Banning adoptions of children by gay people?
Killing an 18-year-old boy in cold blood (probably) for dressing as a woman??
How do we sleep at night???
Nah, we don't mean, "How do we queers sleep, because we should be afraid ..." No, no, no. (Hell hath no fury as a queen or dyke scorned.) We mean: How do we as a society sleep knowing that senseless violence still rules the roost. When do we people of compassion, heart, and just plain live-and-let-live common sense stand up and say, "No! Goddamn it! This is not acceptable!!!!"???
Targeting specific audiences is not our style. We feel that if you are interested in this column, you probably already feel some sense of outrage over the impending Chisum Bill banning "gay adoptions" and over the recent murder of D. Scott Fuller. But we are going to come right out and encourage you to attend or support the events listed later on this page.
We especially encourage folks who feel that they might not ever be affected by these ominous issues: If you are gay and not even considering adopting, consider the ramifications of this bill and its disastrous affects on not only the gay community, but also on the adoption process and the nature of privacy and families in general.
We encourage folks (gay or nay) who may look down the nose at a young man who dressed like a woman, and get over your feelings that "he shouldn't have been where he was" or "maybe he was asking for trouble," and stand up and support those who loved him and others like him, who may suffer future pain for being who they are.
We encourage everyone to forget the divisions between gay and straight. Educate yourself about the house bill and the hate it represents. Understand what clearer hate crimes legislation means. Find out what both issues mean to people you love and to the future of your own rights. Get out and fight.
While we were mulling over our own options (stealth bomber? MIRVed warhead? hissy fit?), we were knocked back into reality by the song, "This Kind of Love" by local artist, ex-Two Nice Girl Meg Hentges (lyrics appear in our humble li'l memorial to Mr. Fuller). The recently re-released Gay National Anthem speaks of suffering the slings and arrows of idiots in high school, the pulpit, and just about everywhere. The turn-the-other-cheek sentiment of the lyrics inspired a change of heart in our violent soul. A sense of zen, calm, well-being, whatever you want to call it -- a Gandhi-like resolve that violence is not the answer -- made us disband our arsenal of violent thoughts.
We couldn't help but think of MLK and his recent b'day. King studied Gandhi -- knew his routine inside out. We thought of the ol', bald, dhoti'ed one and remembered one of his first experiences of prejudice in South Africa -- traveling as a young man in 1893 and getting kicked off the train in Pietermaritzburg for refusing, in his Rosa Parks-inspiring way, to move to a third-class seat as mandated at that time by the color of his skin. Despite the climate of a blood-soaked South Africa (no picnic for the burgeoning Indian or "coloured" population in the region), he remained in the KwaZulu-Natal province to practice law. There he began his nonviolent antics, leading marches and sparking strikes for a decade before returning to India a controversial figure, a hero, and Mahatma' (great soul).
While our aspirations aren't so global, it would still be nice to be able to forgive the hateful and push on. Fortunately, Austin is a place where that can happen. The connection between all of these events below, coordinated independently of one another, leads us to cock an eyebrow at synchronicity and the odd turn of coincidental events.
The world works in weird ways, no?
This weekend, Sun, Jan 24, 3pm, KLRU Teen Leaders host a unique event, a Free Sneak Preview for High School Students of the upcoming I'll Make Me a World PBS series celebrating African-Americans in the arts this century at KLRU's Studio 6A, 2504-B Whitis. 475-9050.
The Rally for Hope/Tribute to James Byrd & Victims of Hate Crime, Sat, Jan 30, 1pm at the south steps of the Capitol. The event is brought to you by a number of churches and religious groups in congress with the NAACP, NOW, LGRL, AFL-CIO, ALLGO, P-FLAG, and the rest of the alphabet. That evening, join the gang of acronymic activists for a Fundraising Receptionat theLazy Oak Inn, 211 W. Live Oak. All proceeds will go to the James Byrd Scholarship Fund in honor of the man killed in a hate crime last year in Jasper, Texas. The Byrd family will be in attendance. LGRL is encouraging folks to come out and honor the memory of D. Scott Fuller here as well. 474-5475.
* This March, Texans will protest the idiotic legislation being presented this session (Chisum's House Bill 382 and Talton's HB415) that would not only forbid homosexuals from adopting or fostering children (382) but would also require the removal of children from already existing foster homes in which parents are determined to be gay or bisexual (415). The March for Our Families will take place Sun, Mar (get it? March) 21. In the meantime, call LGRL and get involved, or at least write to your rep. 474-5475.
* Don't wait 'til March! Come to the Families Benefit Dance this Sat, Jan 23, 4-9pm, at Nia Space, 3212 S. Congress. Come to dance or to find out who to write at the Lege. Bring $10 per person or $20 per family (however you define family). 443-3013.
* Other House Bill happenings happen Sun-Mon, Jan 24-25 as the Texas Coalition for Adoption Resources & Education (TxCARE) hosts the Texas Adoptee Rights Benefit (Sun, Jan 24, 2pm, Public Domain Theatre, 807 Congress) & Rally (Mon, Jan 25, 11:30am, Capitol steps). The issue is disclosure as adoption activists rally in support of HB13, to guarantee adoptees the right to access their original birth certificates. Celebrity adoptee Christina Crawford, of Mommie Dearest fame, will be the featured speaker at the Sunday benefit. 800/878-1128, x16.
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