Issue 416

Minnesota AIDS Walk Premieres New Activities

With HIV-infection rates on the rise, the Annual Event is more crucial than ever.

Thousands will stroll through Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on May 15 for the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in Minnesota, the 24th-annual Minnesota AIDS Walk, organized by the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP).

The agency is hosting the event to garner financial support, with more than 5,000 walkers and runners expected to participate. HIV testing will premiere this year, along with a health fair and a concert.

The Minnesota AIDS Walk is a day to raise cash for the cause, according to MAP Director of Development Robert Bitzan. Money taken in will go toward critical services to care for those at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS, as well as funding advocacy efforts and programs on preventing infection. Read the rest of this entry »

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Tyler Clementi’s roommate, Dharu Ravi, whose webcam intrusion into Clementi’s private life precipitated his suicide, recently was indicted by a grand jury on 15 counts, including a hate crime, which carries five to ten years in prison.

I also read that Justine Williams, a 14-year-old cancer survivor, had been receiving threats online from an anonymous tormentor who turned out to be her best friend.

Often, the perpetrator—the article on Williams scrupulously avoided any word indicating gender—Skyped with her, while sadistically watching her reactions to the threats typed through a different source. Read the rest of this entry »

Peep Show

Don’t you just hate it when you’re planning a birthday party, only to find out someone has gone behind your back, and scheduled something the very same weekend?

This puts your guests in the position of having to choose which party to go to, or forces them to try to squeeze everything into their schedule. It’s a hostess’s worst nightmare—that, and running out of meatballs.

Well, it happened to me this year—and not just once. In fact, three different people tried to steal my birthday-weekend thunder. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 42nd Birthday, GLBT Minnesota!

May 18 marks the 42th anniversary of the founding of Fight Repression of Erotic Expression (FREE), Minnesota’s first gay organization. Courageous young activists, Koreen Phelps was 20 and Stephen Ihrig was 21 when they established FREE. Phelps passed away in 2007. Ihrig at last report lived in New York City, where he moved in the early 1970s.

Many are under the misconception that the Stonewall Riot in New York City on June 28, 1969, took place, and then, presto, organizing followed in other parts of the country, inspired by that event. Note, however, that FREE was founded nearly six weeks before Stonewall, a credit to the moxie of Minnesota gay activists.

Journey with Pride in the Region

With gas prices soaring into the stratosphere, why not plan a few close-to-home trips this summer? A number of Pride events are an easy drive from the Twin Cities, so split the gas costs with a few friends, and venture forth!

East Central
Minnesota Pride
Pine City
June 5

East Central Minnesota Pride, which launched on June 5, 2005, has been held ever since on the first Sunday in June in Pine City.

According to Nate Johnson, author of Images of America: Pine City, who has been with Pine City Pride since its inception, says, “The event continues to grow. In its first year, it was predominantly a men’s gathering, but following events were opened up to all members of the GLBT community.

“Over the past few years, there have been dozens of new vendors and several hundred people present. More and more, people are realizing the importance of Pride in Outstate Minnesota. In the big cities, there isn’t the isolation or the feeling of being second-class. Pride is the time that the GLBT people in these small towns can gather together, and, in doing so, feel included and respected.”

Paul Wilkens, a member of the 11-year old East Central Men’s Circle discussion group for gay, bi, and questioning men, adds, “I feel that the value of Pride has a deeper impact in rural Minnesota than it has in bigger cities, because we’re less tolerated. If one loses the meaning behind Pride, I’d encourage them to visit one of these rural Prides to understand their value.”

Johnson notes, “Despite progress, some of the GLBT community is still afraid to come out, and perhaps be ‘outed’ at this event. However, the overwhelming view of the East Central Minnesota GLBT community is that the event brings added value to their rural living experience.”

Many attending Twin Citians have ties with Pine City, as Johnson recalls: “Last year, I met a past graduate of Pine City High School who had relocated to the Twin Cities. He expressed he was delighted that gay life was beginning to take hold in Greater Minnesota, where he once felt he could never be open.”

For more information, search for “East Central Minnesota Pride” on Facebook.

June 10-12

Milwaukee PrideFest Communications Director Kate Sherry explains, “When PrideFest first began in 1987, it was much smaller, and low-key—more like a picnic—attracting hundreds of mostly local attendees. Now, we see more than 30,000 people from all over the world come through the festival gates all weekend. And the fact that we are a three-day Pride festival, on permanent festival grounds, is a pretty big accomplishment.”


Sherry points out, “Outside of our amazing headliners? We have the volleyball tournament, as well as an expanded Health and Wellness Area. And those who think our Pump! Dance Pavilion couldn’t get any better than last year are in for a big surprise. PrideFest Milwaukee is definitely one of the top Pride celebrations in the nation, and becoming an LGBT travel destination.

“We have hotel deals that include a weekend pass, and Amtrak is offering a discount to get here. So, take the train, and spend all weekend celebrating with us. The shuttle will take you to and from our sponsor hotel, so you’re all set. Milwaukee is a great town, and PrideFest weekend is always one you will never forget.”

For more information, visit

Capital City Pride
Des Moines
June 10-13

Capital City Pride is now in its third year.

Festival President Justin DeVries relates, “Pride was a one-day event that was held at Simon Estes with 6,000 people. We are currently a two-to three-day event with a four-block radius in Historic East Village. We had 15,000 people last year. There are usually some people from the Twin Cities that come down. We have had a great response from both the GLBT and non-GLBT communities since I have been involved.

“I am the most proud of the fact that we have grown our Pride so much in the last three years. We are finally getting Pride to where it should be in Des Moines. We still can get bigger, but from where we were at four years ago, we have really grown, and people are really talking about it. Our entertainment for this year is The Village People.”

A number of events are lined up, including the Third Annual Pride Volleyball Tournament at Sands (date to be determined)?; the Pride Scavenger Hunt (June 10); the Street Party (June 11); the Pancake Breakfast, Parade, and PrideFest? (June 12); and Gay Day at Adventureland (June 13).

For more information, visit

Regional Pride Events


June 4

Cedar Rapids

June 4

Iowa City

June 18

Twin Cities

June 25-26


July 15-18

Sept. 1-4


Sept. 9-10

St. Cloud
Sept. 23-25

North Dakota

July 21-24

Aug. 11-14


Aug. 20-21
La Crosse
Aug. 27

Big Gay News

US Majority Supports Same-Sex Marriage

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that 51 percent of Americans now believe same-sex marriage should be legalized with the same rights granted to heterosexuals. However, 47 percent said they think such marriages shouldn’t be recognized.

Gay Teens Less Likely To Attempt Suicide When in Supportive Communities

According to Slate, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds gay and bisexual teens are 25 percent less likely to attempt suicide in socially-supportive environments. The study, which surveyed 32,000 Oregon high school students, found that supportive communities include a higher proportion of same-sex couples and Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »

The Day I Died

His grandmother’s voice echoes as pictures devastate a 20-year-old man.

I’m 20 years old when I see the pictures that end my life.

It’s 101 degrees outside—morbidly humid. I hear my grandmother’s voice warning me about the heat.

PICTURE Him. My him. With someone else. Another boy. A younger boy.

“Justin, you remember to put shoes on if you go outside, you hear?” my grandmother would say if she were here, it’s so hot.

PICTURE His boat. He has his arm around the boy. They’re smiling. Read the rest of this entry »

Ms. Behavior©

Dear Ms Behavior:

I’m dating a new woman, Jane, who seems dogmatic. A lefty organizer, she believes that politics and peace are her religion. That’s fine with me. I certainly have put in my years of working for the movement.

On our fourth date, we had a pretty unpleasant argument over idealism and war, in which I found her to be incredibly rigid. We haven’t kissed yet, or even held hands. I like her, but I probably don’t like her overly radical politics enough to get very serious. Read the rest of this entry »

The Annulment

A couple of strange things happened recently: (1) I was asked to discuss my sex life while buying a new car; and (2) My ex-husband asked me for an annulment.

Let’s start with the car. Last week, I traded in my Subaru Outback for the 40-miles-per-gallon Ford Fiesta, because (1) I believe in America; (2) I believe in saving the environment; and (3) I believe in parties…errr, hence, Ford Fiesta.

I bought the car at the small dealership in a small town where my girlfriend and I take our cars to be serviced. So, everyone at the dealership and in town knows us, and knows that we’re “deviants” (their word, not mine). Read the rest of this entry »

Tea Party

With the lusty month of May here, it’s the season once again for afternoon garden tea parties.

I’m excited to throw my own tea party, and I’m sure everyone who came to my recent body-piercing fest, at least everyone whose wounds have healed, and who aren’t participating in the class-action lawsuit, will be happy to join me. OK, so it’ll be me; my friend, Jeff; the dog; and loony Aunt (You Know I Was Once A Showgirl) Ebba.

Being the self-proclaimed “Queen of Tea,” I must emphasize that proper tea etiquette dictates guests be handed their tea-filled cups using a “serviette,” not a common napkin. Napkins are for formal family gatherings, so Gramps can wrap his uppers in something besides his one good sock. Read the rest of this entry »

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