Some residents of Evansville, Wis., are angry at the local newspaper for publishing anti-LGBTQ+ ads and editorial content.
The Evansville Review, a weekly in the southern Wisconsin town of 5,700, has published anti-LGBTQ+ ads run by Ronald Gay, pastor of Grace Independent Baptist Church, TV station WKOW reports. It has also run some opinion pieces that are homophobic or transphobic.
The paper is sent to every household in the town, even those of nonsubscribers, and they are calling on it to stop doing so.
“The Evansville Review has been printing anti-lgtbq and racist hate speech for years,” says a Change.org petition started by Susan Neeley. “That’s one reason why I don’t subscribe to that newspaper. Yet, like many others in and around Evansville, I still get the paper sent to me each week. I have asked for them to stop but they won’t. Part of the reason why they won’t is because they get a large amount of their funding by being the paper of record for the city. That means our city and school announcements and other important community information are being published right next to an article that says parents of transgender kids are pedophiles or that raising the pride flag over our town hall is an abomination.” The petition asks people to sign if they receive the paper but don’t want to.
Liz Gillitzer, a lifelong resident of Evansville, told WKOW she is now questioning if the town is right for her. “The fact that they are sending this ad sheet to every single home within the city limits is irresponsible,” said Gillitzer, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s abhorrent.”
Another woman, whose name was not disclosed by the station, said she has two LGBTQ+ children who have been “harassed all over town” and don’t feel safe at school because of the paper’s content.
Editor Kelly Gildner sent a lengthy statement to WKOW. “I print articles and columns from all political sides, am friends with many of them — from all sides,” she said. “I do feel many of those — probably the ones claiming to be the ones who ‘don’t agree’ in order to get your attention — do not know the difference between paid for ads, copy/articles. Ads that come in that may be in opposition to those who are decrying to you — are paid for and ARE NOT MY VIEWS/NOT MY ADS.” She also said, “NEVER have I ever said or printed anything personally attacking any member of the LBGT community.”
For his part, Gay said he realizes words can hurt, but sometimes that’s necessary. “If I speak truth and it hurts somebody, I have no intention to hurt people,” he told the station. “I intend to help them. I also know that if the conscience speaks to a person, it’s a good thing, even if it hurts.”