Monday, June 13, 2011

Two gay men forced to leave a government recreational facility in Hazard, KY

Hazard, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation today condemned The Pavilion for ejecting two gay males from their facility. A maintenance technician told the couple and the group present "we own this place and can tell you to leave if we want to."

Kentucky Equality Federation was contacted by Mending Hearts, Inc. an organization that receives Medicaid funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"This is completely outrageous, The Pavilion is owned by the City of Hazard and paid for by our tax dollars," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "Rest assured Kentucky Equality Federation will not tolerate discrimination in any form and our Southern Kentucky volunteer management, as well as our Discrimination, Hate Crimes and School Bullying Committee have planned a peaceful response."

"The Pavilion staff immediately entered the pool area and asked my clients and their staff to leave the Pavilion," stated Shirlyn Perkins, Executive Director of Mending Hearts, Inc. "My staff asked The Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that 'gay people' weren't allowed to swim there. My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it. My staff continued to argue with this man, but was ultimately forced to leave. My clients, whom already feel ridiculed and different, left the city owned facility crying and embarrassed for trying to participate in 'normal' activities that everyday 'normal' people do."

Kentucky Equality Federation contacted City Manager Carlos Combs, Mayor Nan Gorman and the Office of the Governor.

"The two gay males with developmental and intellectual disabilities were discriminated against by the staff of The Pavilion based on their sexual orientation,” added Kentucky Equality Federation Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director Julia Oiler Spiegel. "Not only was this an irreprehensible act by the staff, it was humiliating to these young men and their direct support staff. Both men are clients of Mending Hearts, Inc. which provides support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Mending Hearts is diligent in providing ongoing support for their clients regarding appropriate behavior within the community and neither of these young men was exhibiting inappropriate public behavior as witnessed by their direct support staff.

Spiegel continued: As a gay parent of a child with a developmental challenge, I am outraged by this complete act of ignorance directed at these young men and their staff. As a public community service, the The Pavilion has a responsibility to provide equal treatment to all members of their facility and to properly educate their staff accordingly. A Biblical comment is totally inappropriate. All citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be treated with equality and respect, based not only on their intellectual abilities but their sexual orientation as well. This was a humiliating experience for both of these young men and will not be tolerated. I demand a public apology, not only these young men, but to the clients and staff of Mending Hearts, Inc. as well as the LGBTI community of Perry County."

Kentucky Equality Federation's Assistant Regional Director for Southern Kentucky, Will Taylor is planning a protest of City Hall and The Pavilion. "The only way to stop the upcoming protest is an official apology for the way these people have been treated, and immediate corrective action." stated Taylor.

Palmer added: "This would be no if Mr. Haynes, The Pavilion staff member involved was forced to leave a community facility (and therefore owned by the citizens) because he did not share Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist beliefs; region has no place in government.

So far the Mayor's Office has stated all people are welcome at The Pavilion, but I defer to the judgment of our Southern Kentucky management and statewide outreach directors who demand an official apology to avoid a protest outside City Hall and The Pavilion.

In addition, should an apology and corrective action not be forthcoming, we call on Governor Beshear to rescind funding to The Pavilion and the City of Hazard in the spirit of his executive order prohibiting discrimination of LGBTI people in Kentucky government."

MEDIA UPDATE:  Kentucky Equality Federation, the City of Hazard, and Mending Hearts close the case on the incident involving two gay men forced to leave The Pavilion.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diaryqueen said...

I want to post this on my facebook, but for some reason the above comment pops up as the lead in for the story. I do not want this person's anonymous misguided hersay on my FB.

Anonymous said...

Copy the link from the top of the page.

Anonymous said...

ahh the usual haters - will TRY and make it something sexual...I wouldnt waste my time nor tourism dollars in that state.

S said...

Ok, so how did the people at the pool know the two guys were gay? Unless they were engaging in public displays of affection (or more), or wearing signs that identified them as gay, I don't know how they would have been singled out. There is a big gap in this story.

Anonymous said...

You must be some kind of idiot. There are no "gaps" in this story. How do you know when someone is queer? Some people act like it, are you really THAT stupid?

Anonymous said...

Hazard is one of the worst places in the world for discrimination.

Will Taylor said...

There was no inappropriate act. This is a clear case of discrimination and will not be tolereated.

Chris said...

To link to Facebook without the first comment showing up: When you click on link on your Wall, copy and paste http://community.kyequality.org/2011/06/two-gay-men-forced-to-leave-government.html and click attach. Then click once to highlight the offensive comment, and hit delete. You can put any comment you like there, or leave it blank.

Anonymous said...

Sue. You have an excellent case. Hitting them where it hurts is the fastest way to facilitate change.

Anonymous said...

FUCK THE CITY THE THEIR APOLOGY! What about the mental harm being treated this way did to these kids. The person needs his ass fired!

Mike Friedman said...

"they was in the bathroom?" If you're going to comment, at least use correct grammar.

If there was a problem with the people's behavior (i.e. they were having sex), don't you think that the pool manager would've said so? Instead he invokes the bible (completely missing its real message which is not "hate fags") in kicking someone out of a public place.

Bring purposely cruel to a person with a developmental disability and then invoking religion is about as low as a human being can get.

Larson said...

It saddens me that there are so many people out there that still hate people they fear. I always think to myself that these people that preach the bible call themselves christian which means in itself to live "christ" like, but clearly to me they obviously live their life "god" like by judging and condemning as if they are doing God's work for him.

Anonymous said...

I'm an LGBT person. I also work in the field of disability services/support. This is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. Maybe those individuals should lose their jobs. Or be charged.

scott said...

anyone know if this sweet couple has email or another avenue of communication? may not be a possibility but hundreds of my fellow Tumblrs from around the world would like to send a short email or a note of encouragement to let them know they are not alone. cannot imagine how they are feeling - as if their life journey has been a walk in the park up until now. unbelievable that folks can be so cold.

Shannon said...

To the people who are saying something inappropriate had to happen to make this staff member aware they are gay:

I would say a hug, or holding hands would be enough to identify them. Unless they were doing something that breaks pool rules, enforced equitably for straight or gay couples, he was still out of bounds ejecting them.

If the worker actually cited religious intolerance as his reason for kicking them out,as stated in the article, then he is still out of line even if they were breaking rules.

Anonymous said...

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/06/13/Kentucky_Disabled_Gay_Couple_Ejected_From_Pool/. Little bit less confusing than this article. Hope this clears some things up!

Anonymous said...

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/06/13/Kentucky_Disabled_Gay_Couple_Ejected_From_Pool/

Anonymous said...

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/06/13/Kentucky_Disabled_Gay_Couple_Ejected_From_Pool

Anonymous said...

Better version

Trent said...

Unless you have reading problems that is not a better version that I thank Kentucky Equality Federation for standing-up for these two gay men.

Ryan Combs said...

I agree Trent but their is no reason to be rude about it.

Thank you Kentucky Equality Federation.

Admin said...

Please remember to be nice to each other when making comments on our Press Releases. Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky's largest civil rights organization with over 24 VOLUNTEERS.

None of us are paid for ANYTHING we do.

We fight for equality because it is the right thing to do; all people are created equal and religion has no place in Government.

If we result to calling people names then we are no better than the people who oppose equality; we must hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Jared said...

There's more to this story that's being conveniently left out. From the neutral website Kentucky.com:

"The city's attorney, however, said the facility does not discriminate, and 'there is a dispute as to the facts of what transpired.'"

Not surprising. What was left out? Let's see...

"Paul Collins, the city's attorney, said that he is still investigating, but based on initial information, "there seems to be a wide disparity between the versions of the events."

Collins said a lifeguard said he saw the two men repeatedly hugging and kissing in a corner of the pool.

'The staff at the Pavilion report to me that they do on some regular basis caution or warn individuals about excessive public displays of affection and that these warnings are given regardless of sexual orientation,' Collins said."

Fascinating. I take it he's saying they were engaging in this behavior inside of the pool. If true, the staff was justified in ejecting the lewd couple and those of you playing the "gay card" owe these people, and the entire state of Kentucky, an apology.

Admin said...

Your comment: "Collins said a lifeguard said he saw the two men repeatedly hugging and kissing in a corner of the pool."

Is not true; we have witnesses.

But even if it was true, the city should enforce it on ALL people, not just same-sex couples.

John said...

If that's true, Jared, then the pool staff might have grounds to eject the young men. Their biggest problem, however, is in citing the Bible as the basis for determining their rules. That is a big no-no under the First Amendment, freedoms I'm willing to bet are guaranteed by the Kentucky state constitution as well. Regardless, we shall soon find out as this community has just opened itself up to one helluva lawsuit.

Admin said...

Legal action from Kentucky Equality Federation, yes. The City of Hazard has a non-discrimination law; the City Manager and City Attorney pointed it out to us. In addition, why would Registered Nurses lie about what happened?

Anonymous said...

OK, what some of the ignoramuses making comments here don't seem to realize is that gay people have the right to:
1) Hold hands in public
2) Hug in public
3) Kiss in public
4) Be gay in public (as long as there's nothing illegal happening, and that illegality applies to HETEROSEXUALS as well).

If they were doing any of the above and some inbred Kentuckian self-appointed Morality Guardian doesn't like it, and wants to throw them out, then fine.... as long as it's on PRIVATE property. A public pool isn't private property. Hopefully they sue for lots of $$$.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The Hazard Pavilion is NOT federally funded.

Admin said...

No one said it was but it does receive money from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Admin said...

What does federal funding have to do with anyone anyway? Regardless if the federal state (federal government), the Commonwealth of Kentucky or is subdivision, the City of Hazard funds it, all policies must be uniform and people cannot be singled out. The Pavilion IS paid for by tax dollars and therefore belongs to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Why are all the guys in your logo naked from the waist down? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

RE: Two gay men forced to leave a government recreational facility in Hazard, KY
"I read about this story today on Topix.com's gay and lesbian forum. To say I'm appalled doesn't give my feeling justice. In any case I worked for the National Federation of the Blind at their National Center in Baltimore during the time the American's with disabilities Act was being passed.
I STRONGLY suggest you file Federal Charges against the individual, Pavilion, and the Mayor and town this occurred in Under the Federal Law about disabilities. This is a clear violation of the public accommodations section. This is beyond gay harassment. It is a violation of Federal Law under the AWDA. Sue them for several million each!
David F.

David N. Flint said...

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990, AS AMENDED

http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm

IMO the staff of pavilion not just the one person, the mayor and any govt officials and the town can face federal Charges.

And I hope the KEF contacts the ACLU and sues everyone for every cent they and their grand kids have.

This is less about sex or sexuality than it is about bigots flouting Federal law and having the nerve to use the Bible to justify such un Christ like beghavior.

TrippGeorgia said...

If these fellows were exhibiting too much PDA, they should have been counseled to stop doing it. If the pool staff did not go through this step, then they messed up badly.

I agree with going after those involved and those otherwise responsible with protests and lawsuits. Violations of the First Amendment like this have got to be opposed with great fanfare – most other kinds of discrimination flow directly from that religious bigotry.

I and my hetero-married family of five really take offense at the irrational mistreatment of L’s, G’s, B’s, and T’s and any other folks who are marginalized based on religions.

Anonymous said...

They weren't throw out because of their sexual orientation. They were throw out because they were involved in sexual acts (PDA). I don't care if it was a heterosexual couple, if they were performing sexual acts in front of the public (including children), then they should be throw out also.

Anonymous said...

Admin said "In addition, why would Registered Nurses lie about what happened?"

Why wouldn't they? Is there some kind of mysterious force that prevents registered nurses from lying? You have just stereotyped Registered Nurses the same way that many people stereotype gays, muslims, etc.

Nurses lie just like preachers, police officers, doctors, gay people, straight people, and everyone else lie.

That's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. What would someone's occupation have to do with their ability to tell the truth?

Donald] Gill said...

Did the authorities informed them about their wrongdoings? If so, even if that's the case it's still not one good reason to throw them out of the premise. They should've just warn those two before doing the said action. They've are at fault also but they must be treated humanely as well.

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