Opinions Of Matter: An Official Letter to GALA/LA

I have historically and recently had the misfortune of being accosted by the gay advocacy groups within Lethbridge; usually not ending so well. It would seem that some come back for more for reasons that are not entirely crystal clear to me. 

I recently received an invitation from the GALA/LA Board of Directors delivered by their President, Mickey Wilson (whom I am not on good terms with, historically or currently) to attend their next board meeting to discuss some issues/concerns I have made public commentary of within this personal blog (you know what they are)

I am entirely unsure of what that is supposed to mean outside of “We want you to come address these concerns with us”. I would venture to think that it would be a meeting to actually address these issues, but also to request that I essentially keep my mouth and my opinions to myself. 

What I find particularly interesting is that the majority of any real commentary on my blog has been criticism, and or feedback that should be treated as such. They could use the information to better their events and themselves instead of attempting damage control; drawing even more attention to the failure. 

What’s interesting to note is that the invitation came the day before the meeting I was invited to attend. If they really wanted me there regardless of the reasons the President had to not send me an invitation the 30 days following their last meeting; they would have made it a priority. I have since issued an official statement outlining my personal concerns since I will be out of town the date of their next meeting on February 7, 2011 and also because of my history with the current President.

To read the official statement, click the link: Letter to GALA – Letter of Concerns

Although I have a large following on my blog I respectfully need to point out that it is a personal blog. My subject matter has been identified as: “Your online resource for anything you want to talk about, but should expect the awful truth as a response”. The purpose of the blog is to provide a valuable (if not sometimes comical) resource to the LGBTQ community. More than 95% of the content is geared towards this subject matter and if I choose to comment on local events I can. I refuse to stay my personal opinions within my personal body of work.

Has anyone checked the official definition of a personal blog lately?

*per·son·al: [pur-suh-nl]

–adjective

of, pertaining to, or coming as from a particular person; individual; private: a personal opinion.

*blog: [blog]

–adjective

informal Full name: weblog  a journal written on-line and accessible to users of the internet

So just so we’re clear, a personal blog is a personal opinion on a written subject matter. Get it? Got it. Good!

Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo

*Definations sourced from dictionary.com.

GALA/LA NYE 2010: Epically Failed

Another one bites the dust... dhun dhun dhun...

Are we really all that surprised about this announcement regarding the GALA/LA’s NYE 2010 Funky Black Tie Dinner & Dance event? After last month’s disastrous same sex dances, where attendance was so low you could have begun to make fat momma jokes, it’s easy to imagine why this event would be cancelled. Historically, since the closing of Henotic, where GALA/LA’s dances were worth attending, attendance has been incredibly low at all events hosted by this year’s board of directors.

It would seem that GALA/LA thinks any event is better than no event, right? WRONG.

This epic fail has once again been brought to you by poor demographic market research and what our GALA/LA Board of Director’s feel is best for our community. without consultation. And just to back up my point, I have personally asked around our population if there was an interest in a LGBTQ NYE event; the results came back alarmingly as approximately 1 in 7 would have an “interest” and 1 in 12 would “go” to such an event. I think the ball was dropped on research here yet again.

Although ticket sales were the primary reason for the cancellation of the NYE event (undoubtedly), after making my inquiries to a varied demographic of the LGBTQ community here in Lethbridge, the responses indicate the reasoning behind that. Ticket sales were low because of these top 5 reasons as cited by our population, and not primarily as being included at non-queer establishments as originally claimed/assumed:

  1. Why would I go to a GALA/LA event? There’s never anyone there!
  2. I’d rather go to a party with my (straight) friends.
  3. There are way better events to go to.
  4. GALA/LA sucks! They can’t populate a regular dance, what makes them think they can pull off a NYE party?
  5. No way. I’m going out of town.

From some of these responses, although a little harsh at times, I would make the assumption that GALA/LA needs to up its game and start producing some quality events to bring their event following back. Maybe having more quality events with proper planning less of the time instead of cramming as much crappy stuff into a short timeframe would help? Maybe a better marketing approach and web presence might help? Maybe taking the time to inquire and research from the community (which they serve) before slapping an event together would help.

In either case, something needs to be done about our actual gay-friendly events because the last line in the statement made by GALA/LA’s President is a horrific assumption made to sugarcoat the fact they had to cancel their NYE party due to the fact the LGBTQ community will be attending NYE parties at non-queer establishments; and we should celebrate that. His blazon remark assumes we’ve made a milestone in our community where we’re accepted or welcomed at such establishments. Although our community has more light in the public’s eye, I have yet to see any marketing or advertising for any of these establishments that specifically target the LGBTQ community indicating we are welcomed there. I read the lack of attendance from our community to GALA/LA’s NYE 2011 event as “We (the community) have something better to do then attend GALA/LA’s party on NYE because no one cares what GALA/LA is doing anymore” (Look at the track record). What GALA/LA’s official statement cancelling the event should have read was, “We fucked up, again. Please come to our next event; we’ll try and do better” instead of trying to gloss the whole thing over; which has been done more and more frequently.

As an example, the most recent, and possibly the most severe example of GALA/LA misrepresenting itself was while protecting their incestuous sister student organization’s (ULSU Pride) President from Matthew Young’s courageous voice when he brought severe inappropriate behavior by their President into light. GALA/LA and ULSU Pride were quite happy to attempt to sweep it under the rug by not saying anything or disciplining the President due to her direct relation with GALA/LA and instead had me removed from their publication, The Occasion, in an attempt to silence the issue. It seems GALA/LA is making a lot of mistakes these days when it comes to doing the right thing, or making the right decisions.

What do you think about the cancellation of GALA/LA’s NYE event? Do you think the GALA/LA Board of Directors needs to research more from our community before attempting to have events? Write in to Gossip Guy at gossipguy@bell.net or post in the comments box below to share your opinion.

Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo

GALA/LA Same Sex Dances Bomb!

Time For "Fresh" Ideas?

Once every so often a decision is made that we all shake our heads at; this was clearly the case with regards to GALA/LA’s Same Sex Only Dances held during the month of November, 2010. When a decision like this is made you generally have information to back up your decision and I assumed that there was. However, I believe assumptions are the foundation of failure in any proper decision making process so I decided to do some investigating of my own.

Date: Saturday November 27, 2010
Event: GALA/LA Men’s Only Dance (Moose Hall, Lethbridge)

11:32 PM – I Love the Snow

With a fresh layer of snow on the ground and the flakes falling all around, winter had definitely fallen upon our prairie city; blanketing it in white velvet. The evening started with such promise; a gathering of friends having a few drinks before hitting up Lethbridge’s first Men’s Only Gay Dance. I had thought it was a fantastic idea when originally announced as it had never been done in this demographic before.

With the snow all about and a few lubricating drinks within me, downed previous to departure, I was enjoying the sound of the snow crunching under my feet as I approached my destination.

08:35 AM – Saturday Morning, At Last

I remember waking up with the hint of sun dancing across my bedroom; spires of tickling light awakening my senses and gently moving me from sleep into consciousness. It was morning, mostly grey outside, but light penetrated the clouds illuminating the sky as if Zeus had thrown columns of light to the earth. It was magical to look at.

A yawn and stretch later I remembered that the evening would be full of social events as I made my morning coffee to sip on while checking my numerous messages on even more numerous social message delivery devices and software. (It kinda gets that way when you have a double persona). Verifying the information, location and times of GALA/LA’s Mens Only Dance and pre-event fun didn’t take too long as I had been monitoring the situation on the Facebook Event’s Page for weeks; so I decided to start my day relatively early. I hopped out of my pajamas and into my day.

8:57 PM – Enroute to Party Time

The familiar sound of crunching snow under my boots excited me. It had just started snowing a week ago and with the lazy mood the weather was in; it was falling magically all around me. I love this time of year. I was just about to my friend’s place where I was destined to have a few drinks before arriving to check out the scene at the dance. I had been talking to people about the dance for weeks gathering various perspectives and information from people to write about it later (See current article). The information I had gathered from the women from their dance was that it was severely under attended and not a great time so I was trying to get a pulse on tonight’s event up until tonight.

Friends in good spirits, check. Good conversation, check. The notion the night would good well, check. All lights were green, and then I heard something I’d heard many times over the past two weeks, “My girlfriends tell me their dance bombed; there was really poor attendance”. The statement caught me a little off-guard since I was in a great mood, but I can’t say I was surprised. My own research following the event led me to a few conclusions made by our community regarding the gender specific events:

  1. GALA/LA has a hard enough time stocking the co-ed dances to a reasonable level. By dissecting the crowd into separate events attendance would be even less.
  2. Some of the community believes that by separating the men and women that it would only appear to serve to further segregate our community.
  3. Those that voiced their opinions about having a separate event for the ladies; did not intend for something so extravagant for a first event to birth itself. They had thought something low key as a water-tester would be appropriate.

I decided to check the event listing on the Facebook Event Page. The results were still discouraging as noted this morning:

17 Attending
31 Maybe Attending
97 Awaiting Reply
110 Not Attending

I decided to cross-reference to the Women’s Only Event to do a comparative analysis:

22 Attending
48 Maybe Attending
122 Awaiting Reply
96 Not Attending

My light hearted mood suddenly dropped a shade. If the information I had just gathered was correct, and our numbers were fewer then the Women’s Dance listing, then our evening would most likely go bust as well.

10:54 PM – Enjoying My Time

After socializing around the room and enjoying myself. it was mentioned we should get a move on the dance. Decisively I messaged a contact I knew would be at the dance already seeking confirmation about what we all dreaded in the first place; and it came. It was virtually a ghost town at the dance with a reported 5 guests. We decided to talk about it before anything else.

11:42 PM – Disappointed

I dusted off my scarf and hung it, along with my jacket, up in the front hall closet of my home. I had made the obvious choice; head home instead of stand around at a dance attempting to talk to five people. It was quite clear that we didn’t have the community to support same-sex-only-dances as of yet and that the current leadership on the GALA/LA Board of Directors hadn’t taken that into account. The information was there; low numbers at previous dances would suggest even lower numbers at separate sex events since effectively you’re cutting half of the population out of the equation.

I wonder how the current leadership came up with this intelligently to begin with.

Do you think that the proper research was put into rationalizing what became a waste of resources for November’s GALA/LA events? Do you feel that that our city can support same-sex-only events? Write to Gossip Guy at gossipguy@bell.net to share your opinion.

Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo

Best of Gossip Guy & Readership Explosion

336 Visitors per day in November 2010, up +94 per day since last month!

Readership has exploded here at Gossip Guy! I averaged approximately 336 visitors per day in the month of November 2010. That’s +94 hits per day since October 2010 last month and +296 hits per day since September 2010. That’s incredible growth in just two months.

Tracking back and drilling down into my site statistics it was easy to track why Gossip Guy is receiving all of this attention and it can be related back to my most popular posts and articles below:

  1. The Gossip Guy homepage
    Landing page for most visitors
  2. Political Controversy vs. Misconduct of a Public Figure
    The President of ULSU Pride, the Lethbridge gay university group, makes shocking public statement and Matthew Young retorts outraged.
  3. Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!
    Yours truly is removed from GALA/LA publication “The Occasion” as a result of reporting on the misconduct of the ULSU President. Questionable? YES!
  4. More Controversy: Gay Students vs. Gossip Guy Now?
    Gay study body at the University attacks Gossip Guy for exercising freedom of press upon disgraceful report of ULSU President’s behavior.
  5. 50 Reasons to Date a Geek
    A listing of why geeks are in this season.

It is quite apparent that I started some political movement while reporting on the whole ULSU Pride President, Emma Ladouceur vs. Matthew Young issue. But, someone had to do it. Both gay association boards in Lethbridge advocate against hate towards the LGBTQ community; so suddenly when one of their own figure heads makes obscene statements in public they choose to ignore it. It should be recognized. However, it seems that both groups are quite happy to sweep it under the rug.

This issue went cross country when Gossip Guy fell under the spotlight of SERIAL SEAN, a media publicist, writer and entertainer from Toronto, Ontario who had heard about the controversial debate. He sent interview questions out to collaborate the story from each person or group involved in the debate (Emma, GALA/LA, ULSU Pride, Lethbridge University, the University Student’s Union and Yours Truly) and will be publishing the completed article for his publisher soon. Watch Gossip Guy for more information and a posting of the completed article.

Writing a blog has also brought to light some facts for me:

  1. Not everyone is going to like me if I speak my mind. I have to be prepared for good and bad press back from the public as well because not everything I will write about will be popular among certain groups. (Read: At this moment as GALA/LA, ULSU Pride & some of the gay students at Lethbridge University).
  2. I have to keep an objective point of view and if I choose to discuss something of controversial value; I must also be prepared to dig my heels in and stand up for what I believe in (See: Having A Voice).
  3. I need to be prepared to be amazed by the people in our community who value, appreciate and take to heart the content I provide for them. See below for my five favorite comments about what I wrote standing up for my beliefs on Gossip Guy:
    1. Mathew Beaudoin: Submitted on 2010/11/04 at 7:00 PM
      Can we honestly say that this is a surprise. GALA/LA has a fairly consistent recent history of shutting down free speech, new ideas, and people who happen to have different views. The organization has devolved into an incestuous monarchy devoid of the values it was created to promote and defend. I see more internal discrimination from GALA than directed toward the community. I can’t imagine the disappointment the founding members must feel.But that’s just my two cents.
      Comment from: Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!
    2. Stacy Green: Submitted on 2010/11/11 at 5:16 PM
      Dear: Gossip Guy,Firstly, I want to thank you for creating your website. I like it.

      Secondly, I’d like you to know – that there are those of us in the community who share many of your opinions. I’ve only recently been aware of your site, and have yet to really explore everything, but I thought it important that someone take the time to show you some support amid all the rhetoric.Indeed, public figures (regardless of age, context, or sincerity) have a distinctly higher responsibility to the example they set. To suggest that a public figure should be excused of their responsibility to their position; based on what their friends think about them is not only insulting to the entire community, but it clearly shows ignorance of the point you’re trying to make.

      The comment was published as a statement, not an opinion, not a funny figure of speech. That constitutes slander, libel, and certainly points to defamation. People who represent certain authority or credibility within a community have an important role. A responsible role, and a role that is not “forgotten” simply because of someone’s personality quirks.

      To you; GossipGuy – I tip my hat, and again “thank you” for at least trying to be a positive influence on a community which deserves it. The talent and skills of our community are far greater than others I have experienced. The passion, angst, successes, and even failures of the Southern Alberta Gay Community are important enough to take seriously. The idea that any member of our community would “bash” another individual is shameful. To suggest that one should “get to know her” before judging her obviously ill chosen words, is insulting to the entire community.

      Finally: The very idea that a group which has claimed to be the “voice of the LGBT community” in Southern Alberta for so long; censoring and supporting such foolishness – well, I’m very disappointed to say the least.

      I hope you keep up the good work. I hope the community moves past this silliness.
      Cheers!
      Stacy
      Comment from: Having A Voice

    3. Lance Tayler: Submitted on 2010/11/28 at 10:47 PM
      I commend you gossip guy for being so transparent and post all correspondence between the board and yourself. Its not too often we see this kind of transparency. The fact that you are trying to share what is really happening to censor you should make us think twice about who we elect as representative of the organization. Every one needs to be responsible for what they say and if you dont want it published then dont say it. Nothing is really private anymore.You have shown courage and character by sticking up for what you represent even though people dont all agree with it and want to use their power to shut your voice. That kind of power is dangerous and its what we should all stand up against. So keep on talking mr gossip guy and I will keep listening.
      Comment from: Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!
    4. Former ULSU Club President: Submtted on 2010/11/30 at 11:01 PM
      As a former president of a fairly successful ULSU club, and homosexual member of the community, I can only chuckle at the conduct of ULSU Pride (formerly GALIA) executive members. The club has always been a clique of horrible ambassadors of the community. Sitting in on council votes in years past at which GALIA did not get their way, it was commonplace to see executive members gripe and complain about how unfairly they were treated, always claiming it was because of their sexuality.

      Newsflash: It is because you are petty people with thinly veiled agendas. Matthew Young and Gossip Guy, my hat goes off to the both of you for sounding out against this behaviour. I felt compelled to remain silent as voicing my opinion would not have been viewed as professional conduct expected of club executives. GALIA (and now ULSU Pride) was never a safe or comfortable place for me as a homosexual student in a very conservative town, and I was certainly not the only one at the U of L to feel that way.

      I can only hope that years passing will lead to a new and improved club, which will actually live up to the proposed and current (but obviously abandoned ) mission statements.
      Comment from: Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!

    5. Confused: Submitted on 2010/11/03 at 2:27 PM
      Exactly what is the positive image portrayed by the President of ULSU Pride spouting off “I suck dick for coke”? That is not exactly the representation a minority group who is fighting for acceptance amongst peers needs. It is exactly those types of duragratory remarks that set off a rash of gay suicides and works like the Trevor Project were made to stand against. Something wrong with this entire scenerio that the person practicing freedom of the press is condemned, and the core problem is not being addressed. It is no wonder there is such a division in the Gay community of Lethbridge when the so called leaders act like this!
      Comment from: Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!

Its words like those that really do conquer all to give me a sense of purpose and accomplishment in what I’m doing. In closing I want to thank you for being the most important part of Gossip Guy, the readers. It’s you people who keep coming back that drive me to write and succeed. I never expected the Gossip Guy blog to become so popular; but the evidence is there in the statistics as well as the IP addresses I’m tracking from pretty much everywhere.

Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo

Gossip Guy Does Not Reflect What GALA/LA Wants to Embody in the Community? DUH!

Not if it means never having my own voice in place of yours!

Disclaimer: Just to avoid confusion, Gossip Guy’s ideas and opinions are not representative of the GALA/LA or ULSU Pride Board of Directors and should not be treated as such.

I struggled with making this circumstance public; however, I feel an injustice has been made towards my work, and your resource, and our community and something has to be said to expose the truth once again.

I should note: I do however really enjoy the majority of what GALA/LA stands for, and the social events that they put on for the community. Please note this is not a personal attack on the group, just some things that need to be said… now with that being said:

Gossip Guy Pulled From GALA Occasion

This just in Gossip Guy fans: someone’s been talking to the local gay community groups about the mishap between Matthew Young and Emma Ladouceur, President of the ULSU Pride University Group; but more importantly that I posted the information onto my blog to expose a potentially harmful public figure. Their response was a little disheartening, but not unexpected as the two community groups seem to be in bed together these days (oh la la)  instead of operating on their own mandates as separate entities. Unfortunately with this overlap in governance there comes influence into the other’s board and with influence comes un-diversity and un-equality because as they continue to merge together any other ideas or opinions, outside of that governing body, will cease to matter (much like their attempt to censor me as you’ll find as you read on).

It has always been my mandate and personal belief system to stand on my own and stand up for what I feel is the right thing to do. So, if GALA/LA thinks that my reporting on an issue of one of our community leaders misrepresenting our collective makes them look bad by being affiliated to me: then so be it; they’re only doing so to protect one of their own. Unfortunately, in this case, favoritism happens when the majority of the seats on the two boards representing the gay social groups in the city are eachother’s friends and act as such in place of actually governing their boards appropriately. It “almost” feels like they operate to serve themselves and their own interests by operating in this manor, and not our wonderful community.

Do you feel our gay social groups represent our community well today? Has anyone ever tried to censor or remove your views or opinions to protect someone else? Write into Gossip Guy at gossipguy@bell.net to share your story.

//Gossip Guy, you know you love me –xoxo


The Message:

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2010 12:29:07 -0700
From: president@galalethbridge.ca
Subject: Gossip Guy Column
To: gossipguy@bell.net

Hi Gossip Guy,

The GALA/LA Board of Directors regrets to inform you that a decision was made at our October 25th Board meeting to no longer include the Gossip Guy column in the GALA Occasion. Although we continue to wish you well, it was decided that the “Gossip Guy” does not reflect the attitudes and image GALA/LA wants to embody in the community. 

Regards,
Mickey Wilson
On behalf of the Board of Directors

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mickey Wilson
President – GALA/LA
www.galalethbridge.ca

Support our work: become a member or renew your membership today.


The Response:

From: gossipguy@bell.net
To: president@galalethbridge.ca
Subject: RE: Gossip Guy Column
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2010 17:37:38 -0300

Hi Mickey,
 
This doesn’t surprise me at all since a great percentage of the GALA/LA Board of Directors is a part of, or affiliated, with the ULSU Pride Group in some way; and I have to assume this is in response to my post about Emma Ladouceur, President of ULSU Pride (aka Calico Anne Kidd) spouting off about “sucking dick for coke” on facebook since it’s the only controversial item on the site that remotely lends itself to not “reflecting the attitudes and image GALA/LA wants to embody in the community”; but also the fact that some information from that meeting, and who was there, found its way back to me.

Historically there is dating and relationship advice as well as expanding resources for our community on my blog; so I hardly see where 2 posts (now 3 if this counts) of the content contained with my blog represents the majority of what I’m trying to accomplish.
 
However I will indulge you. If GALA/LA is so “careful” of reflecting a proper attitude and image through its associations then why would they not see the fact that their association with the president of the university gay group, and a strong representative of our community, said something (whether comical or not) as disgusting as stating she sucks dick for coke? She reflects even worse upon her board, your board and our entire community through your mutual association then my posting the information into my article. But, you punish my voice for supporting Matthew’s point of view, and I wonder why?  It would seem like GALA/LA supports the actions of its vulgar younger community member who misrepresents us in being a political leader as her “influence” into your board pursued the means to have my articles banned from The GALA/LA Occasion. I might venture as far to suggest that because GALA/LA & ULSU Pride are now so closely knit between their boards that they no longer function as completely separate entities and look after one another’s best interests under the guise of indirectness. Why else would an important organization like GALA/LA venture out to censor an important point of political prowess to protect an affiliate of its own instead of making the proper statement that Emma’s behavior is inappropriate as a leader in our community? Why wouldn’t you sever that tie instead of the reporter? I can only assume that since the board is attempting to silence the issue that GALA/LA is ok with the fact that she is sending that kind of attitude and image out to Lethbridge as a representative of our community?  If I were you; I’d be a lot more concerned with your association of our little political controvert Emma for saying something like that instead of being concerned with someone simply reporting on it. I believe your priorities are skewed.

I don’t understand why pulling my articles from The Occasion, which are a big hit by the way as a resource to our community, is a better idea then applying a simple disclaimer at the top of future articles stating that “Gossip Guy’s articles do not necessarily reflect the ideals and opinions of GALA/LA or its affiliations in any way”. That is clearly your fear at this point; being misrepresented (oddly enough as that’s where this whole mess came from). Other commentaries appearing in publications, video reels, websites and blogs are subjected to disclaimers which would also protect The Occasion from a third party.  But I understand: a board being comprised of mostly Emma’s affiliates wouldn’t want that at all; they would rather kill an otherwise valuable local resource in their newsletter then allow someone to share information about the inexcusable behavior of a community member.

The message I’m getting from your board’s decision is: I supported Matthew Young who pointed out a leader and public figure of our community was behaving in an inappropriate manor which reflects upon us all, so my column gets the shaft in response because all of her “friends” who sit on (y)our boards can’t see past the fact she’s making us all look very stupid, but instead turn the ugly eye towards the response (me). She IS of course, sending horrific messaging into the public in case you hadn’t noticed. Furthermore; the GALA/LA Board of Directors who apparently advocates for “diversity & equality”, “being heard” as well as “anti-hate messaging and behaviors towards LGBTQ” has proven itself very hypocritical in its response and attempt to censor my voice for supporting that very same message Matthew Young was sending. He simply didn’t want to tolerate bad press for our community. Matthew’s message was simple, “This is not the kind of behavior, or messaging, one of our leaders (or anyone) should be sending out to the general population”. Because after rallies that your Board of Directors created in conjunction with ULSU Pride that supported against inappropriate behavior towards our community, you would definitely not let it go quiet if it were anyone else. So why is this situation different? (See the Gossip Guy post: Standing Up To Hatred – Lethbridge, Alberta for an example of how Lethbridge didn’t tolerate negative / H8 behavior towards the LGBTQ community: supported extensively by both GALA/LA & ULSU Pride).

My interpretation of Matthew’s statement was not one of vain or distrust; but rather a message and a warning to the actions of our public figures. Each and every one of the responses under the original post on my blog never laid claim to the fact that Matthew was wrong in making the statement that he did, or what Emma said was appropriate in representing the community. Instead, each response was a defense of her character which hardly lends itself approving of her comments. I believe that although those people made claims to her character, they also ultimately know that what she said was explicitly wrong for a leader to say and unjust towards the community; but because she got caught, are trying to defend her.

As an example, after speaking with some local and larger city political figures and offering the example up to them they have reinforced that very ideal: that she misrepresented herself and therefore being a public figure for a community group, has alos directly misrepresented them (us). They also said that whether on facebook, behind closed doors or during a campaign run, political figures have to watch what they say and be cautious at all times for whatever they do, say, gesture or otherwise, can be scrutinized and used against them now, and in the future.  With Emma’s support of the “Anti-Hate Rally” they ventured far enough to call her “hypocritical”. They were also candid enough to mention that although she may be a student currently, she is definitely learning what to avoid in the future, as a statement like that, would spell political suicide for her if it hasn’t already.

Members of our city council and community groups, professors at our university and college, people who are and are not affiliated with ULSU Pride or GALA/LA and other members of our community have written in response to my post and the message is clear: Matthew Young was not wrong to say what he said (I also got some hate mail from the Lethbridge University domain as well). In fact, many of them think more action should have been taken. However, for exposing something ugly within our community I am still to be punished. I feel removing my column from The Occasion is hardly reasonable since I was not the cause of this injustice.

 In closing, the controversial two posts on my blog are the only items on Gossip Guy that are even remotely not within the boundaries of the image GALA/LA wants to represent; so by censoring Gossip Guy from your publication for exposing the truth and pretending like nothing ever happened; you are indirectly sending the message that the GALA/LA Board of Directors supports advocating that our community is a drug infested land for sexual deviants and our leaders are nothing less than that: a stereotype we’re all trying very hard to kill. Is that the message the board is trying to “embody in the community”?
 
I would like a response back to this email for further clarification with a proper explanation on how and why pulling Gossip Guy from The Occasion was decided. As a member of GALA/LA I also want to know when the board will provide me with a copy of the minutes from the October 25, 2010 board meeting please and thank you.
 
Best Regards,
 
//Gossip Guy, you know you love me –xoxo

 


The Response:

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 09:43:55 -0700
From: president@galalethbridge.ca
To: gossipguy@bell.net
Subject: Re: Gossip Guy Column

Hi Gossip Guy,

Sorry for the delay but I had to send your note to the Board and wait to hear back. The Board decided to stop carrying the column after discussion that arose out of a call from a member who receives the newsletter and had some concerns about the association. As indicated in the e-mail to you, the Board is of the view that posting a snapshot of someone’s personal facebook page/status on the website of a “public figure” that GALA is affiliated with (ie the Gossip Guy), does not reflect the values that GALA/LA seeks to embody in the community.Also attached are the meeting minutes as requested.

Regards
Mickey
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mickey Wilson

President – GALA/LA

www.galalethbridge.ca
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The Response:

From: gossipguy@bell.ca
To: president@galalethbridge.ca
Subject: FW: Gossip Guy Column
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 14:35:15 -0300

Hi Mickey,
 
The main issue of misrepresentation is being swept under the rug due to the fact the ULSU Pride group and it’s President are close friends of GALA/LA. This is largely due to the fact that many of their members sit on the GALA/LA board and are utilizing their influence upon it to do as much as they can to help their friend. After reviewing the board meeting minutes and seeing who exactly advocated for what; it is also apparent that the ULSU Pride Members ran the “shut down Gossip Guy show”. Doesn’t GALA/LA, or even ULSU Pride, care at all that a figure head of our community is blatantly sending out messages of this accord and that the student group is sending the message it’s ok to do so by sticking up for her and shutting down my involvement with the Occasion?
 
I personally find it appalling that these two groups are currently acting as one, attempting to be the only represented voice in Lethbridge for the LGBTQ community. It is with this kind of government that everyone else not currently affiliated is being shut out and why the misrepresentation of one of our leaders is being covered up.
 
With regards to the reasoning behind the board’s decision: public figures are responsible for their professional and personal lives when representing a larger body. Any other public figure will tell you that, especially politicians who are constantly under scrutiny for everything they say and or do. The fact this debate happened on facebook or standing before a crowd of people is mute; and she should still be held accountable. Highlighting a debatable infraction on posting the comments/information as public knowledge is a clever diversion to what the actual reasoning was in order to shut me down. Information of this nature should be shared if the personal morals of a community leader are not synchronous with what her alleged professional representation is supposed to embody.
 
However, I do understand the decision the board made for causing some controversy; I accept the fact my articles will only be online now. But I will say as I mentioned before; public figures are responsible for what they say and do wherever they go and are accountable for their actions even if done privately. Matthew Young held himself accountable to his statement and claims in the matter and took some heat for it; I do the same as I believe that Matthew was right and am taking heat for it now: Emma should be held accountable as well. I think if anyone should understand this situation, it would be GALA; as they claim to conduct themselves in a professional attitude and image by disposing of Gossip Guy’s articles within its publication to send the right message to our community, but are also in fact being hypocritical by not sending a message regarding one of our leader’s behaviour when inappropriate.
 
//Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo
 


No response has been issued.

What do you think should happen next? Should GALA/LA reinstate Gossip Guy in their publication? Should the GALA/LA & ULSU Pride Board of Directors take at look at their infrastructures to determine if they are in fact operating as completely seperate entities? Do you think that either gay association is representing our community well? Write in to Gossip Guy at gossipguy@bell.net or comment below with your thoughts. If there is no comment box displayed below, you will need to click on the title of this post to access the unique article page and scroll to the bottom of the page.

//Gossip Guy, you know you love me – xoxo

Out.com's 4th Annual Power 50

People come and people go, and this—our league table of America’s most influential gay men and women—reflects an awful lot of coming and going since it debuted in 2007.

Although Ellen DeGeneres finds herself back in pole position, many names have fallen or dropped out altogether (au revoir Rosie), while others have rocketed up (Rich Ross, Tom Ford) as their successes warrant. And then there are those we never saw coming, such as one Adam Lambert, whose attention-grabbing run on American Idol was largely interpreted as a referendum on tolerance.

Not everyone has to be a Lambert fan to appreciate the power of his position to influence our cultural and social attitudes for the better—one of several factors taken into consideration when compiling this list. The others are political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile. And as always, new entries are marked with a star, with arrows indicating changes from last year’s rank.

So without further suspense… click here for Out.com’s 4th Annual Power 50

//Gossip Guy, you know you love me -x0x0

*Referenced from Out.com.

Lethbridge Pride Board Announced + Interview With the Chair

With the encompassment of the Lethbridge Pride Festival elections ending round 2 on October 25, 2010 (yes, there was 2 rounds due to a lack of participation during the last meeting, and a scandalous roast of the board for apparently not advertising it well) the Lethbridge Pride Festival Board of Directors has been selected for this year’s Pride Festival.

As elected at the first meeting October 4, 2010, hosted by Catwalk Salon & Spa for those who followed proper protocol with their application and were present:

Chair: Heather Chomos (returning as Chair as decided by the previous board at one of their meetings)
Vice-Chair / Graphic Design & Marketing: Matthew Young (stepping up from Volunteer Coordinator from last year)
Secretary: Dave Mabel (stepping up from Director-at-Large last year)
Sponsorship Director: Tyler Gschaid (stepping up from Secretary last year).

At the latest meeting hosted October 25, 2010 by Catwalk & Spa the remaining board openings were elected as follows:

Treasurer: Reid Hollander (first year on the board)
Events Director: Patty Vadnaid (first year on the board)
Volunteer Coordinator: TBD by the Lethbridge Pride Festival Board of Directors
Director-at-Large: Levi Cox (returning from last year)
Director-at-Large: Ryan Juss (returning from last year)

Heather Chomos, Chair, Lethbride Pride Festival 2010/2011

Unfortunately during the first meeting (October 4, 2010) there was some political dispute reported between some community groups and members over the “ethical conduct” of the board and what they perceived to be “suspicious circumstances and behaviour” over a few issues during the election process. Upon hearing about some of the communities’ accusations I sent an interview to Heather Chomos, Chair of Lethbridge Pride Festival for comment in an attempt to get to the truth of the matter and to quell any rumors generated.

The re-appointment of Heather Chomos to Chair has been stated to “appear suspicious” in nature from GALA/LA and ULSU Pride due to the fact the Pride Board decided during a meeting to re-instate you to ensure continuity between the elected boards in the event that an entirely new board was elected. How do you feel about this allegation and/or how has this comment made you feel? Furthermore, what do you believe “appears suspicious” about this action governed by your board?

As Lethbridge Pride Fest Chair, I have always tried to be fair, transparent and honest.  Allegations of this nature are not founded in any of those qualities, and do not have any merit.  The Board has always and will always be free to make decisions it feels best. My role has only ever been and will continue to be to keep the board on task.

How do you feel about the Lethbridge Pride Festival being compared politically to events and or circumstances here in Lethbridge? It was noted that Pride Fest was there in support of its community during the “Hate Crime” incident June 2010 where a University student’s vehicle was vandalized.

While community advocacy is very important, and we encourage board members to pursue such activities as individuals, we do not exist to promote social justice or social progression through any other means than the activities we present via the annual Lethbridge Pride Festival.

Many factions of the community apparently disliked the fact that the first Pride Fest election meeting was not properly advertised to them and that it was held on an evening during another public event of importance to them. How do you feel about this situation?

Lethbridge Pride Fest serves the entire community of Southern Alberta, not one or two factions of it. Though the apparent short notice did seem to annoy some, or cause distain, notice was provided a month before, with a reminder sent a week or so before. However, that was the first time many heard. Because of that concern, Lethbridge Pride Fest did schedule another special meeting so that there would be ample time and notice to apply for Board positions. (We provided three weeks of constant notice of the second meeting.)

It has been said before, noted on my blog and displayed affectionately around our city this past year that there has been some further “division” amongst the LGBT community in Lethbridge. Do you feel that this is true?

Unfortunately human beings can create division where none is necessary.  Lethbridge Pride Fest seeks to promote unity through diversity.

Since you’ve been on the inside of the Pride Festival board since day one and truly understand what the festival stands for; can you please state in your words what it is the festival is supposed to represent and or not represent?

As I’ve mentioned previously, and put very simply, Lethbridge Pride Fest is a festival that celebrates and promotes diversity in Southern Alberta. Through its events, we seek to promote understanding and acceptance that all people are human beings and are unique and diverse, and similarly, all the same.

Would you say that Lethbridge Pride Festival has full support and commitment from the LGBT community? How about Lethbridge in general?

Overall, throughout the LGBT community, I would say no. There are various segments of the community who do not feel that a “Pride” Festival is necessary. The same would be true in (the) general (population).  However, I do think that support throughout both areas of the community is growing and definitely positive for the most part. I would offer that “Pride” has evolved over the years, and it’s become more than a flashy, loud gathering of what people perceive to be ‘deviants’. The Lethbridge Pride Festival Board keeps in mind the community it serves when we plan our events.

 At Pride Fest 2010 there was talk about the board of directors having too small a board to properly manage all the events; do you have any comments on the matter?

The Lethbridge Pride Fest Board never has more than nine members. We operated with 8 members most of the year. We are all very dedicated to the festival, and we work diligently to make Pride an enjoyable experience for all attendees.

Would you care to comment on the level of participation our community has within Lethbridge Pride Festival? Do you seem to have enough volunteer support to effectively manage the organization’s events each year?

While we have some very dedicated volunteers, and they continue to support us, we will always need more. Each year the events get bigger and better, and that requires sincere, dedicated individuals to commit some of their time.

As mentioned, we do always need more volunteers, but those we have work together to create the best possible experience.

Has Lethbridge Pride Fest received support in the form of volunteers and/or donations from other LGBT groups in the area?

Absolutely! Lethbridge Pride Fest considers other area LGBT groups sister organizations, and that being said, we are always open and willing to work with them year round.  

 What will the vision of the Lethbridge Pride Festival board be for the 2010/2011 year?

The board has only come together within the last week, so the vision for this year’s Pride will be coming together within the next month or so.

So there you have it Gossip Guy fans; hopefully the fog in the glass has cleared over this controversy. I will state that in my personal opinion: comparing Lethbridge Pride Fest to another community group and the way it operates, making fabricated allegations and telling them how to govern themselves is a faux paus; especially since they only exist for such a worth while unpolitical cause meant to include everyone.

For more information on Lethbridge Pride Fest, check out their website or their facebook group.

//Gossip Guy, you know you love me -xoxo

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