LESBIANS MAP CONFERENCE STRAT& ^Y
By Deborah Diamond Hicks
Supporters of lesbian rights met
Thursday to attempt to insure that their
issues—which were not even considered in
Mexico City in 1975- will be heard at the
Houston IWY meeting.
In a lively meeting at the Metropolitan Community Church, the Lesbian Caucus mapped strategy for attempting to gain
support for the passage of their sexual preference plank and to insure visibility.
"Right wing elements have singled
out lesbians (and NOW) as the forces 'controlling the IWY' Conference- an incredible proposition, given the effort it has
taken to even get it included on the
agenda," It's Time reported this month.
Because the planks will be voted on
in alphabetical order, sexual preference will
be one of the last issues to reach the floor,
if it gets there at all, according to the National Gay Task force's Jean O'Leary and
Charlotte Bunch, who presented the plan
of action for the conference.
Therefore, they said, the lesbian
.caucus' strategy is to "Keep the Agenda
Moving—Let Every Issue Get Heard."
"It is especially important that our
•visibility and our issues be an integral part
of this conference," said O'Leary. "In
this way, we hope to continue to make
positive, educational inroads into public opinion beyond what we accomplish
at this conference: to eliminate myths and
stereotypes; to point out exactly what sort
of discrimination lesbians face in society;
to discuss ways to obtain protective legislation; and to discuss ways to get rid of
discriminatory laws already on the books."
O'Leary said that she suspects that
right-wing forces, if the state conventions
are any indicator, will try to bog down tl
session in parliamentary details.
In that case, she said, the lesbian
forces will attempt to amend issues at the
top of the alphabetical list to include its
A followup strategy session at the
church on Friday was disrupted when,
according to police, "a neighbor complained" about cars parked on the wrong
side of the street. The church also received'
a false bomb threat, according to its pastor.
At that session, the caucus, after
much discussion, decided not to have a
rumor control person or mediator-negotiator from the U.S. Department of Justice
unless women living in and knowing Houston thought they needed one.
Lesbian rights and issues at the IWY
were first brought up under President Carter's administration by O'Leary, co-executive director of the National Gay Task
Force and an IWY national commissioner,
when she suggested lesbian rights be included in topics at state conventions.
"Sexual or affectional preference"
was recommended for discussion in a general resolution encouraging states to consider a broader range of issues than originally explored by the commission.
Lesbianism as a feminist issue was
thereby legitimized. The lesbian position
that no woman is free until all women are
free; that the right to choose another
woman is an extension of the right to control one's body.
During the week of the National
Women's Conference Channel 8 will
be featuring programs about
women and women's issues.
"To Be fl Man"
"Me and Stella"
At state conventions, lesbians and
feminists emphasized the four aspects of
the issue: 1) passage of legislation to
eliminate discrimination on the basis of
sexual and affectional preference in order
to insure gay civil rights; 2) reform of state
penal codes and laws that restrict private
sexual behavior between consenting adults;
3) passage of laws making the consideration of sexual preference extraneous in
determining child custody and visit^l^n
rights; 4) improving lesbian imag^ and visibility in the media.
The first three were embodied in
the sexual preft
national plan, v
to add to the o
je plank of the final
luse 30 states thought
ions important enough
The fourth is implied in the "media"
plank recommending an end to sexual
stereotyping in the media.
In six other states, minority reports
were filed. Only four states passed anti-
gay resolutions. It is estimated that lesbians
constitute 10 per cent of the population
in the United States and also 10 per cent
of the delegations.
The Susan B. Anthony Gavel Given to
the driving force who helped create the first
International Council of Women in 1888, it
honors those early advocates of women's
rights who took the movement out
I of the kitchen and onto the streets.
Now you can honor that
spirit with this handsome reproduction of Ms. Anthony's original,
now in the Smithsonian Institution.
Carefully crafted by StiefF in
rosewood, sterling and an ecologically acceptable substitute for the original ivory, the
inscribed faces mark the occasion and
admonish the user to note that "Order is
Heaven's first Law." And the
wide sterling band, marked
with both the Smithsonian
and StiefF hallmarks, is perfect for engraving.
gift box included.
The Susan B. Anthony Gavel
Part of the Smithsonian Series by StiefT.
Foley's Department Store Regal Touch
All Stores 458 Greenspoints Mall
The StiefF Company, 800 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21211.
DAILY BREAKTHROUGH NOVEMBER 19, 1977 PAGE 7