Flathead Gay Men’s Group Starts September 19th

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Flathead Valley Gay Community Center Opens

A new community resource center aimed at meeting the needs of the Flathead Valley’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) population opened in June downtown at 17 Second St. E., Ste. 205.

The center is a labor of love for the Flathead Valley Gay Alliance, Inc. (FVGA), a newly reorganized social group that has met for 20-plus years in the area but recently applied for its 501c3 nonprofit status. They are open 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays, with many evening events.

“FVGA’s opening of the community resource center has given the local GLBT residents and area visitors a volunteer-staffed one-stop location for information and referral services, as well a meeting location and activities center for organizations that serve the Flathead Valley community,” says Roger Blair, Secretary of the FVGA Board.

Game nights, family movies, and discussion groups for men, women, and transgender people, including support and information services for health needs, are among the center’s offerings. Events are posted at the center’s website and Facebook page.

Founded in 2011, Flathead Valley Gay Alliance, Inc. provides information, resources, and social support to the GLBT community, friends, and family in a safe, confidential, and inclusive environment respectful of all, serving Northwestern Montana. To learn more, visit www.flatheadvalleygayalliance.org or e-mail fvga.info@gmail.com.

Last Call: Making Waves

Pride Foundation aims to “make waves” with the first-ever Flathead Lake Equality Cruise on Sunday, Aug. 12, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The boat will depart KwaTaqNuk Best Western Resort at 4 p.m. sharp, so guests are encouraged to arrive by 3:45.  Tickets are $45 for individuals and $80 per couple and can be purchased online at  www.pridefoundation.eventbrite.com.

Seattle-based Pride Foundation has made a big splash in Montana since hiring on-the-ground staff in 2011, sextupling the number of active donors in less than two years. Pride Foundation has increased from $19,000 to nearly $50,000 the amount of grants and scholarships given out in the state over the past year.

According to Regional Development Organizer Caitlin Copple, who is also the first openly gay member of the Missoula City Council, Montana is part of a larger national trend toward greater acceptance of people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

“From the city ordinances protecting the community from non-discrimination to the increase in the number of high school Gay-Straight Alliances around the state to the changes in both the Republican and Democratic party platforms, Montana is rapidly becoming a more friendly place for gays and lesbians,” Copple said. “Most importantly, more of our heterosexual family, friends, and colleagues are also ‘coming out’ as supporters of full equality in our state.”

Indeed, co-hosts for the upcoming cruise include Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) and Dr. Tyler Smith of Missoula, Cathy and Ned Cooney of Bigfork, Mary Stranahan of Arlee, and Beth Frazee, Paul Vestal, and Bryony Schwan, all of Missoula.

Special thanks to event sponsors KwaTaqNuk Resort, Fidelity Title of Lake County, Mamalode Magazine, MissoulaEvents.net, Salish Kootenai College, S&K Technologies, Ronan Telephone Company, Blackfoot Telecommunications, and Gateway to Vitality. If you would like to sponsor or co-host, please contact Caitlin@pridefoundation.org.

Founded in 1985, Pride Foundation is dedicated to inspiring a culture of generosity to connect and strengthen organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQ equality across the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. To learn more, visit www.pridefoundation.org or email Caitlin@pridefoundation.org.

“Right Wing Lunacy” To Enter State Race

Cowgirl:

Confirming a story that was first reported here at the Cowgirl blog,  TEA Party Republican Derek Skees, confederate sympathizer who has tried to set up his own Little South amid the ultra-right-wing colony in the Flathead, has announced his candidacy for State Auditor.

Skees will run against incumbent Monica Lindeen – D, and his candidacy will likely be based on a single issue: Say No To Federal Healthcare Reform.

...So Lindeen will have a fight on her hands.  But fortunately she, too, is now positioned against something unpopular: right-wing lunacy.  Skees is a national leader of a fringe of the GOP so far right that it barely considers itself Republican. 

Know your ballots, people. Full story here.