HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 10, 1999
Millennium March sets platform, confirms entertainment
> Continued from Page 1
She will likely take a brief leave from LGRL as
the march draws nearer, Hardy-Garcia .said.
"The position with the march is a full-time
paid position if they can pay me," she said,
making reference to the financial instability of
the April march. "What's really important,
though, is that the board of LGRL sees this as
March organizers plan to share the event's
registration list with state and local groups,
meaning LGRLcould potentially acquire from
the march a list of gay men and lesbians in
Texas that the lobby may not already have in
Proceeds from the march will also partially benefit load and state organizations around
the country, Hardy-Garcia said.
'Needed in Texas'
Clarence Bagby, a board member of the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and past
president of the Houston Gay and Lesbian
Political Caucus, said he supports Hardy-
Garcia's work, but would like to see her working on issues in Texas.
Bagby served on the LGRL board until his
term expired last summer.
"While Dianne is extremely talented and a
very effective lobbyist, there's so much more
to be done here in Texas in terms of organizing
a grassroots structure that it's a little troubling
to see that talent and energy siphoned away
for Ihis event in Washington," he said.
Bagby said LGRL has done an effective job
of mobilizing gays and lesbians in large Texas
cities, but smaller communities in outlying
areas need to be organized, too, he said.
The mailing list the march will gather will
not likely help with that, he said.
"It's not going to add names to our list of
people who .ore going to organize in East Texas,
West Texas and in the valley," Bagby said.
Hardy-Garcia said she supports grassroots organizing and wants LGRL to reach
into areas not previous reached, but she said
her brief absence will not impact those efforts.
"LGRL doesn't run because of me. lt runs
because of members and volunteers," she said.
March takes shape
Hardy-Garcia is in charge of community
organizing, outreach and communications for
the march. She is also running a Washington,
D.C. office that opened this week.
Hardy-Garcia has said she would like to
have been appointed co-executive director at
least a year ago, but she said she plans to
make sure the event runs smoothly anyway.
"I'm just going to have to work mv ass
off," she said.
During the few weeks she has been at the
helm, a number of important decisions have
already been made.
In addition to acquiring an office, march
organizers have articulated a vision and lined
up three big-name celebrities to handle the
The event, originally planned as only a
rally, also now includes a march through the
streets of the nation's capital.
Actors Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche
and singer Melissa Etheridge will be among
performers who will entertain gay men and
lesbians from across the nation gathered on
the National Mall.
"Ellen and her partner aAnne have served
as inspiring role models for a rising generation of lesbian and gay youth -and have furthered understanding and acceptance in the
larger society," said -Ann DeGroot, one of the
march's four national co-chairs.
Donna Red Wing, another march chair,
said Etheridge will be making her second
appearance at a national gay and lesbian
march. She appeared at the 1993 march.
The Millennium March will also include a
march, Hardy-Garcia said this week. Onlv a
rally had been planned, but some groups
wanted a march and organizers had said
recently they would attempt to get permission
from the city to march.
"I'm can say confidently that there will be
a march," Hardy-Garcia said. "The permit is
secure. That was a big concern. It's kind of
complicated to get a march permit in
In addition to performances by the entertainers, stage presentations about platform
issues are planned. Organizers received more
than 40,000 ballots from several hundred
thousand that were distributed to gay men,
lesbians and allies in venues across the nation
and online to determine the platform.
The group has dedded to adopt a "work
ing vision" and is encouraging gays to continue submitting ballots by mail, e-mail, fax and
The eight priority issues that make up the
working vision: hate crimes legislation; ending workplace discrimination; racial justice;
family values, including marriage and partner
rights, adoption and child custody; health
care; legal protection for youth; and overturning anti-gay initiatives and laws.
Hardy-Garcia said she is aware that
feelings have been hurt by management
changes the march has undergone. As
recently as last month, former executive
director Robin Tyler, the march's
founder, resigned citing creative differences with the board.
From the beginning, the Human
Rights Campaign and the Universal
Fellowship of Metropolitan Community
Churches, the groups who first
announced the event, have been criticized for attempting to design an event
without community input.
Detractors have also questioned the
event's goals and timing.
But Hardy-Garcia said she is confident that the event itself will wipe away
the pain some have felt.
"In the end, what people will remember is what it feels like to be on that mall
with thousands and thousands of people
like them," she said.
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