Spencer Pride

 

Address:
Spencer Pride, Inc.
17 E Franklin St (Mailing Address: PO Box 585)
Spencer, IN 47460
www.spencerpride.org

Mission:

Spencer Pride, Inc. is focused on educating the public about rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer (LGBTQ+) people & issues to make Indiana a safer & more welcoming place for ALL people. We work through community involvement & leadership, respectful conversation & the development of healthy relationships, as well as with the creation of welcoming spaces.

History:

At first, in 2007 we focused on coordinating a single event – the first annual Spencer Pride Festival. After a few years, we began offering more frequent events & activities & experienced gradual organizational growth & development, plus the expansion of our service area. In 2016, we opened an LGBTQ+ center on the Owen County Courthouse Square, & the resulting public visibility led to dynamic growth. Having a physical presence has enabled us to offer a broad array of services & programming & helped people to find us. Now, the major components of our work include our annual Pride Festival, the Iris Youth Group, our LGBTQ+ center, & educational & health screening programs that develop our volunteers & serve the public at-large.

The Issues:

Our region is characterized by discriminatory social situations & employment practices that impact the LGBTQ+ population. LGBTQ+ students are more likely to struggle with drug & alcohol abuse than their peers. Most LGBTQ+ youth report receiving negative messages from peers about their sexual orientation. Yet, services needed by LGBTQ+ youth are largely lacking in rural school systems. Additionally, the LGBTQ+ population is excluded from networks of support provided by many faith communities. 

Constituency and Leadership:

Spencer Pride is serving a relatively low-income, rural region that is predominantly White, from which our members differ somewhat. Our members are about 65% White, 15% multi-racial, & 10% Latina/o/x. In terms of gender, our members are about 60% women. While only about 50% of Board members & Leaders are low-income, 80% of our members are. About 8% of members are over age 65 & 15% are youth. Overall, 55% of members identify as LGBTQ+ while 60% of our Board members & our broader group of functional areas do. About 5% of our members identify as disabled. Spencer Pride is run entirely by volunteer members who develop & approve budgets & strategic plans & meet monthly to address developing issues. Last year, we had 130 active volunteers. We have an unpaid, 13-member Board of Directors representing diverse sectors & knowledge bases. Youth in the Iris group are represented on the Board, set their group goals, organize activities, & evaluate lessons learned. 

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

We are based in a rural, conservative Midwestern community where discrimination has historically been commonplace, especially against those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQ+). Our strategy to combat discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is simple: educate and build relationships. We educate the public about LGBTQ+ people and issues in order to make Indiana a more welcoming place for ALL people.

Movement Building:

We are committed to two overlapping movements: to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people generally and to nurture a culture of tolerance in our local region and State. We participate in every Pride festival in Indiana. To support the larger LGBTQ+ movement, we participate in national conferences and have attended international conferences in Canada and Greece. Our leadership is actively involved in the Midwest and national InterPride coordinating groups. Last year, we hosted a weekend training session for representatives of Pride groups from six Midwestern states. Locally, we collaborate with many organizations and coalitions. 

Long-term Vision for Change:

Currently in Indiana, we are experiencing legislative attacks & vandalism of properties belonging to religious, racial, & LGBTQ+ minorities. We attribute this hostility to a mixture of bigotry & ignorance. We always keep our vision of making Indiana a more welcoming place for ALL people in mind. Confrontation or litigation are not our chosen tools for change. Instead, we have chosen a slower path hoping for deeper & more complete change. We develop partnerships & coalitions with other groups to work for the overall good of the community. We try to find points of agreement & build on them while respecting the rights & perspectives of others. As a result, we are supported by many local businesses & organizations, had 130 active volunteers last year, & have established a solid reputation within our community. We have become part of the community fabric & the leadership of our region.  

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Organization Budget:  $137,184
Request: $6,000

Raised to Date:

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