JANUARY 10. 1986 / MONTROSE VOICE 3
Gay Chorus Charges Choral Association Discriminates
From a Press Release
The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles
(GMCLA) has charged the American
Choral Directors Association (ACDA) with
discrimination because of ACDA's policies
denying choruses with "gay" in their titles
performance at ACDA conventions.
In a blind audition. GMCI-A was chosen
out of 49 groups in the Western Division to
be among 17 choruses to perform at the
Western Division conference to be held in
San Jose in February. Under guidelines
recently enacted by the ACDA's Board of
Directors, groups with "controversial"
titles are not allowed performance in
ACDA conferences using names deemed
"controversial" by ACDA. ACDA believes
that the "controversial" nature of these
titles (e.g., "gay") detracts from the musical performance, and that ACDA should
not be a forum for political viewpoints.
In its seven-year history, the GMCI_A
has viewed itself as a musical organization with "soft-sell" politics. "We are a political group on the basis of our name
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The Newspaper ot Montrose
OUR 272nd ISSUE. JAN. 10, 1986
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Contents copyright 1986
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only," said Music Director Jerry Carlson.
"We exist primarily as a musical group
with purposes and goals aligned with
those of ACDA. We see ourselves as a community chorus with roots in the gay community, just as the Mormon Tabernacle
Choir is rooted in the Mormon community."
After several attempts to negotiate and
even compromise with ACDA, the GMCLA
brought the issue to the American Civil
Liberties Union in September, where they
discussed the issue with Susan McGrievy.
McGrievy thought there was sufficient
legal grounds to pursue ACLU's involvement in the situation.
The case has been referred to the ACLU
Northern California region, where it is
currently being handled by Alan
Schlosser in the San Francisco office. Kip
Edwards, the cooperating attorney, was
scheduled to file the complaint in Santa
Clara County Superior Court on Dec. 31.
The complaint is for preliminary and permanent injunction based on the Unruh
Civil Rights Act and violation of Common
Law Right of Fair Procedure.
The case has national ramifications
and, in fact, a national history. In 1983,
the New York City Gay Men's Chorus
(NYCGMC) was chosen by similar blind
audition to perform at the 1984 ACDA
Eastern Division conference in Baltimore.
The national leadership of ACDA subsequently took action (following a successful
performance by NYCGMC) in the form of
the current discriminatory guidelines.
Chicago's Windy City Gay Chorus has
also been chosen to perform in the 1986
Central Division conference and is bearing the pressure of ACDA to perform without "gay" in their name as well.
The lawsuit is a crucial part of the strategy being implemented in the issue with
ACDA. Another integral part of this strategy involves informing ACDA of the
amount of support the Gay Men's Chorus
has from gay and non-gay organizations,
businesses, politicians, other choral
groups and individuals. Anyone wishing
to offer support to GMCLA in the form of a
letter may address their correspondence to
Hugh Sanders and the Executive Committee, American Choral Directors Association, P.O. Box 5310, Lawton, Oklahoma
The American Choral Directors Association is the professional organization in
the United States which directors of choruses belong. Most of its 12,000 members
are directors of school and church choirs.
The Houston Gay Health Advocates will
hold their January meeting at the Montrose Counseling Center, 900 Lovett, Suite
201, on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m.
The meeting will feature a panel presentation, followed by a discussion, of the
problems (and possible solutions) arising
from the present refusal of nursing homes
and extended care facilities to accept
patients with AIDS.
The panel, featuring representatives
from the KS/AIDS Foundation and the
medical profession, will be presenting the
facts at the meeting.
Further information may be obtained
by calling Steve Burton, HGHA president,
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