Issue No. 42
|Contents:||[ Joe Beard Dies | PLAGAL Leaders Arrested | PLAGAL at Pride Events | Archives Find a Home | Free the March | Thoughts | Open Letter to March for Life | Shop Online to Help PLAGAL | Email List and Listserv | Did PLAGAL get Ink? | PLAGAL Political Action Committee | Membership Form ]|
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
Joe Beard cofounder of PLAGAL dies
We regret to inform you of the death of one of our founding members, Hugh Joseph Beard, Jr. Joe has been a pillar in our organization, at times President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and always spearheading efforts in Washington, DC. Joe was well known as a solid, unwavering pro-gay, pro-life advocate with an undeniable conservative spin. Though a diabetic and HIV positive, he tirelessly worked to advance pro-life sentiment with in the gay and lesbian community as well challenging the exclusion of gays from much of the pro-life movement. Apparently Beard died on July 7, 2002, after slipping into a coma sometime in the early hours of July 5, 2002. He was not discovered until July 7, 2002 when his roommate returned home from vacation.
Joe was a founding member of PLAGAL back in early 1990s when the fledgling organization was known as "Gays Against Abortion." Joe successfully spearheaded an early effort to change the groups name to the current "Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians," commonly shortened to "PLAGAL." Joe gave thousands of hours to PLAGAL and it did not go unnoticed. You could say Joe was the heart of PLAGAL for many years. Joe was honored by PLAGAL in 2001 for all of his dedication and hard work. He participated in every march on Washington on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade for years even before PLAGAL was born. He will sorely be missed.
Joe's project at the time of his death was the start up of PLAGAL-PAC, the political action arm of PLAGAL. With the permission of Joe's family, PLAGAL-PAC has created a H. Joseph Beard II Memorial fund. Money raised will help fund PLAGAL-PAC activities and will be used to fund the campaigns of gay-friendly, pro-life candidates for national political office. Checks can be sent to:
Gay Pro-Life Leaders Arrested at National Pro-Life March
In Washington, DC, on January 22, 2002, Leaders of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) were arrested at the 29th annual March for Life. The arrests were conducted by the United States Park Police by direct orders of Miss Nellie Gray, the March for Life Leader and holder of the march permit, according to the Park Police.
PLAGAL President Cecilia Brown and Vice-President Eric Jurek were at the March for Life for the sole purpose protesting the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion-on-demand. They were simply carrying the PLAGAL Banner -- which states the organization's name and "Human Rights Start When Human Life Begins." Brown, Jurek, and the rest of the PLAGAL delegation were approached by the officers and ordered to remove the offending sign. Consistent with their deeply held pro-life convictions, they refused. Police back-up arrived at the scene. At that time, though not resisting arrest, Brown and Jurek were wrestled to the ground and dragged to an area away from the crowds were they were handcuffed and taken away.
All those wishing to express their disgust with the March for Life for this malicious and divisive act of exclusion are encouraged to contact the March for Life at email@example.com. For pictures and the latest information on this developing story please visit our website at http://www.plagal.org. [ View Press Release | View PLAGAL's Response | View Letters of Support | Free the March | View Editorial Article (Brown) | View Editorial Article (Lukash) | View Photos ]
PLAGAL Participates at Local Pride Events
PLAGAL was present at many GLBT events this Pride season. We thank all of those who participated in helping to get the Pro-life message out to those within the GLBT community. PLAGAL had booths in Washington, DC, Cleveland, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH, Atlanta, GA, Milwaukee, WI, as well as an event at the San Jose, CA, community center. From all accounts there many people still surprised that we existed and wanted more information. Many asked about local chapters in their area. Your active participation in PLAGAL is needed now more than ever. Please contact our president Cecilia Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are willing to organize efforts in your area to help out at Crisis Pregnancy Centers in PLAGAL's name, to organize PLAGAL's presence at Prides and local right-to-life functions, or hold meetings of area PLAGAL members in your home.
PLAGAL finally has found a home for our archives. They will be stored within The Northeast Ohio Lesbian/Gay Archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society. The Lesbian/Gay Archives was established in 1991 in a collaborative project of the Lesbian/Gay Community Services Center and The Western Reserve Historical Society. Materials are non-circulating but can be viewed at the Historical Society's library during normal operating hours.
Items in the archives include photos, news articles, press releases, letters to the organization (both in support and condemnation of PLAGAL), newsletters, op-ed pieces written by PLAGAL members, Board meeting minutes etc. If you have items about PLAGAL that you would like to have in the collection please write us at email@example.com and we will make arrangements to get them to the Western Reserve Historical Society. Let us preserve our history so that others may see that there are pro-lifers within the GLBT community. For more information about the society, go to http://www.wrhs.org.
Free the March
This was originally written and distributed to those on the PLAGAL official email list. It is being added to this newsletter for those who do not have access to the internet or who are not on the official listserv.
29 January 2002
Dear Members and Friends of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians,
By now many of you probably have heard of the arrest of Vice-President Erik Jurek and myself at the March for Life. Nellie Gray may believe that by having us arrested she will deter further participation of PLAGAL at the March for Life. Nothing could be further from the truth. What Nellie Gray has managed to do is make us more determined to open up the March for Life to all those who are peaceful participants under the pro-life banner. For PLAGAL members the March for Life has always been an outward protest of the Supreme Court's ruling of Roe v Wade which legalized abortion. It has also been a time for our members and Board of Directors to get together to discuss the accomplishments of the past year as well as the goals for the next year. We have also used it as a tool to motivate us to keep fighting for the pro-life cause for yet another year.
We have decided to turn this unfortunate incident into an opportunity to reach out to other pro-life groups. To build bridges and work toward the goal of solidarity that will strengthen the pro-life movement. We need to reiterate that abortion touches everyone. It knows no social or economic boundaries. It does not matter what religious affiliation you are, the color of your skin or which political party you belong to. It does not even matter whether you are gay or straight. We all have sisters, cousins, aunts and so on that can be in a position of a crisis pregnancy. Even some of the women within the pro-life movement itself have been in a position where pregnancy seemed a burden at the time. As long as we are human we are affected. That is why all people who are pro-life need to work together. We need to put aside our differences and work together to give women "real choices", Choices that are viable alternatives to abortion, Choices that empower women. By working together we can put an end to abortion on demand, as we know it today.
You may be asking yourself "How can I help?" The Board of Directors of PLAGAL has decided to put together a "FREE THE MARCH" fund. We will use this fund to purchase a new banner, pay expenses incurred from the arrest, and to pay for the expenses of the letter writing campaign and lobbying effort we are beginning. Please consider a donation to PLAGAL for this purpose. PLAGAL is a 501c3 organization and donations are tax deductible. It is our hope that with this fund we can reach those in the pro-life Movement who want to stand side by side with all those who are pro-life and work together to help women and their unborn children.
Thoughts of Joe Beard and Tom Sena
By Moses Remedios, Former President, PLAGAL
How wonderful that this picture was taken. As I understand it, it is Tom Sena presenting Joe with the lifetime achievement award. These two exceptional men sharing a moment of victory --celebrating what they at first themselves may have doubted --having created a pro-life gay organization that has stood the test of time. Who would have guessed at the time this photo was taken that they both would be taken away from us? This photograph is a real treasure. I miss the both of them. We can honor their memory, by continuing their legacy: to foster pro-life sentiment within the GLBT community and to encourage the acceptance of gays and lesbians as allies in the pro-life movement. Ultimately to end the horrors of abortion as we know it today, by eliminating its root causes. This is our mission. Let us honor them.
Open Letter to March for Life Leader Regarding Arrest of Pro-Life Gays
The following is an open letter to the March for Life leader, Nellie Gray, from PLAGAL president, Cecilia Brown.
Dear Miss Nellie Gray,
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Cecilia Brown, President of PLAGAL, The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. I am sure you had never heard of me until recently, that is, until after you had ordered my arrest.
I want to convey to you my displeasure with your actions on January 22, 2002, in which you ordered the use of police force to deny open participation of a group of peaceful pro-life individuals who happen to be gay. PLAGAL has spent a lot of time bringing the pro-life message to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) community. PLAGAL has worked diligently to build bridges with pro-life organizations as well as organizations within the GLBT community. This work has not been easy.
PLAGAL members have sustained a lot of criticism and hateful words because of our work. We continue to work diligently because we believe in the pro-life message that "Human Rights Start When Human Life Begins". Your actions at the March for Life have done nothing but make our work harder. For that I am deeply upset. The work PLAGAL has faithfully pursued to bring the pro-life message to the GLBT community has been hurt because of your inability to see past your own thoughts and beliefs. How can PLAGAL convince pro-life individuals within the GLBT community to become active within the pro-life cause when they hear about the actions that "traditional" pro-lifers inflict on "non-traditional" pro-lifers?
You may not wish to believe this, but abortion is not just a "religious" issue. Abortion affects everyone no matter what color they are, what social and economic status a person is, what religious beliefs or lack of belief a person has, it also does not matter what political affiliation a person is. Abortion even affects those within the GLBT community.
If you are human this issue affects you. All humans have friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances or themselves that may be faced with a crisis pregnancy. I, myself, have had two crisis pregnancies when I was trying to be someone I am not -- heterosexual.
I had an abortion and have regretted that deeply. It has taken me a long time to heal. I also have a wonderful daughter that I cannot imagine living without. The GLBT community has bisexuals, both men and women, who may find themselves in crisis, lesbians who have been raped, teenage members of the GLBT community who may be experimenting with their sexuality and become pregnant or become fathers.
Actions such as yours against non-traditional pro-lifers cause at least three problems:
If we want to change the laws dealing with the issue of abortion-on-demand, it will take the work of a united pro-life movement to accomplish this. It will require that all pro-lifers put aside their differences on other issues and come together to work on this one issue. PLAGAL knows it can be done. Our membership proves it. Many PLAGAL members do not have the same beliefs on a variety of other issues but on the issue of abortion we stand united in support of women and their unborn children to live. This is what makes us strong.
Rest assured Miss Gray, your actions have not deterred me from my pro-life work. By having me arrested, for simply being a peaceful participant who happens to be gay and out, you have only increased my resolve to work for the expansion of an inclusive pro-life movement. This will be a united civil rights movement where all peaceful pro-lifers can work together - without fear of prejudice or bigotry. Have me arrested again if you must. I will not rest until I have accomplished this task -- with or without your approval.
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
Shopping Online to Help PLAGAL
Do you like to shop online? Why not make your shopping benefit PLAGAL without any cost to you?
Did you know that up to 26% of every online purchase you make could support PLAGAL?
Shop at the over 330 merchants at the Mall at iGive.com, like Barnes and Noble, CDNow, Lands' End and Amazon.com. Up to 26% of each purchase will go to PLAGAL.
Think of online shopping at iGive.com as another way to raise money for PLAGAL, only it doesn't cost you an extra penny!
Get your FREE membership
Go to http://www.iGive.com/html/refer.cfm?causeid=3636 and register for free -- no extra costs or obligations. Just enter your e-mail address and hit "Join Here."
Official Email List and Listserv
Are you hooked up the Internet? Find out about action alerts and other stuff quickly. Sign up for the PLAGAL official email list. It is confidential and it is an outgoing/information list only. Average mailings: 1 per month. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. If you look at your mailing label it will either have a check mark or an x in a box. If there is an x then we do not have an email address for you. Please consider passing on your email address. We are trying to conserve time and money by doing as much as possible on the Internet versus long distance phone calls and snail mail. Please note that some email addresses we have from you have expired. Please check you mailing label to make sure we've got yours.
Do you like to chat with others about PLAGAL and the pro-life cause? Then the listserv is for you. Average mailings (depending on topic): 2 per day. Contact email@example.com to sign up.
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.
Tim Cravens appeared on Gary Nolan's radio show on May 16, 2002 to discuss same-sex marriage, particularly as it relates to the proposed constitutional amendment banning it. As always Tim always has a way of bringing up PLAGAL.
PLAGAL president, Cecilia Brown was interviewed on the ultra conservative Stan Solomon show on April 1, 2002 on 95.5 FM Indianapolis, IN. Much of the interview seemed as if Stan Solomon and Cecilia seemed to be on different wave lengths. Stan seemed to mainly focus on the fact that PLAGAL is promoting homosexuality. Cecilia had to keep clarifying on and off the air that PLAGAL was not promoting homosexuality. PLAGAL is just a group of pro-lifers who just happen to be gay. We are outspoken on our sexuality so that people can see that there are those in the GLBT community who are pro-life.
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
Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians Political Action Committee (PLAGAL-PAC)
PLAGAL-PAC seeks out, fundraises, and endorses pro-life/gay-friendly candidates for elected office. PLAGAL-PAC works to dispel the myths that being pro-life must make one anti-gay and being pro-gay makes one pro-choice.
Why should gay rights activists be pro-life?
Most gay rights activists believe that homosexuality is genetically determined. If this is the case, when the "gay gene" is found, parents, opposed to homosexuality will have the option to abort the lesbian or gay unborn child and try again for a "normal" child. Liberal parents who have no objection to homosexuality but do not want their child to face the problems of being gay will have the opportunity to exercise "compassion" through abortion. Think this is far-fetched? It is already happening to unborn children discovered to have certain genetically detectable conditions, such as Down's syndrome. And James Watson, the 1953 Nobel laureate who discovered the structure of DNA, stated in 1997 that he does not object to aborting a child likely to be gay or lesbian.
Why should pro-life activists be pro-gay?
The majority of today's pro-life movement is known to oppose basic civil rights for gays. Because of this, gay people who oppose abortion may be discouraged from participating in the pro-life movement. In addition, the perceived exclusion of gay people is a turn-off to many moderate non-gay citizens who might otherwise be brought into the pro-life movement. Pro-abortion organizations have certainly exploited this for their own gain. Therefore, getting the message out that it is acceptable to be pro-life and pro-gay will expand the diversity and the numbers in the pro-life movement.
What can I do to help?
There are three very important things you can do to help PLAGAL-PAC in our mission:
Yes, please sign me up to join PLAGAL-PAC's important mission!
o Enclosed is my check to "PLAGAL-PAC" for $_________. (Contributions NOT tax-deductible.)
Please send to:
PLAGAL Membership Form
2002 DUES ARE NOW WELCOME
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.
_____ 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
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.