Press

Task Force Supports Indigo Girls In The Face Of Homophobia

Date: 
May 07, 1998

The Indigo Girls keep singing in the midst of yet another cancellation of one of their high school performances. What began as a generous gesture to bring art into high schools has turned into an unfortunate lesson in intolerance and homophobia. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been in ongoing contact with the Indigo Girls and activists in Columbia, South Carolina during the course of this week long drama (a statement from Indigo Girl Amy Ray is attached).

"We are supporting the Indigo Girls as they battle ignorance and intolerance, and we remain hopeful that the administrators responsible for the cancellation of these shows will engage in sincere dialogue with Amy and Emily and their local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities," stated Task Force executive director Kerry Lobel. "We know from Amy and Emily that they are disappointed in the actions of these officials. They also understand that this situation presents them with a unique opportunity to educate students, teachers, and parents about the vast limitations of homophobia," added Lobel.

Last Wednesday in South Carolina, Irmo High School Principal Gerald Witt canceled a performance by the duo scheduled for today, saying through a spokesperson it was because Saliers and Ray are lesbians. The next day, the principal of Germantown High School in Tennessee called off a scheduled performance, claiming it was because of profanity in their songs' lyrics. And Tuesday, officials at another Tennessee High School nixed a show that was slated for yesterday. In the face of these insults, the Grammy Award winning duo is going on with the show. Today they will perform in Columbia, South Carolina but off high school grounds. The show is free to high school students.

"We're very concerned for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students of these high schools. We already know that sexual minority youth face more violence and harassment than non-gay youth, now, thanks to the actions of their principals, they may have more to look forward to," said Lobel. "It's unconscionable that these administrators are more concerned with appeasing a few intolerant parents than with the health and safety of their students," she added.

The Indigo Girls are deeply committed to social justice issues and actively support a number of causes. Later this year they will be performing a benefit show for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We are grateful for Amy and Emily's leadership and courage," said Lobel. "They are exceptional role models for all students," she added.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.