6 MONTROSE VOICE / NOV. 11, 1983
GPC Not Totally Pleased; Many Not Pleased with GPC
continued from page 1
tered Mary's with their bright red stickers
urging voters to support the GPC bloc
vote, a vote that clearly excluded Hall.
Stickers were pasted to cars parked
around the bar and on some of Mary's
patrons, whether they wanted to wear
them or not, reported one of the bar's man-
Upon entering the bar, Mary's surprised
crowd greeted the mayor with shouts of
"Keep Kathy"—the slogan painted on the
front of the building—and the shouts of
elation continued while the mayor walked
through the bar, shaking hands and
speaking with its patrons.
At the rear of the bar, however. Mayor
Whitmire's progress was stopped by
members of the GPC who joined together
and refused to let the the mayor pass, said
the bar manager, until other patrons of the
bar forcefully broke the GPC blockade, an
event which has received both confirmation and denial from GPC affiliates, as
well as the owner and managers of
Rep. Danburg, an avid supporter of the
GPC, addressed the Friday night episode
at Mary's: "A few GPC board members
were up at the bar getting drinks. They
didn't try to block the mayor. They were
there to observe. There was no confrontation and no argument."
Another GPC member (who wishes to
remain anonymous because of her public
position) said: "There was no confrontation with the mayor. We have no problem
with her. She walked in, saw our GPC bloc
vote stickers, but I didn't confront her. I
didn't even talk to her."
However, another GPC member (Dan-
burg's affiliate) mentioned that the mayor
offered her her hand and asked, "How are
you, (name witheld)?"
"I said not one word to her," the GPC
member said. "I didn't respond, because I
was genuinely hurt."
This GPC member further commented
that she believed her organization felt
abandonded by the mayor because of
Mayor Whitmire's refusal to tour the bar
with the GPC, rather than with candidate
"But we're not out here to sell candidates," the member added. "We're here to
generate votes. But Anthony's her (Whitmire's) man, and that's who she's pushing."
It will be a matter of time before the
incident at Mary's bar will be made clear
to members of the community, an episode
many members regard as an embarrassment to the gay community as a whole.
Mary's owner, Jim Farmer, did contact
the VOICE in an attempt to make public
his feelings regarding last Friday's episode: "Mary's would like to apologize to
the mayor," he stated, "for the rudeness
and actions of certain members of the GPC
which occurred at my bar last Friday
After leaving the bar in her silver Continental limousine, Mayor Whitmire rode
with Hall to Bacchus, a popular bar for
gay women, where she met with enthusiastic support, and then to The Copa, where
she entered the packed disco to Donna
Summer's "She Works Hard for the
Money." After touring The Copa, much as
she had done at the previous bars by walking through the crowd, shaking hands
and speaking with its patrons, a video of a
male stripper was stopped for the mayor to
take center stage.
"Remember me next Tuesday," she
asked the crowd in a strained voice,
brought on by a severe cold and laryngitis,
and was applauded by a crowd snouting
Then she introduced candidate Hall,
who told the crowd, "Let's don't turn the
clock back four years," referencing
accomplishments made by city council
over that period.
The following evening, the GPC conducted its bar tour, sans Whitmire, and
with what was reported as a considerable
success^despit* an unpleasant confronta-
Whitmire on tour at Mary's Lounge Friday night—with no GPC umbrella
These two people (Nikki Van Hightower and Anthony Hall), both considered
friends of the gay community, were the front-runners and are now in a runoff
for City Council Pos. 4. Whitmire supported Hall. GPC chose not only to
endorse Van Hightower, but to also "target" her race as a necessary win. This
angered many in the gay community who felt that that energy should have
gone into more clear-cut races.
tion with Councilman George Greanias,
who, like Mayor Whitmire, supported
GPC's tour consisted of Rep. Danburg
and candidates Nikki Van Hightower and
Councilman Greanias had been invited
by the GPC to go on the tour and had made
arrangements to meet the tour at 11:30
Saturday evening at Rascal's, provided
that candidate Hightower was not along.
"Greanias had been assured by Bagneris that Hightower would not be on the
tour," reported one GPC member who was
at Rascal's at the time. "Then when he
saw her get out of the limo, he went back
inside and had a drink."
Despite this brief episode which some
members of the community see as yet
another breach of community trust by the
GPC, GPC president Bagneris said, "The
tour worked like clockwork. We were supported at every place."
Rep. Danburg did not see the Greanias
incident as being overly important. "He
did not want to appear to be supporting
Nikki Van Hightower," she said. "He felt
by going on the tour with her that that
would implicate his endorsement (of
The divisions between the mayor, the
gay community and the GPC came into
sharper focus election night.
While the GPC celebrated its victories at
Election Central at Numbers 2. 300 Wes-
theimer, Mayor Whitmire's supporters
gathered downtown at the Sheraton.
After her victory speech where she saw
her reelection as a referendum "to make
this city the greatest city in the world," the
mayor held a brief press conference, prior
to which time she invited the VOICE for a
private interview later in the evening.
In her suite at the Sheraton, Mayor
Whitmire was hesitant about addressing
her relationship with the GPC and was
adamant about the confrontation at
Mary's which had disturbed many people
in the community.
"I don't know what you're talking
about," she said of Mary's incident. "I
really don't even want to talk about any
such rumor mongering that you're getting
into right now."
Asked if she had felt abandoned by the
GPC during this race, the mayor replied,
"I certainly don't."
But the mayor was aware of the uncertainties and of what some deemed a lack of
appropriate representation within the
community, but she sought to rise above it
when addressing the VOICE.
"I think in a citywide campaign you
have to get votes from every part of the
city, and the Montrose area has always
been an important part of my constituency," Mayor Whitmire said. "I live in
Montrose, and in every election when I've
run, I've always gotten a strong vote from
"I think that the support that I have
gotten from that area really transcends
any kind of political factions within the
area," she added, "and I'm glad about
that. I certainly don't involve myself in
the fights between the factions."
Then Mayor Whitmire turned to the
issue of gay rights and how she views her
last two years in dealing with the issue.
"I have always been a supporter of
human rights," she said quietly. "And at
times, certainly in my last campaign, that
fact was used against me—the fact that I
had support within the gay community
was used against me—and I think at that
time we saw that even though it was a very
bitter part of our campaign, we were able
to do enough work to overcome it. I think
that some progress has been made at
developing a larger base across the city of
people who see the virtue of supporting
° basic human rights for all people."
* Meanwhile, across town at GPC's Elec-
5 tion Central where patrons of Numbers,
o the politically minded in the community
o and GPC's members and advocates awa-
o ited the arrival of the mayor, GPC presi-
°- dent Bagneris addressed the crowd in
what will probably be his last large-scale
address to the gay community as president of the caucus, since officer elections
for the organization are scheduled for the
first of the year.
Bagneris, in a masterpiece of political
rhetoric, expressed the disappointment he
felt with Mayor Whitmire, and before the
mayor arrived, he proposed vacating
Numbers in an attempt to have the community mirror his disapproval of her
efforts with the gay community over the
past two years, despite GPC's endorsement which greatly influenced her reelection.
"I just received a telephone call from a
successful mayor of the City of Houston
who just carried the Montrose precincts to
the tune of 90 percent," he told the large
gathering junt before liOOa.m. "And I lind
a few things I wanted to say to her. I
wanted to say, first of all, that accountability begins now—not tomorrow—but
now. We will not tolerate retreat of responsibility to our constituency any longer by
candidates who receive our support," he
said, alluding to the possibility that she
might not appear.
"In all minority struggles, the task of
obtaining basic human rights is diffilcult
at best. Our message is clear," he shouted.
"Your message and the message to these
people who sacrificed week end and week
out for the Gay Political Caucus in this
community—our message is clear! We're
in this for the duration of this fight for
equality, because none of us are free until
all of us are free. We believe, we really
believe," he emphasized, "that a great
society is spawned in the sanctity of pri
vacy. That's are issue: the right to privacy," he said to applause.
"But along with that comes the courage
of the individual, the wisdom of tolerance,
and most of all, the joy of the human spirit.
That's the important line that lies with
us," he said emphatically.
"And I was going to turn to Kathy Whitmire, and I was going to say that the days
of Cinderella are over with. They are
over," he shouted. "The clock has struck
midnight and reality has become our fairy
After being interrupted by more
applause, Bagneris continued: "It should
take no compromising to give people their
basic human rights. That's what we're
about. After working eight years in this
organization, after working through Gay
Pride Week, after working though an election just like the rest of these people up
here," he said, referring to GPC's board, "I
had the mayor of the City of Houston say
to me, 'I'll come, but I understand that
they're some TV cameras there.' I said,
"We're proud of the fact that CBS came
to us and asked to film a documentary, but
we told them to 'go get screwed' because
they had done such a bad job with gay
power and Gay Pride Week. Then NBC