Censorship | Denver | News

Denver Arts Center Refuses to Display the Word 'Gay' on its Marquee, Instead Advertising 'Denver *** Men's Chorus'


A tipster sent this in to us over the weekend.

The Denver Gay Men's Chorus had a concert at the L2 Arts and Culture Center in Denver over the weekend, but you wouldn't know by looking at the marquee.

The word "gay" in the choir's name, deemed too inappropriate to be broadcast in bright lights, was instead replaced with three asterisks.

UPDATE: Our commenter David writes: "I talked to a friend in the chorus and he told me this story: The person at L2 who programmed the sign left without realizing that the 'nanny' software blocked GAY as an inappropriate word. Once people at L2 realized what had happened they scrabbled to override the software and did fix it. Sounds like the L2 staff were as upset that this happened as the chorus members were."

UPDATE II: Rocky Mountain Arts Association, the parent organization of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus, wrote in with a statement regarding the story.

"The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus worked with L2 Arts and Culture Center to rectify the situation this past weekend in a fast and efficient manner. We want to assure the community that the situation was caused by computer error and not a deliberate attempt by our friends at the center to disparage the chorus or its mission. We sincerely hope that this statement will put to rest any negative sentiment toward L2 Arts and Culture Center or the city of Denver, Colorado. We look forward to welcoming our fellow GALA Chorus members to our beautiful city in Summer 2012."

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  1. As a member of the DGMC, I can confirm David's report that it was a software error and that it was corrected for our Saturday performance. I would also like to mention that the L2 Church was very accommodating to us, and really bent over backwards to host us. I am not particularly religious, but I would note that our rehearsal space is in another church in Denver, and our Sunday performance was hosted by a third church in Highlands Ranch. It's gratifying to have welcoming churches like that; there are more than you might expect. True, there are plenty of gay-unfriendly churches, but I think (or at least hope) they are on the decline.

    Posted by: Tom | Dec 19, 2011 11:35:19 AM

  2. So I'm guessing that the music DAMN YANKEES would be marqueed **** YANKEES?

    Posted by: Bart | Dec 19, 2011 11:35:37 AM

  3. What the ****?

    Posted by: Gregoire | Dec 19, 2011 11:38:12 AM

  4. They scrabbled?

    Posted by: bcarter3 | Dec 19, 2011 11:42:32 AM

  5. It is software and Gay has to be starred out. Just go to a teen message board or play a game of halo, gay is used as an insult with alarming usage numbers. It makes sense to block it for a nanny thing, not fair, but makes sense.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Dec 19, 2011 11:52:02 AM

  6. Nice to hear about the area churches who were accommodating to the chorus. I like to think more churches are similarly open-minded, but perhaps I'm just a ****eyed optimist.

    Posted by: James in Hollywood | Dec 19, 2011 12:29:48 PM

  7. We have a response from the venue regarding the situation at Instinct: http://instinctmagazine.com/blogs/blog/denver-arts-center-marquee-censors-word-gay-for-denver-***-men-s-chorus-concert?directory=100011

    Posted by: Jonathan | Dec 19, 2011 12:58:02 PM

  8. scrabble is a well known word spelling game, so they were trying to come up with an appropriate word when they (scrabbled)

    Posted by: ted | Dec 19, 2011 1:18:25 PM

  9. Really, all: it was a glitch. I'm with the DGMC and we have sung at this venue MANY times before, always with our GAY name displayed, and for the next night's concert the full name (with Gay, not ***) was displayed. They were very apologetic. I can't imagine why the software thinks "Gay" is a perjorative - nor can I imagine why they even HAVE nanny software - but it was not intentional on their part. L2 has always been a gracious host for us.

    Posted by: Steven | Dec 19, 2011 1:44:18 PM

  10. "Denver is a very progressive and gay town."

    Excuse me? I lived there for four years. It has its progressive parts, but it's still basically just Omaha with mountains.

    Posted by: Jeff In Boston | Dec 19, 2011 1:48:23 PM

  11. Even if it was "nanny" software, the theater is still responsible for censoring the word gay. Did the theater not review the list of censored words before they flipped the switch?

    I don't understand why you would employ software like that for the marquee anyway.

    Posted by: Mick | Dec 19, 2011 1:58:37 PM

  12. This prevents vandals from saying something like "Jack Twist Is Gay". That would be mean. Pranks happen all the time.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 19, 2011 2:01:02 PM

  13. That electronic marquee looks like it's a holdover from the 70s or 80s and, I'm guessing, the keyboard/terminal used to program it looks much the same. Taking that into consideration, it's not outrageous to reason that the word "gay" would be on a profanity filter that was likely written into the system's proprietary code in the 70s or 80s.

    Posted by: Eaves | Dec 19, 2011 2:12:39 PM

  14. So it appears to just be a glitch, no harm, no foul. If the L2 church had a problem with the group in the first place, I doubt they would have booked them or put them on their website. It sucks the word "gay" is on the censor list but I can understand why (for evidence spend five minutes in any message board on the internet).

    Posted by: KP | Dec 19, 2011 2:37:52 PM

  15. I appreciate the two comments from DGMC members describing their experience with this venue.

    Perhaps this really is not much of a story after all.

    Posted by: james | Dec 19, 2011 3:19:54 PM

  16. @ Anon:

    This is Jack Twist . Who's calling me gay ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 19, 2011 3:26:25 PM

  17. Photo of corrected sign, as requested.

    Posted by: denverandy | Dec 19, 2011 3:52:00 PM

  18. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/k_kHKGJNWeM1MYSmuckgyHOsLdXMpidcWRvcSMDgOG0?feat=directlink

    Posted by: denverandy | Dec 19, 2011 3:53:05 PM

  19. I am so glad that the problem was resolved. The L2 people have been so good to the chorus. They were just as embarrassed over the situation as should some of the knee jerk reactions we felt...like posting this this a such a public website, before we learned all the facts. Thank you to L2 for working with the DGMC and hosting us again this year.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 19, 2011 4:24:48 PM

  20. "Gay" is an inappropriate word? I thought it meant lighthearted and fun...

    Posted by: jaragon | Dec 19, 2011 4:47:35 PM

  21. This is what happens when people post articles without knowing the story. It was an editing software glitch which some random computer programmer thought the word "gay" could be offensive. The software automatically placed *** instead. Once we brought it to the L2's attention they immediately overrode the software and had it corrected. They felt as bad as we did about it. So it had nothing to do with Denver or anyone from Denver.

    Posted by: Jody | Dec 19, 2011 5:02:13 PM

  22. People keep criticizing this site as posting inaccurate info. The fact still remains that sign said *** instead of gay.

    Others seem to think it is ok, because is was the computer that typed *** instead of gay. Well, folks the computer has to be told that gay is now ***. It may not have been the venue, but the computer was programmed by somebody to be homophobic. Had it been the black mens or the jewish mens chorus, the software would not have had a "glitch". Why is the word gay censored out????? Had it said fag, ok. It said gay. It is not an offensive word!!!!

    Why is ok that the director of the venue, however apologetic, didnt proof the sign? Its is not as if this was just displayed for one second, it was displayed for at least 24 hours, if not longer. How long does it take to fix a three letter mistake.

    I was at the concert. I took the picture. The guys were amazing. They dont deserve this. The community doesnt deserve this.

    Posted by: Kane | Dec 20, 2011 1:42:37 PM

  23. @Kane - Based on your FB profile, it looks like you're just enjoying all the attention. The venue has used the word gay in every piece of advertising it posted, this was an unfortunate computer error and nothing more. I believe you are just fanning the flames to keep your "15 minutes" alive. Your concern about damage done to the organization, venue or community comes off as insincere at best.

    Posted by: Lee Jay | Dec 20, 2011 3:42:53 PM

  24. It wasn't "fixed" if there is not picture as proof - or were they unable to "fix" it in time (most likely).

    Posted by: Patrick Wellington III | Dec 20, 2011 4:17:18 PM

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