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Kim's Corner: LGBT History Month

posted Oct 9, 2014, 12:44 PM by Jonathan Balash

October is Gay History Month! It is a time to celebrate the advances made for members of the LGBT community. Many people joined us on Wednesday, October 8th for our annual LGBT History Month event “A Night at the Tivoli.”

You may be wondering why October was chosen as Gay History Month. Gay History or LGBT History Month originated in the United States and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by a high-school history teacher named Rodney Wilson from Missouri. Torey Wilson, a Chicago area teacher was also supportive of establishing the history month. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on. In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly. I am particularly proud of the support given by NEA, as I work for the Indiana State Teachers’ Association, which is an affiliate of the NEA.

October was chosen by Wilson as the month for the celebration because National Coming Out Day already was established as a widely known event, on October 11th. In addition, October commemorated the first March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation by LGBT people in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.  While it was first known as Lesbian and Gay History Month, the term "bisexual" was added to the title. It has become known as LGBT History Month.

On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June 2000 "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”. President Barack Obama declared June 2009 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month 2009 on June 1, 2009.

Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus, which undertook responsibility for LGBT Month in 2006. Each day in October, an Icon is featured with a video, biography, bibliography, downloadable images and other educational resources at www.lgbthistorymonth.com.

In 2011, Equality Forum introduced an internal search engine for all Icons from 2006 to the present. By clicking on “Icon Search” and choosing one of hundreds of categories such as African-American, athlete, California, Germany, HIV/AIDS, Military, Religion, Transgender, Youth; visitors to the site will be provided with links to all Icons in that category. Please take the time to research these brave and inspiring people.

In 2012, for the first time, two American school districts celebrated LGBT History Month; the Broward County school district in Florida signed a resolution in September in support of LGBT Americans, and later that year the Los Angeles school district, America's second-largest, also signed on to support the cause.

One more piece of historical interest is why the rainbow flag has become the symbol of gay pride. The rainbow flag became a symbol of gay pride and diversity due to Gilbert Baker, an artist from San Francisco, in 1978. This rainbow version of the flag is also sometimes called 'the freedom flag'. The different colors symbolize diversity in the LGBT community, and the flag is used often at gay pride events worldwide in various forms including banners, clothing and jewelry. For the 25th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, held in 1994 in New York City, a mile-long rainbow flag was created. After the parade, it was cut up in sections that have since been used around the world.

The flag was originally created with eight colors, but pink and turquoise were removed for production purposes, and since 1979 it has consisted of six colored stripes. It is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow.  Aside from the obvious symbolism of a mixed LGBT community, the colors were designed to symbolize: life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony (blue), and spirit (purple/violet). The removed colors stood for sexuality (pink) and art/magic (turquoise).

Hoosier Marriage Equality

posted Oct 6, 2014, 4:03 PM by Jonathan Balash

Today the United States Supreme Court decided not to consider the marriage equality cases that had petitioned it.  As a result, their previous
 stays of the decisions affirming equality will be lifted, and same-sex marriage will be a reality in Indiana!  This includes recognition of marriages legally performed in other states.  

Today's marriage victory happened because of the amazing plaintiffs in the cases, plus the organizations who dedicated their time and resources into helping bring marriage equality a reality. This includes Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and more. THANK YOU. The quest for full marriage equality in the United States isn't over, but today 10 states were added to the list thanks to this Supreme Court Decision. 

SPENCER PRIDE, INC. CONTINUES ‘A NIGHT AT THE TIVOLI’ FOR ANNUAL LGBT HISTORY MONTH EVENT

posted Oct 2, 2014, 7:48 PM by Jonathan Balash   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 7:58 PM ]

SPENCER, INDIANA – The historical Tivoli Theater in downtown Spencer will again be the site of Spencer Pride’s annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) History Month event “A Night at the Tivoli.”  The event, which is admission-free thanks to generous sponsors of Spencer Pride, Inc., will take place on Wednesday, October 8th at 7:00 PM.  The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend this community event. 

KaPow! and Opal Fly, popular local performers, will be entertaining the crowd during intermission. 

“We are again privileged to hold the event at the beautiful Tivoli Theater,” says Spencer Pride Inc.’s president Jonathan Balash.  “Although this is actually our fifth annual educational event, it is the second to be held at this wonderful venue.” Last year’s “’A Night at the Tivoli’ was a rousing success,” he said. 

This year’s film is I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, starring Adam Sandler. It’s a hilarious movie, as Adam Sandler fans will appreciate. Once again the movie was chosen to ensure that the event would be a night filled with fun and laughter.

For the first time, the event will also include first-person educational narratives that were developed and will be read by volunteers from both Spencer Pride, Inc. and the Prism Youth Community in Bloomington.   This will be an interesting way for the audience to learn about notable figures in LGBT history.

This year’s “A Night at the Tivoli” silent auction will feature items focused on entertainment, such as Indianapolis Indians tickets, a Colts fan package, a spa day package, water park tickets, the balcony at the Tivoli and more. There will also be lots of door prizes.  While everyone gets a complimentary door prize ticket upon admission, individuals who first RSVP for the event on the Spencer Pride Inc. Facebook page will get an additional free ticket.

Owen Valley Winery will have their tasting room open throughout the entire event to lure filmgoers into sampling their wine.  The winery’s tasting room is adjacent to the Tivoli and will be open from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM. Although no alcohol can be taken from the winery into the theater, the tasting room will undoubtedly be a popular spot before the film and during the extended intermission.

Many individuals and businesses are sponsoring “A Night at the Tivoli,” including Insurance Pros, John Fuhs, Foxy Mutts Grooming, the PACE group at Boston Scientific, Spencer Walmart, Sally Vance, SVG Realty, and many others who have made generous donations to ensure that the event would remain admission-free.

In addition to the family-friendly Tivoli event, Spencer Pride, Inc. is coordinating educational displays in more than thirteen libraries and public schools from Greene County to Putnam and Brown Counties.  This is the sixth year that the organization has offered educational displays to libraries for LGBT History Month, and it is the second year that those displays will also appear in area schools. The Prism Youth Group in Bloomington aided the organization in the development of this year’s displays.

For more information regarding Spencer Pride Inc., please visit www.SpencerPride.org or send questions to info@SpencerPride.org.  You can also find us on Facebook (SpencerPride) & Twitter (@SpencerPrideInc).

Quarter Wars Contest Winner

posted Sep 24, 2014, 8:56 AM by Jonathan Balash

We are excited to announce that Jonathan Balash, our president since Spencer Pride Inc. was established in 2007, was the winner of the recent Quarter Wars Contest.  As the lucky winner, Jonathan received two pies: one to take home, and another to take in the face.  That's right, the winner of the contest gets a bittersweet package of prizes.  Well, not so bitter as it was sweet.  ;-)  

Jonathan received both his pies at the conclusion of the Apple Butter Festival on Sunday, September 21st.  A video of the finale is posted on our Facebook page.  You can also find photos of the fabulous conclusion there.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to make this first Quarter Wars Contest a big success!  We were able to raise more than $300 in just two days!  All proceeds from this content will go to the 10th Anniversary Spencer Pride Fund, which has been established to help make our 2016 festival the biggest, boldest, and best Spencer Pride Festival yet!

2015 Strategic Plan

posted Sep 9, 2014, 3:05 PM by Jonathan Balash   [ updated Sep 10, 2014, 2:07 PM ]

At our recent meeting on September 7, the Spencer Pride Inc. members voted unanimously to approve the 2015 Strategic Plan as crafted by the Board of Directors.  Approval was also given for the 2015 Operating Budget, which aligns with the strategy. 

This year's plan consists of five key strategic goals that we feel will help us stay focused on the things that will keep the organization successful.  You'll note that the goals are focused on a broad array of subjects, as is appropriate for a year-long plan.  The image on the left lists each goal.  Below, we've summarized some of the key elements of each goal as well.  

1. Increase Revenue.  This goal is essentially made of three items: (1) Paying down our long-term debt in accordance with our plan to pay off all debt by the end of FY 2016, (2) Control expenses through improved expense management & transparency, & (3) Increase merchandise offerings at Spencer Pride, Inc. events in order to bring in more funds.

2. 10th Anniversary Development.  Although we are just in the early planning stage of our 2015 Festival, we cannot lose sight of the vision that we have for our 10th Anniversary event in 2016.  This goal is focused on the development of pre-festival community betterment events, establishment of funding for those events and the festival, and clarifying the vision for the festival itself.

3.  Improve Volunteer Recognition.  No not-for-profit group can ever be successful without recognizing the value of their most important resource: volunteers.  This goal will involve increasing recognition of our volunteers through new quarterly social activities (or other recognition activities) intended to reward our volunteers for their dedication & service to Spencer Pride, Inc. 

4. Increase Attendee Engagement.  We want to greatly improve how much we involve the attendees at our festival.  For the 2015 event we want to see a significant increase and we plan to achieve this by focusing on rolling out many new activities at the event intended to get everyone involved.  

5. Year-Round Marketing & Advertising.  We've never looked at our marketing as a 365 day activity, but we realize now that it must be.  We will greatly increase our marketing & advertising this year, with the intention to begin our next year with a plan already in place that ensures a year-round plan for educating people about Spencer Pride, Inc, its mission, and its work.

We hope that you find this information valuable.  Please let us know by dropping an e-mail to Spencer Pride, Inc. President Jonathan A. Balash at Jonathan@SpencerPride.org.  Thanks!

Volunteer of the Quarter: Katie Zuber

posted Sep 9, 2014, 2:44 PM by Jonathan Balash   [ updated Sep 22, 2014, 1:01 AM ]

We'd like to send a shout out on behalf of one of our newest volunteers! Katie Zuber joined our organization 9 months ago and what a difference she has made. Katie was an enormous help with this year's festival. Even coming to set up the day she returned from a trip out of the country. Katie has represented us at several other festivals around the state. She's also working with the Prism Youth Com
munity to create this year's library displays for GLBT History Month. 

Katie lives in Bloomington with her husband, Matthew, in their newly purchased home. She is a 4H Youth Development Educator. You can see Katie at Bloomington's Summerfest this Saturday. Stop by the Spencer Pride booth and say hi and thanks to Katie for all her work on our behalf.

(in the image, Katie is on the left.  Also pictured is Spencer Pride Director Kim Fidler)

Quarter Wars!

posted Sep 5, 2014, 12:58 AM by Jonathan Balash


Want to see one of the Spencer Pride Inc. Directors get a pie in the face?  Want to help us raise money for our 10th Anniversary?  Now you can accomplish BOTH goals at the same time.

From now until September 21st (the last day of the Apple Butter Festival), we will be collecting quarters for the 10th Anniversary Fund.  There is a container for each of the directors of Spencer Pride.  The director who gets the most quarters in his/her jar will be deemed the ‘loser’ and will receive a pie in the face (by a lucky volunteer!) at the Apple Butter Festival.  The special moment will be photographed, posted on Facebook, and sent alongside a press release to area papers.  Donations can be made at the September Spencer Pride Meeting on September 7 or at the Apple Butter Festival on September 20 & 21.

Kim's Corner: My Volunteer Experience This Summer ... and Some Other Stuff

posted Sep 3, 2014, 8:17 AM by Jonathan Balash   [ updated Sep 5, 2014, 1:01 AM ]

This is another article in a series written by Spencer Pride Inc. Director Kim Fidler.  

August was an extremely busy month for me.  With the start of schools across Indiana and the many festivals, it was easy to stay occupied.  There are so many opportunities for everyone to become a volunteer and to be involved in making your community one of support and kindness.  When you take the opportunity to volunteer your time, you will find that you will make many new friends along the way. That’s certainly been my experience.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Fort Wayne Pride Festival with Jerry Cross. I had initially met Jerry at the Spencer Pride Festival. We did not have the opportunity to talk at that time, as we were all very busy with the festival.  Thankfully, I had the entire day to get to know Jerry in Fort Wayne. What a wonderful time that we had!  I simply love making new friends.

Serving on the Spencer Pride Board of Directors has allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people while working to educate the public by creating events which focus on the rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, & intersex community in hopes of making Indiana a more welcoming place for all people.

We accept confusion about many issues. Why do some people not accept those who are confused about their sexuality and/or gender? Why do some people not accept those who have absolutely no confusion about being gay? As a straight woman on the Board of Directors of Spencer Pride, I am excited to learn about the differences of people. We tend to be afraid of those things that we do not understand. I like to believe that when people attend Pride events in any town or city, that they can embrace the differences of others.  I encourage everyone to attend a Pride event.

I also encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with and become a member of PFLAG. What is PFLAG? It is Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  Our local chapter is based in Spencer and is called White River Valley PFLAG.  Learn more about PFLAG by reading the section near the bottom of this article. 

I also had the opportunity to attend the OUTfest ‘14 in Lafayette, Indiana with Spencer Pride volunteer Felix McBeath and fellow Spencer Pride Board member, Eric Jones.  The theme of OUTfest was, “Love is Love.”  There were many vendors and so much great entertainment.  I must say, however, that the Spencer Pride Festival is by far the best at being organized, family-friendly, and inviting.  I may be just a bit biased! Felix, Eric, and I were able to share information about the Spencer Pride Festival. As with Jerry, I had a great time with Felix and Eric.

I look forward to attending the Bloomington PRIDE Summerfest on September 6th with another group of our great volunteers!

Finally, I want to add that I am looking forward to September because it is the month of Labor Day and a time to celebrate the working men and women in the United States.

I am sad to see summer end. I am sad that I can no longer fashionably wear white or seersucker in 2014.

However, I am happy to take time out to celebrate any group of people that makes the world a better place, whether it be the working men and women of the world, people of Spencer Pride, Prism, or PFLAG, etc.

Nobody can do it alone. We need the entire community and caring adults to make each town and city a more loving place.

What can you do to help? It is simple.

1.     Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

2.     Become educated by attending a Pride meeting or event, such as the Spencer Pride Festival, “A Night at the Tivoli” (on October 8th, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.), or a PFLAG educational event.

3.     Visit the Spencer Pride website and share it with others on social media.

4.     Take time to find out about the PRISM Youth Group in Bloomington.

Then…take what you have learned to teach out to a child, a young person, or an adult who may need you. The world will be a much better place, and you’ll feel great for having made a positive contribution to it!

More About PFLAG

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place on March 26, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended.

Over the next few years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering "safe havens" and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC. By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide, establishing itself as a source of information for the general public.  When “Dear Abby” mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, more than 7,000 letters requesting information were received by PFLAG. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding President, Adele Starr.

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing approximately 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1987, PFLAG relocated to Denver, under President Elinor Lewallen. Also in the 1980s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military’s efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement.  And by the late 1980s, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural communities.

In 1990, following a period of significant growth, PFLAG employed an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and moved to Washington, DC. Also in 1990, PFLAG President Paulette Goodman sent a letter to Barbara Bush asking for Mrs. Bush’s support. The first lady’s personal reply stated, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.” 

In the early 1990s, PFLAG chapters in Massachusetts helped pass the first Safe Schools legislation in the country. In 1993, PFLAG added the word "Families" to the name, and added bisexual people to its mission and work. By the mid-1990s a PFLAG family was responsible for the Department of Education’s ruling that Title 9 also protected gay and lesbian students from harassment based on sexual orientation. PFLAG put the Religious Right on the defensive, when Pat Robertson threatened to sue any station that carried the Project Open Mind advertisements. The resulting media coverage drew national attention to PFLAG's message linking hate speech with hate crimes and LGBT teen suicide. In 1998, PFLAG added transgender people to its mission.

At the turn of the century, PFLAG began to develop nationally coordinated programs like Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All, Straight for Equality, the National Scholarship Program, Bringing the Message Home, and Welcoming Faith Communities. PFLAG has done much to support the LGBTQI Community.

The local PFLAG is White River Valley PFLAG, led by chapter president Cathy Wyatt.  Their website is www.WhiteRiverValleyPFLAG.org and you can e-mail Cathy at info@WhiteRiverValleyPFLAG.org

2014 Strategic Results Reported

posted Aug 8, 2014, 12:43 PM by Jonathan Balash

While the Board of Directors works to complete their proposal for the 2015 strategic goals & budget, which will be presented to the volunteers during our September meeting, it is important to look back at our goals for 2014.  

We are very happy to report that all 5 of our strategic goals were completed in their entirety.  Through our fully engaged and driven Board of Directors and our loyal, passionate, & dedicated volunteers, we were able to accomplish our goals.  

This was the first year that the Board of Directors outlined a formal strategic plan to keep the organized focused on the most important goals.  The results speak for themselves!

501(c)(3) Status Achieved!

posted Aug 7, 2014, 1:55 AM by Jonathan Balash

We are very excited to announce that Spencer Pride Inc. has been designated a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service.  This means that contributions to Spencer Pride, Inc. may be tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.  We have been anxiously awaiting the approval of our status since we submitted it to the IRS in May of 2013.   The approval is retroactive through 2008, when we first incorporated in the state of Indiana as a non-profit organization.

We look forward to the many new opportunities that this status may afford us.  As always, funds are used in support of our mission, which is to educate the public by creating events which focus on the rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, & intersex community in hopes of making Indiana a more welcoming place for all people.  If you have any ideas about how you can help us achieve our mission, please contact us at info@SpencerPride.org. 

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