Welcome To Wausau, Wisconsin, The City That Killed Pride

Wausau-downtownSome of the world’s largest Pride festivals happened around the world last weekend, but there was one lonely town in Wisconsin that sadly went without. It was the cold soul of Wausau City Council member David Nutting that led a charge against the city’s first proposed Gay Pride parade, and unfortunately, he won.

Daxx Bouvier, the main organizer of the event, said he put forth $15,000 of his own money to put the plan in motion, but was immediately disheartened by overwhelmingly negative feedback during his monthlong battle with the City Council. His thick skin could take a verbal beating, but was no match for the talons of Nuttig’s opposition.

At a city meeting earlier last month, Nuttig delivered a speech that roasted the gay community as “deviant-behaving individuals” that would transform “a beautiful family-oriented park” into a den of iniquity.

A portion of Nuttig’s speech has been transcribed by Blue Cheddar (watch a video of the speech here, Nuttig’s remarks begin around 1:43:00):

“I represent an overwhelming majority of district 3 residents who oppose allowing a parade of deviant-behaving individuals to be escorted by public law enforcement members through the very heart of our family-oriented city to a beautiful family-oriented public park where no doubt their choice of indecent behavior will be on full display for influential children and the media to proclaim it worldwide. This isn’t speech. This is behavior. I ask that all residents stay away from the parade or if you do go, stand with your back to the parade of deviant-behaving individuals. I respectfully ask for our various media outlets to pay little or no attention to the parade just as you do to any other parade in this city…”

Bouvier told the Green Bay Press Gazette in a phone interview that “he was disappointed in comments made…by people he had never met.” Ultimately, he canceled the event because he feared for the safety of participants.

“I do feel a great sense of loss for the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community,” he said. “Canceling the parade has set Wausau back 30 years in the way people think about the gay community.”

Bouvier, whose primary residence is in California, says he never plans to organize another Pride event in Wausau. We sure hope someone takes Nuttig to task next year, because Wausau cannot be remembered as The City That Killed Pride, Population: 0 Fun.

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  • Kjlpowers

    Daxx didn’t put his money where his mouth was. He didn’t pay for his parade license or show proof of insurance. The local LGBT community didn’t know him or trust him so they organized an Equity walk on the same day and 300 people marched. The only thing that failed in Wausau was Daxx.

  • Dawn

    I was there too, and can tell you in no uncertain terms that about 300 people showed up for the “Equality March” — despite local media telling everyone the “event” was cancelled, and with less than one week of planning.

    There were a grand total of three “protesters”, and they were polite and respectful.

  • Dakotahgeo

    WI… What can you expect… Walker asylum territory.

  • Jim Hlavac

    @Dakotahgeo: Milwaukie I’m sure has a fine gay pride event — and who knows what other cities in Wisconsin I’m unaware of. Not to mention that gay pride events have been occurring since 1970 in far more hostile environments than Wisconsin — plus, not but 2 decades ago any small city in America was facing the same thing — regardless of Walker in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, over in Moscow, Belgrade and Teheran, there were attempted gay pride marches — at least those guys had chutzpah — not unlike the people who Wausau who were either afraid of a city council member or there’s more to the story than this article supposes — but Walker and current politics in Wisconsin had nothign to do with it.

    I’m sure “Dakota” — is a fine gay paradise, yes?

  • Jim Hlavac

    What part of the 1st Amendment do people not grasp?: The right of the people to peaceably assemble to redress grievances shall not be infringed. Go march. Quit the crying, quit the “equality” and scream for Liberty – it’s the 4th of July for heaven’s sake. We aren’t Endowed by our Creator with certain Inalienable Rights so that some measly city council member can run rough shod over them. Permit? The first gay pride march in 1970 had no permit. We don’t need no stinkin’ permit. There’s a Declaration of Independence, that’s our Permit — it would be well better for gay groups to reference that document, and Liberty, instead of some mushy “equality.” Yeesh, no one had the right response to this at all in that city, nor anywhere else, for that matter. And if Mr. Nuttig wants to start a riot, and attack, let him. If he wants to hold a counter demonstration, let him. It’s his right to be an idiot — let him and his crowd grow violent, as heteros do — and let that be seen in the news — American heteros attack peaceful gays. Go for the glory, people.

  • jeff4justice

    @Kjlpowers: Gay on gay infighting.

    Why was the guy from CA trying to organize a march there?

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Jim Hlavac: Although I haven’t lived there for years, North Dakota, and especially South Dakota also have Pride Parades, although in a smaller setting. paradise? LOLOL. Hardly, and WI certainly has its share in larger cities but the state operatives such as Walker and his clan make WI look pretty anemic. So sad, because WI is a beautiful state!

  • greybat

    The Gay Pride festivals in small cities tend to be the nicest. Wausau will probably have an excellent Parade very soon (it sounds like they have had a nascent one already).

  • Daniel-Reader

    Look on the bright side. Folks now know who the evil fascists are in town who are harming gay children. People may have voted for Nutjob not realizing his cray-cray attitude. Now they can point at him whenever they see him and chant “murderer” for harming gay kids. Think of how many gay children have suffered and how many have died, and how many parents and family members have a lifetime of grief because politicians violate human rights. I am glad more Americans are standing up to protect gay family members from discrimination. It is heartening that more Americans believe in Liberty and Justice for All.

  • Terri

    @jeff4justice: Actually, it looks like “Daxx Bouvier” doesn’t exist.

    I’m disappointed that queerty didn’t bother to fact check this article.

Comments are closed.