The 2008 Gay Issue 

Exploring and celebrating Charleston's LGBT community.

In the broader, epic story of gay rights, historians are going to look back and point to 2008 as an indicator of how far we've come and how far we've got to go, particularly in the Palmetto State. Other states and cities openly lured gay travelers with beaming pride, but South Carolina is one of those "out-of-town" gays that struts its stuff in London, and then, when called on their gayness, refuses to pay the bill. Our state may not be so gay, but Charleston is. Those same gay tourists that were being targeted in London want Rainbow Row, not whatever passes for an attraction in Greenville. This year, City Paper looks at the issues that have made the news in South Carolina: the "So Gay" controversy and LGBT involvement in election-year politics. We also look at a gay organization reaching a milestone and another helping alumni from the most unlikely place in Charleston: The Citadel.

The 'So Gay' episode sets South Carolina back decades
Like most really good controversies, it all started innocently enough. In this case, it began when a British travel promoter and his consultant came up with what they saw as a light-hearted attempt at promoting America as a gay-friendly tourist destination during this year's Pride London parade and festivities.
By Dan McCue | October 13, 2008

Jenny Badman and Patrick Properties team up with AFFA for a grand reopening
A Coming Out Party
When Fish Restaurant reopened in September after months of extensive renovations, they invited a fitting crowd for their coming out party: members of the local gay community.
By Erica Jackson October 13, 2008

Local gay advocacy group turns 10, continues to drag S.C. into the modern age
The March of Progress
National news is driving gay issues these days. It's all about ballot initiatives in Florida and California, Ellen's wedding, and Clay's baby. But, just like politics, the most important movements may be local — particularly the Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA), Charleston's gay advocacy and education organization that is turning 10 years old this fall.
By Greg Hambrick October 13, 2008

Soulforce hits the road to fight intolerance
Back on the Bus
Local activist Katie Higgins is back on the road with nearly two dozen other young gay people, calling on repressive religious schools to end their anti-gay policies and offering support to closeted gay students forced to hide or risk discipline or expulsion.
By Greg Hambrick October 13, 2008

The S.C. Stonewall Democrats roll into their second year
Barrier Breakers
In the United States, an employer can't decide that they will not hire you because you're a member of a racial, ethnic, or religious minority group. But if you tell them you're gay and they don't like that, they have every right to turn you down.
By Stratton Lawrence October 13, 2008

A member of the Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance speaks out
My Time at El Cid
Back in the '60s when I was a cadet at the Citadel, the word "gay" didn't have the same connotation that it does today. "Homosexual" was the academic term, and "queer" was the popular pejorative. Faggots everywhere had to wait until the 1968 Stonewall uprising before we got something better to call ourselves, along with the first stirrings of public visibility, collective pride, and activism.
By Lindsay Koob October 13, 2008

The Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance welcomes former and current cadets
Coming to Terms
Life as a Citadel cadet is notoriously tough, with its four-year program of military training and disciplined schedules on top of regular academic activities. For those of us whose college life consisted of sleeping off our hangovers, a Citadel education sounds grueling. But El Cid's cadets are tough enough to take the pace, and a minority of those deal with the added pressure of keeping their homosexuality a secret.
By Nick Smith October 13, 2008

GOP group strives to advance the LGBT agenda
Building Cabins
A lot of terms get thrown around during the election season, lumping complex demographics into something simpler — the black vote, the Hispanic vote, the female vote, the gay vote, the soccer mom vote. These terms have become commonplace in campaign strategies and election coverage and tend to neglect the complex demographics within groups.
By Myles Hutto October 13, 2008


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