordinator, slammed the phone down when PrideDEPOT.com tried to contact her for a comment about the rules being placed on the LGBT float.
“I have no comment for you people,” Taylor said as she abruptly ended the telephone conversation.
Kelly Dickard, Vice President of SIGLBT, told PrideDEPOT.com that the parade organizers have failed to show her the written rules that apply only to her organization and not other entries. She said the written rules that were provided to everyone with the float entry application mostly relate safety issues. There was nothing in the rules or application requires detailed float elements such as what colors are considered offensive or restricted, Dickerd said.
So what does a gay pride float look like without rainbows or anything noticeably queer?
A black and white float is planned with the possibility of having a sign that reads, “We support human rights.”
“They are now claiming that we did not turn in a liability insurance form,” says Dickerd. “I have happened to keep copies of everything we turned in. She [Taylor] has it in her possession. It was sent certified mail. She is just being a stinker.”
PrideDEPOT.com made repeated attempts to talk with Lisa Cuellar, Western Days Board Chairwoman, but also got a “No comment” response.
Western Days committee assistant chair, Darlene Hiddleson, said the appearance of openly gay people in the parade might provoke violence against them. She went so far as to suggest it could be like “that tragedy that happened in Wyoming,” a reference to the murder of Matthew Shepard.
Twin Falls City Police Captain, Brian Pike, there are no plans to have additional security on hand just because gays are in the parade.
“There is an issue of a potential protest,” Pike said. “I can share with you if we do have a group protesting that float, we’ll expect them to abide by all the laws. They would have to stay on the sidewalk, and not go into the street . . . if people go into the streets or start throwing objects we would not allow the protest to continue.”
So, on Saturday in Twin Falls, Idaho, a group of very brave LGBT citizens will step onto a float and ride in the annual Western Days Parade without rainbows or announcing that they are queer.
But they will be noticed!
In case you missed them here on Inside Out, here is the background on Western Days 2007 and SIGLBT
Western Days bans LGBT people from parade
Twin Falls: Youâ€™re Queer, Youâ€™re Here â€¦ GO AWAY!
Two views: LGBT Western Days parade float issue
Gay parade float hot topic in Twin Falls
Jody May-Chang now writes on "As I See It...Reporting from the front lines