Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oil City Council Proclaims Day of Recognition for "Fair and Equal Treatment for All People"


Fairness and Equality Proclamation Signed by Oil City Council

City council members signed a proclamation Monday night that designated the day (Sept. 13) as Joe Wilson Day. The tribute refers to former Oil City resident Joe Wilson who with his partner Dean Hamer, directed and produced the award winning film “Out in the Silence.”

The film celebrates diverse lifestyles and was shot in Oil City and the surrounding area.

Joe Wilson’s film shows Oil City to the rest of the country as a town capable of positive change and documents progress in fair and equal treatment for all people in this community,” notes the proclamation.

Council was asked in June by local resident George Cooley to adopt a formal human rights policy and to embrace Wilson’s film on tolerance in small towns. The documentary tells the story of a gay high school student and explores small-town reaction to same-sex marriage.

"Many important topics were discussed at last night's City Council meeting," said Colley, "but we were proud to see the Oil City Council sign the proclamation. This is a first step in a marketing attitude toward our city. It is also a step towards a progressive Human Rights Initiative."

"A Special Blend of People"


Jim Ru said...

This is cool, but here are some thoughts on the subject.

First of all, it took a straight man to make this happen, even though gays and lesbians in town were complaining about it for .... oh years.

Secondly, it happened because it's considered a good marketing tool for the city. Basically what that says is this declaration may or may not be what we believe, but it's good PR.

That's cool in one way, and kind of twisted in another.

It's like Arizona finally recognized Martin Luther King day because they saw that people were refusing to invest in a state with such bigoted attitudes.

Not because it was the right thing to do.

(I think part of this has to do with people knowing what happened to the community after the film, and part of it has to do with people feeling icky about supporting anything homosexual, but are willing to put this aside in hopes of good PR.)

Most importantly, the battle is far from over here. The AFA still issues threats and harassment towards people on a regular basis, and heterosexism is so deep and thick here it would take a long essay just to describe it.

I hope the plan works. I hope the moneyed liberals will hear this messsage and continue to move here, because indeed there is a loyal opposition to the bigotry here and we need all the help we can get.

It's not for the faint of heart. I personally find it tedious and upsetting more often than not, because unless you can market something here, you probably won't have a loud enough voice to be heard, nevermind if it's the right thing to do.

Also, one finds oneself arguing points that are absurd, and it really gets tiresome. For instance a local teacher told me that students believe global warming is caused by the heat of God's wrath.

This area, like most in the country, is hurting for industry and ideas. In one way it's understandbale that not a lot of attention gets paid to gay rights because more attention is being paid on how to keep the fire department functioning.

But that being said, Congratulations Joe on opening this dialogue up in the first place and for having the city recognize the necessity for this discussion. ( What's it like to have a day named after you? Do we now have to call you by a special name? Perhaps Your Serene Highness?)

Let's hope the community lives up to this moment and really takes to heart what they said in the declaration.

I for one can not wait until the bus loads of wealthy homosexuals arrive from this marketing tool.

Venango County Lesbian Gay Trans Alliance said...

Also, I would invite you to join the Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered Alliance Facebook page for futher discussions about sexuality, gender and civil rights in Venango County.!/group.php?gid=369861257978&ref=ts