By Tony Adams
A gay travel website announced that Utah Pride would have two grand marshals for its 2013 Pride celebration: out gay soccer player, David Testo and gay activist/megablogger Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod.com. While researching an article for the 2013 annual Pride magazine, I noticed that Utah Pride made no mention of Jervis in its announcement of Testo as grand marshal. I contacted Valerie Larabee, Executive Director of Utah Pride Center, for an explanation. She did not mince words in her expression of disappointment about the deliberate disinvitation of Jervis.
Larabee began her explanation by grounding the disinvitation within the context of a community in which the Mormons hold much power. When I asked her how that power could possibly influence decisions made by a gay pride organization, she explained that there are two groups of Utah gays who come from the Mormon tradition: those who broke away from it wholeheartedly and those who are trying to somehow remain reconciled with their Mormon heritage even though it denigrates the essential elements of their lives and works energetically to deny them equality. (I assured her that Mormon gays are not alone in those descriptions. The same division may be applied to gays in other religions.) Larabee explained that one young gay man who is on the board of directors of her organization fought against having Jervis as grand marshal. He put forth, as motivation for his demand that the invitation be revoked, his contention that JoeMyGod.com is an insult to Mormons and that he was concerned about his Mormon friends.