Support for queer family members and friends can come in subtle interactions with others. It can come in overt displays and admonitions of love, but making it known publicly can be difficult, said Lisa Tooley, who has a gay cousin.
“I like that gay prides are a place for my cousin and her friends to get together and celebrate, but I’ve never felt like I was the target audience,” said Tooley, who is a member of the Mormon Church.
Tooley, 23, and her cousin were raised by their grandmother and are as close as sisters. When her cousin turned 16, she came out to Tooley, and two years later is still on a journey letting her classmates and employer know about her orientation.
“I was raised Mormon and I love my faith, but it’s so important to me to have the chance to show my cousin I love and support her even more than a faith,” Tooley said. “I’m fully aware of the many hurtful and bigoted things members of my faith have said, but I would love to be a part of the bridge to make it easier for us to come together.”
Tooley said she is excited to attend the Pink Dot event to show her cousin her support.
The message of family inclusiveness and being a voice for everyday people, regardless of political affiliation, faith or any other factor, is exactly what the Pink Dot is about, said Ken Kimball, an event co-organizer.
The Pink Dot campaign includes a month-long web series of YouTube videos and ambassadors showing their support for queer friends and family. The entire campaign will culminate on Oct. 11, 5 p.m., where participants are asked to wear pink and form an enormous pink dot at Spring Mobile Ballpark, 77 W. 1300 South, in Salt Lake City. The theme of the event is Support, Love, Courage. Similar events have been held in Singapore, but this will be the first such gathering in the United States.
Ambassadors have so far included Sister Dottie S. Dixon; former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and his wife, former Salt Lake City Weekly editor Holly Mullen; Latino activist Archie Archuletta, Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians Salt Lake Chapter president Kathy Godwin and her husband Mike Godwin; First Unitarian Church Rev. Tom Goldsmith; KUER Radio producer Ken Verdoia; and Family Fellowship founders Gary and Millie Watts. Musician Kurt Bestor added his voice this week, including a video about why he chose this project to be his first public pronouncement of his support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.
“We want to create a space for the middle. You always hear the extremes on both sides yelling, and I think most people are right in the middle of it. This is your chance to have your voice heard,” Kimball said.
In addition to attending the event, members of the queer community are asked to bring along friends and family as a chance to show support, Kimball said.
“We want everyone to be there, this is the place to bring family members and friends to a very safe and politics-free zone. We’re removing the controversy so we can focus on the love and support,” Kimball said.
For more information, go to PinkDotUT.org.