Western Days Parade includes LGBT group, reluctantly

May 31st, 2008 | By | Category: Idaho, News

Today it was one baby step for Twin Falls queers, but one giant leap for Idaho LGBT citizens!

It took the bravery and absolute persistence of the Southern Idaho Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in Twin Falls to call checkmate on a couple of obstinate local organizers to gain entry into the annual Western Days Parade in Twin Falls, Idaho.

SIGLBT Western Days Parade in Twin Falls Idaho
They met every roadblock put in their pathway and became the first LGBT organization
to be seen in the Western Days Parade. They made history!

When they were blocked and told their name was too controversial, they agreed to temporarily alter it.

When they were told they could have no rainbow symbols or other visual references that they might be queer, they agreed.

When they were challenged at the start of the parade that their paperwork was not filed, they presented copies and signed certified letters proving they complied.

Lisa Cuellar Western Days Chair and KTVB employee in Twin Falls IdahoEven when Lisa Cuellar (left), Western Days board chair; and Mary Ann Taylor, Parade coordinator, insisted that the National Guard stop the float from entering the parade until it was fully inspected, they stood by and faced the adversity.

And they won!

Kelly Dickard, SIGLBTCC vice president, told PrideDEPOT.com that even when she presented proof of insurance and all required documents needed to be part of the parade, Cuellar was reluctant to let them have access to the event.

Dickard also said that her group’s float was the only one that was held up for a full inspection.

SIGLBT Western Days Parade in Twin Falls Idaho
Twin Falls LGBT community demonstrated they are part of whole community

The Twin Falls queers apparently, and quite successfully, “de-gayed” their float enough to pass inspection from a fully hesitant Cuellar and Taylor.

KTVB Channel-7 actually dedicated a decent length of time to this aspect of the story in their evening report. Reporter Ysabel Bilbao followed-up on the issue by presenting equal time to both sides.

During an on-camera interview, Cuellar, who is associated with KTVB, said she didn’t want the gays and lesbians to promote an agenda.

“We just want them to be in the parade with everyone else, don’t push your agenda, we don’t have every single person in the parade pushing an agenda, we just want them to come and have a good time, and that’s all we are asking for,” said Cuellar – (KTVB Ch-7 interview)

SIGLBT Western Days Parade in Twin Falls Idaho
Queers in Twin Falls supported a variety of causes. So who has the “agenda?”

Although the LGBT float was reportedly singled out by Cuellar and Taylor for full inspection, the idea of a personal narrow agenda seems fairly evident.

Mitch Silvester, a SIGLBTCC representative, said they were well-received by the pubic and had an opportunity to visit with community members.

The queer community of Twin Falls took a huge risk. They stood up proudly and proved that taking a stand and being seen means not backing down and caving to intimidation tactics.

By defending their right for equal treatment, the LGBT community in Twin Falls stood up for all of us in rural America!

We are proud of YOU!



PrideDEPOT.com editor, independent journalist & LGBT media spokesperson,
Jody May-Chang now writes on "As I See It...Reporting from the front lines

As I See It Jody May-Chang.com Reporting from the front lines


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2 comments
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  1. Agenda? Who is Lisa Cuellar trying ti kid?. She is the one with the agenda. Her agenda is to discriminate and lie to violate the rights of people just because she has hate in her heart. Good for you SIGLBT folks!

  2. This article could be titled “Twin Falls Gay Hero’s”. My heart felt thank you to everyone who stood up to this blatant Bigotry. You Deserve a public apology from Lisa Cuellar, Western Days board chair; and Mary Ann Taylor, Parade coordinator.
    If you need a bundle of RAINBOWS for next year, I will donate them.
    Hugs ya all
    Kelli Busey, Transgender Woman, Advocate
    Dallas Texas