Last edited: November 08, 2003


Equality Mississippi Calls on Gays and Lesbians Around the Nation to Boycott Gulfport, Mississippi

Equality Mississippi, July 30, 2003
Contact: Mr. Jody Renaldo; Executive director
(601) 936-7673

JACKSON, MS—Following the Gulfport City Council’s passing of a resolution condemning the United States Supreme Court for striking down sodomy laws in 13 states, including Mississippi, the statewide gay and lesbian equal rights organization Equality Mississippi has called for a nationwide boycott of the tourist destination.

Jody Renaldo, the organization’s executive director, says that it’s unfortunate that gay and lesbian supportive businesses have to suffer but that gay, lesbian and straight people alike should not spend one dime in the City of Gulfport.

“We’re asking gay, lesbian and straight people who believe in equality across the country to avoid the City of Gulfport. This is our “Not One Dime” campaign. Councilman Billy Hewes introduced this mean-spirited resolution and the majority of the City Council saw fit to go along with it. Billy Hewes said Gulfport is a straight town. I wonder if the casinos and other tourist and hospitality related businesses who employ quite a large contingent of gay and lesbian employees, feel the same way. Either way, they have to suffer for their council’s official declaration that the lives of gay and lesbian citizens of Gulfport are of less value than those of straight Gulfport citizens. Since Gulfport has declared itself a straight city, Gulfport businesses won’t have to trouble themselves counting our gay money. We’re asking everyone who believes in equal rights for all humans to simply not spend one dime in the City of Gulfport. Do not buy gas or groceries in Gulfport. Do not stay in G ulfport hotels or motels or spend one dime in a Gulfport casino. Do not vacation in Gulfport or make use of Gulfport beaches and beach vendors. Any item you can purchase in Gulfport can be purchased in another surrounding city.”

Equality Mississippi had also organized its 2004 annual statewide gay and lesbian conference to be held in Gulfport. The conference has now been cancelled in Gulfport.

Said Renaldo, “The Gulfport City Council apparently felt they had to do what they had to do. We are doing the same. Billy Hewes and the Gulfport City Council, through its recent actions, are wearing their alterity on their sleeves. It’s sad that in 2003, a city council anywhere in this country still feels the need to be so intolerant of any class of their citizenry. This city council has no idea whatsoever about how many gay and lesbian people actually live in Gulfport. And just why do they have no idea? Because they don’t ask! They don’t research! They don’t investigate! Instead, they just woke up one day, as Billy Hewes did, and decided to meddle in the private sexual lives of their citizens. Billy Hewes would have a stroke if he had any inclination as to how many gay and lesbian people there really was in the City of Gulfport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Equality Mississippi—Mississippi’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization—exists to conduct public policy research and further public education on the social, economic and health issues affecting Mississippi Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender citizens. Beyond this, Equality Mississippi works to advance the cause of full equality and civil rights for the Mississippi LGBT community and for all Mississippians. Equality Mississippi operates a web site at

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