November 25, 1996 Issue No. 24
P L A G A L
M E M O R A N D U M
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
PLAGAL TO JOIN NON-TRADITIONAL PRO-LIFERS AT MARCH FOR LIFE
In 1997, there will be a new aspect to the Annual March for Life . As PLAGAL has done since 1991, we will meet for the March at 11:40 A.M., on Wednesday morning, January 22, 1997, at the statue of Benjamin Franklin right in front of the Old Post Office, corner of Twelfth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Some may arrive early and partake of a very welcome hot cup of coffee inside. We will then proceed to the Rally at the Ellipse, about four blocks away. Near the corner of Fifteenth and Constitution, we will join a number of non-traditional pro-life groups, including Feminists for Life, and then participate in the great March down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.
Once PLAGAL's marchers arrive at the crest of Capitol Hill, we will stop by the side of Pennsylvania Avenue and distribute the yellow brochure, "An Open Letter to the Pro-Life Movement," to the rest of the parade.
After the March, PLAGAL will visit our Members of Congress. This year, we plan to meet Representatives Henry Hyde, Charles Canady, or some other pro-life leader. When we meet with these Congressmen, we will commend their efforts and urge them to continue to help save more unborn children.
Please plan to attend -- and notify the National Office.
PLAGAL ANNUAL MEETING CALLED FOR JANUARY 21ST
PLAGAL's Board of Directors has changed the date of PLAGAL's Annual Meeting from May to January, and the 1997 Annual Meeting will be held at 8:00 P.M. on January 21, 1996, at 1747 "S" Street, Northwest, Washington, DC. The meeting will elect the members of PLAGAL's Board of Directors for 1997, receive the Officers' Reports, and conduct such other and further business as shall come before the meeting.
PLAGAL ADDS NEW DIMENSION TO AIDS QUILT REMEMBRANCE
The Prolife Alliance of Gays & Lesbians, like so many other groups in the gay, lesbian, an d bisexual community, took the opportunity of the presentation of the Names Project Quilt to gather its members who were in Washington D.C. for the occasion. PLAGAL members put their consistent life ethic -- that all human rights start when human life begins -- to work by attending and leafletting the special Quilt Mass held by the Archdiocese of Washington at St. Matthew's cathedral.
About a dozen PLAGAL members, dressed in t-shirts emblazoned with a large hot pink triangle and the motto "Pro-Life and Proud" distributed literature both before and after the mass. To say that PLAGAL was warmly received by those in attendance would be an understatement. Fortuitously timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day, the event may have presented the opportunity for many gays to come out of their pro-life closets. Comments like "Its about time," "Where have you been?" "What's taken so long?" were frequent. Indeed, one priest stopped by to say hello and to identify himself as the brother of a long-time PLAGALite in Minnesota.
Attendance at the names quilt was a poignant moment for all, and at least one of our members, Vice President Chuck Volz, was given the honor of being invited to be a names speaker and reading a list of 32 names of those who lost their lives to AIDS. He said, "It means a lot to me to have been invited by the Names Project. Because our AIDS Walk in Philadelphia (From All Walks of Life) contributes at least $15,000 to Planned Parenthood, I am precluded from raising money to help the lives of AIDS victims because I am morally opposed to his money being diverted to extinguish the lives of unborn children. Given my leadership in Philadelphia's gay community, it causes me great pain to be excluded from a major event because I am not 'politically correct'. Given our reception at the Cathedral, it would seem that many gays are similarly situated. And, as I never get tired of reminding everyone, the fight at Stonewall 26 years ago was our fight to be different and not to replace the conformity demands of straight society with our own brand of political correctness."
In discussions concerning the abortion issue, one aspect that often comes up is the question: What exceptions do you make? By this they generally mean, I am opposed to abortions except in the following instances. George Bush was famous for his "life of the mother, rape and incest" exceptions. Some are considered pro-life who even add the "major fetal deformities" exception.
Some pro-life advocates and organizations put forward the claim of "No Exceptions." However, when they are questioned, they admit that they would allow an operation to remove a cancerous uterus, or the removal of an ectopic pregnancy. They justify and allow these operations because they are not intended to abort the child but to save the life of the Mother. Since they are not intended to kill the child, they are therefore not abortions, and thus they are consistent with allowing "No Exceptions."
While the logic of these advocates is flawless and their metaphysics are elegant, their public relations are quite dangerous to the unborn. The soundbite -- No Exceptions -- is all that is heard, and their explanation is lost: The "no exceptions" advocates seem to disdain the life of the mothe and the rights of women generally, and to worship the fetus. Their position is virtually identical to those who allow the "Life of the Mother Exception," because there is no instance in contemporary medicine where there is a need to make a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the child. There may have been such instances in the past, but modern science has eliminated those.
The "No Exceptions" slogan is a public relations disaster that is costing hundreds if not thousands of lives because potential pro-lifers and pro-life voters are alienated from the pro-life position by its stark and apparently unfeeling claim.
CLIPPINGS AND CONTACTS
As has become our custom, we would like to remind our readers that PLAGAL needs the names (and addresses, voice and fax numbers, and now e-mail addresses) of local gay and lesbian media. When anything appears in the lesbian and gay media discussing the Pro-Life movement, or in any media discussing PLAGAL, Please, PLEASE send it to us. We do not have -- and cannot afford -- a clipping service or subscriptions to the multitude of lesbian and gay media. We are always discovering -- some months after the event -- that we were mentioned somewhere.
meanwhile. . .
The Los Angeles Reader, in its last issue dated August 16, 1996, discussed PLAGAL's efforts to activate pro-life gay Republicans at Log Cabin's San Diego Convention. Prominently featured was PLAGAL's button -- with the slogan "Abortion = Death."
Karen Ocamb, the new editor of the Lesbian News, out of Los Angeles, inaugurated her editorship by noting in its September 1996 edition, "The second belief is that the Lesbian News must be a non--partisan publication. Not all lesbians are animal loving vegetarian Democrats. We acknowledge that there are authentic lesbian Republicans as well as Pro-Life, red-meat-eating, fur wearing, re-born Christian lesbians who ought not feel excluded because of their lifestyle or point of view." This open-minded attitude should come as no surprise to PLAGALites who recall Ms. Ocamb's rather fair and balanced article on PLAGAL in the May 1994 issue of Genre, also out of Los Angeles. We wish Ms. Ocamb well in her new endeavor. [Post Office Box 55, Torrance, CA 90508 / theLN@aol.com]
PLAGAL LOCAL CONTACTS
ALABAMA: Martha Goodson
1308 Plum Tree Trail No. "B"
Birmingham, AL 35226
BOSTON: Michael Dubson-Sage
10 Ferndale Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02124
CLEVELAND: Cecilia Holesovsky
Post Office Box 609001
Cleveland, OH 44109
CONNECTICUT: Philip Arcidi
U-200 Box 67 UCONN
445 Whitney Road Extension
Storrs, CN 06269-9012
1375 Pearl Street; No. 4
Denver, CO 80203
INDIANA: David Horne
Post Office Box 7891
Bloomington, IN 47407
IOWA: Juan M. Jorge Ramirez
LOS ANGELES: Moses Remedios
516 West 31st Street: No. 21
Los Angeles, CA 90007
MINNESOTA: John R. Stanek
5053 Washburn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55412-2225
NEW YORK CITY: Mike Flannery
Expectant Mother Care
210 East 23rd Street: No. 5-R
New York, NY 10009
OMAHA: Elizabeth Bejan
2328 South 32nd Avenue
Omaha, NE 68104
PHILA: Charles F. Volz, Jr.
10935 Ellicott Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
ROCHESTER: Donna M. Kearney
Post Office Box 10035
Rochester, NY 14610
SAN JOSE: Steve Cook
Post Office Box 4848
San Jose CA 95150
WASH. DC: National Office
P. O. Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
WISCONSIN: Jim McFarland
1133 East Pleasant: No. 206
Milwaukee, WI 53202
COOK ADDRESSES LOG CABIN GOP CLUB
PLAGAL Vice-President and San Jose' Contact Steve Cook, will address the Silicon Valley Log Cabin Republican Club on Tuesday, November 26, 1996, at 6:30 P.M. The meeting will be held at Pedro's Restaurant, 3935 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA. Steve will discuss the pro-life movement, PLAGAL's work, and the reasons for lesbians and gays to support the rights of the unborn.
GAY IOWAN CONVERTS
TO THE PRO-LIFE CAUSE
First off, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Juan Miguel Jorge Ramirez, born and raised in Bettendorf, Iowa, and now attending law school at the University of Iowa, in my second year. As you can probably guess by my long name, I am Latino, of Mexican extraction. I am also very Catholic, close to my family and very gay. I wasn't always pro-life. In fact, especially during my teens and early 20's, I was adamantly pro-abortion, and for selfish reasons. Those reasons included solidarity with the radical left. I figured if I support a "woman's right to choose," then the women's movement will support a gay man's right to be gay and live his life as he sees fit. I also rationalized my view by thinking that one less human being in the world means one less to compete with me for scarce resources.
My real "gay life" really started at 18 years, which was the legal drinking age in Iowa at the time. I was basically hedonistic and stupid, espoused the views of the radical left and contributed to the gay cause, donating to the big gay groups that also were anti-life. Gradually, as I grew older I grew to dislike and lost touch with the popular gay culture and strengthened my ties to family and Church.
My involvement in the pro-life movement started more or less with a nudge from my old friend, my conscience. My Hispanic Catholicism determined much of the formation of my conscience. Despite its teaching on homosexuality, I was and still am a member of the Catholic Church, and from time to time I heard about the evil of abortion. One day I realized that I based my "convictions" on abortion on emotion and self-interest and decided to investigate the truth about abortion in the U.S. What I found out disgusted and angered me.
That's when I started contacting pro-life groups in my area. I started talking to gay friends about the issue and as expected received vehement pro-abortion responses from most and a few open-minded comments from others. One friend attended a pro-life event with me and another who was also an AIDS activist told me of his pro-life stance. Other involvement included writing letters to my congressmen urging them to defend life. Other than this, I was only nominally involved, such as giving yearly to my local right to life group. During this time, I was in school, pursuing a career in accounting, so from time to time, in the liberal arts classes, I would have an opportunity to speak out on life issues and write essays about them.
While still an undergrad at St. Ambrose U., a Catholic university in Davenport, Iowa, I felt God call me to the study of law to not only help out the poor and defenseless (including the unborn) but also to defend the Church. This is not to say that I am against gay rights. While at SAU, I helped to form in 1995 the first ever lesbigay support group on campus which still survives to this day, thanks be to God. I had more spiritual plans for the group but I think it is mainly secular. Oh well. Upon my arrival at Iowa City to the U. of Iowa College of Law, my ideals had not weakened, I still wanted to connect with spiritual, faith-filled and pro-life people, especially gay pro-lifers. That's when I discovered PLAGAL, while playing in cyberspace.
So far during my legal career I have tried (and failed) to start a pro-life group at the law school. The interest is minimal and seems like most are not willing to dedicate themselves to the cause, at least last year anyway.
This year, for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I and a couple of law school buddies distributed pro-life (straight, generic) flyers into every law student's mailboxes. I also put up pro-life posters around law school, many of which were torn down. I have also put an ad in the local confidential gay personal ad service newsletter. Next year, I want to distribute PLAGAL flyers to all the law students. I would also like to distribute some at the one and only local gay bar, maybe at a coffee house and area bulletin boards. Later, I hope to advertise on a wider scale, such as in the campus newspaper which gets wide distribution. However, anyone who knows about the rigors of law school knows that this can only be done with a lot of help, especially at a big school like Iowa. Some of my goals are to become more visible and active in the gay pro-life movement nationally. The main obstacle to this is my fear of retribution from within both the gay and straight communities. I promised myself that my car would never be used for political purposes. The first bumper sticker ever on any car I have owned which I now have on my car is PLAGAL's "abortion = death" bumper sticker. With time and God's help my fears will be conquered.
I want to leave you all with a thought which has to do with the Hispanic gay community. I spent June and July in Mexico studying law. There I met some gays and lesbians who are very culturally Mexican and Catholic. I noticed that the popular gay culture in Mexico is the same as in the US, however the difference is that in Mexico the family and Church still play an important role. What I'm trying to say is that the pro-life message is stronger and more pervasive in their society. Secondly, there are many gays who cross the border, for whatever reason, be it economic or social, that is to live their lives freely, free from societal pressures to conform to heterosexuality. I'd like to see this group recruited into our ranks within the gay community, and in Spanish. I think this is an idea worth considering.
MEMBERSHIP FORM 1997 DUES ARE WELCOME
TELEPHONE MAY PLAGAL
HOME:___________________________________________________MESSAGES BE LEFT?_________
OFFICE:__________________________________________________MESSAGES BE LEFT?_________
FAX:____________________________________________________MESSAGES BE LEFT?_________
HOW DID YOU LEARN
ABOUT PLAGAL? _____________________________________________________________________
EXPERIENCE (Details Count!): ___________________________________________________________
ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCE: ________________________________________________________
Willing to organize/coordinate a local PLAGAL group? _____
Willing to join a local PLAGAL group?_____
Willing to distribute literature at local Pride or similar event? _____
Wiling to speak for PLAGAL at civic or college group? _____
STATUS: ________ Member ________ Mailing List Only
DUES, CONTRIBUTIONS & PURCHASES:
Annual Dues: $10.00 ______ Contribution: $ ________
Buttons _______ @ $1.00 = $ ___________
Bumper Stickers _______ @ $1.00 = $ ___________
T-Shirts _______ @ $10.00 = $ ___________
Size: M / L / XL / XXL : _________
FLYERS: Pink #_____ Blue #_____ Yellow #_____ Green #_____ Lavender #_____
Please Make Checks Payable to P.L.A.G.A.L.
PLEASE RETURN FORM TO:
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033-0292