Homophobia thrives in silence, Kyle Scott says.
“There should be no shame and stigma,” says Scott, secretary of Equality Springfield
, a nonprofit group that promotes the fair treatment of local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
That’s why it is especially important to celebrate National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, says Scott, who is also the co-chairperson of an upcoming outdoor movie event that the group has planned to raise awareness on the following weekend.
Partnering with the Springfield Museum of Art
, Equality Springfield will show “Love, Simon” at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 on the museum’s lawn, 107 Cliff Park Road. Scott says the 2018 movie is a coming-of-age story for a queer individual, and the group thought that it was important to highlight a newer film.
There is a suggested donation of $10, and a cash bar will be available for those ages 21 and older. All LGBTQ+ individuals and allies are invited to attend.
This is the first time Equality Springfield
has hosted an outdoor movie night, although 2021 marked the third year it had organized the Springfield Pride festival held in June, with live bands, performances and vendors. Events such as these are a chance for visibility and fellowship. Providing a safe space is especially important in smaller, more conservative areas that don’t have large LGBTQ+ communities, he says.
Equality Springfield, which Scott says has about 20 active members, meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at the Springfield Museum of Art. New members are welcome, both from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, he says.
Partnerships such as the one with the art museum are important and help to start conversations about intersectionality, he says.
“Everyone wins when we support one another,” Scott says.
The response to the group since it was founded in 2010 has become “overwhelmingly positive,” Scott says. As the national consciousness has grown, so too has Springfield’s, and city leaders have shown their support.
“The community has really embraced us,” he says.