The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays And Lesbians
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (29 January 2002)
OP-ED: The "Good" (Gay) Pro-Lifer
Washington, DC -- One week after leaders of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) were arrested at the 29th annual March for Life, PLAGAL President Cecilia Brown has written a letter to the general membership of PLAGAL calling for a "Free the March Fund." Monies raised will be used to purchase a new banner, pay expenses incurred from the arrest, and pay for the expenses of a letter writing campaign and lobbying effort to open up the March for Life making it inclusive for all peaceful, pro-life participants. What follows is an op-ed piece written by Brown.
The "Good" (Gay) Pro-Lifer By Cecilia Brown PLAGAL President
What does it take to be considered a "good" pro-lifer? Is it someone who helps to counsel pregnant women in crisis? Is it a person who helps a woman who has chosen life in every way that they can? Is it a person who is there to be an ear to a woman who may have chosen abortion only to regret it later, and to do so without judgment? Maybe it is someone who raises funds for crisis pregnancy centers, holds a baby shower for a pregnant woman in need (even if they do not really know the woman), or maybe it is someone who diligently writes their legislatures to change abortion on demand as we know it today. Most pro-lifers would agree that this is what is needed. They would welcome such dedication and work from a "good" pro-lifer such as this. Even Nellie Gray, the organizer and permit holder for the annual March for Life in Washington DC would agree. That is, with some exceptions.
While pro-lifers from around the country make the pilgrimage every year to protest the supreme courts decision of Roe v Wade. There are those pro-lifers who are not welcome to display their banner as everyone else does. Even though they do the same work as other "good" pro-lifers. These are people who do not fit into the cookie cuter mold of the pro-life movement. These are the "non-traditional" pro-life groups. I know this from experience as President of PLAGAL - The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
For the last few years Nellie Gray and PLAGAL have been tip toeing around the issue of open gays and lesbians in the March for Life. Never mind that PLAGAL has participated since 1991 without incident. We hardly knew there was a problem until 1999 when PLAGAL was threatened with arrest. Dumbfounded and caught off guard, PLAGAL did not march. We had always marched before. Why now all of a sudden can PLAGAL not march? PLAGAL marched in 2000 but not without the treat of arrest. We put on our best poker face and called the officers bluff. We marched in 2001 without any incident. But this year the 2002 march was different. Nellie Gray put her self-righteous foot down. PLAGAL was told we could march but only if we took down our banner. For PLAGAL it was the principle of the whole thing. PLAGAL would gladly lower our banner when all the other thousands of banners were also lowered. After all, isn't this the March for Life where all pro-life groups come together to protest abortion? Anyone who attends the march can attest that there are banners from all over the country representing thousands of different pro-life groups. Why single PLAGAL's banner? That's because Nellie Gray found it "offensive". What was offensive? The banner contained the words "gays and lesbians". This seemed unbelievable to us because since 1991 PLAGAL has always had those words on our banner and before that we carried large signs in subtle shades of neon pink that said "Gays Against Abortion," so why now? What has changed? For many years PLAGAL has happily marched with our banner letting others know that not all of those within the glbt community stand under the so-called "pro-choice" banner. Needless to say some of us were arrested this year not because we are "good" pro-lifers but because we insisted on marching as "out of the closet 'good pro-lifers'". PLAGAL has been accused of trying to disrupt the march by bringing attention to ourselves. If that were the case we would have done so from 1991- 1999. Nellie brought attentions to us when she threatened PLAGAL with arrest. If she would have just left us alone to march as a group no focus would have gone our way. Maybe PLAGAL should thank Nellie Gray. Her actions increased the awareness of our existence .
PLAGAL members come to the March for Life for the same reasons as all other pro-lifers. We come to protest the decision of Roe v Wade and we come to motivate ourselves to put in another year of "good" pro-life work. Seeing so many pro-lifers together cannot do anything but motivate us since we know we are not alone in our belief of life.
Since when was the pro-life movement a white Christian-only movement? Nellie Gray is not the only one who doesn't want the pro-life movement open to all pro-lifers; she is just the one with the power who would have "non-traditional" pro-lifers arrested. It has always bothered me that when I look around at a typical pro-life event I see predominantly white Christians. Where are other pro-lifers? Certainly pro-lifers come from every color of the spectrum, every religious and non-religious belief and every political affiliation. Sadly, I must conclude, they are not there because they are made to feel unwelcome. Has any thought has ever been given to the fact that there are others who are pro-life that may come from a different perspective, maybe even people who do not believe that it is a "because God says so" issue?
What pro-lifers need to realize is that abortion touches all of us. Those who do not follow the cookie-cutter mold of what it is like to be a pro-lifer have much to offer the movement. I personally have much to offer the pro-life movement. I have experienced two crisis pregnancies. I have aborted one child and have regretted that decision. I have given birth to another child and cannot imagine how I would have lived life without her. I understand the turmoil women in crisis face. I have been there myself. When I speak to women in crisis I speak from experience and from my heart.
While Nellie Gray may think she has deterred me from attending the March for Life by having me arrested, she is mistaken. She has just made me more determined than ever to open up the pro-life movement to all "good" and peaceful pro-lifers no matter what pro-life banner we march under. I am determined to unit pro-lifers to work together for the good of women in crisis and their unborn children. I will do this as an open, out of the closet lesbian. Neither will Nellie Gray nor anyone else will stuff me back in.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For pictures and the latest information on this developing story, please visit our website at www.plagal.org.
The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) was organized in 1990 to advance the pro-life message within the lesbian and gay community. PLAGAL is a 501(c)(3) Massachusetts-based corporation with nation-wide membership and active groups in several major cities in the United States.
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THE PRO-LIFE ALLIANCE OF GAYS AND LESBIANS
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