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Utah Pride Festival drops blogger over Mormon comments

Published May 24, 2013 4:14 pm

Gay rights • Center board member fears Joe Jervis could offend local Mormons.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Joe Jervis writes an award-winning blog from Manhattan called Joe.My.God., which chronicles the ups and downs of the gay-rights movement.

And given his cred with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Jervis seemed like a no-brainer to participate in next weekend's Utah Pride Festival as one of its grand marshals.

But then he got dropped like a political hot potato.

In the past seven years, Jervis said he has written about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Mormons, but nothing out of the ordinary: blogs mainly about Proposition 8 and the resulting fallout, the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and, in one post, he refers to Mormons as Magic Underwear Inc.

A Utah Pride Center board member objected to Jervis, complaining the blogger could offend Mormons, said Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee.

"The nonprofits here have such a balancing act to do … navigating the political fabric of this community," Larabee said. "Pride weekend, we hope to celebrate the talents our community has and the different ways people do that."

But in the end, Larabee said, "The [Jervis] issue was too hard for me to tackle myself."

Larabee explained she's juggling a lot of things right now, not only Pride Festival events, but the recent Pride Center move to its new location.

In April, the center moved its offices to a two-story building at 255 E. 400 South, one of Salt Lake City's busiest downtown streets, across from the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Larabee also is spearheading fundraising activities, hoping to raise $2.5 million to renovate the 6,000-square-foot building. She is organizing a team of business leaders and philanthropists for their "Getting Centered" capital campaign.

For his part, Jervis said he's not offended.

"I'm not wounded or outraged," he said in an interview. "It was a nice thing [to be invited], but it didn't happen."

In 2011, Jervis won the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) media award for Outstanding Blog.

"Joe.My.God. is a witty and insightful source of news and media content for the LGBT community," GLADD officials wrote. "Using provocative interviews, quotes and videos, this blog vigorously exposes hypocrisy and hateful rhetoric in politics and the media."

The blog gained national attention for tracing an anti-gay comment posted on the blog to the offices of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who later offered a public apology.

This year's Utah Pride Festival grand marshal will be David Testo, the first professional soccer player to come out.

rparker@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RayUtah —

Utah Pride Festival

Saturday, June 1 • 9 a.m. Pride Day 5K; 2 p.m. DYKE & Transgender marches; 3 p.m. Festival gates open; 3 to 6 p.m. Family hours; 4 p.m. Alex Newell - Main Stage; 7 p.m. Ivy Winters & Pandora Boxx - Main Stage; 9 p.m. DJ Jen Woolfe Dance Party - Main Stage; 11 p.m. Festival gates close.

Sunday, June 2 • 10 a.m. Utah Pride Parade; 11 a.m. Festival gates open; 12 p.m. Entertainment begins; 4 p.m. Ms. Thelma Houston - Main Stage; 7 p.m. Festival closes.

Information • click on Utahpridefestival.org.