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in the news/segment 2

Volume 15/Issue 13

NO/AIDS WALK Grant Applications Are Due

Grant applications are being accepted for the 1997 NO/AIDS WALK Grant. All organizations that provide HIV/AIDS related services within the state of Louisiana are invited to apply. Grant recipients will receive a portion of the proceeds raised at the 1997 WALK on Sunday, September 14. Approximately $287,000 has been distributed since 1990.

The WALK, which raised over $330,000 in 1996, also funds NO/AIDS Task Force programs and services such as a statewide toll-free AIDS Hotline, free and anonymous HIV testing, community education, a home meal delivery program, mental health counseling, support groups, case management and other services. WALK grant applications are available at NO/AIDS Task Force.

The deadline for submission is July 14, at 5 pm. For more information, contact Doug Weiss at 504.945.4000.

NO/AIDS Task Force
Volunteer Training In July

NO/AIDS Task Force is offer ing a free AIDS Awareness Seminar and Volunteer Training Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13 at the LSU Medical Education Building, 1901 Perdido St.

The Volunteer Training Program has traditionally been held over 2 weekends. The training format has been modified in an attempt to better meet the needs of prospective volunteers. The initial weekend will remain much the same as before, however follow-up training will held at different times and locations which will be "area-specific."

NO/AIDS Task Force volunteers are needed in a variety of areas, including the AIDS Hotline, Buddy Program, Hospital Visitors, and HIV antibody testing. NO/AIDS-trained volunteers also work in the HIV/AIDS clinic at the Medical Center of Louisiana, group homes for people with AIDS, the Pediatric AIDS Program of Children's Hospital and other programs citywide.

NO/AIDS Task Force conducts the volunteer training program three times a year. To receive a volunteer packet or get more information about volunteer training, call 504.945.4000.

Director Hired For The VCMCC Living Room

Progress continues as the VCMCC Living Room, a Ryan White funded HIV+ drop-in day center, becomes a reality. Shirley Van Damme has been hired as the Director of the center. As such, she will assume responsibility of the day-to-day operation and fiscal management of the center. Shirley is a graduate of Loyola Institute of Ministry, and has had experience as the pastoral associate at Hotel Dieu and as a staff member at a group home for chemically dependent women and their children. Currently, she is continuing in her private practice in individual and group counseling. For more information on the Living Room, including how you can volunteer, call the church office at 504.945.5390.

Universal Life Insurance Seminar

Arthur Abramson will present a seminar at Vieux Carre MCC on obtaining life insurance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Mr. Abramson offers $10,000 to $75,000 universal life insurance for ages 0 to 60 with no blood or urine tests, and no physical exams. Product features include five-year "no lapse guarantee," accelerated death benefit, and term insurance for your partner. The seminar will take place at 12:30 pm at Vieux Carre' MCC located at 1128 St. Roch Ave. For more information call 504.945.5390.

PFLAG's Challenge

The Board of Directors of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) recently voted unanimously to grant $1,000 From their unrestricted funds to the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of New Orleans to challenge other area organizations and businesses to match the grant.

The grant is in response to the Community Center's appeal to raise $15,000 by July 1, 1997 to stay in operation.

The money will be used in part to fund a part-time staff person to ensure the Community Center will be open regular hours. "The Community Center is an organization that PFLAG has historically supported and worked with in our efforts to fulfill our mission of SUPPORT, to cope with an adverse society; EDUCATION, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and, ADVOCACY, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights," said Sandra Pailet, President of the New Orleans Area Chapter of PFLAG. She adds, "We are hopeful that the impending move of the Community Center to another location and the addition of a part-time staff person will enable the Center to expand current programs and implement new programs for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in New Orleans.

"Several of our youth members are regular attendees of the Saturday Youth Group that meets at the Community Center. We recognize the importance of social intercourse within one's own peer group and applaud the success the Community Center has had with this group."

"PFLAG has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to gay and lesbian students over the past 7 years at our annual Champagne Scholarship Reception held each May. The Board of Directors is hopeful that PFLAG's $1,000 grant to the Community Center will encourage other area organizations and businesses to realize the importance of the Center to our community and open their pocketbooks in support," said Randy Trahan, Fund Development Chair of the PFLAG board. "We are pleased that we have the money available in our unrestricted fund and are able to assist the Community Center at this critical time." Anyone interested in helping the Community Center meet their goal of $15,000 can send donations to LGCCNO, 816 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116.

National Groups Respond
to Southern Baptist Convention's Disney Boycott

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has compiled statements from some of the nation's leading civil rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups on the Southern Baptist Convention's recent vote to boycott the Walt Disney Co. and their subsidiaries, including ABC television and radio. The boycott targets Disney primarily for their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

"In finally launching their long threatened boycott against Disney, the Southern Baptists' leadership says they object to Disney's giving domestic partner health benefits to gay and lesbian employees; allowing gays and lesbians to organize group attendance at Disney theme parks, and entertainment produced by Disney subsidiaries that includes gay and lesbian characters. Blinded by their apparent hatred of gays and lesbians, this organization has chosen to ignore basic facts: that Disney is a business in an industry in which virtually every major company now extends domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees, that it would be illegal for Disney to block use of public theme park facilities by any segment of the community, and that entertainment product such as 'Ellen' featuring gay and lesbian characters generates huge ratings with an audience of many millions of Americans. Since this organization's attack on Disney is based on nothing but prejudice, it is a mockery of true religious and family values."
... Richard Jennings, Executive Director, Hollywood Supports.

"This attack on Disney shows how obsessed the radical right is with punishing lesbians and gay families. Here, you have a company with a show like 'Ellen'-a realistic portrayal of a lesbian -and a policy that voluntarily grants family health insurance to gay employees, a benefit that non-gay workers already get. What could be wrong with that? What's wrong is that the radical right has a policy that, if you treat lesbians and gay men decently, it will retaliate. Apparently, the radical right's campaigns against marriage for gay couples are not enough. Now, far-right extremists are proving our point: without full legal protections, lesbians and gay men are vulnerable to losing even basic, employer-provided health coverage. We're not supposed to get married, and now I guess we're not supposed to even have health insurance."
... Beatrice Dohrn, Legal Director, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"Disney is modeling good citizenship and good citizenry through its policies. Walt Disney and his characters taught us that it's a small world after all, where every person is welcome. I had hoped they (Southern Baptist Convention members) would vote for America's children to have a safe-haven free from politics, fear and ignorance. They can keep their children from Disneyland and Disney World, but they can't keep Disney characters from the hearts and minds of children. Characters like Dumbo, Pinocchio and Tigger have taught us that there is a welcoming family for every child and the Disney company's policies have demonstrated that this is the case."
... Kerry Lobel, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"This boycott is another Mickey Mouse attempt by religious conservatives to push their anti-family agenda. As black gay and lesbian people, a strong family foundation has been central to our survival. The Southern Baptist Convention's boycott is actively working to destroy the very foundation that is our refuge. ... Keith Boykin, Executive Director, National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum. "My daughter's third grade teacher has the right idea when she tells kids there's only one rule: 'treat others as you would have them treat you.' It serves as the most basic statement of what it really means to be a Christian. Disney should be recognized and applauded for its stance on domestic partnership, and for treating their employees with dignity and respect. The American public should not only continue to enjoy Disney's wealth of creativity and expressions of diversity, as they have for decades, but should turn its back on bigotry as prejudice masquerading as 'pro-family concern.'"
... Joan M. Garry, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

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