Sept. 23,1983 / Montrose Voice 3
GPC Celebrates its Eighth Birthday
By Robert Hyde
Houston's Gay Political Caucus convened
Wednesday evening to commemorate its
eighth anniversary as an important representative of gay rights.
In an evening that had an emotional
impact on many caucus members, past
presidents of the organization addressed
the assembly and recapped what current
president Larry Bagneris termed their
"long history in the center of the most
diverse community in America."
Former president Donald Hrachovy
recalled when the organization was in its
embryo phase with only 15 members who
were "all wanting to kill each other for our
different points of view." He then mentioned the pride the caucus felt when they
mustered over 4000 people from the community to march from the Depository
nightclub on Bagby to City Hall in a protest against Anita Bryant.
"That was our first march," Hrachovy
said. "We have indeed come a long way."
Steve Shifflet addressed the caucus and
referred to his 1978-79 term as president as
being notable for its political inroads.
"We brought the GPC into the mainstream of the political arena," he said.
Shifflet also referenced efforts made
during his years in initiating the early
machinations which led to the eventual
repeal of state statute 21.06. He also mentioned that during his term, John Hill
became the first Texas candidate for governor to respond to the caucus.
"Police issues kept us really busy from'
'78 to '79," Shifflet added, referring to the
discrimination factors of the period. "We
could not get in to see (police chief) Caldwell."
Shifflet concluded his remarks by mentioning that it was during his years as
president that Houston's first Gay Pride
Week parade took place.
Former two-term president Lee Harrington began his remarks on a more personal
note. He stated that when he became president of the organization, he lost his job.
But he recalled those years as a "period of
"You learn a lot when you're under fire,"
Harrington then mentioned the death of
former GPC secretary Fred Paez which
occurred during his term. In an emotional
moment, Harrington said that Paez' death
and the subsequent events "touched the
conscious of the city of Houston," through
the candlelight march, the hearing, the
indictment of officers, the trial and the
Proudly, Harrington mentioned his
association with former President Jimmy
Carter when Harrington was asked to be a
gay representative for a national media
He also mentioned the fight the GPC
had on its hands when it elected to back
Mayor Kathy Whitmire in her '81 campaign against the Houston Policemen and
Patrolmen's Union who were "desperate
to defame her."
Harrington said that after having
avoided the press throughout Whitmire's
bid, he did call one conference with the
Union which lasted 30 seconds. He told
them, "There are 40 to 45 gays actively
working on the Houston police force now."
"HPD has been our motivator for years,"
he added. "We wouldn't be where we are
today without them."
Harrington then alluded to the complaints the organization has had over the
years—many of which have been
deserved, he said.
"But the primary purpose of the president of the GPC is keeping the community
together for the power that results from
that," he said, in addition to acting as a
gay representative to the city of Houston.
He then stated that future complaints
against the GPC should be addressed to
the individual directly responsible, and
not against the organization.
"Anyone who defames the organization
and its rich history is going to have me to
fight first," he said.
In other business, Jim Hayman of the
Harris County Tax Office deputized several GPC members to allow them to register voters for the upcoming election.
The caucuB then chose to endorse Herbert Melton, who oversees all schools in
Montrose, for the Position 4 school board
race since he was the only candidate to
screen with the GPC.
"Of course, I want their endorsement,"
Melton was reported to have said.
Support was also encouraged for the
Anne Wheeler fundraiser to be held at the
Four Seasons Hotel, 901 Austin, October
13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
All constitutional amendments were
endorsed, except No. 4, which would permit the governor to Buspend habeas cor
pus in the event of a nuclear attack. GPC
member Ray Hill called the amendment
President Bagneris mentioned that
Mayor Whitmire needs more volunteers.
"Look, folks, we've got no choice," Bagneris said. "I'm not going to sell you on the
candidacy of Kathy Whitmire. Just look at
the MONTROSE VOICE and THToverthe
past years to see the changes we have
already acquired in this city."
Bagneris went on to read a letter from
Mayor Whitmire in which she proclaimed
September as GPC Month.
You Read About
the Fighter Planes,
In an incredible piece of bad timing, the
importers of Stolichnaya vodka have just
announced plans to boost their advertising.
In the aftermath of the Korean jetliner
incident, bottles of the Russian liquor are
being smashed in bars across the country,
and some states are even banning the
stuff. Nevertheless, the president of Monsieur Henri Wines, which imports Stolichnaya, says new billboards will be added in
some areas and go up for the first time in
others, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The decision, says the company president, "reflects the brand's solid growth
Our Pets Eat
Better Than We Do
Pacific News Service
The next time Tabby turns up her nose at
her kitty crunehies, just tell her she's eating better than most people.
Scientists at Cornell University say the
food we give our pets may be boring, but
it's a more balanced diet than the junk
food we eat.
Professor Larry Chase says even cows
and chickenB eat more nutritious food
than humans. But, he notes, both two-and
four-legged animals share a tendency to
Cops in the Bars
Houston's finest spent everybody's tax
dollars last weekend touring the city's
gay bars. And a few of the individual officers weren't the friendliest things you've
ever met either.
The VOICE answers your most obvious
Does an officer have the right to
approach you in a bar? Of course. And
especially if he sincerely might think you
are under-age or intoxicated.
Is he required to be polite?
Absolutely. The officer should just as
cordial to peaceful, law abiding customers at the Midnite Sun, JR's, Rascals or
the River Oaks Country Club. It should
not make any difference.
Some of the officers last weekend
though throught differently. Customers
who were obviously of age and quite
sober were rudely demanded, "I.D.!
So what do we do? You could "growl"
back. Show your ID as requested and at
the same time return the favor by noting
his nametag and badge number. If you're
unable to see the tag or badge, ask him to
shine his light on it. Officers are required
to identify themselves if requested.
You do not have to put up with rudeness from a law enforcement official. If
you would like to file a complaint against
any officer who has been rude to you,
Internal Affairs at HPD is first place to
No lets move on to lighter subjects: The
Texas Fiesta will be held this Sunday at
the University of St. Thomas in the Jera-
beck Activity and Athletic Center, 3900
Mt. Vernon, 1-4pm. This annual scholarship benefit will feature foods representing the peoples and history of Texas, beer
and wine and the Potomac Street Band.
Admission is $10. For more information, call the university's alumni office at
521-7911, ext. 427.
— D —
The Houston Chapter of American Atheists will hold a meeting open to the public
on Sept. 28. 8pm. at the Texas Medical
Center Holiday Inn, 6701 S. Main. Stefan
Presser, staff attorney for the American
Civil Liberties Union, will be speaking
about recent state-church separation
— D —
The University of St. Thomas' autumn
theatrical season opens Sept. 29 at 8pm
with Grand's Finale, a Southwest premiere of a new comedy by New York
playwright Casey Kelly about a Louisiana
family of eccentric characters trying to
deal with their memories and instructions
of their late grandmother.
For reservations and additional information, call 522-7911 or 522-7915.
— D —
Black and White Men Together, an organization advocating the social integration
of all races, will have a garage sale Sept.
24 at 409 W. Polk and their general meeting at 7:30 pm at MCCR, 1919 Decatur.
BWMT would like to invite members of
other gay organizations to join in their
celebration as a community. For more
information, call the Gay Switchboard at