by Samantha Faye King
We have come a long way since the infamous Stonewall riots of June 1969. All the way through the 60’s homosexual activity was not only looked down upon but completely illegal. This is what led to the need for safe spaces and eventual rise of activism. The first pride marches took place exactly one year after the Stone Wall riots on June 28th, 1970 in places such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Slowly but surely laws began to change, homosexuality became legal, and more and more states legalized gay marriage, and communities and safe spaces grew stronger and in abundance.
Despite all of this progress, it does not mean the fight is over. Prejudice and hate still lurk around the corners. June 12th, 2016 in Orlando, Florida the tragedy that is the Pule night club shooting took place. 49 were killed and 43 injured. As uncomfortable as it is, we can not let events like this be put to the side or forgotten. However, that does not mean be shaken by fear. We are here to fight for a world where people can express themselves freely without such fears.
Even where there is no physical oppression, mental oppression exists attaching guilt as well as a struggle of identity and self-acceptance to one’s sexuality. Many places, such as churches, fall into the habit of rejecting the LGBTQ community. Stripping them of a place of worship and implanting ideas of being unwanted and unforgivable. The mindset of ‘praying the gay away’ is a poisonous one that still runs rampant in today’s society, creating a bad reputation for both the LGBTQ community and the church itself. The stigma it’s created on members of the LGBTQ community continues to exist not only in the church and other places of worship, but outside as well.
In fact the 2015 national youth risk behavior survey showed that 34% of LGBTQ students were bullied on school property, 28% of LGBTQ students were bullied through electronic means, and 13% of LGBTQ students did not go to school because of safety concerns.
Luckily, just because it is common does not mean it is exclusive. Several anti bullying programs have been created such as the Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org), a suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. Another example is stopbullying.gov which advocated ways to address bullying in educational setting as well as encourages the creation of Gay-Straight Alliances.
More and more churches and other places of worship have also become openly accepting of the LGBTQ community and want to be a safe place for them. Below is a list of some examples of pro LGBTQ houses of worship within the Twin Cities area as found on the TCP website.
Minneapolis Places of Worship
Adath Jeshurun Congregation
All God’s Children (A Metropolitan Community Church)
Calvary Lutheran Church
Compassion of Christ Catholic
Dignity Twin Cities
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis
First Universalist Church
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church
Judson Memorial Baptist Church
Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church
Lutheran Church of the Christ the Redeemer
Lynnhurst UCC Church
Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
Oak Grove Presbyterian Church
Salem English Lutheran Church
Shir Tikvah Reform Jewish Congregation
Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral
United Church of Christ
University Baptist Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church
St. Paul Places of Worship
Dayton Avenue Church
Fairmount Avenue United Methodist
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
Mount Zion Temple
Pilgrim Lutheran Church
Unity Church – Unitarian
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on-the-Hill
Greater Twin Cities
Spirit of Hope Catholic Church
Our Lady of Celestial Fire
Presbyterian Church of the Apostles
Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church
Unity Christ Church of Golden Valley
Spirit of Joy Christian Church
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church
St Lukes Presbyterian Church
North Como Presbyterian Church
St. Louis Park
Beth El Synagogue
It is the goal of ERA MN to fight for the equal rights of all, so hopefully these resources will be found useful in creating a safer and more accepting environment. We hope to see you at Twin Cities Pride Festival on June 23rd and 24th in Loring Park in Minneapolis where you can find us at the MN NOW booth (R98 - near Harmon Place).
Fun Fact: As of a 2015 survey Twin Cities Pride is the 5th largest Pride festival in America based on google trends.
How great is this?! This is the first ERA Billboard and it's up along I-94 south of St. Cloud, there will be another going up in July on Hwy 10. We would love to put more billboards up around town but need money to do it. Each billboard costs about $3,000. Can you help? $100? $50? Even $10 would be great! If YES - please go to our Go Fund Me page. [more detailed info below]
We'll soon have a post on our FB page so you can share! But you can also post to your FB from Go Fund Me. Can we make this go viral?
From our press release May 31, 2018:
ERA MN Coalition Launches Educational Campaign on the Equal Rights Amendment
[Clearwater, MN] – Minnesota NOW and ERA Minnesota have launched a five month campaign to raise awareness about the lack of an equal rights amendment (ERA) in the Minnesota Constitution. Their first billboard went up over the weekend on Interstate 94 south of Clearwater, east of the highway 24 exit, on the border of Stearns and Wright counties.
“Current Senate and House leadership have told us they don’t hear enough from the people of their districts to pose this constitutional amendment to the people of Minnesota.” stated Kathleen Murphy, a co-founder of the ERA Minnesota Coalition. “So many people are unaware that women’s rights are not specifically guaranteed by either the Minnesota or U.S. Constitutions. With two more states recently ratifying the federal ERA, we would like to help raise awareness of the issue and why it is still needed.”
Minnesota was the 26th state to ratify the federal ERA in 1973, but that effort was cut short in 1982 because not enough states ratified the amendment by the arbitrary deadline Congress imposed on its passage. An equal rights amendment to the Minnesota Constitution has been introduced in every session since 1983. It has never been voted on by full bodies of either the Minnesota House or Senate. This educational campaign hopes to change that for next year.
The location of the first billboard was chosen to correspond with districts where there was resistance from state GOP leaders to act on the issue during the recent legislative session. A second billboard will be going up next month in a district along Highway 10, with more awareness going up in additional districts as fundraising allows. The billboards will run through the November elections.
ERA Minnesota (ERAMN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to secure an Equal Rights Amendment to the State and Federal Constitutions.