Press denied access to Governor McAuliffe’s LGBTQ Pride Month event
Governor McAuliffe might be the first Virginia Governor to honor June as LGBTQ Pride month, but he doesn’t seem to want to show it.
2016 will be the third year the governor has honored Pride month and the second time GayRVA has been denied press access to the event.
While GayRVA’s Editor Brad Kutner was invited to the event as an individual, he was asked to leave his camera at the gate (top image) and to refrain from recording or covering the event.
“These events are private and not open to the press,” McAuliffe’s communications manager Brian Coy told Kutner. “Any previous coverage was a perk you should not have been granted.”
June is honored as LGBTQ Pride month around the nation because it recognizes the night members of the community banded together to fight against police oppression at NYC’s famous gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. It also honors one of the worst attacks in American and LGBTQ history when 32 gay men were burned alive at a club in New Orleans in the early 70′s. Pride month now carries even more significance after the attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
But the Stonewall riots have since been called a turning point for the moment as LGBT’s continue seek broader acceptance in the public and under the law.
Ever since, LGBTQ’s have used the month as a chance to not only show Pride for who they are, but also remind folks of the importance of sexual minority voices as members of the community continue to be silenced.
“After the events in Orlando, it’s particularly important public for figures like the Governor, who has shown his support for LGBTQ’s time and time again, to be public with his support,” said Kutner. “While the private nature of the event is problematic enough, denying coverage from the only daily LGBTQ publication in the state is an assault on both the freedom of the press and the concept of Pride.”
This year’s pride event was also marred by the inability of people to bring their significant others to the “invite only” event.
“A year almost to the day the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage across the country and those privileged enough to be invited to the Governor’s mansion were not allowed to bring their spouses,” said Kutner. “It’s a friendly reminder of what level of concern and awareness politicians really have of the causes they claim to champion.”
The event was also missing from the Governor’s public schedule.
The first year McAuliffe honored Pride month, a similar invite-only event was held. When he tried to gain access, Kutner was similarly denied press access. In 2015, GayRVA was allowed to cover the event which featured an impressive level of diversity within the hollowed Governor’s Mansion walls.
But it appears 2016 was a return to the event’s original, private nature.
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