So Cleve Jones wasn’t joking when he thanked the LDS church! Now Lisa Duggan (of The Nation) explains why Salt Lake City’s LGBT community is an inspiration for the whole country:
At the Pride Center, a broad range of local activist groups and LGBT individuals actually talk to each other–in stark contrast to the balkanized landscape of national LGBT organizations. Indeed, perhaps more than in any other city, Salt Lake City’s queer scene resembles the storied days of ACT UP, when mainstream assimilationists collaborated with radical activists to develop talking points, coordinate strategy and change homophobic policy.
This conversation across boundaries is a product of savvy activists and, paradoxically, of the formidable political and cultural barriers created by the Mormon Church and the statewide strength of the Republican machine. In such a political arena, queer flamboyance and tough-minded seriousness have to coexist in order to get anything done. In that sense, as gay activists nationwide take stock of where the gay rights movement has come in the forty years since the Stonewall riots and plot a political future, they should look to Salt Lake City for pointers instead of Boston or New York.
It’s like the “mission field” in reverse! There’s something to be said for a little opposition. I’m looking forward to my visit more than ever — I bought my plane tickets just this morning. 😀
Hat tip Holly