Oct 7, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 40

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020 02:25

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United We Win
United We Win
By Brie Gyncild

Equal Rights Washington is partnering with Inland Northwest Equality and the Pride Foundation to bring together LGBT activists from Eastern and Western Washington in Spokane this weekend. Participants will learn more about the state's political landscape and what to expect in the coming months; they'll also attend workshops on fundraising, volunteer recruitment, building a base of support, and more.

We're excited about this conference, called United We Win, because we know that the LGBT community in Spokane has some momentum. Originally, the conference was intended to help them defeat an anti-Gay referundum that would have reversed the Spokane City Council's decision to provide domestic partner benefits to city employees. That referendum failed to get enough signatures to make its way to the ballot, so we're able to help the folks in Spokane and other Eastern Washington communities plan ahead for the statewide battles - and any other local contests that come up.

The LGBT community in Spokane has been much in the news. You probably heard about the efforts to create a Gay district in Spokane and about unrelated political controversies.

These controversies have turned a spotlight on the queer community there. Suddenly, Spokane, a city whose LGBT residents have largely been closeted, is receiving national attention. In fact, Frontline is doing a story on being Gay in Spokane, and they will be filming in Spokane this weekend.

Many in Seattle take it for granted that it's safe to be out at work, walking down the street, and with our neighbors. But even here, there are those whose lives or circumstances keep them closeted. Certainly, in other parts of the state, it can take much more courage to be open about your sexual orientation or gender identity.

We face statewide battles for equality - in efforts to pass the long-overdue anti-discrimination bill and to secure marriage equality. We know that each community in Washington state faces unique challenges in those struggles. As a statewide advocacy organization, Equal Rights Washington wants to partner with local organizations - as well as the Pride Foundation, ACLU, Lambda Legal, and others - to help the people who live in those communities find safe ways to come out to and educate their neighbors, families, friends, and co-workers. We have a lot of work to do, and we have a lot to learn about each community's culture and history. That's why local organizations, such as Inland Northwest Equality, are so important; they know what will and won't work in their communities. Equal Rights Washington want to bring the power of statewide resources and political experience together with the insights and relationships of the folks on the ground, doing the hard work every day in their area of the state.

This weekend in Spokane is just one step along the way, but it's an exciting step. We're building skills and understanding. But most important, we're building relationships across the state.

Join Equal Rights Washington in our work to secure equality for the LGBT community throughout Washington state. Your contributions help us lobby in Olympia, elect fair-minded legislators, and pay for media campaigns, of course. But they also help us extend a hand to the courageous people working in small, rural, or conservative communities across the state. We need to work together, because it's true: united, we win.

To join Equal Rights Washington, visit our website at

To learn more about Inland Northwest Equality, a project of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, visit

To learn about the Pride Foundation, visit

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October 15- 23, 2005

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