A Weekly Community News Publication
Gay Texans march to "Stop the Hate"
An estimated 5,000 people from all over the state marched in Austin Sunday
to urge passage of a hate crime bill pending in the legislature.
FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
(AUSTIN)—They came io bring a serious, even somber message—to call on
[he state's lawmakers to enact legis-
laiion revising Texas' hate crimes
law to provide specific protections
for gay men and lesbians. But the prevailing mood among the 5000 or so marchers who gathered under unseasonably clear skies and a scorching sun
last Sunday, April 2. seemed almost
celebratory, as the Texas March to
Stop the Violence. Stop the Hate
wound its way to the Capitol in a kaleidoscope of rainbow flags and multicolored contingency banners with a
pulsating unity and pride.
["he message was recaptured, how
in remarks from ihe podium at the
pirited rally that followed the march
the Capitol lawn. "We are here
Fighting a hateful tide in the main
Homophobia Put In Perspective
By SHERI COHEN DARBONNE
Hougton Voice Editor
opened with an inspirational message
from a fiery evangelist, thundering
disapproval for a certain societal ill
and praise lor the hope of its eradication in the dutiful hands of the faithful
in a single breath. In the audience, a sea
of rapt faces—ministers in collar,
suit — and-tied businesslike men
scribbling on legal pads, keenly
groomed, sitcom — wholesome ladies
Education, 'Boy to Boy' - Pg 2
Gay Week proclaimed at UH - Pg 5
Yes, we are in for a fight - Pg 9
Bering Foundation: support group
grows up - Pg 14
[ Review "Milennium Approaches" at
the Alley-Pg 16
haired seniors —signaled its agreement. America is in the throes of a mad.
moral crisis that must be stopped, but
with love and faith, it is possible for
decern to overcome.
No, this meeting was not another event
churned out by the propaganda
machine of the Radical Right. Rather.
it was the second "Healing the Hurt:
Conference of Homophobia" sponsored by the Houston chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
(PFLAG)—a hopefully annual event
that puts the very real problem of homophobia in perspective, and directs the
fight against il to the proper battlefield—the American mainstream.
The conference, geared primarily
lo mainstream professionals affiliated with "support communities."
institutions and services—such as
education, law enforcement, social
work, health care and mental health
and, with a particularly intense
emphasis this year, religion, is unique
in its focus. Homophobia—not homosexuality—is the topic to be dealt with
in this forum, the societal problem
that needs attention and discussion
Over 600 people attended this year's
event at the Sheraton Astrodome Hotel
last Friday and Saturday—doubling
the roll from last year's first confer
ence The conference featured a long
list ol nationally prominent speakers and presenters; workshops and
panels examined ways to reduce homophobia in schools, churches, and the
work place, among other issues.
(Continued on Page 6)
because we are angrj. we are sad, we are
hurt that some of our fellow Texans.
and a growing number of them, are
choosing to act on iheir'hatred and fear
of us." declared Letitia Gomez of the
National Latino Lesbian and Gay
"We petition the Legislature to
strengthen the hate crimes law and recognize that no citizen should become
a target of violence because of his or
her sexual orientation." said State
Rep. Glen Maxey. Texas' only openly
Two years ago, Texas lawmakers
passed a hate crime law that enhances
penalties for crimes committed due
to 'bias or prejudice." Prosecutors and police, however, have said the
statute is too vague and may be unconstitutional.
Activists from all over the stale came
to Austin lasl weekend to support a
i bill currently pending in ihe Legislature lhat enhances penalties for
1 crimes motivated by prejudice or
hatred on the basis of "race, color, disability, religion, national origin or
| sexual orientation."
The legislation has been a central
priority of the state's gay lobby in ihe
wake of a highly publicized string of
hate-moti vaied murders here in
1994. Eight gay men were lost their
lives in Texas last year, in horrific
crimes thai altracted national media
(Continued on page 3)
Play BalL. The Montrose Softball League opened ifs 16th year of play
Sunday, April 2. Pictured, The Houston Voice Team; Story on Page 13
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