Just a couple of weeks ago, IDAHO was the word du jour for gay activists and their supporters worldwide. IDAHO--the acronym for the International Day Against Homophobia--had been endorsed by the European Parliament, and was about to be observed with public demonstrations in over 50 countries, including Iran and China. Not surprisingly, people in some of the countries weren't thrilled to see our state's name on the horizon.
Last week in Moscow (Russia, not Idaho), dozens of marchers in a Gay Pride parade that had been banned by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov were attacked by the combined forces of Russian nationalists, Orthodox Christians and skinheads. Openly gay German Parliament Member Volker Beck and a representative from Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe were both beaten severely. Oscar Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland, who gave the opening address at Moscow's IDAHO event, had to be hospitalized.
So, what happened here in the actual Idaho? A few human rights leaders spoke on the steps of Boise's City Hall on May 17, one of the few recognitions of IDAHO within the United States. They invited Gov. Kempthorne to sign a proclamation condemning homophobia; he didn't show. Nor did local TV news cameras.
"We thought it was a great story, but it must have been a 'cat in the tree' day," says Amy Herzfeld, executive director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center.
Don't let this humble scene fool you into thinking that the GLBT community in the United States, or in Idaho, is off politicians' radar screens. With proposed gay marriage amendments on the horizon both federally and on state ballots--both of which explicitly serve no other function than to protect existing anti-gay legislation against intrusion by those pesky activist judges--this year's Boise Pride Week could be the most timely and touchy in quite a while. And even though no less than First Lady Laura Bush said last month of same-sex marriage, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool," we're not holding our breath.
So to prepare our local GLBT armada and all its straight allies for what is sure to be a contentious summer, we've devoted our Pride issue to ... well, to issues. We'll give you the skinny on that gay marriage amendment issue. We've also got an exclusive chat with Dr. Charles Silverstein, author of The Joy of Gay Sex, with whom some conservative marchers at the Nampa Public Library took serious issue. And we revisit one of the unfortunate evergreen issues in the quest for equal rights, the murky rules and techniques regarding adoption. Looking for more? We've got your definitive guide to all the events happening for Boise Pride Week, and an updated directory of local GLBT organizations.
Now get out there and duke it out! Yaarrgh!