HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES
ty Kathy Deitsch
The Human Rights Advocates, the legislative lobby
project for the Texas Gay Task Force, are concerned
about the upcoming special legislative session. House
Speaker Bill Clayton has said recently, "The Governor
has assured me that he plans to call a Special Session
of the Texas Legislature. Although he has not told when
he will make the call, he has said it will include
initiative and referendum, electronic surveillance
(wiretapping), and tax relief measures." The HRA Legislative Committee has determined that our lotty should
be present to protect lesbian/gay interests if a
Special Session is called.
There is a popular saying in and around the Capitol
in Austin, "No person's life, liberty or property is
safe when the Texas Legislature is in session." During
the 1979 session, the Human Rights Advocates were instrumental in averting legislation which would have
increased harassment of gay and lesbian bars by forbidding "sexually oriented conduct", such as same-sex
dancing and drag shows, removing a rider in the general
appropriations bill which denied campus gay organizations, use of university facilities, foiling attempts to
make gays scapegoats in floor debate on child pornography and child sexual abuse, and bringing police harassment and brutality experienced by the lesbian/gay
community to the legislators' attention.
The governor is not required to give advance notice
of a special session call. Therefore, our community
would have no time to raise money for a lobby presence
after the call. It could come as early as January, 1980,
although March or September—months which would put
the most -pressure on the legislators—are, politically,
more likely. A special session is limited to 30 days,
but another can be called immediately after the first.
The HRA is attempting to raise enough money to pay off
the last session's debt and budget $6000 for the
Special Session presence.
lie Human Rights Advocates have been organizing
"Lobby Hights" in Texas bars. The first one took place
in Houston on October 6, 1979- It netted approximately
$2200 toward the elimination of the 66th session debt.
Lobby Dollars were traded for actual dollars. Those
purchasing the Lobby Dollar were encouraged to mail it
back so their name could be added to the HRA constituency network. More fund raisers are planned.
The upcoming year is going to be very hectic politically with the candidates and their campaigns for
office, the political party conventions and the actual
May primary and the November general election. Decision makers Statewide look upon the lesbian/gay
community as a growing force in Texas politics. Texas
is considered to be one of the best organized states
in the nation, being one of the two states that has
been able to fund a lobby program for a full legislative session.
The National March on Washington served notice to
legislators that the lesbian/gay community is a force
to be reckoned with in the 1980's. Some 2500 to 3000
Texans participated in the March, and approximately
100 of us visited 20 of the 26 members of the Texas
Congressional delegation. Many of the Texas legislators had never spoken to an open gay or lesbian
constituent before the visits October 15.
It is vital that we join together in the 1980
elections and say very clearly, and very strongly,
NO MORE DISCRIMINATION. We are everywhere and we
intend to be an influential force politically on all
levels. We urge your help in our continuing to have
an effective voice in Austin.
11 a wav era
Iranian lesbians and gay men who face deportation may
be able to use their homosexuality as a defense to remain
in the United States. Because of the executions of gay men
in Teheran earlier this year, openly gay students may assert
they would be in danger by returning to Iran because of
their sexual orientation. Anything that can establish
political refugee status may be successful to delay or defeat deportation under these circumstances.
Unlike the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and
more recently the State Department, regulations that bar
entry into the United States because of an individual's
homosexuality, any alien already in the country who has
passed through immigration is entitled to limited statutory procedural safeguards. Hearing examiners, furthermore, have stayed deportation of homosexual aliens in the
past where political refugee status was determined.
The International Gay Association will work with local
American groups to assist those lesbian and gay Iranian
students to secure legal counsel at their hearings. If a
student is nevertheless deported from the United States,
or feels it impossible to raise her/his homosexuality as
an issue during a public hearing, then the International
Gay Association will attempt to locate through its European member associations another host country.
Interested gay students should contact the Laison Office in Washington at (202) 23U-6268. Your identity will
be kept strictly confidential. If you are an attorney who
could volunteer your services during this emergency, please JL
call the Liaison Office. (IGHA)
Pastor: Rev. Candace Naisbitt
Sunday Services: 12:00 noon and
Wednesday Prayer and Communion:
Bible study: Tuesday 7:30 p.m.
Rap group on all subjects: Tuesd
Counseling: Monday - Thursday by
ay 8:30 p.m.
Pot luck supper: January 19, 1980, 7:30 p.m.'
REACHING OIJT TO THE GAY COMMUNITY OF AUSTIN
614 6. 6th ST.. AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701
CONNECTIONS December 1979/January IS