We spent the day in Prescott, Arizona. It was our pleasure to meet with folks at the Prescott Pride Center (PPC). We had a roundtable discussion about the issues facing LGBTQ people in rural Arizona. I am very impressed with the work being done at the PPC, especially in a city of under 50,000 people. Frankie Reynolds, the Executive Director of PPC, is a true activist who knows how to get things done. I’d like to see other cities take a page from Frankie’s playbook and step up their LGBTQ outreach/support networks.
We hung out at the Precott Pride Center for about three hours. We talked with folks about the local LGBTQ community, the marriage amendment battles, and how to win full equality. Arizona is an interesting state because it is the only state to actually defeat an anti-gay marriage ballot measure. In 2006, the voters did not pass prop 107, which would have banned same-sex marriage and civil unions. The successful campaign has been attributed to the fact that prop 107 would have denied rights from heterosexual couples looking for partnership benefits. This victory was celebrated around the country, as it was the first state to beat an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, in 2008, the anti-gay forces came back with another amendment. Prop 102 was approved by the voters and defined marriage as between one man and one woman only. This time around, the battle focused on same-sex couples only.
After our roundtable discussion, Frankie shared with us some pictures from when the Pride Center was vandalized a few years ago. Teenagers spray-painted anti-gay epitaphs and pictures all over the building. The police caught the kids who did it and mediation sessions followed between the teenagers and the Pride Center. Fortunately, the heterosexual community rallied behind the Pride Center and condemned the anti-gay attacks.
I have a video clip of our roundtable discussion at the Prescott Pride Center, but the file is corrupt and not uploading to my computer. I’ll keep working on it. For now, take a look at some of the pictures here.