By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter—
WORCESTER, Mass.—Dale LePage, openly gay host of “New England Pride TV” (NEPTV), has received congressional recognition for his work.
On October 3, Congressman Jim McGovern presented LePage and his television show NEPTV with a congressional certificate of recognition.
The award was given to recognize the television show as an achievement for the LGBTQ community.
“That was a very big moment for me and the television show,” LePage told The Rainbow Times. “The recognition the show has been getting is phenomenal.”
LePage’s show tries to bring to light all facets of LGBTQ life including politics, style, business, and advocacy. One of the goals of the show, LePage said, is to push back against the gay party culture stereotype.
“I wanted to put that out there that, guess what guys, it’s not just about nightclubs, it’s not just about drinking,” LePage said.
LePage was inspired to create the show after interviewing two gay men who were running their own travel agency.
It was successes such as that, LePage said, which needed a sounding horn.
“It was two men in their 50s,” LePage said. “These guys are a great representation of the gay community. That’s really never popularized as much in the gay community.”
LePage stressed that the show’s goal is to cast a wide net and capture the attention of those within and outside of the LGBTQ community.
“The show is not specifically designed for the LGBTQ community, it is also designed [for] allies who wish to know more about what it’s like being a part of this community,” he said.
The show has made inroads in educating allies.
“As a straight woman, the program provides an opportunity for me to better understand the LGBTQ community,” said a mother from Worcester who wished to be identified as “Danielle.” “This knowledge then allows me and my family to be supportive, understanding, and contributing ‘members’ of this community.”
Education, LePage said, is paramount to the mission of “New England Pride TV.”
“The show started out being a vehicle to educate because before the show came along, there was no LGBTQ television show for New England,” LePage said. “The mission for the show started out, and hopefully will continue to be, informative as well as entertaining and educational.”
Danielle said she would recommend the program to anybody because it not only gives support to the LGBTQ community, but is a great way for allies to become more informed.
“I always recommend the show as it enables me, my husband, and my children, to be better, kinder, more compassionate friends and relatives to members of the LGBTQ community,” Danielle said. “Education is everything—how else can we, as heterosexuals, understand our fellow citizens and friends if we don’t understand their unique challenges and struggles?”
Support for all sides
While both the LGBTQ community and its allies are enjoying the show, LePage said the support he has received from all sides is heartening and inspiring.
One of the sponsors for the show, a consignment store in the Worcester area, has now become part of it.
“The woman who owns it is not even part of the LGBTQ community,” LePage said. “Her clothes are going to be in a fashion show for a huge celebration [of transgender people].”
Gaining sponsors to pay for the technical needs of the show was perhaps the biggest task of getting “New England Pride TV” off the ground, LePage said.
“Being in the media business, you cannot do anything without sponsorships,” LePage said.
To date, national brands such as ReMax and local organizations such as Bay State Savings Bank and The Hanover Theater are all listed as sponsors.
Yet, the real support comes from outside. LePage said the political support for his program has had a huge impact on the project.
Guests of the show have also come from all over. Grace Anne Stevens, a transgender author and motivational speaker, as well as President of the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus Stephen MacInnes, among others, have been featured guests.
With now seven episodes behind him, LePage said plans for the next few are already in the works. Though he would not divulge who future guests would be, LePage said he has high expectations for upcoming episodes.
“I would love to get [Senator] Elizabeth Warren,” LePage said. “I would love to get any political person to come on and be a part of the show.”