Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 11, 2011)
OREGON S LGBTO NEWSMAGAZINE
GUEST CO M M ENTARY
A tough decision leads to opportunities ahead
even years ago this week, the voters of
Oregon passed Measure 36, amending the
state constitution to specifically exclude same-
sex couples from the freedom to marry.
It was a tough loss. Tough to understand
how we could work so many hours, knock on so
many doors and contribute so much money and
still not win. And tougher even to imagine how
more than a million of our neighbors chose to
vote against the dignity of our families.
Since that devastating loss, we’ve come a long
way. Together we passed non-discrimination,
domestic partnerships and safe schools legisla
tion. We have begun work to end health care
discrimination against the transgender com
munity and we’re building meaningful alliances
across lines of race and religion.
But Measure 36 still stains our constitu
tion. After facing five statewide and more
than 25 local anti-gay ballot measures over
the past two decades, Measure 36 is the only
one still standing.
So for the last three years we’ve been build
ing public support, slowly but surely, for the
freedom to marry. This work is led by LGBT
community members having heartfelt conver
sations with friends and neighbors. It’s led by
coalition partners engaging their members, by
volunteers who stuff envelopes and knock on
doors. And by donors contributing to the na
tion’s most aggressive and sophisticated adver
The only path to win the freedom to marry
is through the ballot. The courts have refused
opinion research, which shows that when it
comes to amending the state constitution to
allow same-gender couples to marry, voters are
evenly divided. W hile this represents tremen
dous progress since the 2004 vote, it means
the chance of success at the ballot next year
wouldn’t be high.
After weeks of research, careful delibera
tion and an extensive effort to get community
feedback, the Basic Rights Oregon Board of
Directors made a tough decision. They voted
unanimously to extend our education campaign
to build public support for marriage equality
and look beyond 2012 for a time when we’U be
ready to win marriage at the ballot.
We are committed to winning—not just
fighting for—the freedom to marry. While
there is no convenient time to fight for our
rights, choosing to walk into a losing battle is
not a path to victory.
I’ll come right out and say it: While I be
lieve this is the right decision, I, like many of
you, am deeply disappointed. But as I work
through the disappointment and turn toward
the opportunities ahead, I am surprised at the
excitement I feel. I look forward to deepening
the work we have begun and building a strong
consensus for the freedom to marry.
At one of our Town Hall meetings last week
end, community leader KC Hanson reminded
us of the quote from Dr. King, who said, “The
arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends
Let’s keep bending that arc. Our work doesn’t
stop— it carries on and expands from here. It’s
time to come out, to share our stories, to edu
cate our neighbors, to build a movement. The
political fight isn’t the only measure of progress.
We have to he in this for the long haul. Day by
day, we are winning equality.
to take up our challenge to Measure 36 and the
Legislature cannot amend the constitution.
Unlike all the previous ballot fights, we are
finally in the driver’s seat. We get to decide
when to go forward with a proactive ballot
measure to achieve equality, instead of just
This represents tremendous opportunity—
and also a heavy burden. Never before has our
community chosen to put our rights up for
a public vote. To lose another public vote on
marriage would be devastating for the LGBT
community, both emotionally and politically.
Another loss would set us back even further.
W e’re going to win the freedom to marry
in Oregon. I t’s not a matter o f if—only a
matter of when. O ur entire Board and staff
deeply want our state to be‘moving faster in
the direction of equality and inclusion. We’ve
been working tirelessly for three years to
move the needle of public opinion and build
the infrastructure we’ll need to win at the
ballot. And when the time is right, we’ll go
“all in” to win this.
But the feedback we’ve gotten from the
community has been crystal clear: In our online
survey, in the Town Hall meetings across the
state and in countless individual conversations,
you have told us that we should not proceed to
the ballot until we have a reasonable expecta
tion of success.
We formed an Advisory Group of com
munity leaders and campaign experts to help
Jeana Frazzini is the Executive Director o f
evaluate our options. They reviewed our public Basic Rights Oregon.
VOL. 19. NO. 1
NOVEMBER 1 1
TO US! Just Out tuns 29!
» NEWS & C O M M U NITY
5 NORTHWEST NEWS IN BRIEF
10 SOURCES OF PRIDE
Community members give.back, one person
at a time
12 TRAGEDIES AND TRIUMPHS
Trans community remembers the dead
while celebrating the living
16 PARTY TIME
A British Parliamentary candidate-turned-
Portland resident compares LGBTQjrolitics
across the pond
18 THIRTY YEARS LATER
Portland looks back, forward for
World A ID S Day 2011
»» CULTURE & LIFESTYLE
20 B O O K ‘EM
Right Cause, Right Message
Now for the right time...
BY MARTY DAVIS
ere I am. Down here, at the bottom o f the
page, being all quiet and unassuming.
W hen I learned that Basic Rights Oregon
would be making their ballot measure deci
sion the same week that we went to press,
I offered Jeana Frazzini my Page 3 space to
speak to Just Out readers in greater depth
about the process that went into the orga
nizational decision-making. But then I went
and kept a small slice o f space for myself, just
to keep checked in with y’all.
As you might recall from my last column in
the October21 issue,my thoughts on BRO’spos-
sible action were, “Right cause, right message—
wrong time.” While the decision makes sense to
me, I can also understand how hard it was for
some people and the emotional tugging that was
and will go on for some time. I commend BRO
for putting such effort into gaining community
opinion, and using the information gained in
the process. I will admit that I have not always
felt that the organization placed much value on
external opihions—but in this case I truly feel
on from some of our events and traditions as
new days, new times erase and erode estab
lished needs and histories. National Coming
O ut Day might be one example o f a day once
meaningful in Portland, but then allowed to
drift away due to lack of leadership, planning
and greater community interest. World AIDS
Day should not fall prey to a similar fate. AIDS
is still with us. The pain, the loss o f loved ones is
still with us. The knowledge that the disease is
still a part o f a new generation of young people
cannot be lost to us. AIDS is not over.
that they listened to what the community had to
say. For this, I commend them.
The conversations, the discussions don’t end
here, however. From what I’ve heard, in the
entire one day since the announcement, there
have two opportunities for you to help me
will now be a need for new questions and new
raise food and funds for E sthers Pantry
discussions. W hat will be the main mission, the in November. The first is our monthly Gay
focus of Basic Rights Oregon in the coming Skate night at Oaks Park on November 21.
years, two years at best? Will the organization The second is the dance-formerly-known-
need to maintain current staffing levels? Will as-H ot Flash, now Inferno, held at Cuda
fundraising continue at current rates? Should (formerly known as Barracuda) on Satur
the community, the organization, be stockpil day, November 26. I will be there collecting
ing funds for the day when it does seem like canned food, personal sundries and raffling
the opportune time to go forward with a ballot off door prizes. I will not have changed my
measure? Again, it’s been one day, one day after name, by the way.
weeks and months of hard work—and there
I’ll see you back here in print on December
will be plenty of time to address these questions 9— daily at justout.com and Facebook— and
and concerns after, say, the first of the year?
all about town in between.
Have a grand Thanksgiving, everyone. If
orld AIDS Day will be commemorated, you feel you have nothing to be thankful for,
in Portland and around the globe, on consider that at least we still have one holiday
December 1. As the LGBTQ_ community whose name we can use without fear of offend
grows and evolves, it is natural that we’ll move ing. There you go—be thankful for that.
Temps dip, leaves fall, pages turn. Just Out's
columnists share their current favorites.
25 OUT & ABOUT
32 THE REEL DEAL
Diverse local efforts put focus on
38 GLAMOUR SHOTS
Kaj-anne Pepper’s Genderfantasy to debut
at The Headwaters Theatre
40 ON THE SURFACE
Portland folk prince I lolcomhe Waller debuts
new multimedia performance
» COLUM NISTS
31 LADY ABOUT TOWN
42 ASK A GAY
43 REMEMBER TO BREATHE