Michael Aaron

The strength of Utah’s LGBTQ community lies in its creativity

When Utah was facing a constitutional amendment that was inevitable to pass, our LGBTQ leaders got creative and mostly moved the election. Though not able to defeat the amendment, our community changed the messaging that it “Goes Too Far.” The message resonated and, while conventional wisdom said the amendment would pass with an 80 percent majority, that number was whittled down to 67 percent — considered by many as a huge victory.

Then there was the time our community wanted to be included in anti-discrimination protections. All sides were brought to the table, and the outcome was a law that protected LGBTQ people in employment and housing but carved out protections for religions and their schools. Now called “The Utah Way,” it changed how legislation involving our community is done, including the recent attempts to limit transgender athletes.

And when one community leader got fed up with being treated as a second-class citizen in Utah’s marriage laws, he successfully sued the state, launching an avalanche of positive rulings across the country.

Last year, as a pandemic swept across the globe, our leaders found a way to have a Pride that still involved coming together and parading. Organizations across the country are now using the Pride Rally concept.

This year, Pride leaders wanted to get even closer together as vaccinations began happening and the numbers started to come down. While still being safe and sane, they found a way to meet on Washington Square, come together in social-distanced groups, and appreciate how to find out more about the community, its past, and its future.

While necessity is the mother of invention, it is our creativity that sets us apart from other parts of the country and world and makes Utah’s LGBTQ community a beacon to admire.

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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