Post Office Box 33292
Washington, D.C. 20033
Voice (202) 223-6697
Facsimile (202) 265-9737
April 17, 1999
Board of Directors
The Millennium March on Washington
P.O. Box 65960
Washington, DC 20035
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.
|cc:||PLAGAL Members and Friends|
Ms. Patricia Ireland