Utah’s celebrating ’10 Gay Days’

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

There are roughly 365 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer days in the United States every year, but I don’t think the whole of Utah is ready to embrace the truth just yet–so instead, only 10 will be publicized and celebrated.

From Feb. 9 to 18, the Utah Pride Center will be hosting 25 events to raise awareness about LGBT issues and celebrate the people in and around its community. The WinterPride 2007 Festival, “10 Gay Days,” will set out to strengthen the LGBT community through fund raising and encourage Utahns to have one hell of a time in the process.

With many members of this state continually trying to build walls and further marginalize the LGBT community with measures such as House Bill 236–which restricts high school clubs from focusing on human sexuality–and religious ideas that one’s sexuality could be the difference between heaven and hell, we could use “10 Gay Days,” if not 20.

Part one of WinterPride takes place Feb. 17 at the Sheraton City Center Hotel–a daylong conference and community fair celebrating the themes of passion, politics and power. Some of the issues that will be discussed are achieving marriage equality; sexual orientation: your choice and your biology; and the rhetoric of religious violence. These are topics every Utahn, whatever his or her sexual orientation or interaction with the LGBT community, should hear if Utah is ever going to be considered a safe space for all people.

Part two of WinterPride is the Valentine’s Gala, following the conference on Feb. 17. Themed “Carnival in the Rio,” the gala will include cocktails, dancing and live and silent auctions. All proceeds will go to benefit the Utah Pride Center. Prepaid reservations are required.

Part three of WinterPride is the Flurries, which will take place from Feb. 9 to Feb. 17 and is geared toward highlighting equality for everyone. Many of the events are free or inexpensive and take place throughout the city. Events include service projects benefiting homeless youth, a youth Valentine’s dinner and dance and ice-skating for family home evening. The Flurries provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in WinterPride to some extent.

So why not go to learn and unite the communities of Utah?

Dhiraj Chand, director of diversity for the Associated Students of the University of Utah, said, “I think WinterPride will have a positive impact on the community and will empower the LGBT community. I’m glad Utah is celebrating WinterPride. It’s really important to create safety for the LGBT community.”

In Utah, we haven’t been the best as far as promoting equality for all. The sad thing is, we’re not alone at the bottom of the list. But by celebrating 10 Gay Days, at least Salt Lake City is realizing that there is more than one way to live your life and that everyone is deserving of equal treatment.

For a more complete listing of events, volunteer information or ticket pricing, visit the Utah Pride Center’s Web site at www.slcwinterpride.org.

Stop the conspiracy theories circulating around the water cooler about your coworker’s sexual orientation and realize that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Jack or Jill like boys or girls–Jack and Jill are still Jack and Jill.