Still Challenging to Be Gay in Many Communities, HRC Leader Says in Salt Lake

(KCPW News) The nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization made a stop in Salt Lake City over the weekend, spreading its message of equality. Members of the Human Rights Campaign are on a nationwide bus tour to cities they believe still have further to go. The Utah Pride Center hosted the kickoff event before the tour began. President Joe Solmonese says in many parts of the country, it continues to be difficult and challenging to be gay.

“So we have really begun this bus tour and intend to go to 17 cities communities across the country to make sure that first and foremost members of our community are aware of the resources that we have to offer as the largest gay rights organization in the country and to genuinely bring those resources to our community in a more fulsome way,” he said.

Valerie Larabee, Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center, says a lot of change has taken place in Utah over the last couple of years.

According to an HRC survey, 77 percent of Utahns support protecting the LGBT community from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“The will of the people is growing more toward supporting full equality for LGBT people,” she said. “Our challenge is, our opportunity is, to work with the legislators from more rural parts of the state who don’t deal with the issues on a day to day basis but they’re still going on in their districts.

Salt Lake City adopted nondiscrimination ordinances in 2009, but the state legislature has repeatedly rejected a nondiscrimination law on the state level. The Human Rights Campaign also stopped in Salt Lake City last year to deliver a petition to the LDS Church, condemning an apostle’s remarks that same-sex attraction is “impure” and “unnatural.”