With a strong showing in early polls and endorsements from such political heavyweights as Paula Julander, Karen Shepherd and Rocky Anderson, we’re not surprised that Utah AIDS Foundation Director Stan Penfold won District 3’s seat on the Salt Lake City Council on Nov. 3. We could say a lot about how revolutionary having an openly gay man on the council will be, or how his election reflects the diversity of his district, but doing so is just rehashes what everyone else has said so far. Penfold’s election is snap-worthy not only because he is an advocate for gay and transgender people, but because he is a staunch advocate of diverse neighborhoods, immigrant rights, environmental issues and a host of other progressive issues that the city needs more people to support. We look forward to seeing what he’ll do in the next two years.
A rather far reaching slap, as we have to extend our arms across a continent to make it. But as Proposition 8 reminded us last year, other state’s politics are Utah’s politics. Even though the vote to repeal Maine’s gay marriage law was narrow — 53 percent to 47 percent of voters — we’re still disheartened, and angry, that a majority has once again taken away rights from a minority with impunity, all the while braying about their “struggle” against “tremendous odds.” The loss of Maine is a blow to the fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, and another reason why we have to keep fighting, donating money, writing our representatives, lobbying and, yes, showing up to rallies.
It’s been a dreary year for the economy and for many of Utah’s most vulnerable people. But despite slow donations and an increased demand for services, groups like the Utah AIDS Foundation, the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah, the Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire, the Homeless Youth Resource Center and many, many others are still stepping up to the plate and providing help with incredible courage and determination. As we move towards this holiday season, when the weather is at its bleakest and need at its highest, QSaltLake encourages you to help these worthy groups in any way that you can.