Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Reflections from the heart
A Place for All?
by Mubarak Dahir

This article shared 1033 times since Wed Feb 2, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

When I read that a group of pro-life gays and lesbians succeeded in marching this year with the March for Life, the annual march in Washington, D.C. which protests the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision establishing abortion rights, I at first had mixed feelings.

I am resolutely pro-choice, and have been distressed at the more recent chipping away of abortion rights. And as a gay man, it's easy for me to see how the gay and lesbian rights movement and the pro-choice movement share similar values at their cores: Both are fighting for the freedom to control our own bodies. Some gay and lesbian organizations go even further, including abortion rights as part of their mission or platform.

Furthermore, many of those who are the core supporters of the pro-life movement are religious fundamentalists who are long-time enemies of gays and lesbians.

A group of pro-life gays and lesbians hit me as an oxymoron.

And yet, I found myself cheering as I read the account of how the determined members of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians ( PLAGAL ) thwarted both the march organizers who tried to keep them out of the parade, and the police who had threatened to arrest them if they did march.

PLAGAL members were denied their request to participate as a group in the March for Life. March organizers informed the group that individuals were welcome to take part in the event, but that the group's blue and pink banner—spelling out the organization's gay and lesbian identity—was forbidden. Furthermore, Miss Nellie ( how's that for ironic ) Gray, the March for Life president, threatened members of PLAGAL with arrest if they defied the prohibition.

According to a press release from PLAGAL, the group's officers and some of its members assembled at the corner of 15th and Constitution Avenue at noon the day of the parade, with the intent of entering the parade from that point. PLAGAL members were approached by D.C. police, who said they had orders to prevent PLAGAL from marching with their banner.

After the officers demanded that PLAGAL remove their banner because it contained the words "Lesbian" and "Gay," PLAGAL former President Moses Remedios slapped a "censored" label over the pink triangle and crossed out the offending words. PLAGAL members report they then avoided the police barricade simply by moving the banner a block up the street. After entering the march, they stripped off the tape covering the words "gay" and "lesbian," but left the "censored" sticker on their banner as a sign of protest.

I couldn't help but be happy for them. The parallels to gays and lesbians fighting to walk openly in St. Patrick's Day parades kept hitting me over the head. In fact, it was the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group, that march organizers cited as their authority to ban PLAGAL.

Sure, I detested their message, and the march they worked so hard to be a part of. But if gays and lesbians are going to absent from the March for Life, I want it to be because none of us choose to be there, not because we are not allowed to be there.

We in the gay and lesbian community should also learn a lesson from the deplorable tactics of the pro-life march organizers. If our own movement is going to fully mature, we must not foist any set of political, religious or personal beliefs on our members that they have to "adhere" to in order to win acceptance or support.

We're getting better at that. As a movement we have recently come to accept, even welcome and sometimes champion, gays in groups that seem to be an odd fit. One obvious example is the Log Cabin club, the organization of gay and lesbian Republicans. In the past decade, the gay and lesbian movement has generally come to accept that having gay people work in all sectors of the political arena helps our common cause.

But you don't have to search too hard to find a plethora of organizations that gays and lesbians are fighting to be members of despite the apparent ill fit. Dignity, the gay Catholic group, comes to mind. While many religious groups frown on gays and lesbians, the Catholic Church has worked against gays and lesbians from the highest levels. The pope even once told Catholics they had a duty to discriminate against gays and lesbians, to help protect families. And the Catholic Church has never been shy about venturing into politics, including its efforts in many cities to thwart pro-gay legislation. And yet, gay and lesbian Catholics continue to pray for recognition, and, as a community, we offer them support.

In the case of gays in the military, we have made an antithetical organization the poster-child of our struggle for equal rights. Personally, I do not know why any gay or lesbian person would want to enter the military. Yet, as a community, today we would never think of withdrawing support from that cause. ( Indeed, I would argue we have poured too much time and energy into that effort, but that's another column. )

There is essentially no difference between the struggle that PLAGAL members face and those that have been faced by gay Republicans, gay Catholics, and other such groups. They are all fighting battles on two fronts: On one hand, they face discrimination from institutions that abhor them for being gay and lesbian. And on the other hand, the gay and lesbian community rejects them for their political or personal beliefs.

It's time we in the gay and lesbian community stop applying a double standard. If we don't, how are we any different from the St. Patrick's Day organizers or anti-gay church leaders or the Department of Defense?

Mubarak Dahir receives e—mail at

This article shared 1033 times since Wed Feb 2, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Indiana Gov. Holcomb signs bill banning most abortions 2022-08-06
- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that would ban most abortions—making it the first state to pass a restrictive law against the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this ...

Gay News

Bailey faces backlash after abortion/Holocaust comment 2022-08-03
- Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is facing backlash after footage from 2017 showed him comparing abortion to the Holocaust, according to NBC Chicago. "The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn't even ...

Gay News

Voters preserve abortion rights in red state Kansas 2022-08-03
- In the first abortion-related election since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kansas voters have rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have specified that the right to terminate a pregnancy is not protected, ...

Gay News

Showrunners send abortion-protection letters to Hollywood execs 2022-08-02
- Recently, more than 400 TV creators and showrunners—all of them women (including Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Natasha Lyonne and Ava DuVernay)—sent letters to top executives at Hollywood studios ...

Gay News

UpRising Bakery cancels more events; Indiana passes severe abortion ban 2022-07-31
- There have more setbacks for the LGBTQ+-owned UpRising Bakery and Cafe, where damage still remains after the Lake in the Hills establishment was vandalized last weekend with hate messages, ABC 7 Chicago reported. Owner Corinna Sac ...

Gay News

Texas lawmaker/attorney targets Chicago law firm over subject of abortion 2022-07-28
- A Texas legislator who is part of a legislative caucus that recently accused the Chicago-based Sidley Austin law firm of appearing to be "complicit in illegal abortions" is an attorney employed by another major U.S. law ...

Gay News

Indiana Senate committee adds restrictions to abortion bill 2022-07-27
- An Indiana Senate committee voted to add criminal penalties to the bill that would ban most abortions, after severe backlash to the bill from anti-abortion groups who thought it didn't go far enough to restrict abortion, ...

Gay News

Indiana lawmakers to discuss abortion, other issues 2022-07-25
- On Monday, July 25, Indiana legislators will meet at the Statehouse for a special session on increasing abortion restrictions in the state, among other issues, according to NPR. If the ban takes place, Indiana would join ...

Gay News

Schakowsky arrested during abortion-rights rally; Quigley takes legislative action 2022-07-21
- Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakosky and more than a dozen other Democratic members of Congress were arrested by Capitol Police on July 19 during an abortion-rights protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court, CBS News reported. U.S. Capitol ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Wisconsin affiliates to partner to increase abortion access 2022-07-14
-- From a press release - Waukegan, IL—Nearly three weeks following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaders of the Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) affiliates held ...

Gay News

Biden signs executive order preserving abortion access 2022-07-08
- On July 8, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that takes steps to preserve abortion access. However, he underscored that it would take political change to restore the rights removed when the Supreme Court overturned ...

Gay News

Wisconsin governor challenges abortion ban 2022-06-29
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the state's 173-year-old ban on abortions, asking a state court to declare the law unenforceable, ABC 7 Chicago reported. In ...

Gay News

HRC on how the end of Roe v. Wade impacts the LGBTQ+ community 2022-06-28
-- From a press release. Video below. - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in light of the dangerous Supreme Court decision in Dobbs ...

Gay News

Supreme Court justice says marriage-equality ruling should be reconsidered 2022-06-24
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion regarding the revocation of the constitutional right to abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court "should reconsider" its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex ...

Gay News

Abortion decision called 'full scale assault' on rights 2022-06-24
- In a ruling that one legal activist said will put LGBT rights "on the chopping block," the U.S. Supreme Court today (June 24) ruled 6 to 3 that the U.S. Constitution "does not prohibit" states from ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.