June is LGBT Pride Month, but the City of Scottsdale celebrates its LGBT employees, residents and visitors all year long.
Scottsdale’s sense of Pride officially began 10 years ago when the city adopted its employment policy that welcomes those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Since then, Scottsdale has broadened its embrace of the LGBT Community by launching a series of public events that celebrate not only the city’s LGBT workforce but also its LGBT residents and visitors.
These signature galas have been as diverse as the rainbow’s colors and have highlighted both the struggles and the triumphs of the LGBT Community.
Each event has showcased a local LGBT nonprofit or leader. Catered food, drinks and music have helped to garnish each occasion in classic Scottsdale fashion.
Some of them have comprised an ongoing series co-sponsored by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). These special functions bear the proud name “OUT at SMoCA”.
Other events have served as a unique celebration of an LGBT achievement or even the start of what is becoming an annual tradition, like Art for Aunt Rita’s which promotes awareness of HIV/AIDs in Old Town’s gallery district.
All of these efforts are part of Scottsdale’s broader campaign to celebrate its status as a “Golden Rule” City – striving to unite the city’s diverse faith communities with its various cultural groups.
The Golden Rule theme comes from the universal faith teaching that all people, regardless of their religion or philosophy, should treat others the way they themselves want to be treated – with respect.
An OUT at SMoCA event in June 2016 celebrated the anniversary of Marriage Equality by featuring a panel of LGBT locals who spoke about bridging their faith with love. This event also showcased artwork by the late Scottsdale resident, Mel Roman, whose efforts as a Jewish army veteran helped to achieve LGBT progress in the US military and beyond.
Another OUT at SMoCA in March 2016 featured one•n•ten, an Arizona nonprofit that serves LGBT youth and young adults at centers throughout the Valley including one in Scottsdale.
In November 2016, the Scottsdale Civic Center Library hosted a public screening of the film “Growing up Trans” followed by a panel discussion by local members of the Transgender Community.
Two of the panelists at Growing Up Trans were Daria Lohman and Stanna Michelle Slater. Each of them are Scottsdale residents and serve in official positions at the city.
Daria Lohman is on the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission.
Stanna Slater is the city’s newly appointed LGBT Liaison.
Ms. Slater is also an attorney in private practice with the Law Office of Jeffery S. Slater, P.C., which Ms. Slater founded in Scottsdale in 1999.
Ms. Slater recently said, “It’s so great to live, work and shop in a hometown where I can be myself and also help promote the Golden Rule for the benefit of others regardless of their faith, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Scottsdale also has a special LGBT Liaison specifically appointed to handle law enforcement issues. Her name is Det. Nichol Engstrom and can be reached either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 480-312-6368.
LGBT issues that do not require the attention of law enforcement can be directed to Ms. Slater by email at LGBTQLiaison@Scottsdaleaz.gov.
Scottsdale’s year-round LGBT events, combined with its commitment to promoting LGBT diversity and inclusion, are too numerous to list in one short article.
One thing is certain. Scottsdale proudly welcomes diversity in general and the LGBT Community specifically.