Of course, Minnesota is home to Garrison Keillor and his mythical Lake Woebegone. The Lake Woebegone Whippets baseball team sometimes pops up in the skits and monologues of A Prairie Home Companion, including reports of their contests with the Upsala Uff da’s (pronounced oopsala in the show). Many years ago, when Keillor was still doing the Mn Public Radio Morning Show from St John’s University, I corresponded with him to report that there really was a ball team called the Uff da’s that played in Upsala … it was my University of Minnesota intramural softball team, which we called the Uff da’s, that journeyed to my hometown of Upsala for a weekend tournament. [for any non-Scandinavian readers, Uff da is Swedish/Norwegian for “oy ve!”, or “no s..t!”, etc.]
But I digress…
I have posted frequently about the upcoming ELCA convention in Minneapolis beginning August 17th in which gay marriage and gay clergy will be the hot legislative items. I will be present during the convention offering “graceful engagement” in the hallways on behalf of Goodsoil, the umbrella organization for a number of LGBT friendly constituencies. Watch this space for regular blog updates from the convention.
We also have a report that the Episcopalians have chosen a lesbian as one of three candidates to become the IX Bishop of the Minnesota Diocese.
In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, the leading newspaper of Mn, comes the headline that asks and answers a question: How gay is Minnesota? Really, really gay, according to columnist Andy Birkey who blogs from Eleventh Avenue South:
Folks from out of town are often shocked to find huge and vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities this far from the coasts. It shouldn’t be a surprise given Minnesotans’ long-standing commitment to tolerance and human rights, and the fact that Minneapolis is the last stop before Seattle. Most of us are from small towns in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas who didn’t want the hassle and cost of Chicago or found Madison and Iowa City a bit too "small town."
There are a lot of us.
According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area ranks 8th in terms of LGBT people per capita and Minneapolis is fourth among major cities for percent of LGBT people in the population. Minnesota ranks 10th in the nation for number of same-sex couples, and same-sex couples reside in every county of the state … Each year, Minneapolis’ Loring Park hosts the third largest free Pride festival with over 400,000 attendees.
I think I know what Pastor Ingqvist of Lake Woebegone would say: UFF DA!