August 2001
Issue No. 40

Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
Tel: 202-223-6697
Fax: 202-265-9737
Internet: plagal@plagal.org
http://www.plagal.org

A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians

 

Dedication

This edition of the PLAGAL MEMORANDUM is dedicated to the memory of our Founder, Tom Sena. Tom passed away from complications resulting from a serious accident on Monday, June 25th, 2001. Tom founded "Gays Against Abortion" in 1990 in Washington DC and in early 1991 the name was changed to the current name PLAGAL. What started out as one man speaking out for the unborn within the gay and lesbian community is now an organization with well over a thousand nationwide. Tom had the courage to stand up for the unborn in what, at the time, was probably the most hostile community towards the pro-life message. Because of his willingness to be ostracized from his community for the sake of the innocent, he paved the way for open discussion in the gay and lesbian community. For all of us in PLAGAL, Tom made it okay to be gay and pro-life, and for that we owe him our dignity and life-long respect. Tom will be greatly missed.


From the desk of the President!

What an exciting and busy year for PLAGAL! The year started with a total restructuring and a few new faces within the board and in local contact and leadership roles. It is good to see the old faces as well as many new ones that have stepped up for the challenge. Everyone has worked together in making PLAGAL a better and more efficient organization. Local chapters have become more active and have increased their help to women in need. We have participated in more events within the LGBT community than in past years. Most of our work is now done by Internet which not only saves us time but money as well. We celebrated ten years as an organization with a wonderful reception, hosted by an anonymous donor. The only down side to this year is the loss of our founder Tom Sena. This year I have taken over the archives. While going through and preparing them for storing, I have had the opportunity to look through them. What a joy it has been to see the first newsletters and the many letters and articles that Tom has written. Tom was such an articulate writer for the pro-life cause. He had courage and strength in dealing with some interesting situations. Many of you may not know this, but the battle with Nellie Grey and the March for Life has been going on since the first time PLAGAL has marched. We have received some nasty letters in which Tom has been solid with his reply and never in a way in that was derogatory or mean spirited. I have learned a lot about leadership while going through the archives. I have learned not just from Tom, but from our other past leaders Phil Arcidi and Moses Remedios as well. I only hope to be just as helpful to future presidents of PLAGAL. It is my wish, that for the next ten years, our leadership continue to carry out the vision that Tom Sena had for PLAGAL: working together to put an end to abortion on demand as we know it today.


PLAGAL celebrates ten years as an organization!

PLAGAL Members and friends joined together for a reception to mark this special occasion. A member who wishes to remain anonymous hosted the event. We are grateful to this individual for providing such a wonderful reception. A good time was had by all. At the reception Joe Beard, who had been secretary and treasurer for the last ten years for PLAGAL, received an award for all of his hard work and dedication. Joe has dedicated thousands of hours to PLAGAL. His hard work has not gone unnoticed. I think it was the first time in his life he was speechless. To see more pictures of the anniversary receptions check out our web site www.plagal.org. Also Father Frank Povone from Priests for life sent a letter to PLAGAL to be read at our anniversary dinner. The following is his letter to our members:


January 3, 2001

Dear Members of PLAGAL,

I am happy to send you these words of greeting and to encourage you in your defense of the unborn child.

I write to you as one who fully embraces and proclaims the teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and sexuality, and as you know, these teachings include the message that homosexual activity is contrary to the plan of God. At the same time, the Church "refuses to consider the person as a 'heterosexual' or a 'homosexual' and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life" ("On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons", SCDF, October 1986, Vatican City')".

Pope John Paul II has written in "The Gospel of Life" that the pro-life movement provides an opportunity for "dialog and joint efforts with the followers of other religions and with all people of good will. No single person or group has a monopoly on the defense and promotion of life. These are everyone's task and responsibility" (the Gospel of Life, n. 91). That obviously includes each of you, and I am grateful for your efforts to defend the most defenseless members of our society, the children yet unborn. Continued violence against them only increases the risks of violence against all of us.

My prayer today is that the collaboration among many diverse segments of our society will increase on behalf of the defense of life. With respect for the consciences and organizational decisions of each pro-life group and person, may we continue to seek and find ways to work together for an end all violence and discrimination. Let us pursue this cause with a sense of joy, and profound confidence in the ultimate victory of justice for the unborn.

Sincerely,
Fr. Frank Pavone

 

Annual board meeting election results and other notes!

As always our annual PLAGAL meeting is open to all. It is when our board of directors gets together and votes for board members and officers. We also discuss important decisions that are brought before the board. The following are officers voted in by the board:

PresidentCecilia BrownExecutive Vice President BA Keener
SecretaryChristopher Hinkle Treasurer David Styers
Asst. TreasurerBill Crow Vice President of Media RelationsJoseph D'Amour
Board members are as follows:
Phil Arcidi, Moses Remedios, Joe Beard, Joseph D'Amour, Dave Styers, Bill Crow, Christopher Hinkle, Jim McFarland, Donna Kearney, John Mina, Steve Cook, John Buckley, BA Keener, Cecilia Brown and Tom Sena, who was voted onto the board and served until his death.

It was decided by the majority vote of the board that PLAGAL will not expand and take on the issue of dr. assisted suicide or the death penalty. We realize the membership of PLAGAL was deeply divided on these issues and we thank the committee for all their hard work. At this time we feel that PLAGAL is not strong enough to take on other issues and would do a great injustice to our membership to try to focus on too many things. We decided to remain a member of the Seamless Garment Network on behalf of our membership that would like to part of the network. The Seamless Garment Network is a network of different groups who take on issues such as the death penalty, abortion, war and other consistent life issues. While we only deal with abortion, by working with the SGN we can accomplish much together to put an end to abortion on demand, as we know it today.

 

PLAGAL marches without incident!

Well another year at the March for Life has come and gone. Every January PLAGAL members get together to participate in the march. In the past we have been greeted with opposition. This year we marched without incident. We are unsure if it is because of all the letters to Nellie Grey on our behalf or some other reason. We received this fabulous letter via the Internet. It sure seems as if PLAGAL is making some headway.


Dear PLAGAL,

My name is Susan (not her real name) and I am a 17-year-old high school student from St. Louis, MO. This year I participated in the March for Life for the first time. The last thing that I expected was for me to become angered and even dissapointed (sic) at what took place during the speeches before the march and the march itself.

While my two friends and I (one 17 and one 16) stood in an uncomfortable mess of people waiting for the march to begin, we noticed a few signs from pro-life organizations made up of gays and lesbians. Not long after spotting these signs we hear the speaker critisizing (sic) homosexuals. I remember turning to one of my friends, both of our mouths dropped open in disbelief and demanding, "What?!?" The speaker continued, saying something to the extent of standing up against homosexuality in our society. I even remember the phrase "the evils of abortion and homosexuality" being used. I became more and more infuriated as the three of us complained that there were gays and lesbians here for the march who were being insulted in the opening speeches, and in what way can the evils of abortion- killing a kid- be compared to being gay?

Later, as we marched down Constitution Avenue, I saw a group of people holding signs for gay and lesbian pro-life organizations. All though the march I had been snapping pictures of signs that I thought were particularly well done or slogans that were strong. I decided to take a picture of these signs. Clearly, I remember focusing the shot and seeing the man holding one side of the giant, birghtly (sic) colored sign. He stood perfectly straight and, looking directly at me, moved his hand under the letters as if modeling the sign for me. For all he knew, I was taking that picture to mock him and his organization, and yet he was so proud to be holding that sign. I will never forget that man and how much I respect him.

As we passed this group, everyone around us in the march began making fun of them. Of course they could hear what was being said about them. It made me sick to think that people present to support the same cause were yelling at this group to leave. I felt ashamed to march alongside people who would rather that a pro-life person who is gay not show up and fight for the same cause that they themselves take serioulsy (sic) enough to travel to Washington DC to protest.

I regret not going up to that man and telling him just how much I admire him. Instead, I ran to catch up to one of my friends to tell her what I had just seen. I suppose this letter is my way of expressing that respect for the man I saw and for all of those who are a part of PLAGAL.

I apologize for the long email. I cannot get right to the point for the life of me. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,
Susan (not her real name)

Another letter:

Being very new to pro-life activism, this was my first PLAGAL annual meeting and march. The reception, the annual meeting, and the march were all very exhilarating and reinforced my decision to get involved with this issue. Over the last couple of months, I have begun to know names through reading past newsletters and being on the listserve, and now I know the faces to go with some of them. Just to be in a room full of pro-life gay and gay-friendly people was such a new experience for me. Participating in the march gave me a sense of standing up for principle. As I was discussing with a friend last night, I also believe that our presence at the march puts us at the cutting edge of the gay rights movement, proving by our presence that we are a diverse community and demolishing stereotypes.

I want to thank everyone for their hospitality and warm reception.

This was my first PLAGAL annual meeting and March for Life, but it will most certainly not be my last. I urge everyone who has not participated to do so next year.

Timothy W. Cravens

To see more pictures from the march, click here: March for Life 2001 pictures.

 

Scott Evertz, AIDS Czar to the White House!

It's with great joy that we tell you that President Bush announced Scott Evertz as the AIDS czar to the White House. He will have responsibilities not only with domestic issues involving AIDS but international issues as well. What makes this great for PLAGAL, is that he is a staunch pro-lifer as well. It is not too late to write a letter by snail mail to President Bush thanking him for appointed Scott Evertz to the post of National AIDS Policy Coordinator. Mr. Evertz has shown his leadership capabilities as President of Wisconsin Log Cabin Republicans and as Public Policy advocate in the Wisconsin state government for people with HIV/AIDS and has worked with many AIDS service organizations.

 

Chapter News!

Cleveland, OH -- On January 22, 2001, one of our own, Megan Wilson gave a speech at the Youth Rally for Life on Public Square. Her speech was entitled "The Feminist Case against Abortion-One Collegian Speaks". It was well received. Megan is also a member of Feminists for Life and heads the chapter of the Seamless Garment chapter at Baldwin Wallace College.

Cleveland PLAGAL has been working with House of Prayer, a gay church, who is working on opening up a crisis pregnancy home for women who are in need and who want to give life to their unborn children. They are in need of financial assistance and if you can and are willing to help it would be greatly appreciated. House of Prayer has opened an account for our "vision" of the house for pregnant women who choose life. It's a non-profit checking account at Fifth Third Bank in South Euclid. Make checks out to House of Prayer (include the word VISION or the account number on the memo line: 83868795) and mail to:

House of Prayer
1528 Felton Rd.
South Euclid, OH 44121
The Deacon, Maria Bernardo and the Pastor Joyce Speegle, thank you very much.

In May the Cleveland Chapter of PLAGAL hosted a baby shower for a woman in a crisis pregnancy. There were 17 members and friends in attendance. $270.00 was collected before the event to purchase a crib, mattress, clothing and other needed things. Talina was extremely grateful. Talina's baby boy was born on Wednesday, August 8, 2001. [more pictures]


PLAGAL ran booths at Cleveland Pride, Columbus Pride and Cincinnati Pride. It was the first year at Columbus and Cincinnati. We were well received. We collected many names and had many interesting conversations. Lots of people come up to us asking for information on adoption. Even though all these prides were in Ohio each were very different. Cincinnati was very family oriented. Lots of children and couples with adopted children. Columbus was more of a party atmosphere and Cleveland somewhere in between. We appreciate all of those who gave of their time to help run the booths. Without your help we could not have done it.


New York, NY -- Every month the New York City chapter meets at the gay and lesbian center. The center is located at 208 West 13th Street. Please call 212-620-7310 for directions or more information on dates and times of meeting.

Tim Cravens was on radio program HomoRadio on station WRPI in Troy, New York. Among the topics discussed:

One small victory was that he used the term "unborn child" repeatedly without challenge. Whenever they accused him of trying to tell a woman what to do with her body, he responded by saying it wasn't her body we were trying to control, we want to save the life of the unborn child.

Our very own New York member Norah Vincent, who is also a freelance Journalist, had two wonderful articles published:

  1. FEMINISTS HAVE NO WOMB FOR ANYONE ELSE was published in the Los Angeles Times; March 29, 2001
  2. FEWER FETUSES, FEWER FELONIES? ABORTING CRIME was published June 1st, 2001 in the Village Voice.

Feminists for Life honored Norah Vincent in their magazine; American Feminist's "Remarkable Pro-Life Women" issue. Congratulations Norah!

Tim Cravens represented the New York City chapter of PLAGAL at the annual fundraising dinner of Birthright of Northern Westchester and Putnam. PLAGAL was very warmly received.

 

BOARD MEMBER INFO

Joe D'Amour has been invited to join the Board of Advisors of the International Health Organization by its Executive Director, Bikash Verma. The IHO was incorporated in 1992 by volunteers from India and ex-patriates in the US and is based in Boston, MA. Its mission is to help the poorest inhabitants of India, Nepal and Bangladesh through health clinics and economic development. The IHO also invited him to participate in planning its AIDS IN INDIA conference in Boston in November 2001. The event is organized by IHO and co-sponsored by Harvard University and supported by many international agencies. The workshops will be attended by WHO, World Bank, USAID, Harvard AIDS inst., Ministry of Health, Govt. of India, Indian Embassy, Gates Foundation, CARE etc.

If you have information to share for the next memorandum please send info to PO Box 44313 Cleveland Ohio 44144 or email to ohiored419@aol.com.

 

NEWS CLIPPINGS!

Article about PLAGAL was published in the Temple News on January 25th. Mickey Minnick wrote it. It can be seen at www.temple-news.com under issue 1/25.

PLAGAL was mentioned in the New York Times under the article written about the Birthright fundraiser.

If you come across an article in which PLAGAL is mentioned, please send it to our archives at: PO Box 44313, Cleveland, OH 44144, attention: Cecilia Brown.

 

ACTION ALERTS!

In the last few months many of you have no doubt noticed the heated debate on Fetal Tissue Research. Your urgent action is needed on this issue. Congress needs to be contacted with your thoughts on the issue because they have the final say how our government spends our money. President Bush has come out to say that no more embryos are to be destroyed to obtain more stem cells. He also says he will appoint a commission to make sure the rules are followed. On our list serve we have had quite a debate on the issue. The debate was not on the killing of embryos but on whether or not any money should go to the research of the stem cells already formed. Many feel that no research should be done on the stem cells while others feel that since the embryos are already destroyed we should use them. Your letters by snail mail needs to be sent to your Senators and House members as well as to President Bush. What is at stake is federal money taken to pay for " so called research" to perform experiments on aborted babies. Not only will this stimulate the marketing of fetuses by abortionists and increase their profits; it will promote the destruction of unborn human beings. PLAGAL urges everyone to become familiar with the issue of Fetal Tissue Research. Stem cells can come from other sources and should be promoted.

 

A NOTE FROM OUR SECRETARY: CHRISTOPHER HINKLE!

This year we have done the majority of our work on the Internet. You will notice on the envelope that sent out this newsletter either a check mark or a square box. If you have a check mark it means that we have your current email address. We thank you. It saves us quite a bit of postage and you are able to know what is going on with PLAGAL on a regular basis. If you have a box, please think about sending us your email address at plagal@plagal.org. It helps us get things out to you in a timely manner and also keeps you posted with most of what is going on within PLAGAL. Your email address is confidential and we will use it only for official PLAGAL information.

 

PICTURES OF OUR PAST!

Just for fun we figured we would share some of our pictures from our last ten years.

 

Membership Form

 

MEMBERSHIP FORM
2001 DUES ARE NOW WELCOME

Name:______________________________________________________

Address:____________________________________________________

City/State/Zip:_______________________________________________

Telephone:__________________________________________________

Email:______________________________________________________

Status: ______member ___________mailing list only

Dues and Contributions

Annual dues: $20.00 _____________ Contribution: ____________
PLAGAL is a 501c(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowable by law. Make checks payable to PLAGAL.

Participation

_____ I am willing to organize a local PLAGAL group.

_____ I am not willing to organize a group but would be willing to join and participate in one.

_____ I can represent PLAGAL by helping out at Pride and other LGBT events in my area.

_____ I can represent PLAGAL by participating in events within the pro-life community.

_____ I am willing to become a local contact for PLAGAL.

_____ I am an articulate speaker and would love to become part of the PLAGAL's speaker's bureau.

_____ I am willing to be part of a committee if needed.

_____ I am a fabulous writer and would be willing to write op-ed articles and other things for PLAGAL.

Please return form to:
PO Box 33292
Washington, D.C. 20033-0292