LGBT issues

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The group Southern Oregon Pride held their annual Pride parade in Ashland Saturday. Hundreds of spectators cheered rainbow-colored floats, vehicles and banners celebrating LGBTQ culture and the progress made in recent years toward full legal and social recognition of the rights of  LGBTQ people.

S.O. Pride Facebook page

It's been a big 50 years for LGBTQ rights in the United States.  The 1969 Stonewall Riot in New York (named for a club the police raided) set the stage for gay people to claim their human rights. 

Stonewall and the gains made since are celebrated at the events of Southern Oregon Pride, or "SOPride," this weekend in the Rogue Valley (October 11-12).  A kickoff party, a parade, entertainment and more are in the works. 

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

Research out of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland backs up with other researchers have found: health care for LGBTQ+ people isn't as good as what the rest of the population gets.  Issues arise that medical professionals do not catch, and often the correct questions are not asked. 

An effort to close the gap comes to Medford next week (October 8th), with an LGBTQ Health Care Forum at the Medford Library. 

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

Medical professionals need to be ready to treat patients of all sizes, shapes, and backgrounds.  But there appears to be a gap in their ability to treat LGBTQ people. 

Holly Hinson studies this at Oregon Health & Science University, OHSU.  Dr. Hinson points out that gender identification and sexual orientation can have a bearing on medical care. 

Example: hormone treatments can interact poorly with anti-seizure medication.  These and other findings are published in the journal Neurology. 


Societal attitudes and laws may be changing, but it can still be a real challenge growing up LGBTQ.  Research from the University of Texas Department of Human Development and Family Sciences bears this out. 

The research, based on student surveys in California, shows that LGBTQ youth are more likely to be living either in unstable living situations or in foster than straight kids. 


Ashland is home to Southern Oregon University, recognized as one of the top 30 LGBTQ-friendly college campuses in the country. 

The city prides itself on tolerance for people of all colors, genders, and sexual orientations.  So it came as a surprise to some people to see Ashland's low score (43 of 100) on the Municipal Equality Index put out by the Human Rights Campaign. 

Even Birmingham, Alabama scored higher (100 of 100).  A look at the numbers reveals it's less about the presence of troubles than the absence of corrective measures. 

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University has been recognized for five straight years as one of the country's Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities. 

Programs to ensure the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students abound.  And they include an upcoming session combining LGBTQ+ issues with leadership programs, “The Audacity: A Queer Leadership Experience.” 

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A few gasps probably arose from the first crowd to see "Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo" in performance. 

It's a group of all men, dressed in ballet costumes normally worn by women. 

A recent documentary film about the troupe, "Rebels On Pointe," is the work of Southern Oregon University alum Bobbi Jo Hart.  The film shows at Varsity World Film Week in Ashland, which also coincides with Rogue Valley Pride Week


The days of hiding in the shadows are largely over for members of the LGBTQ community.  Or are they?

Society's attitudes toward people who are not strictly heterosexual have changed, but over a long time, and with a lot of pressure from a lot of people. 

And they all have stories to tell, stories being collected by the Coming Out Project

The Keenest Observers: LGBTQ Concerns Explored

Sep 19, 2016

The Keenest Observers are often the people who stand outside a group or situation.  So that's the name we've given to our occasional explorations of conditions and experiences of minority communities within our region. 

Robert Goodwin returns to host The Keenest Observers with members of the LGBTQ community; there's never a shortage of topics, from "bathroom bills" to the coming SO PRIDE festival (October 1-9). 

Guests include Southern Oregon University Queer Resource Center coordinator Thomas Arce and Evan Mouldeoux of Lotus Rising.   

Oregon LGBTQ Rights Pioneer Moves On

Jul 4, 2016

Basic Rights Oregon works hard to ensure the rights of members of the LGBTQ community. 

And for nearly a decade, it has been counting gains in those rights, under the direction of Executive Director Jeana Frazzini. 

During Frazzini's tenure, LGBTQ people racked up victories in a number of policy areas, all the way up to marriage equality. 

Frazzini steps down from her role at BRO in a matter of days. 

Gay Rights Policy Shifts + Orlando

Jun 20, 2016

Violence against LGBTQ people has a long history in America, culminating in last week's mass murder of 49 people at a gay dance cub in Orlando.

The carnage comes right when things seemed to be looking up, when gay rights have never been more openly discussed and demanded through policy change.

Journalist Kerry Eleveld chronicled these policy shifts in her recent book Don't Tell Me To Wait: How the Fight for Gay Rights Changed America and Transformed Obama's Presidency.

Harvard historian Jim Downs delves into the trying decades before recent watershed moments in his book: Stand By Me: The Forgotten History Of Gay Liberation.


Not a corner of the country is untouched by the massacre in Orlando. 

The mixture of rage and sadness and bewilderment at the killing of 50 people will be expressed in many ways.

Southern Oregon Pride (SOPride) joins forces with other groups in a vigil on the Ashland Plaza Monday evening at 6:30.  A second vigil is planned for "the bricks," the courtyard at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, at 8:30.

Reasons To Celebrate S.O. Pride

Oct 8, 2015
S.O. Pride Facebook page

The celebration may turn up a few notches at this year's Southern Oregon Pride Festival, Saturday (Oct. 10) in Ashland. 

This is the year the Supreme Court overturned state laws banning same-sex marriage, and there have been other gains for the LGBTQ community. 

But changes in attitudes toward gay rights seldom move in a straight line, pun unintentional. 

Oregon Moves To Ban "Conversion Therapy"

May 11, 2015

Oregon is on its way to joining California and New Jersey as states that ban "conversion therapy" for gay minors.   Both houses of the legislature passed a bill putting the controversial therapy off-limits to people under the age of 18. 

The therapy purports to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, and is not accepted by much of the psychiatric establishment. 

The bill is welcomed by Basic Rights Oregon and the National Center for Lesbian Rights

A Book For Parents Of Gay Kids

Oct 10, 2014
Chronicle Books

We have traveled a long way--light years, almost--in our views of gay, lesbian, and transgender people in America. 

But the parents of LGBTQ people can still handle their childrens' coming-out with pain and confusion. 

This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids is as straightforward as its title. 

The book is in question-and-answer format, to help parents move ahead in their relationships with their kids. 

SOU Called "LGBT Friendly"

Sep 10, 2014
Southern Oregon University

It's hard for a small regional public college to crack the ranks of the top schools in the country.  At least in academics and athletics. 

But Southern Oregon University recently showed up on a top-50 list. 

SOU is ranked among the most tolerant schools in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

Medicaid For Transgender Services

Aug 26, 2014

While the arguments continue over health insurance, Oregon just took a big step. 

The state version of Medicaid, the Oregon Health Plan, will now cover more procedures for transgender patients. 

The coverage includes treatment for gender dysphoria, the basic condition in which people feel their gender identities conflict with their birth gender.

Kids don't need much of a reason to pick on each other, but the concern heightens when teasing turns to bullying.  A number of programs work to ease bullying in schools, including several programs of the Lotus Rising Project, which seeks to make life better for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) people in Southern Oregon.