Dallas City Councilmember Ricardo
Medrano, who represents the
heavily-gay Oak Lawn area. His button
reads, "I'm not gay. I'm angry." The Turtle Creek Chorale at opening ceremonies
of the National Gay Leadership Conference
Lucia Valeska, executive director of
the National Gay Task Force, in
Dallas for the leadership conference,
suggested holding similiar
conferences every two years
Bill Nelson, director of communications of Dallas Gay Alliance
National Ga\ Task Force members in their Dallas hospitality suite
Houston Gay Political Caucus members (left to right) Bob Fisher,
Pam Jones, Gary Grant and Terry Harris at the Dallas conference
Houston Gay Political Caucus
president Larry Bagneris Jr. in Dallas
At the Dallas conference were (left to right) Chuck Renslow, publisher of "Gay
Life " newspaper in Chicago; Jack Campbell, Miami-based gay businessman;
and Tom Chorlton of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Democrats.
Both Campbell and Renslow are board members of the Gay Press Association.
August 20,1982 / Montrose voice 9
from 37 states
meet in Dallas
By Johannes Stahl
Nearly 400 leaders representing an estimated 175 national, state and local gay
organizations met in Dallas August 13 to
15 to provide "a forum to discuss what is
important and what goals to address for
the gay rights movement," said Bill Nelson, director of communications of Dallas
Gay Alliance (DGA).
DGA had organized the gathering,
called the "National Gay Leadership Conference," which was attended by representatives from 37 states and staged at the
Representatives of Houston's Gay Political Caucus, Citizens for Human Equality,
and the Texas Human Rights Foundation
were among those who attended.
Lucia Valeska, executive director of the
National Gay Task Force (NGTF), said the
goals of the conference "were set loosely
on purpose. One ofthe best things was a
chance to talk face-to-face with leaders
from all over the country."
"We were able to cover the basic issues
in the workshops which were of greatest
concern to the gay movement."
NGTF is the largest gay civil rights
organization in th" country.
A series of nearly 40 workshops were
conducted at the conference which dealt
with such issues as police relations, public
relations, health, lobbying, networking,
the Family Protection Act, Democratic
party politics and Gay Pride Week.
Ricardo Medrano, pro-gay Dallas city
councilmember, called the effort for the
national conference "monumental" on the
part of the DGA. Medrano's district
includes Oak Lawn, an area in Dallas
where many of the city's gay people live.
He rode in the lead car of the 1982 Dallas
Gay Pride Week Parade.
Nelson said the DGA planned the event
because "we wanted to send a message to
gay and non-gay people—the gay rights
movement is very much alive in the Heartland." He believes that Dallas was the
ideal location for the conference because
"Dallas is neutral."
He feels that if this conference had been
held on either the East or West Coast it
would have made people from the other
feel slighted. He also explained thattravel
costs were more equitable since Texas is
Nelson estimated the total cost to the
DGA for the conference at $12,000.
Valeska feels that the cost of any future
conference might be shared by national
organizations. She said that the event
should be every two years because of
expense and planning involved.
"For NGTF, this has been a tremendous
opportunity. We would support any effort
to see it continued," she said.
Concurrent with other workshops, a
forum on Acquired Immune Deficiency
(AID) was presented. AID's are a medical
condition affecting mostly homosexually
active men, involving impairment of the
body's immune system. Two major manifestations of this condition are rare
cancers like Kaposi's sarcoma or rare
infections such aB Pneumocystis carinii
pneumonia, according to a report made by
The report also indicated a planned
effort to lobby Congress for funding into
research on the disease.
Morris Floyd, AID Forum spokesman,
said, "The key concept is to generify the
concern for the disease. It is not just the
gay male who develops it."
"We need to look into a risk-reduction
statement ... based on facts, not speculation and without moral judgements."
Nelson said that response to evaluation
forms from those attending the conference
will be made available at a later date. A
site for the next conference was not immediately decided, nor was a date. Nelson
indicated that the conference "has been
gratifying but we're not going to do it next