July 10, 1997 Issue No. 27
P L A G A L
M E M O R A N D U M
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
PLAGAL L. A. TOPS L. A. PRIDE
The West Coast met the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians over the weekend of June 21 and 22, 1997, when PLAGAL Vice-President Moses Remedios distributed flyers, balloons, buttons, and bumper stickers, handed out copies of The Advocate article (See "Did PLAGAL Get Ink?" on page 3), and talked about being gay and pro-life to the thousands attending Los Angeles Pride just off Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Remedios, both a former National President of American Collegians for Life and staffer for the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, DC, had organized Southern California for ACL , and used his talent and experience well in presenting the pro-life message to the lesbian and gay community. Remedios recruited Bryan Greenwood, a top graphic artist and fellow PLAGALite, to design a new and highly professional introductory flyer for PLAGAL as well as a sleek new logo and a west coast PLAGAL banner.
The reception at L. A. Pride was remarkably warm. Yes, there were the countless number of people who took two and up to three glances at the banner before walking away in total disbelief. Yes, there were even some people who made disapproving comments about our presence, but no one was particularly nasty. The strongest opposition came from John O'Brian, Executive Director of The One Institute. He stopped by the PLAGAL booth and after picking up some literature, told us we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. When questions, he replied that we were siding with the enemy. He even claimed that he had some friends who were gay and anti-abortion but they knew better than to organize. When Moses responded that his view of PLAGAL's right to organize was very narrow minded, he responded by threatening to pressure Christopher Street West (CSW wonderfully organizes L. A. Pride) to exclude PLAGAL from future L. A. Pride events. Thereafter, Moses met with several leaders of CSW who assured him that this would not come to pass.
There was one particular woman who walked by the table with two adopted children in tow. Initially stopping for balloons, she exclaimed, "Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians! I thought I was the only one!" She went on to relate how she used to work at a woman's health center. They had no problem that she was a lesbian, but that coming out as a pro-lifer was a critical factor in her loosing that job.
With the much appreciated assistance of Greenwood and his partner, Rob, and Charles, a long time PLAGALite, Moses kept the PLAGAL table staffed for the two full days of Los Angeles Pride. Seventy men and women signed up for PLAGAL's mailing list, bringing the total mailing list to over 750 names. These newly uncloseted PLAGALites will hopefully make it possible for PLAGAL to offer speakers anywhere in the Southern California area, as well as perhaps to participate in future Pride events in Orange County, San Diego, and Palm Springs.
The success of PLAGAL's Los Angeles debut was made possible by the financial contributions of a number of Southern California PLAGAL members and friends. Thank you very much!
TEXAS LESBIAN CONFERENCE
The Lone Star State received its first official appearance by the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians in the person of Houston/Galveston Coordinator Gerry Townsend, who represented PLAGAL at the Texas Lesbian Conference on May 16 and 17, 1997, in Houston. Gerry reports that her pro-life message was well received by most of the participants of this annual all-women gathering and that the representative of N.O.W. appeared forlorn across the crowded room. Ten Texas ladies signed up for PLAGAL's mailing list.
BOSTON PEACEFUL IN 1997
Undaunted by the possibility of an angry pro-choice mob replicating the 1995 ouster of PLAGAL from Boston's Pride festival, on Saturday, June 7, 1997, PLAGALites under the intrepid leadership of new Boston Coordinator Ed Hurley raised the pink and blue banner of pro-life gays and lesbians in this city of Catholics and Kennedys. PLAGAL National President Philip Arcidi and past Boston Coordinator Mike Dubson-Sage assisted in staffing the table, where nine men and women signed up for the mailing list. One pro-choicer rode up on a bicycle decorated (appropriately) with human skulls. On several occasions, pro-choice lesbians and gays came by the table to express their embarrassment at PLAGAL's 1995 ouster, evidence that Freedom of Speech is not entirely forgotten here.
SEATTLE PRIDE SEES PLAGAL
Bill Caldwell, PLAGAL's newest Local Coordinator, got off to a great start June 29th at Seattle's Pride festival. Working with local Feminists for Life, Bill distributed balloons, buttons, and flyers, and signed up 15 names for the mailing list, and presented the case for being both pro-life and gay.
PLAGAL's SIXTH DC PRIDE
PLAGAL has participated in Washington, DC's Pride events for six years now, and running the event is almost routine. Set up and Close down are familiar operations -- thanks to Bill and David and Terry -- and two people were scheduled to staff the table for hour long shifts throughout the day. And most of them were actually on time, a rarity for any pro-life or gay event! Thirty-five individuals signed up for the mailing list on Sunday, June 8th, and if experience is any guide, about a third of those will become more active -- paying dues, assisting at PLAGAL envelope stuffing parties, marching under PLAGAL's banner at the January 22nd March for Life. The reporter for the Washington Blade dropped by, but since we had no newsworthy confrontations, PLAGAL received no ink.
RETURN TO PHILADELPHIA
After a year's hiatus, PLAGAL made a return appearance at the Philadelphia Gay Pride festival. The festival was held on Sunday, June 8, 1997, at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River. It was preceded by the annual Gay Pride Parade through the streets of center city Philadelphia, culminating at Penn's Landing. Bob Cunningham, PLAGAL's Interim Philadelphia Coordinator, staffed the table, with the much appreciated assistance of Joe and John. The crowd -- like the weather -- was "ab fab." For the most part, the day was uneventful, and no unpleasant confrontations marred the occasion. Eight individuals signed up for PLAGAL's mailing list, and dozens more took and hopefully read the blue, green, and pink flyers. Many thanks to Bob for his hard work and resourcefulness in bringing the PLAGAL message to the banks of the Delaware.
WEB SITE REBUILT ON OUR OWN DOMAIN NAME
PLAGAL is back on the world wide web with its new website -- found at http://www.plagal.org -- through the hard work and initiative of PLAGALite Chris Hinkle and straight pro-life enthusiast Jen Ross. And we have our own domain name -- PLAGAL.ORG -- to make a more lasting impression with all those denizens of cyberspace.
CLEVELAND DOES IT AGAIN!
Planning and organization were the key to Cleveland PLAGAL's success at Pride over the weekend of June 28th. Cleveland PLAGALites had met on May 29th, at Cecelia (Holesovsky) Brown's residence to plan the Pride event, a fund raiser with Feminists for Life, and fall activities in Northeaster Ohio. The predictable result of this preparation was an absolutely fabulous Pride, the distribution of flyers, buttons, and bumper stickers, and the sign-up of 15 lesbians and gays for PLAGAL's mailing list. Thanks Cecelia!!
USF PRO-LIFE WEEKEND
Over the weekend of September 20-21, 1997, the seamless garment pro-life weekend will be held at the University of San Francisco. PLAGAL Vice-President Steve Cook is scheduled to lead a workshop on Saturday the 20th on "Breaking Pro-Life Stereotypes," as well as to participate in other panel discussions. Contact Steve Cook, PLAGAL's Bay Area Coordinator, for more information, including registration and schedule.
EVANGELICALS FOR SOCIAL ACTION HOSTS
PENN. GOV. CASEY
On Saturday, July 26, 1997, Evangelicals for Social Action will host former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, who will speak on "A Call to Action: To Protect the Unborn. During his two terms as Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey was outstanding as an advocate both for the rights of the unborn and for the rights of lesbians and gays. Tickets are $50 per plate. Contact 610-645-9399.
DID PLAGAL GET INK?
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 -- sometimes months after the event -- that we were mentioned somewhere. As has become our custom, we would also 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.
meanwhile. . .
Triangle Community Center, out of Norwalk, Conn., published Tom Sena's piece, "A World Without Gays?" in its February, 1997, issue. Los Angeles's Edge Magazine, in its March 19, 1997, edition, published the same item under the heading, "Star Trek, Gay Genes, and Abortion."
Many thanks to The Right Angle and its publisher, Leonard Green, for running a complimentary advertisement on behalf of PLAGAL in its recent issues. Its editorial and subscription offices are found at 215 West 139th Street, No. 4, New York, NY 10030.
San Jose's OutNOW, on the front page of its June 3, 1997 edition, published virtually a full page interview with PLAGAL's San Jose' outspoken contact, Steve Cook. One of the primary focuses of the story was an incident that occurred while Steve was participating (in his individual capacity, not as a representative of PLAGAL, he hastens to add) with the local Christian Action Ministries [CAM] in a peaceful picket of the local Planned Parenthood in San Jose'. After being accosted with foul and abusive language by a pro-choice activist, a second approached. When Steve met her abuse with a conciliatory "I love you," the activist, a local attorney, stepped back and claimed, "Don't touch me; you might have AIDS. Gay people are sick."
Both pro-choice activists admitted to OutNOW that this is what happened, but justified both their "very vulgar "language and claimed that their intent was sarcasm. They justified their actions on the basis that Christian Action Ministries was violent, engaged in illegal activities, and was anti-gay. (The leaders of CAM attended an organizational meeting of PLAGAL in San Francisco in 1996 for the purpose of soliciting PLAGAL assistance in pickets and other pro-life activity.)
The June 10th edition of OutNow published letters from both PLAGALite Steve Cook and CAM Area Director Linda Schultz, clarifying what was in fact an exemplary fair article. Linda pointed out the CAM associates only with those who have taken a pledge of non-violence (a position PLAGAL applauds). Both letters noted that Northern California pro-lifers have proved themselves to be open and friendly to lesbian and gay pro-lifers.
The Advocate, our nation's oldest lesbian and gay journal of opinion (as well as certain bare facts in earlier years), on May 27, 1997, published a cover article entitled, "Endangered Species," displaying a picture of a fetus at about four months development and coyly asking: This child has the gay gene. Will he be aborted because of it?
The article, by Ted Gideonese, is a fair and well researched (he talked with several PLAGALites) discussion of the probability of a pre-natal test for male homosexual tendencies, the legality of their use to target lesbian and gay fetuses, and the prospects of a world without gays.
Gideonese quotes pioneer gay geneticist Dean Hamer in discounting the easy development of a test for the "gay gene," and his trust that such a test, if developed, will never be widely used. (PLAGAL hopes he is right.)
The article misunderstands one of the salient points of PLAGAL's argument: We do not fear necessarily a government mandated policy of aborting lesbian and gay fetuses -- we fear the far more effective aborting of lesbian and gay fetuses by the voluntary action of their parents.
Reprints of this article should note: Issue 724, The
Advocate Magazine. Copyright Liberation Publications Inc. May 27,1997. Reprinted with permission from The Advocate Magazine
ADVOCATE POLL ON ABORTION
The May 27, 1997, issue of The Advocate, discussed above, posed the following question to its readers, to be answered via e-mail: Would you be in favor of a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, even if that means some women might terminate their pregnancies on the basis of genetic markers for homosexuality?
The Advocate allowed three answers: Yes, I think a woman should always have the right to choose whether to bring a pregnancy to term, even if some women might end up aborting fetuses they think could end up as gay children (36%). No. I generally believe in a woman's right to choose, but not in this case. Doctors should be discouraged from giving out such information if abortion is the goal. (41%). No, I believe that abortion is wrong, and this is just another reason (23%)
The results of The Advocate's poll -- while not statistically scientific or valid -- strangely enough mirror the equally unscientific survey taken by Cleveland PLAGAL in 1995 and published in the September 20, 1996, edition of the PLAGAL Memorandum. These results reflected that 8% believe that abortion is wrong (i.e. should be unlawful) under any circumstances; 12% believed that abortion is wrong, except to save the life of the mother; and that 9% believed that abortion is wrong, except to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. This 20 to 29 percent result (depending on how one defines "pro-life") is fairly consistent with the very different group being polled by The Advocate. Very Interesting!
This shows that PLAGAL currently represents the views of about twenty percent of the lesbian and gay community, and that another forty percent (at least of Advocate readers) hold views that can be characterized as somewhat contradictory. We have our work cut out for us.
GAY GENES: CONCERN AND DENIAL
The following column by PLAGAL founder and current Vice-President Tom Sena was submitted to the lesbian and gay media on June 1, 1997.
The May 27, 1997, issue of The Advocate with its cover article on abortion, is a most welcome contribution to the debate within the lesbian and gay community over abortion, especially as it deals with the ramifications of the"gay gene." When that gene or set of genes is finally discovered, as I'm convinced it will be, the discovery will further transform our community's debate. Even now, the mere possibility of a genetic component in homosexuality has prodded abortion advocates among us toward a rethinking, even if reluctantly, of their long-cherished position.
A letter to The Washington Blade (D.C.'s primary gay publication) provides a handy example of concern and denial jostling each other in the minds of many. A letter of mine about the gay gene had appeared in the previous issue, which drew the following response appearing in the next: "I agree," wrote the author, "that it would be a heinous atrocity for a woman to abort her child because it [sic] carries a 'gay gene'. If anyone were to actually do so, it would indeed be a tragic consequence" of genetic research.
Well, so far so good. We can actually agree with one another on a clear case where abortion is wrong. I doubt such agreement would have been possible before; here is progress. But progress goes only so far at this point. She continues: "Because the child is gay is not a valid reason to have an abortion. But"--and here's where progress gets murdered in its tracks--"there are many other reasons a woman may choose" to abort her child.
We've seen her concern. Now behold her denial. Certainly, in her mind, there are many reasons, maybe an infinite number of them, why a woman may have the abortion, all of them justifiable if the woman thinks so. That until very recently was the party line. Now, however, the line gets smudged, because of the competing line we draw at the bodies of our fellow homosexual unborn. If a woman wants an abortion because her unborn child has spina bifida, for example, then we say that of course abortion is the right choice if that's what the woman decides. But if she wants to abort her child because she or he is gay, now we will do something new, previously undreamt of: We somehow dredge up the courage from some deep personal moral resource we'd forgotten was even inside of us till now and finally, at long last, declare in the open that abortion is wrong.
Very interesting. So abortion is very acceptable morally if the unborn child has, oh, congenital heart disease, or severe mental handicaps, or even if she is perfectly healthy but has the bad luck to be unwanted. These can all go. Open the dumpsters wide for their remains--but not for ours! We and we alone are the exception to the much-trumpeted right to abortion. Only we can offer sufficient reason to be spared the scalpel and the suction, or the scissors in the skull. No other category of human beings can claim exemption without endangering this treasured choice. But we can, and we do. Loudly.
And behind our cries for our own people's right to life lies a thick and heavy silence, the silence of all those millions of voices who will never be heard because we consider their right to life less important than ours.
Denial is a large state; it covers much territory. But it, too, really can go only so far. In fact, for those with mental integrity among us, its reach doesn't extend beyond one half-minute's honest thought. If we bring ourselves to admit that abortion is wrong when used to exterminate gay people for being gay, then in simple consistency we have to rethink the morality of abortion in and of itself.
What do we do with that, if we believe as many of us sincerely do that abortion is a moral option? We deny, deny, deny. But here's where the hard, solid ground inevitably trembles and collapses into quicksand. Once we acknowledge that even just some unborn human beings deserve respect and protection, it very quickly becomes very difficult to draw an artificial line and say, "All you over there, you're out of luck!" There for abortion advocates lies the quandary. If gay unborn children have a right to life, then so does every other unborn child, without exception, without denial.
ABORT LESBIANS' KIDS??
The following letter appeared in the Greensboro (North Carolina) News & Record, on June 10, 1997. It demonstrates that a segment of the population -- and not the stereotypical homophobic segment -- will be happy to utilize the technology of the gay gene to exterminate at least some lesbians and gays.
Homosexuality isn't a mortal sin
I find it depressing that the condemnation of homosexuality just goes on
Homosexuality is not sin. It is an aberrant genetically determined condition. It is, however, a mortal sin to hold a person culpable over something over which he or she has no control. Thus it is the homophobes who are the real sinners.
Yet in one issue of the News & Record (May 13), there were seven letters condemning homosexuality. That in a city and county with some of the best colleges in the United States. It is flabbergasting. I doubt if even evolution has provoked more condemnatory letters.
It is no more a sin to be homosexual than to be left-handed, but we should remember left-handedness was until recently considered a sin, and schools used to have programs to correct left-handers. Now, it is generally recognized that left-handedness is just a harmless genetic variation.
Nevertheless, I am unalterably opposed to homosexuals being allowed to adopt children and not only should sperm banks not be made available to them, but pregnant lesbians should be compelled to have an abortion at the government's expense. The idea of a child's having to be stigmatized by having two mothers or two fathers is totally repugnant to me.
Richard C. Ward, Greensboro
JUDY GARLAND AND PRO-LIFE FRIENDS OF DOROTHY
A recent biography of Judy Garland broadcast over the A&E Channel included a most poignant scene for any pro-life lesbian or gay.
Judy (Frances Gumm) Garland's father was a gay man who was becoming estranged from his wife when she became pregnant with her third child -- an unwanted child, an unprepared for child, and a child which they felt they could not afford financially. Mr. Gumm asked his closest friend to help obtain an abortion. The friend strongly urged him not to, that he would help in any way to assure that this child would become a burden, and that abortion was not the best choice. That third, unwanted, child, who became the beloved of her father and of the whole world, was Judy Garland.
When Judy Garland died, the GLBT community was engaged in mourning her that fateful night in 1969 which became the Stonewall Riots. The GLBT community had truly had enough when even their grief was not respected. Had Judy Garland been aborted, Stonewall would not have happened, Oz would never have captured the world, and Rainbows would belong in Never Never Land, not on every street corner in America. In short, we would not exist.
INDIANA:Perhaps a fund to care for mothers of unwanted children -- a Judy Garland Fund -- ought to be established by the GLBT community to underline this indelible link between the right to life and the birth of GLBT activism. It might bring a strong message that the GLBT community might not be aware of and would be difficult to ignore.
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