Austin Prepares for AIDS Awareness Week
The Austin gay/lesbian community is preparing for AIDS Awareness Week, scheduled to begin April 1, designed to educate
the community regarding the killer syndrome and to raise funds for further educa-
tional and community activities
Although initiated by Austin's Lesbian-
/Gay Political Caucus, the committee for
AIDS Awareness Week also includes other
members of the community who are helping solicit cooperation from local lesbian-
/gay bar owners and managers who have
shown interest in holding AIDS Awareness Week events and activities.
The caucus will discuss the AIDS
Awareness Week at its regular meeting
Mrch 27, followed by an approach to Austin's City Council on March 29 to issue an
official declaration of the week.
On April 3, an AIDS Update Forum will
be held at 8 p.m. in the Texas Union building of the University of Texas; on April 7,
State Treasurer Ann Richards will speak
at a cocktail party and silent auction to be
held at the Hilton Inn; and on April 8, a
blood drive will be held from 1:30 to 4:30
p.m. at St. Luke's United Methodist
Church to create a fund from which at-risk
people, who may have difficulty getting
blood insurance, can draw should they
ever need blood.
"The week is planned in recognition of
the serious nature of AIDS and its increasing incidence in the Austin area, according to Janna Zumbrun, Austin AIDS
Awareness Week Committee coordinator.
"We're trying to play a part in allowing
Austin to avoid the unnecessary negative
experiences which have occurred in some
cities—unfounded hysteria, increased discrimination against gays in general,
inadequate medical and social services for
AIDS patients, and a lack of reliable medical information for persons at risk for
For more information, call 512/441-
i o <3i ___ y CDo nrt w~r~w t_j n i "t y
IVlaror. 23, 1984 Issue .10 Published Every Other Friday
Authors of 'Male Couple7 Show Problems of Gay Guys in Love
Texas to Meet
The Lesbian/Gay Democrats of
Texas will hold a statewide general
membership meeting in Austin,
March 24, to discuss its strategy for
the 1984 election year.
The organization, working within
the Democratic Party toward the
elimination of social, political and
economic discrimination based on
sexual orientation, will focus on candidate recommendations and endorsements in the Texas U.S. Senate
race, the Texas Democratic Party
officer elections and the U.S. presidential race-
Also convention strategy regarding delegate selection, resolutions
.and platform goals, public presence
at the convention and advertising
and hospitality will be discussed, as
well as fundraising.
The group will meet from 14 p.m.
at the County Courthouse Annex.
A two-year membership is $5 and
may be purchased at the meeting.
For more information, write LGDT
at Box 64493, Dallas, Tex. 75206.
By Robert Hyde
"Our relationships get trivialized by the
rest of the world and by themselves, sometimes," said David McWhirter, in town
this week to discuss The Male Couple, a
bonk he co-authored with his lover of )2
years, Andrew Mcttison. "It takes ihree
years before even our gay world recognizes our relationships," he added. "We all
yearn for one, and then trivialize them
when they occur. We don't sanctify them
enough. We don't value our relationships
as I feel we should. We, ourselves, underestimate them.
"When you get married, that's like, 'Oh,
wow!'" he said, emphasizing the degree to
which heterosexual marriage.s are recognized in this society. "We sort of stand in
recognition of a heterosexual relationship,
but ours are not important, and they are!
Absolutely they are!"
They are important enough to McWhirter and Mattison to have launched them
on an extensive five-year study to produce
the intensive data that is the backbone of
David and Drew, as they prefer to be
called, interviewed 156 couples in and
around San Diego, Calif., questioning
them on their lifestyles and how their relationships developed over the years. Then
while in Hawaii, the men had an intellectual frenzy regarding what to do with the
material they had at hand and realized
that gay men's couple relationships pass
through various stages of development,
not that far removed from Dr. Benjamin
Spock'fl baby guide or the popular Passages.
The writers divided the stages as follows:
"Blending," the first year of a relationship with its high sexual activity and
"Nesting," years two and three for
building a home and finding compatibility, but also dealing with decline in limerence and increased, ambivalence;
"Maintaining," years four and five,
where male couples establish traditions
but also have to deal with the individual
they "married" along with certain risks
"Building." years six through io, where
couples collaborate and begin to depend
on each other, m Ui'n as establish some
"Releasing," where couples begin to
David McWhirter at ■
for granted; and
"Renewing," for beyond 20 years, where
men still together achieve security, restore
their partnership and remember how it
Beyond the above six stages, the
authors mentioned that there's a Stage 0
where guym can't get the *how <■:
ground, and a Stage 7, where one partner
survives following a death.
But in addition to the simplification of
the above "stages of male couples," the
book is perhaps a more valid contribution
to gay men because it examines gay life as
no other book to date. Here guys can
remember how they acted when they first
fell in love with Prince Charming, as well
as how they felt when that prince turned
into a frog. It's also a literary crystal ball
for gazing into an unpredictable future, as
well as an "are we really like this" study"
dissecting an immediate present.
But David, the friendly M.D. with the
glasses, was quick to point out that he does
not want their book to become a standard,
per se, by which male couples gage themselves.
"We want to go back and back and back
and say over and over again, 'Pleasedon't
do that,'" he said. "We want to say that
here is a model, and we haven't had many
of those. We need lots of them.
"We just don't need Ozzie and Harriet,
we need Kramer and Kramer. As heterosexuals have developed, we need lots of
different models, and very fortunately
we're creating them," David said.
But the creation should come from the
gay community and gay couples themselves, the authors emphasized, not from
"One ofthe reasons we so strongly warn
against it (comparing yourself to the
book), is to understand how easy it is to
say, 'Ah, here it is.'"
But a reason to say, "Here it isn't," is
that relationships are changing with the
times, according to the authors, another
reason not to hold the book up as a model
for personal conduct or expectations.
"I think that gay people are once again
on the forefront of change in the development of relationships in different ways,"
Drew said. "We have lots of people we
know who identify themselves as couples
who live in different households and make
it work, in different cities and say it works,
the country and get together for
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