'Queers Kick Ash' campaign loses state funding
By Mike Cronin
The Salt Lake Tribune
For eight months, the "Queers Kick Ash" campaign hummed along, spreading its anti-tobacco message to Utah's gay and lesbian community with help from a state grant.
During that time, records show the Utah Department of Health routinely approved and funded promotional materials -- posters, banners, T-shirts, newspaper ads, even a Web site -- for the campaign by the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah. Then, in mid-May, several students were disciplined at Hillcrest High for wearing "Queers Kick Ash" T-shirts.
A few weeks later, the Health Department yanked the funding -- an expected $200,000 over the next two years -- and the anti-tobacco campaign fizzled. Ever since then, the community center has wondered why it lost the funding.
"We've made phone calls, mailed letters and sent faxes -- and nothing," said Tami Marquardt, the center's acting executive director. "They haven't had the courtesy or the public decency to give us an answer. I don't know why they won't talk to anyone if this is all aboveboard. This is nothing but a homophobic cover-up. It's discrimination, pure and simple."