Prescott Celebrates National Coming Out Day
By Laura Latzko - Oct. 9, 2014
In order to make its presence known more in the community Prescott’s LGBTQ community meetup group is coming out and hosting a celebration as part of National Coming Out Day.
Each year National Coming Out Day is observed internationally on Oct. 11.
In its 26th year, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, National Coming Out Day was first observed by the Human Rights Campaign as “a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”
According to John Duncan, one of the group’s organizers, this social gathering, potluck, dance event encourages members of Prescott’s more underground LGBT community to be out to promote inclusion and acceptance.
“We are bartenders, bakers, neighbors, schoolteachers, grandmas, grandpas,” Duncan said. “We are a part of this community and deserve to be respected.”
Although the event is being held at an inclusive church, it is not meant to be religious in nature.
During the event, community members can bring a side dish or dessert to contribute to the potluck.
Bev Bostrom, a long-time community member and another organizer, said people in the community will prepare vegan and vegetarian dishes, ham, spaghetti and enchiladas as main entrees.
Sistah Mary Grace, local duo Mary Tervor and Grace Burford, will kick off the night of local entertainment with old-school harmonies. The group Two Girls, better known as Becky Dalke and Susan Kelly, will follow with blues and folk rock tunes.
The evening will also include raffles and silent auctions for items such as stays at Prescott hotels and gift baskets from a local salon. Proceeds will help the group fund future events.
“We are trying to encourage people to see the Prescott LGBTQ community is still here and a part of the greater Arizona community,” Duncan said. “Thanks to our meetup page, we are growing more and more every day, giving people a chance to come and meet those who are out and proud in our small community.
According to Duncan, the group has become the virtual replacement for the former community center and offers members Monday bowling, Wednesday volleyball games, support groups, coffee gatherings and second Sunday brunches.
Through the different events, including the upcoming potluck, Duncan said members have made connections with local community organizations, businesses and community members and shown that an LGBT community exists in Prescott.
“We are trying to people out of their shells to be a community,” Duncan said. “We want to show the community we are capable of being out in the public. We are already a welcoming community. We have to get to the point where we are out in the public.
Bostrom said in planning the event, she is already noticing how different community organizations and individuals are starting to come together for the event.
Bostrom said the event is reminiscent of the types of parties and social gatherings hosted at the city’s former center, where she volunteered for years, in the early 2000s.
Shay Ashton, a member of the group planning the gathering, said the event helps to bring different LGBT communities within Prescott and from nearby areas, such as Sedona, together in one location, on one night.
Ashton, who lived in a small community near Fresno, CA., with few LGBT groups and resources, said after moving to Prescott in April, she immediately got involved in planning events because she wanted to help to build a stronger, more connected LGBT community.
“We want this to be a success because we sincerely hope it is a jumping-off point for other events,” Ashton said.
National Coming Out Day Event
5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 11
Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
882 Sunset Ave., Prescott
Free admission, donations accepted