July 10, 1999
Issue No. 35
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
OPEN LETTER TO MILLENNIUM MARCH BOARD
The following letter was submitted by PLAGAL President Moses Remedios on April 17, 1999, to the Board of Directors of the Millennium March on Washington.
Dear Fellow Workers for Equality:
In a letter recently printed in The Washington (D.C.) Blade, Patricia Ireland of NOW implied that the Millennium March's organizers have tentatively agreed to include abortion rights in the March agenda.
I am the president of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL), which speaks on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons who oppose abortion as the taking of human life. We represent a sizeable and growing presence within our diverse communities, and we oppose the inclusion of abortion rights in the March agenda.
Our personal and collective experience of bigotry, discrimination, physical injury and death has convinced all of us that no one deserves to be treated as less than fully human, and that every human being's dignity and right to life must be fully respected and protected. From first-hand knowledge, then, of what it's like to be considered subhuman, we speak out on behalf of the most helpless of the helpless, our unborn sisters and brothers. Their humanity, like our own, is too often treated as non-existent. Speaking at an Equality Begins at Home rally in Washington, Ms. Ireland said, "No one should face bigotry and violence for a simple fact of birth." But we say, more inclusively, that no one should face these evils because of the simple fact of conception.
In addition, promoting abortion rights through the March shows profound disrespect for the diversity of our own community. Increasingly growing and diverse numbers of us recognize that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child has an equal right to that life. We will not support an agenda which simultaneously denies that right to life and our own diversity.
Dragging abortion rights into the March agenda rejects the diversity the March Board supposedly embraces. In his February 18, 1999 statement on NOW's endorsement, Rev. Troy Perry noted that "NOW ... anticipat(es) ... that the Board of Directors for the March 'will represent the diversity of the LGBT community...'...I am especially pleased by NOW's insistence that the Millennium March include the 'wide diversity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community'...From the outset, I, too, have insisted that the March must be as broad and diverse as our LGBT communities." And the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches' February 12 statement asserts that "The March will demonstrate the broad diversity of the LGBT communities. This is a March for all of us. Every segment of the LGBT movement will be represented.... Together we'll demonstrate the diversity of our movement."
Yet the Board may now tentatively endorse the right to a procedure which in all its various forms a large segment of our communities finds reprehensible, repugnant, and impossible to approve. Does the March's much-vaunted diversity extend only so far? Are we and our convictions to be ignored? The March has already had to address issues of diversity and inclusion in a very public and difficult way. Such a slap in the face to pro-life transgendered, bisexual, lesbian, and gay persons will resurrect those difficulties, which I think none of us wants.
In light of all this, I urge you to refrain from any mention of abortion, pro or con. This is the only way to respect our communities' wide diversity of opinion on this divisive, emotionally wrenching issue. To do otherwise is to deliberately gut the March's inclusivity and render its diversity a sham.
In her Blade letter, Ms. Ireland correctly advises that "Now is the time to close ranks and fight our enemies -- not each other." In that spirit, I encourage you -- from your hard-earned respect for genuine diversity -- to refrain from any endorsement which embodies our sworn enemies' deepest belief: Some of us are less human than others.
Moses Remedios, President
CLIPPINGS AND CONTACTS
Again, we would like to remind our readers that PLAGAL needs the names (and addresses and voice and fax numbers) of local gay and lesbian media, and when anything appears in the lesbian and gay media discussing the Pro-Life movement, or in any media discussing PLAGAL, 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.
A FIRST FOR
Chuck Volz and B. A. Keener were co-sponsored by the pro-life student group as well as the gay student group when they spoke at Swarthmore College on April 8, 1999. Their invitation came as a direct result of PLAGAL's exclusion from the March for Life on Jan 22. The Swarthmore Students for Life had already informed March for Life officials that they would not join in the 2000 March if PLAGAL was excluded. Based on their presentation, PLAGAL was invited to speak to the Ivy League Students for Life in October. "This goes to show you how many elements of the pro-life community felt about our forcible exclusion from the March for Life" said Betty Ann. "This is only one group. We don't know how many other groups have done the same thing." Chuck once again stressed that PLAGAL speakers were able to bring the prolife message to groups inaccessible to "main stream prolifers. We attest to the fact that those of us opposed to the destruction of our progeny by abortion come from all walks of life. We stand together opposing abortion even though we come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors."
PLAGAL continues to grow, year by year. Slowly, but surely. With the new contacts we've added from the recent PRIDE event minus removing from the list the friends we've lost contact with, PLAGAL currently has
a mailing list just over 900 names. We want more. We really want to break the 1000 mark before the year 2000. Can you help? You know the PLAGAL Memorandum you get in the mail every so often (hint: you're reading it)? How about passing it along to friends whom you know to be pro-life or at least open-minded to the idea?
Encourage them to join PLAGAL. You can even forward their name and address to PLAGAL and wewill be happy to add them to the list, but please get thier permission first. If everyone on our list could forward just one new contact, that would effectively double our size and place us well beyond the 1000 mark.
With a growing organization, come growing needs and PLAGAL is no exception. We need your resources in securing financial stability. PLAGAL is a non-profit organization and we do accept financial gifts as well as gifts-in-kind to help further our mission to educate the gay and lesbian community on the right to life issues and to continue to be a presence in the pro-life movement. If you know of anyone who is in the position of making a sizable donation, who would support PLAGAL's mission, we would appreciate it if you would forward to us their information.
PRIDE AT BEANTOWN
After a one year hiatus, PLAGAL is back at Boston Pride On Saturday, June 12, 1999, we opened our table at eleven o'clock in the morning, distributed literature, collected fifteen names for the mailing list, and talked, debated, and generally enjoyed the warm and sunny day. Many thanks to Ed Hurley, Anthony Bernardi, and Philip Arcidi. Ed is still recovering from his sunburn.
PRIDE AT PHILADELPHIA
On Saturday, June 12, 1999, Cleveland's Marty Wells and Cecilia Brown, and New Jersey's Richard Farias ran the PLAGAL Booth at Philly Pride. Chuck Volz, the senior PLAGAL officer in Philadelphia, was running the overall operations of Pride, and only was able to give moral support.
We had the usual stares and even had one young woman who decided that it was disgusting for us to be there. She displayed her disgust by shouting at us from across the walk way. At first we did not realize that she was shouting at us. Once we did, we looked at each other and back at her with looks of "And your point is?" No one payed to much attention to her. We responded with a "We love you too" and blew a kiss to her.
Others came to the booth and expressed their pleasure of our presence. Even those who were pro-choice liked the fact that PLAGAL had a booth. Only one woman who attempted to summon me to her booth wanted to argue. I guess she did not like my T-shirt. The day was delightful except for the occasional rain shower, and 13 new names were added to PLAGAL's mailing list.
CONVERSATIONS WITH LOG CABIN'S RICH TAFEL
At a recent Log Cabin Press Conference, Rich Tafel, Log Cabin Director, once again coupled the missions of Log Cabin Republicans with those of Pro-Choice organizations. Time after time, I have spoken to Rich about the abortion issue and the Log Cabin mission. Rich had agreed in the past that Log Cabin does not have a stance on the abortion issue. Furthermore, at the national Log Cabin conventions members had created a doctrine not to take a stance on abortion issues. Yet, on his own, speaking on behalf on Log Cabin, Rich continues to include his personal Pro-Choice opinion.
As a friend of Rich for now five years, several times I have reminded Rich of this agreement. Years ago, Rich did a C-Span issue with a Pro-Choice banner in the background. As any great Public Relations Professional would do, Rich was good avoiding a direct response to my accusation and responding with unrelated comments.
I confronted Rich about this recent press conference. His response was that Pro-Choice groups are "on our side." He continued that Pro-Life groups traditionally are not supportive of gay issues and have displayed more hatred than tolerance. "We need them (Pro-Choice groups) on our side" he continued. I responded that although some Pro-Life activist are hateful of gays, not all Pro-Choice groups are supportive of Log Cabin's issues. I then offered to supply Rich with a list of Pro-Life organizations that were tolerant and in fact, quite willing to work with gays. I asked Rich that if I provided such a list, would he then preclude Pro-Choice rhetoric in his speeches and press conferences? If not, then would he at least couple Log Cabin's mission with those of both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life issues in future speeches? Rich, seeming not to believe I could provide such a list, agreed.
The next day, I emailed Rich the following list of Pro-Life Organizations that have been willing to work with PLAGAL and have generally avoided gay issues:
I made a subscript in my e-mail that Helen Alvare of Catholic Bishops once stated that PLAGAL was her "favorite Pro-Life Group."
I then pointed out that "Pro-Life groups are more aligned with Log Cabin issues as they are mostly associated with the Republican party". His argument that most Pro-Choice groups are more supportive of Log Cabin than Pro-Life groups suddenly made little or no sense.
Rich responded with a one-sentence email stating that he will seek the support of the Pro-Life groups I had listed. When I next see Rich, I promise to ask how many contacts he has made.
Michael T. Ferens
UNBORN CHILD INTERRED
IN PLAGAL MEMBER'S
Chuck Volz, PLAGAL Vice-President from Philadelphia, was surprised when a request came his way from the crisis pregnancy center he helped administer for several years -- one of the current residents had lost her baby and had no place to bury her. When the center turned to Chuck, he said if his wife was alive, she would be honored by the request (Chuck's wife Monica died in 1989 from breast cancer while she was Vice President of the center.)
So, Precious (the baby's first name -- we withhold the last name for the sake of privacy) was buried with Monica with the help of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and others who donated their services. Chuck not only donated the space, but also will have the baby's name engraved on the headstone. "Everyone deserves a final resting place and a memorial regardless of their life situation," said Chuck. "After all, we all are God's creatures."
BUNNIES IN BABELAND
If lesbians had any feel for the absurd, they'd see how ludicrous it is that so many of them are conscientious vegetarians as well as rabid abortion "rights" advocates. Moreover, if they were true, liberal-minded, multiculturalists, they'd call off the mannish inquisition, and stop treating anyone who disagrees with them like the infidel.
Last year, I dated a woman who, like every other lesbian robot I know, is staunchly pro-choice. When I told her that I wasn't, she nearly disowned me on the spot. But, after a few days brooding, she overcame her qualms about my turpitude, and invited me to dinner. We decided on a fancy French place downtown. After we'd been seated a few minutes, menus in hand, she asked me what I was having. "I'm thinking about the lamb," I said. She clenched her jaw. "Please don't eat a lamb in front of me," she said. I'd known she was a vegetarian, of sorts, but I also knew she ate fish, so I hadn't thought she was a conscientious vegetarian. I said, "Oh, sorry. How do you feel about the rabbit?" Waving her hand at me dismissively, she spat, "Well, if you can bring yourself to eat a rabbit, then go ahead."
Now, this, I took for what it was -- another indictment of my moral sense. It pissed me off. So, I cleared my throat, and with as much equanimity as I could muster, I said: "Could you explain to me how it is that you think it's immoral under any circumstances to kill a rabbit, which is, by the way, a rodent, but it's permissible, under any circumstances, to kill a fetus?" "Are you calling me a baby-killer?" she hissed. At the time, I simply said a meek, "no," but in retrospect I wish I had said something that really would have poached her egg, something like: "Well, it seems to me that if you're going to kill a perfectly good fetus, you should at least have the decency to eat it." But I didn't. I was, after all, trying to have a rational conversation.
But, rational conversations about abortion aren't really possible anymore. In fact, pro-choice groups, like some of the extremist pro-life groups (not the murderous ones -- they are too odious to warrant consideration) aren't even trying to be rational anymore. Witness the posters that appeared all over New York City's subways and buses last year. One poster showed a group of middle-aged men in business suits, frowning. Beneath them, the text read: "77 percent of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100 percent of them will never be pregnant."
Clearly, this is not an argument. By this reasoning, you might say that probably 77 percent of the most outspoken pro-abortion leaders are lesbians, most of whom will also never be pregnant. Does this mean that their arguments should go unheard? Of course not. A similar argument was used against lesbians a few weeks ago by gay men, who, in response to lesbian condemnation of barebacking in this very magazine, said that since lesbians don't know squat about gay sex, who cares what they think about barebacking. Well, guys, murder is still murder no matter who terms it such. Likewise, the argument that abortion is murder warrants a fair hearing whether it's made by a monk or a mother of ten.
We can't agree on the abortion question, because it has no easy answer. That's obvious. So, why do so many lesbians assume that anyone who isn't pro-choice is a duped misogynist or a traitor? I can't respect self-righteous, seafood-eating, conscientious vegetarians, not simply because they are members of what I like to call PETCA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Cuddly Animals), but because they are arrogant enough to think their inverted moral universe is beyond reproach, and that mine is contemptible. I wonder, though, how is it contemptible to think that a fetus is an incipient human life? Furthermore, how is it contemptible to think that ending a human life is murder, and that murder is not something a civilized society countenances except as a last resort? Most of all, in what kind of world does a rodent matter more than a person?
by Norah Vincent
[from The Advocate]
PLAGAL AGAIN TOPS
L. A. PRIDE
On the weekend of June 12 & 13, Southern California PLAGAL participated for the third year in Christopher Street West (LA Pride). We were in a VERY high traffic area near the main entrance. Plagalites John, Charles and Moses staffed the booth.
By far, this has been our most "uneventful" event to date. We were just two booths down from a DJ, which blared loud dance tunes. Perhaps that's the reason we did not engage in more confrontations. After all, who wants to yell an insult when they're not sure it will even be heard?
Perhaps people were just enjoying the music too much to bother with our humble booth? Then again, it could be that people are actually getting used to the presence of lesbian and gay pro-lifers, which would mark a real accomplishment on our behalf. Much to the DJ's credit, he did manage to keep a fresh mix the whole weekend long.
We did meet some interesting people. Our immediate neighboring booth was the California AIDS Ride; one of their volunteers enthusiastically signed up. We had men, women, transsexual, liberal, conservative Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Latino, non- religious, religious (even a Buddhist gentleman) sign up, which goes to show that the pro-life movement transcends religious as well cultural and political boundaries even in the gay and lesbian community.
We spent much of the weekend visiting with members who have signed up in previous years and we gathered the names of over thirty new people. PLAGAL wishes to thank all of our members in California who contributed financially towards PLAGAL's participation in LA this year. We could not have done it without you!
BY WI GOP
A Gay Republican activist won the Alfred E. Bovay award at the State Convention of the Republican Party of Wisconsin held on June 12th in Appleton. Jim Mcfarland, founding member and Treasurer of LCR WI, Wisconsin Contact for PLAGAL, and WI Light columnist, won the award, the second highest honor given by the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
McFarland was cited for his efforts to recruit Republican candidates, fund-raising work, service as Chairman of the East Side Republican Club, and his volunteer work for Republican campaigns.
The award is named for Alfred E. Bovay. In 1854 Bovay called the meeting of local Whigs and Free Soil party members that formed the Republican Party. McFarland noted the irony of the fact that the award was named after a man who helped found a party dedicated to fighting against the expansion of slavery and fighting for civil rights for all Americans.
"I'm pleased that the Republican Party would honor someone who is working to bring the Republican Party back to its civil right roots," McFarland stated. "I am also pleased that the Republican Party has recognized all of my efforts to elect Republican candidates at all levels throughout the state.
DC PLAGAL WORKS PRIDE
PLAGALites in the District of Columbia, under the able leadership of Vice-President John Buckley, participated in DC's Pride events on Sunday, June 13, 1999. With the able assistance of Joe Beard, Patrick Rothwell, Chris Hinkle, Bill Crow, and Steve Satran, DC PLAGAL distributed flyers, signed up members and supporters for the mailing list, hosted numerous refugees from the thunderstorms that passed through downtown DC, and generally raised high the banner of lesbian and gay pro-life sentiment.
This year was the eighth year in which PLAGAL has participated in DC Pride, and by now even the pro-choicers have become used to us. Usually, there is not even a pro-choice presence at PRIDE.