The original ad purchased by the Rainbow Community Awareness Project to appear in the Fountain City Focus contained the words “gay” and “lesbian” printed several times.
The ad said “Come Out Knoxville, a national coming out day celebration.” It included a listing of the bands playing and the address of the organization’s Web site.
The ad the newspaper agreed to run has all the language referencing gay and lesbian removed.
Instead, it contains just one picture of an artist and a listing of where and when the event is taking place.
Shortly after the first ad was presented to the Fountain City Focus, the paper received pressure from special interest groups to not run the ad.
So publisher Steve Hunley and other representatives at the weekly paper agreed to sit down with Gary Elgin, director of the Rainbow Community Awareness Project.
“Steve Hunley is a very kind man and I think he has made steps to embrace us as a community,” said Elgin. “He’s not going to run the ad as we had designed it, but he has agreed to run an ad of one of our events and that’s a step. That’s building a bridge, board by board.”
Hunley was out of town and unavailable for comment, but released a statement Thursday saying, “The Fountain City Focus is a community newspaper. Our focus is on the positive aspects of community. We choose not to involve ourselves in controversial social, cultural or religious issues. We prefer to leave that to the mainstream media.”
I guess Mr. Elgin is right; running the ad at all is a step in the right direction, although I’d say it’s a bit overdue for 2005. I’d also like to know which “special interest” groups complained.
Too bad community newspapers think they still have to pretend there’s no such thing as gay people.
Cross-posted on Alabama Chronicle.