Business Guild May Change
Direction, Avoid Gay Issues
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
The new administration of the Greater
Montrose Business Guild is hoping to
change the group's public image by concentrating organizational efforts on
business-oriented projects and avoiding
involvement in gay community issues.
Frank Turner, newly-elected president of the guild, said he feels identification as a gay/ lesbian business
organization has hindered GMBG's
major purposes, advancing member
businesses and promoting the Montrose
area as a place to live, work and trade.
"We certainly aren't trying to exclude
anyone," Turner said, noting that many
member businesses in the guild are gay-
owned. "It's just that the reason most
members join is to promote their businesses. There are other organizations,
like the Gay Political Caucus, that
members can join if they want to get
involved that way."
Turner claimed an informal survey of
about 40 members indicated they perceived only an average 20 percent of
their total business to come from the
gay community. The survey, which
Turner said he conducted last fall as
chair of the guild's networking committee, was intended to determine what the
"real" needs of the membership were,
how members could most effectively
network their businesses, and what
type of advertising would be most beneficial.
The guild also has a "traditional"
problem with membership renewals,
according to Turner. Of 123 current
members, 69 are new members who
joined in 1986, he said.
"Some members have told me they
joined to advance their businesses, and
they didn't get any increase in business
from their membership," Turner said.
Others said there was too much discussion of gay/ lesbian issues and social
programs "flavored" with gay opinions,
even though the group usually took no
position, he added.
Turner said a listing of organizations
and helplines in the back ofthe guild's
directory also contributes to GMBG's
image as a gay group. The listing
includes mostly gay community resources and does not list family-
oriented services or government
agencies in the "Greater Montrose"
area, he stated. The directory listing
will be reviewed for possible changes
before the next publication, Turner
Under past leadership, the Greater
Montrose Business Guild has been
aggressively involved in activities
although the group is conceptually non-
GPC Endorses Pride
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
Members of the Houston Gay Political
Caucus passed a motion Wednesday,
Feb. 18, to support efforts of members of
the Gay Pride Week Planning Committee to petition for an amendment or
waiver of a city ordinance, in order to
allow planners the option of considering a nighttime gay pride parade.
Ray Hill, who introduced the motion,
stressed that the caucus would not be
voting to endorse the concept of a night
parade, only to give the committee time
to pursue solutions to legal difficulties.
Under current ordinance, neither a
parade nor a festival, also being (lis
cussed by gay pride planners, could be
held at night.
GPC board members pointed out that
the question of an after-dark parade
was brought up during a recent board
retreat in Galveston, and that the hoard
agreed to oppose the idea because of
potential problems, including violence
and vandalism. Evening rallies held at
Spotts Park in recent years have been
plagued with this type of problem, they
Current sentiment among members
of both the caucus and the planning
committee favors holding all Gay Pride
Week activities, whether during the day
or at night, in the Montrose area. The
night parade idea was mentioned at the
first GPW meeting last month, but so
far no debate on the issue has been held
in either forum.
"If (the GPW committee) can't go to
the Gay Political Caucus for help with a
political problem, then who can we turn
to?" Hill said, adding that he felt current leadership was trying to direct the
caucus "like a ship alone," avoiding
interaction with other community
Members voted 14-7, with four
political and non-aligned. In January,
1985, while Mike Nelson was president,
the guild supported the vote by Houston
City Council on non-discrimination in
city jobs based on sexual orientation.
Also in 1985, under another president,
Thorn Rourke, the organization adopted
a non-discrimination policy and committed to actively seek membership of
businesses whose policies support nondiscrimination with respect to sex, race,
national origin, age, religion, creed, sexual orientation and physical disability.
The most recent president, Phyllis
Frye, maintained that the policy of nondiscrimination made GMBG's focus
and direction different from that of
other business organizations. Frye was
personally active in gay/ lesbian community issues.
The first guild meeting directed by the
new officers will be held Wednesday,
Feb. 25. M. John Curcio, a certified public accountant and guild member, is
scheduled to speak on the 1987 tax law
and its implications for business
Other planned changes for the guild
this year include frequency of committee meetings, size and function of committees, and increased activity in
promotional and area development projects. A 24-hour hotline number, 528-
1111, will provide personal or recorded
information on committee meetings
times and locations, guild projects,
membership and other information for
the local business community.
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abstaining, to endorse the waiver
Action on another motion introduced
by Hill, that the caucus establish a committee to urge action by Mayor Kathy
Whitmire's office on promises reportedly made by a mayor's representative,
was tabled until the next GPC meeting.
Hill said Clintine Cashion had twice
promised that Whitmire's office would
help facilitate dialogue between the gay
community and the Houston Chamber
Annise Parker, caucus president,
pointed out that the GPC board has
already requested a meeting with the
mayor on the subject, but has not yet
received a response. Delaying the discussion would give the board time to
ascertain whether the mayor will meet
with them, she said.
In other business, members present
were deputized as Harris County voter
registrars. Don Hrachovy explained the
registration forms and the information
needed for GPC's purposes.
The caucus' $42,000 1987 budget was
discussed and approved. Estimated
expenses totalled $16,72:?, with a 1986
balance forward of $12,000 and a pledge
of $13,277 allotted for the Texas Lesbian/ Gay Right I_obby. A projected
income of $14,450 leaves a fundraising
obligation of $27,550 for the year.
Lou Vanech was named the new chair
of the documentation committee, and
the possibility of changing the name of
the committee to better convey its pur
pose was mentioned. "Crisis response
committee" was suggested as an alternative name.
A new "media watch" program was
announced. Jim Owens urged members
to share and respond to information
reflecting caucus concerns that appears
in gay and general print media, technical journals, or on television or radio.
Friday, Feb. 20
Go Texas Night with H25 long necks
and all of your favorite C&w music
Sunday, Feb. 22 & March 1
Mary Ann Mahoney & Mata Hari
5-9pm, Happy Hour till 6pm
Friday, Feb. 27
1st Annual Mardi Gras Ball
Costumes Requested—No Cover
50c Well Drinks & Beer 7-9pm
Drink Specials All Night Long
Happy Hour Tues.-Fri. 5-9pm
Steak Night Every Thursday
523 Lovelt 523-3396