HOUSTON VOICE / JUNE 21, 1996 13
What Is Pride?
Pride Knows No Borders. That is this
year's theme for the annual celebration
we all know as Lesbian and Gay Pride
Week. All week there have been events in
honor of this ritual that will culminate
with the parade this Sunday. Aside from
all of this, what seems to be remiss is the
reason for which we are celebrating.
All too often the Gay and Lesbian community capitulates the pride ceremony's
origins into nothing more than a block
Granted, our community is celebrating its culture's pride and that is important. It is equally important that our community understands the significance
of this celebration in terms of our heritage—past and present. Many people in
the community are unaware of Stonewall and it's historical impact on our
civil liberties. Nor are they aware of the
inroads that are currently being fought on
a daily basis by many individuals who
have decidedly taken an active role in the
political process to ensure that we as a
community have a voice. Too many
younger members of our community are
completely unaware of the laborious
efforts that many of the "elders"—anyone over 30—have involved themselves
with in the name of obtaining equal rights
for Gays and Lesbians. As a result, some
of the freedoms, and most of the tolerance, that exists for us today stemmed from
the efforts put forth by those community
"elders." Our community owes debts
of gratitude to the following individuals for their (often unheralded) efforts
on behalf of our cause: Gary Van Ooteghem, Marion Coleman, Ray Hill,
Annise Parker. Bill Scott. Marion Panzer
and our very own editor Deborah Bell. If
these names are not familiar to you, they
should be. Irrespective of their politics, these individuals contributions
to our community are immeasurable.
They are an indelible part of our history.
And they are not alone, there are numerous
other individuals who deserve mention.
Unfortunately, the fight for gay and lesbian civil rights is far from over and unless
the next generation is willing to get
involved and pursue that agenda, we may
lose the battle. Perhaps then, the importance of community involvement would
resonate. I certainly hope our community does not have to endure such wake-up
calls in order to mobilize themselves into
action. That would be a travesty. So, celebrate Lesbian and Gay Pride with all the
fervor you can muster but ask yourself
during the process what you have done to
contribute to the successes to date.
To be sure, not all of our community is
resting on their laurels, just the majority. There are many fine young individuals who are working within the parameters that "pride has no borders." The
Houston Gay and Lesbian Political
Caucus (HGLPC), the African-American Lesbian and Gay Alliance of Houston (AALGA), the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas (LCR-TX), the Human Rights
Campaign (HRC), etc. All of these organizations and a host of others are able to
exist because of their dedicated volunteers. Although each organization may
have different approaches, they are all
working for the same cause, gay and lesbian civil rights. That in itself is worth
Two Who Lead
Houston is lucky to have two leaders in
this community who have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt their
commitment to equality. Like the aforementioned leaders, these two individuals are the rising leaders of today and
their accomplishments to date speak for
themselves. I am of course talking about
HGLPC President Pat Gandy and LCR-
TX state President Dale Carpenter.
Pat Gandy as President of HGLPC has
been impressive. She has used her power
in that position to make sure that our community has a voice. Gandy has been astute
enough to realize that our community is
diverse in many ways. Some of us have
children, some of us own property, etc.
Gandy has made a concerted effort to
ensure that our concerns are addressed in
many facets of public policy. Although
Pat Gandy and I would probably disagree on most issues, she has earned my
respect and that of the community's
through her actions. She is a woman who
means what she says and stands firm based
on her principles. That is called leadership.
Dale Carpenter's term as state president of LCR-TX has been equally as
impressive. Carpenter has only been in
his position for less than a year and he has
catapulted Log Cabin into a major force
as a gay and lesbian civil rights organization in the state of Texas. Like Gandy,
Carpenter has demonstrated his
uncanny ability at leadership, something that is all to often remiss in today's
political circles. Carpenter, an attorney in Houston, is one of the most dedicated individuals I have ever met with
respect to obtaining equal rights for us.
While it is not politically popular in our
community to be a Republican, it is precisely within that party that the bigotry
must be confronted. Carpenter knows
that too well and has had the courage to
take on such a daunting task without a
moment's hesitation. Log Cabin's current dispute with the GOP demonstrates
his unwavering commitment towards
achieving the group's goals. Keep in
mind, that it is far more difficult to confront your adversaries on their home turf
than it is to work for inclusion in an organization who is not as vehemently
opposed to your agenda. I consider myself
to be lucky indeed to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Carpenter. It has
been inspiring beyond comprehension.
I would like to remind my readers that
neither Gandy or Carpenter receive
remuneration for their efforts. Nor does
anyone else who participates in those
organizations. Both of these leaders do
so out of conviction and they should be
respected for their commitment to our
community, regardless of their respective political ideology. Equally
important to any organization are the
members and volunteers of those
groups, such as Matthew Huston
(HGLPC) and Tirey Counts (LCR-TX). I am
not attempting to diminish their contributions, to do so would be inappropriate. Motivation stems from good leadership. Without it, it would he difficult
for any group to accomplish much. Gandy
and Carpenter have a vision for their
organizations and the depth to follow it
through. For that we can all be proud.
Finally, the biggest disappointment
to our community of late was President
Clinton's announcement that he would
sign the pending Defense of Marriage
Act, if it is passes Congress. It was an act of
placing election year triumph based on
short-term calculations over long-term
goals. This bill does not just deny us the
ability to get married, it denies federal
tax, welfare, pension, health, immigration, and survivor's benefits to
same-sex couples. Such an act of abandonment towards one of your most ardent
group of supporters at their hour of need
is cowardice and deserves to be castigated.
* Please Designate a Driver *
Sunday, June 23rd
Following the Pride Parade,
The Men of Summer present:
The Party 96'
After being punished by
the summer sun!
Keep Your Cool With:
« 6 Giant Air Conditioners!
* 8 Hot Bartenders to
fulfill your needs!
«s Hot Damn Frozen Over
waiting on the Patio!
And You will Sweat with:
4 Sinsational Dancers in
the Cages of Decadance!
* Our Steaming Laser Lit
* Sinful Dance Music!
ssThe Lowest Regular
$1.25 Well, $1.75 Beer,
$3.00 Call & $1.25 Schnaaps!
ALL NIGHT-EVERY NIGHT!
Pulse Pay Now Available!
710 Pacific Street
If You re In
.75 Cents Well
$1.00 Draft Pints
2524 McKinney fthe Old Axiom Space)
(13 • 237*0029