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Montrose Voice, No. 282, March 21, 1986
File 006
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Montrose Voice, No. 282, March 21, 1986 - File 006. 1986-03-21. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 28, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5059/show/5035.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1986-03-21). Montrose Voice, No. 282, March 21, 1986 - File 006. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5059/show/5035

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 282, March 21, 1986 - File 006, 1986-03-21, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 28, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5059/show/5035.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 282, March 21, 1986
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
  • Wyche, Linda
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date March 21, 1986
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 006
Transcript MARCH 21, 1986/MONTROSE VOICE 5 Controversial Documentary to Air Tuesday on Channel 8 Fabian Bridges: 'Let Me Be Somebody' By Pete Diamond Montrose Voice Staff Reporter On Nov. 17, 1985, a 30-year-old man who died of AIDS was given a pauper's burial in the Harris County cemetary. His family was unable to pay for a funeral service or attend the burial. Despite the controversy he created during his last months of life and the AIDS hysteria that followed, he died quietly and in relative obscurity. Fabian Bridges, an alleged male prosi- tute, became the center of "a media circus" last summer when said he would continue to have sex even though he had been diagnosed as having AIDS, When producers of the PBS documentary series Frontline heard of this, they scratched their original plans to do an AIDS program on four patients. "He was just to be part of our report until, during an interview in Cleveland, Bridges said he was still being promiscuous with other men," David Fanning, Frontline executive producer, said at a PBS briefing reported by the Houston Chronicle earlier this year. It was at this time that WCCO-TV, the Minneapolis public television station that had been filming Bridges, notified Cleveland health officials of Bridges' statement. From this point on, WCCO reporters and cameramen closely followed Bridges and became part of the story themselves. They backtracked Bridges to Houston when he left a $29,000 a year job and then to Indianapolis and Cleveland, Ohio, where he was turned away by his mother and sisters. Although able to allude reporters and return to Houston, Bridges later contacted the TV crew to ask for their financial assistance. The crew immediately returned to Houston and once again began their filming of Bridges. The film collected by the reporters has, since Bridges' death, been made into a controversial hour-long documentary, which is scheduled to be shown on Tuesday, March 25, from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Channel 8. A live panel discussion focusing on different aspects of the documentary will follow, with speakers from Houston, Denver and San Francisco participating. Some ofthe controversy stemming from the documentary involve journalistic ethics: WCCO reporters admit offering Bridges money to pay for such items as food and lodging. Gay activists in Houston, as well as Minneapolis, have charged WCCO of using Bridges and manipulat ing the story of his plight. In October 1985, a WCCO producer was quoted as saying, "The man is indigent. We made a choice <to pay) on humanitarian grounds. We figured if we didn't do that, he'd find somebody to stay with and maybe have sex with them." Other people, such as John Barnich, an attorney for the KS/AIDS Foundation of Houston, who also took Bridges into his home, offered a different interpretation. "We're not dealing with a documentary but a paid performance. They made Fabian a media consultant," Barnich says. He explained that when Bridges was admitted to Houston's Jefferson Davis Hospital, where he eventually died, he stood 6' 2", weighed 126 pounds and was suffering from a severe case of rectal and genital herpes. Considering Bridges deteriorating physical condition, Barnich says "I feel he could not have given it away let alone sold it" (in reference to Bridges' alleged prostitution). Furthermore, Barnich adds that a person suffering from AIDS generally has a greatly diminished sexual drive. "What more appropriate form of denial (that he has AIDS) than to say he is still having sex and getting paid for it," Barnich asks. During the documentary, Bridges says that when he was diagnosed as having AIDS in July, his "world just started crumbling." "It's hard for me to sit here and realize I have it," Bridges says during an interview with WCCO reporters. He goes on to say "I guess I'm just at the point where I don't give a damn."Later, Bridges tells the WCCO crew he has had sex with a man in Cleveland, but did not let the man know he had AIDS. Ray Hill, a Houston gay activist, said the sexual encounter Bridges describes in the documentary came across as a "sex story." "It appeared to me as a Homosexuals Anonymous story of'tell a spicier story and get a greater reward.'" Frontline producers do not see it this way, however. They maintain the documentary serves several purposes, including raising various questions about the repsonsibility of health departments and people with AIDS, informing the public what the risks are concerning AIDS and what safe sexual practices are. Hill and Barnich do not dispute that the documentary raises the issue of repsonsibility. They agree that a lack of responsibility existed throughout Bridges' ordeal until he returned to Houston and was given a place to stay by Barnich. The two men also agreed the documentary does not accomplish the latter purposes as expressed by Frontline producers. "Fabian comes across as a poor, not too bright, stalking menace who is trying to spread his disease," says Hill. "Overall, the documentary reinforces every fear and myth that the most radical population of people hold against gay people and AIDS." In the documentary, a reference is made to the fact that the KS/AIDS Foundation refused offering Bridges meals or shelter. Barnich says, however, one ofthe reasons the foundation was unable to offer Bridges shelter at the McAdory House was because of media attention that would likely be focused on the house. When Barnich decided to let Bridges stay with him, the media instead turned their attention to Barnich's house. At this point, the Minneapolis TV crew returned home. "Bridges was in the care of the gay community and they wanted it called off." producer Fanning said. "The crew was not with him when he died...This crew was very bruised and battered by what was going on. They didn't know what to do any more than anyone else did." Barnich disputes this as propaganda, saying the TV crew was more concerned about their documentary than Bridges welfare. "Off the street Fabian wasn't news. They didn't want him off the street," he says. "They (WCCO) created havoc in Houston and dumped it in the lap ofthe foundation. They left with a documentary that will probably win awards and left us to deal with Fabian. ... with the AIDS hysteria, ... Louie Welch, ... the quarantine issue, ... and the health card issue." Hill adds that "when you watch the documentary, try to place yourself in Fabian's shoes and try to view it from that perspective." By doing so, it might be easier to understand what Fabian Bridges (a man who in his final days of life found what Barnich calls "unconditional love from two old senile cats") was feeling and what he needed. As Fabian said during an interview in Cleveland with WCCO, "Let me go down in history as being I am somebody, somebody that'll be respected, somebody who's appreciated and somebody who can be related to. There's a whole lot of people who just go, they're not even on the map, they just go." Group Deals with "Life Issues" Women's Network Begins 2 New Programs By Connie Woods Montrose Voice Staff Reporter The Women's Network, a social/ educational/ support alternative located at 900 I/Ovett, has announced two new programs for lesbians in the Houston community. The Life Issues Group, which meets on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., offers women a place to talk about problems in a group setting. "The Life Issues group is designed for lesbians where they can talk with each other about 'coming out,' family or any problems they are having to deal with," said Karen Hanson, the director of Women's Network. "It's one ofthe few places that lesbians can talk about what's going on with their lives ... where you don' have to explain about being gay," she added. She went on to say that group therapy can be very helpful because members can get feedback from their peers. "It is confidential so no one has to worry about what they say," she explained. The second new program which will be offered is Lesbian Couples. The meetings will be held on Monday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Montrose Counseling Center. "There are no other groups for lesbian couples where they can talk and deal with their relationship," said Hanson. The group will be led by professional therapists. She did point out that both members of the relationship must attend the meet- She explained that the group will focus on communication skills to learn more about one's self and to express what one wants in the relationship. "The point is for women to talk about their lives and their relationships," Hanson said. "It's an opportunity for women to talk about what they want in their relationships—the closeness, distance, intimacy, sexuality, what they like and don't like. It's very difficult for people to be honest about what they want and what they don't want," she added. Hanson pointed out that it is difficult for women in particular to be honest. "They put other people's needs first. It's just accepted that way," she said. She focused im the fact that the only role models for lesbian couples is the male/ female relationship. "They are not clear about they want. They don't feel the right to get what they want if it is in conflict with the other person," she continued. She also pointed out that lesbian couples do not get the support that straight couples get. "The only support the relationship can get is from the lesbian community," Hanson said. Diana Storms, a staff therapist with a Master of Social Work degree, and Carmen Zepeda, a staff therapist and clinical social worker, will be conducting the two programs. Hanson also talked about the Women's Network meeting held March 12 at which time the women discussed death following the murder of Marion Pantzer, owner of "Just" Marion and Lynn's. "We need to talk about loss and to talk about our feelings and to trust each other enough to talk it," she said. "What Marion stood for is the same thing the Women's Network stands for. She represented what the network believes and is." Hanson emphasized the importance of these two new programs for the lesbian community. "The main point is that this has not been offered before," she added. The cost ofthe programs is based on a sliding scale. Interested people can call the counseling center at 529-0037 for the initial interview. MERIDIEN LEASING INC. '86 BMW '86 MERCEDES BENZ 125 52flf 7351 309/mo 395/mo 569/mo 86 CADILLAC DtVille 329/mo '86 MAZDA 190E 300E 560SI 349/mo 498fmo 725/mo '86 PORSCHE 398/1*0 498/mo '86 TOYOTA '86 HONDA Accor- 159/mo Prelude 179/mo '86 IAGUAR X|6 5691-0 '86 BUICK C-imrv Celie* CALL LEE BORBA (713) 975-1872 NO DOWN PAYMENT • LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENT • CASH FOR YOUR TRADE
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