Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Reflections from the heart
A Place for All?
by Mubarak Dahir
2000-02-02

This article shared 960 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 MubarakDah@aol.com


This article shared 960 times since Wed Feb 2, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago pro-choice activists outraged by SCOTUS' refusal to overturn Texas abortion ban 2021-09-03
--From a multi-organization press release - Calling it a blow to women and all abortion rights supporters nationwide, coalition calls for reversal of the Texas Law SB8, and demands "No Abortion Bans Anywhere: Not Now; Not Ever! Defend Roe!" Several Chicago groups ...


Gay News

Law banning abortions after six weeks is now set in Texas 2021-09-01
- Legislation banning abortions after about six weeks is now the law in Texas, effectively ending Roe v. Wade protections in the state, NPR reported. Late on Sept. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the law. ...


Gay News

U.S. Sen. Warnock to headline Personal PAC's annual luncheon 2021-07-19
--From a press release - U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) is slated to be a featured speaker at the Personal PAC 28th Annual Awards Luncheon on Wed., Oct. 20. The event will take place virtually and feature several pro-choice leaders. More ...


Gay News

Attorneys general challenge Tennessee abortion law 2021-04-09
- A group of 20 attorneys general filed an amicus brief in a case challenging a Tennessee law that requires women to have two in-person appointments at least 48 hours apart before having an abortion, The Hill ...


Gay News

Removing "Global Gag" will benefit millions of women worldwide, leaders comment 2021-01-28
--From press releases - On Jan. 28, President Joe Biden signed a presidential memorandum that will reverse restrictions on abortion access domestically and abroad imposed and expanded by the Trump administration, CNN.com reported. ...


Gay News

WORLD Honduran Congress, deportation, Canadian support, athlete comes out 2021-01-24
- On Jan. 21, members of the Honduran Congress voted to amend the constitution, making it much harder to reverse existing hard-line bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, as lawmakers double down on socially conservative priorities, Openly ...


Gay News

Hyde Amendment included in House LHHS Appropriations Bill, NCLR responds 2020-07-08
--From a NCLR press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill that includes the Hyde Amendment, which bars programs from Federal agencies ...


Gay News

Pro-LGBTQ groups respond to SCOTUS ruling on Louisiana abortion law 2020-06-29
- On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled five to four (with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberal contingent) to block a controversial Louisiana abortion law in the case June Medical Services v. ...


Gay News

Roe v. Wade plaintiff said she was paid for anti-abortion stance 2020-05-20
- Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, came out against abortion in 1995, stunning the world—but a deathbed documentary reveals that she only switched sides for money, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

Planned Parenthood opens new center in Lake County 2020-05-12
- Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is building on its 100-year history of providing essential healthcare by announcing the opening of a new, state-of-the-art health center in Waukegan that will enhance ...


Gay News

Texas abortion providers take case to Supreme Court 2020-04-11
- On April 11, Texas abortion providers—represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Lawyering Project and Planned Parenthood Federation of America—asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take emergency action regarding ...


Gay News

Texas abortion restrictions upheld during pandemic 2020-04-07
- On April 7, a federal appeals court ruled, by a vote of two to one, in favor of Texas and allowed an executive order that restricts abortion access during the coronavirus pandemic to remain in effect, ...


Gay News

Courts stand up for women's reproductive rights during Coronavirus Pandemic 2020-03-31
Multistate coalition formed to ensure abortion remains "Essential" service - NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after a federal judge ensured that women in the State of Texas and those all over the country can continue to access ...


Gay News

Coalition of states fighting Texas on blocking abortions during pandemic 2020-03-27
- NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that she will be building and leading a multistate coalition of attorneys general from around the country to ensure women nationwide can continue to have ...


Gay News

Broad coalition to rally March 4 to defend the right to abortion 2020-02-28
- As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments about a Louisiana abortion case that could severely limit or overturn the right to abortion, a who's who of local pro-choice groups will rally with 'Defend the Right to ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.