May 22, 1998 Issue No. 30
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
MARCH FOR LIFE UNEVENTFUL
About 15 PLAGALites participated in the 1998 March for Life this past January 22nd. As has been our custom, we gathered at the statue of Ben Franklin in front of the Old Post Office on the corner of Pennsylvania and Twelfth Street, and then walked over to the corner of Fifteenth and Constitution, where we joined other non-traditional pro-life groups in the March. At the top of Capitol Hill, we just before the end of the parade at the Supreme Court Building, we moved to the side and, with our banner held high, distributed flyers to the pro-lifers who had followed us in the March.
Following the March, we met with Congressman Tom Davis, Republican of the Virginia Suburbs, to discuss with him our hopes that he would support pro-life legislation. (Rep. Davis had been recommended by sources on the Hill as being fairly friendly to gays and somewhat undecided to pro-choice on the abortion issue, which is why we sought this appointment.) Congressman Davis was courteous and friendly, though I fear we did not convince him just then to become a co-sponsor of the Human Life Amendment. But we will keep working!
PLAGAL BROKE AGAIN
As often happens, about this time of year, PLAGAL's treasury runs dry -- just at the time we most need money to pay the fees for Pride events.
This poverty explains the absence of the PLAGAL Memorandum from your mailboxes during the last few months. (This issue is being paid for by a loan from the Secretary-Treasurer.) It explains the dearth of pro-life columns distributed -- if not published -- to your local lesbian and gay newspapers. It explains the silence of your telephones and fax machines -- since PLAGAL cannot incur expenses for which we will have no means to pay.
This poverty has come at a most inopportune time: Our President, Philip Arcidi, has been finishing his graduate degree in fine arts at the University of Connecticut and searching for a new job -- a subject discussed below. Our Secretary-Treasurer, Joe Beard, has taken a new job with a small Washington, DC, think-tank that has greatly restricted both his time and his schedule.
All this has come at a time when the prospects of the pro-life cause within the lesbian and gay community could not have been better. The Advocate called to ask for an editorial for their March issue -- reprinted below. While this generated several new members, PLAGAL has not been able to capitalize on the "legitimacy" that this sort of coverage almost automatically accords an issue within the lesbian and gay community. And in 1997, PLAGAL had its most successful season recruiting new members and recipients on our mailing list at Pride events in a number of cities throughout the country.
Therefore, if you have ever considered making a contribution to PLAGAL, or believe that the pro-life message needs to be advanced within the lesbian and gay community, please use the enclosed envelope to make the most generous contribution you believe possible.
Contributions to PLAGAL are deductible from ordinary income in the calculation of your federal -- and most state -- income taxes.
June fast approaches, and with it the dates of Pride events in may cities and towns throughout the United States -- and elsewhere. PLAGAL would like to show our flag and reveal a pro-life presence at as many of these events as possible.
Among possible cities so far are Pride events in Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Seattle, Houston, and Washington, DC.
For PLAGAL, participation in Pride events does not mean a great deal of effort. What we seek are individuals who will organize and staff a table at the Pride event, distribute literature, discuss the issue of abortion and related issues such as partial birth abortions, parental notification, and informed consent legislation, and sign up new members and interested lesbians and gays to receive our newsletter.
If you are willing to help PLAGAL by organizing a PLAGAL presence at a Pride event, please contact the National Office as soon as possible.
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.
The December 17, 1997, issue of Wisconsin Light published Tom Sena's column -- adapted from his article in the November Memorandum -- under the title of "A Thinking Gay Man's Journey Toward an Understanding of Abortion." The same piece ran under the title "Abort/alt/delete" in San Francisco's January 8, 1998, Bay Area Reporter.
On January 21, 1998, The New York Times mentioned PLAGAL in an article about the most non-traditional of pro-life groups, Rockers for Life. PLAGAL was mentioned as a group that bases its opposition to abortion in part on its belief that the procedure is injurious to women, for example, in PLAGAL's ground-breaking seminar a few years back on Abortion and Breast Cancer.
The Advocate, in its March 3, 1998, edition, published a viewpoint editorial from Tom Sena, PLAGAL's founder and current Vice-President. This is re-printed in this Memorandum.
Steve Cook. PLAGAL Vice-President in San Jose, California, appeared on San Jose' University's radio station program, "Naked Radio" from 5:00 to 6:00 on the evening of February 19, 1998. Steve was able to present the pro-life argument effectively,. even though the host identified himself as "pro-choice heterosexual." Steve stressed -- as PLAGAL always does -- the medical facts and the human rights argument. One caller who referred to himself as a pro-life, "straight" born-again Christian congratulated Steve on his pro-life stance.
For a list of corporate supporters of Planned Parenthood,. including their products, services, subsidiaries, names of chief executive officers, addresses, phone numbers, and information about the boycott, please send a $5.00 donation plus $1.00 for postage and handling ($6.00 total) to: Life Decisions International, P. O. Box 907, Washington, DC 20044-0907. The requested donation for additional (after the first) lists is $1.75 per list, plus an $.50 each for postage and handling ($2.25 total per list). Please call LDI for information about large quantity orders (50 or more lists). Annual subscriptions are available for $25.00 per year.
COULD THAT CHILD BE GAY?
An Article Published in The Advocate
March 3, 1998.
ABORTION. EMOTIONS SURGE AT THE VERY WORD -- witness the shouting sprees in January at the time of the 25th anniversary this month of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. I became involved in the controversy as a gay activist nine years ago. I've written letters and articles, spoken before groups, volunteered at a clinic. In 1990, I even founded a lesbian and gay organization to advance the cause -- which, of course, is the right to life. My articles and speeches debunk abortion. The clinic was a pregnancy center, where women figured out how to have their children, not abort them. And the organization? The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
I break some pretty basic and well-cherished stereotypes, but the fact that we have an organization means I'm neither unique nor alone. We have members in 46 states and five foreign countries. About a third of our membership is lesbian. Of the 12 people who sit on our board of directors, five are lesbian. And we are united in the conviction that abortion is far more than a personal choice: It is the taking of a human life.
I recognize that to be pro-life and gay or lesbian is, well, unexpected. We continue to be a surprise to many people, who ask: "You must realize that you're sleeping with the enemy on this! How can you be pro-life?" The answer is very simple, and it's not based on religion, as most people assume; no need to drag religion in by the hind legs! The reason we're pro-life lies in something each of us is already an expert in: experience as a sexual minority.
Every one of us knows something about oppression to one degree or another. Each of us is familiar with bigotry and injustice from seemingly harmless jokes to threats on our lives, . We know what it is to be considered something less than fully human --I've been called an "animal" to my face, a "subhuman freak". We put our lives at risk by simply walking out of a gay bar or by holding hands, if at the same time we're spotted by a loony with a gun who thinks we have no right to live. We've made great strides, but we still endure great risks. Homophobia isn't dead.
And right there is our reason to stand and speak up for the unborn child, this real and living human being. It's wrong for anyone to take a gay or lesbian life for any reason. People who do so believe they have the right to choose to snuff us out of existence because they find us somehow unacceptable or undesirable. Each of us knows they have no such right. Our lives are not subject to their choice. We have a right to be here. We have the right to be alive!
If that's true for us, and it is, then it's true for everyone else. Without exception. And that includes the unborn human being.
This is no mere glob of cells we're discussing. By the time she's 3 weeks old, her heart has started beating. After 40 days, her brain is busily sending out brain waves. At 3 months, she's curling her toes and flexing her jaw. By the fifth month, she's sucking her thumb. She's not just developing, she's alive and kicking.
Nor is she merely a "part of the woman's body". From conception, her genetic code makes her absolutely different from any other human being. She is her own person, separate and unique, from the first moment of her existence. Of no other "part of the woman's body" can we say that.
Our own experience as gay and lesbian human beings tells us loud and clear that when anything threatens human lives and rights, we must confront that threat. Homophobia is that kind of threat. So is abortion.
Reprinted with permission from The Advocate
PLAGAL'S NEW BOARD
The 1998 Annual Meeting elected a new Board of Directors, similar but not identical to the old one. The Board now is composed of five women and seven men with the election of Mary Jean Mulherin of Minnesota to replace John Stanek, also of Minnesota. The new members are: Philip Arcidi, of Massachusetts; Hugh Joseph Beard, of the District of Columbia; John S. Buckley, of Virginia; Cecilia (Holesovsky) Brown, of Ohio; Steven Wesley Cook, of California; Martha Goodson, of Florida; Donna Marie Kearney, of New York; Betty Anne Keener, of Pennsylvania; Mary Jean Mulherin, of Minnesota; Moses Remedios, of California; Thomas Sena, of the District of Columbia; and Charles F. Volz, of Pennsylvania. Arcidi and Beard were re-elected President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, by the new Board at a meeting immediately following the Annual Membership Meeting.
PHILIP ARCIDI RESIGNS
Philip Arcidi, PLAGAL's President since 1994, resigned on May 1, 1998. Phil is taking a job with a major New York publisher, and will no longer have the freedom of action that he has had as an independent architect or as a graduate student.
This means that PLAGAL will be looking for a new President for the first time since Philip replaced PLAGAL's second President, Mike Cerritelli (President 1993-1994).
PLAGAL has prospered tremendously under Philip's leadership. Our mailing list -- the closest approximation we have to an active membership list -- has grown from 100 to over 800. Our local contacts -- the best indication of our activity -- have increased from five to 19. We have organized two Panel Discussions: one on Breast Cancer and Abortion in May 1994, one on Preventing Infection of Newborns by HIV+ Mothers in December 1994. We have continued our participation in the Annual January 22nd March for Life and greatly expanded our encouragement and distribution of pro-life columns, articles, and letters to the editor specifically targeted toward the lesbian and gay community. We have substantially expanded our offer of lesbian and gay pro-life speakers for college and university campuses, in no small part because of Philip's willingness to travel long distances and incur substantial personal expense to participate in these events.
PLAGAL owes a large debt to its third President, Philip Arcidi, for his leadership and dedication over the past four and one half years.
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