This week in SGN History: 11 Years Ago

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SGN 4/30/2010
SGN 4/30/2010

Over 47 years, the Seattle Gay News has covered thousands of stories that still resonate today. This week we look back at Volume 38, Issue 18, published on April 30, 2010.

Straight ally: In 2010, Hudson Taylor was a 23-year-old college wrestler from the University of Maryland and a self-labeled "straight Ally." Then—SGN Associate Editor Shaun Knittel spoke exclusively with Taylor on his message of acceptance to closeted high school and college athletes. "The rights of LGBT persons are important to me for so many reasons," said Hudson, who was ranked in the top three in the country for his NCAA weight class. "Equal rights for the gay community is important to me as an American, as a member of a larger society, as a person brought up with a strong social ethic and sense of moral responsibility, and as a regular person in a loving, open relationship with my life partner... I have been blessed with opportunities to publicly support LGBT equal rights... I will continue to be an adamant supporter of equality in my private life, and I will pursue any and all opportunities to continue advocating in the public domain."

Yearbook photo erased: High school senior Ceara Sturgis had her photo and name omitted from her yearbook because she wore a tuxedo. Shaun Knittel reported: "'They didn't even put her name in it,' Sturgis' mother, Veronica Rodriguez said. Last fall, Sturgis and her mother, with the help of the ACLU, fought to have the senior's photo included in the yearbook after school officials first rejected the photo." School officials noted a federal precedent as a reason for the omission. "Rodriguez said she expected the district to attempt to downplay her daughter's presence but not attempt to erase it entirely. She said the officials' position runs counter to the more accepting opinions of Sturgis' classmates."

Gay 25-year-old runs for Montana office: Bryce Bennett was only 25 years old when he spoke to SGN contributing writer Scott Rice. On his age, he said, "It's a weird juxtaposition, because a lot of my friends are a little more carefree, and they're able to do things a little more easily without thinking about the consequences. It's always in the back of my mind, and in the front a lot of times, too." On co-founding Forward Montana: "We work with young people across the state on issues like LGBT equality and renewable energy to move our state forward and get young people involved in the political process." On misconceptions: "I don't know if I could pick just one misconception. When you travel outside the state, people go, 'Oh, do you ride horses to school?' and all this sort of stuff. I think that people have a misconception that Montana is this backwoods, redneck, super-super- conservative state, and while there are pockets of that, Montana for a long time has been a very progressive state."

UPDATE: Bennett won his seat and served in that position until January 2019. In 2015-16, Bennett served as the majority whip in the Montana House. In 2019, Bennett moved to the state Senate.

South Park murder: The rape and murder of Lesbian Teresa Butz in the South Seattle neighborhood stunned the country in 2009, and in April 2010, news came that the murder suspect would not get the death penalty, as reported by Shaun Knittel. "According to prosecutors, [Isaiah Kalebu] raped, tortured, and stabbed the women during a 90-minute attack that left the city of Seattle horrified. Butz fought back and jumped out a window... and later died from injuries she sustained during the attack. Butz is... hailed as a hero within the LGBT community for fighting back, and is credited for saving her lover's life.

UPDATE: In 2016, Eli Sanders, formerly a writer at The Stranger, released his book While the City Slept, detailing this incident and the loopholes that released Kalebu. As he said in an interview on the PBS Newshour on April 27, 2016: "I believe that if you just look at this one case of Isaiah Kalebu in Washington state — [which] is, in the end, a microcosm of the failures of our nation's mental health and criminal justice systems... — you can see how relatively little, potentially, it might have cost to steer him or forcefully nudge him in a different direction much earlier on."

Neo-Nazis vandalize local activist office: The Washington Community Action Network (WCAN) was vandalized by a group called "RAHOWA 88." According to the police report, WCAN workers left the building at about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2010, and returned at 10:00 a.m. the next day to find their front window was broken and two WCAN vehicles vandalized. The tires of one car had been slashed. The insulating foam had been sprayed into the exhaust pipe of a van. Both vehicles had been spray-painted with the words "RAHOWA 88": "RAHOWA" is neo-Nazi shorthand for "racial holy war," and 88 stands for HH — H being the eighth letter of the alphabet — i.e., "Heil Hitler."

Return of the Washington Blade: The country's oldest LGBTQ weekly was owned by Window Media LLC, and that company's major investor, Avalon Equity Fund, filed for bankruptcy, forcing the Blade to cease operations in November 2009, as reported by SGN Staff Writer Mike Andrew. Since then, former Blade staff members have produced a new publication under the name DC Agenda , which is owned by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia Inc., representing former Blade publisher Lynne Brown, editor Kevin Naff, sales executive Brian Pitts, and other former Blade employees. Brown, Naff, and Pitts acquired all the assets of the former Blade , including rights to the name, from a federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta. The deal also included the newspaper's entire 40-year archive. Naff and Brown said the decision to return to the Washington Blade name followed a survey of readers, which showed a solid majority in favor of the restoration.

In A&E news:

RuPaul's Drag Race crowns season 2 queen: In Season 2, Tyra Sanchez walked away with the crown. As reported by SGN contributor Bebe Zahara Benet, "Despite all this talent in the finale, there could only be one winner. 'I was just in a state of shock,' Tyra said of hearing her name called by RuPaul. 'I didn't know what to think. I just wanted to cry. I didn't want to do anything but cry and thank God.'"

UPDATE: In 2016, Sanchez replied to a tweet from a fan who called her annoying, saying, "Girl kill yourself." This was met with backlash and outrage, with Sanchez calling victims of suicide "selfish cowards." In 2017, there was more controversy and a feud with Morgan McMichaels. In 2020, Sanchez announced her retirement from drag.

Archie's gay friend: Kevin Keller made his debut in 2010. As Shaun Knittel first reported, "'Kevin's debut is part of Archie Comics' larger efforts to update the characters' world. The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie Comic books," Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in announcing the news."