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Statewide Rights Organization
Idea Rejected at Conference
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
The idea of a statewide "umbrella"
organization to coordinate gay rights
agenda in Texas cities was soundly
rejected at the Texas lesbian/ Gay
Community Resource Conference, held
Jan. 24-25 in Austin.
"The general consensus, during that
discussion, was that we don't need
another one," said Bill Agosto, moderator of the Houston Gay/ Lesbian
Forum, a local interaction group.
Agosto explained that most conference delegates felt statewide coordination was already being accomplished
through the efforts of Texas Gay/ Lesbian Rights Lobby, Texas Human
Rights Foundation, political organizations in the cities and gatherings like
the resource conference, a follow-up to
the Texas Gay Leadership Conference
held in Dallas in September.
Annise Parker, president of Houston
Gay Political Caucus, agreed on the reason the idea was defeated.
"It was felt another organization isn't
needed at this time, that the agenda
could be coordinated at the state conferences," Parker said.
The state already has a forum of
organizational representatives, coordinated by TLGRL, which meets on a regular basis to exchange information,
Additionally, a system of periodic
state conferences organized by local
groups is emerging, Parker said.
Another conference is scheduled for late
this summer in Lubbock, with the host
organization to set the agenda, she
The state organization was the only
theoretical issue discussed during what
turned out to be a "nuts and bolts" conference, consisting mainly of a series of
workshops on practical concerns of gay
organizations, Parker reported. Workshops on revitalizing organizations,
fundraising techniques, networking
with nongay groups, and dealing with
homophobia and media relations were
included in the conference schedule.
Agosto said he was impressed with
the "businesslike" structure of this conference, compared with others he had
"It was probably one of the most professional formats I have ever seen in
gay/ lesbian conferencing. The information was well-structured and very
useful," he commented, citing a workshop on organizational management,
presented by Don Baker, as an example.
"Baker outlined methods of developing goals and motivating people, and
set up a means of tracking performance.
It was very much like a professional
management course you'd expect to pay
up to $1000 for," Agosto said.
Lovell's workshop focused on finding
common ground with organizations
working on other causes, as well as
working "related" issues intoa common
agenda. Mike Martin, an activist who
became involved in politics in Fort
Worth through joint efforts with local
labor groups, spoke on getting involved
through other issues.
Joe Perez, president of Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos, participated in
a workshop on minority outreach
within the gay community. During the
workshop, members of minority organizations interacted with members of
mainstream gay groups whose
members are predominantly white
"The most important development of
the discussion was that (the mainstream gay leaders) agreed to look into
existing minority organizations for guidance in minority outreach," Perez said.
He noted that predominantly white gay
organizations have had difficulties
approaching the issues as they relate to
minorities, even in areas like AIDS education.
"The workshop made a lot of gay
white males realize there are some good
reasons for low minority participation
and turnout for events," Perez said.
Minority group representatives
attempted to show the organizational
leaders how hard it is for minorities,
including women, to relate in the
"GWM" world of gay community activities, he added.
Houston was mentioned as a potential site for the International Gay/ Lesbian People of Color's bi-annual
conference. Nominated by the IGLPC
steering committee in November, Hous
ton was third choice for host city, following Toronto and London. Neither of the
other two cities has submitted an application but GLHU may not be allowed to
apply for Houston since regulations
specify a 501-C3 non-profit organization, Perez noted. He said he would look
into the possibility of applying in connection with another local organization.
Groups represented at the workshop,,
besides GLHU, included Dallas Gay
Black Caucus, the Austin Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization and an
emerging black group headed by Marvin Prevost. Charlotte Taft spoke on
About 150 persons attended the weekend conference. Parker, Agosto, Lovell
and Perez were among about 12 Houstonians who attended.
WASHINGTON (UPI)—The Supreme
Court refused Tuesday to become
involved in the tangled legal affairs of
four groups associated with fringe politician Lyndon LaRouche.
The court refused to review a case
brought by Caucus Distributors Inc.,
Campaigner Publications Inc.,
National Democratic Policy Committee, and Fusion Energy Foundation
seeking review of a ruling by the First
U.S. District Court of Appeals.
The groups were seeking to lift contempt rulings against them for refusing
to cooperate with a federal grand jury in
Boston and refusing to turn over documents.
LaRouche, 64, a four-time presidential candidate who in 1984 collected
78,773 votes, less than 0.09 percent of
the total, has been labeled at different
times as "ultra-left" and "ultra-right."
LaRouche has claimed that Britain's
Queen Elizabeth is the "head ofthe drug
lobby," and that the International
Monetary Fund "is engaged in mass
murder" by spreading the disease AIDS
through economic policies.
JANUARY 30, 1987/MONTROSE VOICE 9
but Gravely 111
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (UPI)—
Liberace lay gravely ill at his home
Wednesday, two days after being
released from a hospital where he was
treated for anemia brought on by a
bizarre diet of watermelon, aides
A spokeswoman said Tuesday the
flamboyant pianist, whose trademark
candelabra and outlandish wardrobe
marked a spectacular career, was in
grave condition with pernicious anemia, emphysema and heart disease.
Denise Collier, press agent for the 67-
year-old entertainer, said he was at
home receiving visits from close friends
"It is my great regret to inform you
that Liberace is gravely ill with pernicious anemia, complicated by advanced
emphysema and heart disease," Collier
said in a statement read from New York.
"His physicians are vigorously treating
him for this condition and are hopeful
that he will respond to treatment."
Born Walter Valentino Liberace in
Milwaukee, Wis., on May 16,1919, Liberace was released from Eisenhower
Medical Center in nearby Rancho Mirage.
Asked why Liberace had been
released from the hospital when he was
suffering from such serious illnesses,
Collier replied: "Since I'm not a doctor I
can't make that judgement. He's stable,
but he's in grave condition."
Associates of Liberace said he entered
the hospital on Friday. On Sunday, the
hospital confirmed he was there in a
brief statement that said, "Mr. Liberace
has been admitted ... for evaluation of
anemia. His condition is satisfactory."
Pernicious anemia results in a reduction of red blood cells and can be fatal if
left untreated. Symptoms are paleness,
generalized weakness and a lack of
Liberace's health had been in question for several days.
The Las Vegas Sun reported Saturday in a copyrighted front page story
quoting "informed sources" that Liberace was terminally ill with AIDS.
Seymour Heller, Liberace's personal
manager for 36 years, immediately
denied the report, demanded a retraction and threatened a libel suit.
Sun publisher H.M. (Hank) Greens-
pun said, "We stand by our story."
A telegram to Greenspun from Liberace's Beverly Hills, Calif, attorney, Joel
Strote, said in part: "Mr. Liberace does
not have AIDS nor is he terminally ill."
Heller on Saturday blamed liberace's
condition on a watermelon diet that he
said the pianist followed to lose about 20
"He ate watermelon off and on for a
couple of months," Heller said. "We got
worried. Doctors told him watermelon
did not have enough proteins required
by the body and that he would have to
stop, and doctors told him he had a
slight csae of anemia."
Heller on Saturday also said Liberace
had postponed his show appearances
for the next several months.
At one time, Liberace was the highest
paid performer in Las Vegas, earning
$50,000 a week. He had his own television show for nearly a decade and is
credited with discovering Barbra Streisand in the early 1960s.
In the 1960s, Liberace won a $15 million libel suit against a London newspaper that claimed in a story that he as
homosexual. In December 1986, Liberace settled a palimony suit filed by his
former live-in chauffer and travel secretary, Scott Thorson, for $95,000.