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SUPPORT VERBENA AT FUNDRAISER

Dear SGN:

I was quite surprised by a phone call I got today about Verbena Health and the embezzlement crisis. Having worked with Mo Malkin on the Mayor's Advisory Council for Sexual Minorities and as a volunteer for Verbena, I am deeply saddened by this event.

I received the call from Verbena Health because I decided to celebrate my birthday by holding a fundraiser at my home this coming Sunday, May 18. I am choosing not to cancel because now, more than ever, Verbena needs the support and encouragement from our community.

Years ago, desperately ill and without insurance, I turned to a local clinic that serves the general community of un- and underinsured individuals. When the doctor learned I was Lesbian, she turned me away with very cruel words. There is no way to describe the depth of my despair at that time. If only Verbena Health had existed then, my journey toward wellness would surely have been greatly eased.

Verbena Health is not the first, nor will it be the last charitable organization to face such a challenge. It is my sincere hope that this will only serve to strengthen this wonderful clinic as it implements more strenuous safeguards and auditing.

I invite the LGBTQ community to take a stand that this is the opportunity for Verbena Health to become stronger, and, ultimately more successful in serving our sisters in need.

Those interested in attending or contributing to the fundraiser may contact me at avilynnpwyll@yahoo.com.

Avilynn Pwyll, RN, MA



CRIMINAL HETEROPHOBIA IN GLBT SOFTBALL?


I'm still so angry, I can't even type&.

A crime was committed on May 4th during a game in the Gay and Lesbian softball league in front of 22 witnesses who were within a range of two feet and eight feet away and refuted by another dozen who were 40 to 70 feet away....

Right in front of my eyes, my coach was attacked by a softball umpire, a sacred cow that was one of the original members of our league in 1980 and was elevated to our league's Hall of Fame on his 25th Anniversary. I honestly would never have believed it had I not seen it for my own eyes and heard the ridiculous accusations being leveled by the umpire. When the attack took place, a member of my team called 911 to report the assault while being taunted by the other team, "B--ch! Hang up the phone you stupid fu---ng B--ch! This is not an emergency!"

However, since the umpire is a middle-aged gentleman originally from our own league (the umpires, for the most part, are simply members of the greater community) and our coach is straight, young, muscle-bound, athletically talented and confident, he has been branded the aggressor by those who did not even witness it.

Seattle is host to the Gay Softball World Series and this threatens to become its Tibet. Our coach was asked to leave the league "for the good of the Series," which he will not.

The narcissism in our community is so evident when you realize that if a straight bro joins my league, he's only a good guy if he's not as athletically skilled as the Gay guys, who need to feel superior.

The misogyny is heartbreaking, especially considering how hard I've worked to convince gals from Women Only leagues to join our mixed league.

The heterophobia serves to prove how contradictory our community is. We ask for equality and acceptance and as Gays feel more and more comfortable to hang out "openly Gay" in almost any "straight" establishment and het folks have no issues hanging at "Gay" bars, we complain when Gay bars close, truly no longer needed. They've confused ghetto with community.

The league has deferred all punishment of their sacred cow to the umpire's association and decided to meet today to determine punishment for our coach, the victim, but in advance of that, already suspended him for a week from coaching and playing.

I'm so sick about this....

Yet, with witness statements in hand, we're being proactive. My coach has filed Assault 4 charges and I'm looking at forming a competing league, and wishing to draw attention Seattle's "Tibet" before it hosts its Beijing-style softball world series in August....

Justin Baird



BRING ON DIVAS FOR HILLARY


I'm a Gay guy who's been closely following this race for months now and, just as closely, following the Gay press, the HRC and The Advocate for any insight among our community leaders about who our choice is and why. I've been disappointed for months!

I've come to my own decision and I've been a Hillary supporter since February. In short, I think Hillary is more experienced and a stronger candidate against McCain. I also think the woman who is embodying the rights of all women is more likely to pave the way for Queer, Gay & Lesbian rights. For certain the feminist movement has always paved the way for us!

I'm left asking these questions: Why have we - as a community - been so silent about our support for Hillary? Where are our leaders right now? Why are we now standing by and merely watching the first woman president slip pass us as if the anti-woman sentiments sure to follow (and have, in fact, been going on all along) won't possibly affect us too? We - the Gay men and certainly our strong Lesbian sisters - know that sexism (and its equally powerful bedmate, homophobia) is running rampant right now! Why aren't we asking why we've spent months listening to people accuse each other of using the "race card" but little to no mention of the "gender card?" I thought this was a historical race for TWO reasons! Why are we letting Hillary be called a bitch, a whore, and all these other incredibly sexist things? (For more check out the fascinating article entitled "Clinton Campaign Brought Sexism Out of Hiding" at www.realclearpolitics.com. It includes a shocking list of the way Hillary has received blatant sexist attacks!)

We should be outraged right now!!! This affects us all!!! Speak out my sisters and brothers! Let's find our voice again!!!! Bring on the "Dykes on Bikes for Hillary," "The Divas for Hillary," the "Circuit Boys for Hillary," and "Bears for Hillary." Feminism and the woman's movement has made our Queer path possible & no one can dispute that fact! Don't abandon our sisters nor the symbolism of the first woman (even with her imperfections - we all got 'em!) running for president right NOW.

God Bless you all!

Gaypastor
Mr. Romberger
Palmyra, PA



CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARD POLYGAMY?


There is something that the Americans should think about when hearing about the events in Texas, where a polygamist church group has had their children taken away and they have all been accused of being child molesters.

We are told that the government raided the homes because of a phone call from some 16-year-old girl, still not found, claiming that she and others were being abused.

In the news this month is the report of the death of Mrs. Loving, a black woman who, with her white husband, was arrested and forced to leave the state (Virginia, the state for lovers, I think they say) because that state, like many, had a law against interracial marriage - a law supported by probably 80% of Americans at the time. They were arrested in their bedroom because some unknown person had called the police reporting them living together. It should be a cautionary tale to Americans, especially bigots, that the result of this arrest was not the end of interracial marriage, but the end of the laws against such marriages, and public opinion followed the law change and today the majority of Americans don't believe in the government telling people who they can marry.

Then there is another legal case that started with an anonymous phone call reporting two men having sex together in the privacy of their home, and they were arrested under the sodomy laws, laws that existed in all states in the mid 20th century. And again, the bigots should take care as the result of the arrest was NOT the end of sodomy law violations, but the end of all sodomy laws.

Now we don't know how the arrests of the polygamists will turnout, but it is possible they and we should think of the above two cases and not only ask where that anonymous 16-year-old girl is, but how all polygamists can be accused of being child molesters. And all have their children taken from them and spread, deliberately, all over Texas, making it impossible for parents to be with all of their children.

One other interesting part of this news media event is that when the public started losing interest in news coverage and started questioning the actions of law enforcement agents, suddenly we are told the one thing guaranteed to get support and attention - and that is that "perhaps" the boys were being molested.

Now, the question is, do religious people who are being accused, all of them, of being child molesters, and having their children taken away from them, see any reason to think that perhaps their civil rights being violated might be like the civil rights of others being violated, including homosexuals?

Billy Glover
   

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