Chandler play celebrates gay advancement

Photo by Ramsey Papp
Rep. Bill Lippert in “Standing in This Place” at the Chandler Music Hall.

Hinesburg Rep. Bill Lippert makes a cameo appearance in the world premiere of “Standing in This Place: Growing Up LGBTQ in Vermont” presented Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m., at the Chandler Pride Theater Festival at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph.

Originally commissioned by the Vermont Pride Theater, “Standing in This Place” was conceived and written by Maura Campbell, a longtime Vermont playwright who now resides in Florida. It features a multi-generational ensemble of 15 Vermonters who take the stage to tell their own personal stories of the “ground-shattering events of the past 30 years.”

One of the interviewees who is prominently featured in the play is Howard “Howdy” Russell of Hinesburg.

“Over many years, Howdy has played an important role in fighting for lesbian and gay rights in Vermont. ‘Standing in This Place’ features his advocacy for LGBTQ rights, while also offering a deeply personal account of his own struggle and triumph of coming out as a gay man,” said Lippert.

Rep. Lippert’s appearance in the play features his civil unions House floor speech from the second reading of the civil union bill.

“As the only openly gay member of the Vermont legislature in 2000, in that important civil union debate, I had the privilege to speak the truth about the goodness and importance of lesbian and gay people, and the deep love and value of our relationships,” said Lippert. “I am pleased that the message of my speech continues to resonate today, even after we have achieved full marriage equality in Vermont.”

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