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Volume 15/Issue 13

by PlanetOut,, a Worldwide Online Community of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans People

Lesbians Protest Chicago Pride

Some 200 units comprised the 28th annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade in Chicago, but two groups that traditionally participate were leafleting instead of marching this year: the Women's Action Coalition and Chicago's Lesbian Avengers group. They charge that for several years now drunken gay men among the spectators have acted offensively to women in the parade on several dozen occasions, including verbal abuse and grabbing. One PRIDEChicago organizer was sympathetic and said that police had been asked both last year and this year for stronger measures to control some 200,000 spectators, but also said that the crowd had free speech rights which must be preserved as well.

The hundred members of the two groups are seeking change, not a division of the community. They'll participate in the second annual Dyke March June 28 and they'll hand out leaflets at the main parade, where their supporters will be encouraged to wear blue arm bands. They'll also be holding a community meeting afterwards where they hope discussion will lead to a resolution. Chicago pride's theme this year is "Equality Through Visibility," which it shares with pride groups around the world. One featured participant will be Frank Buttino, the former FBI special agent whose class action lawsuit filed after he was fired for being gay changed the Bureau's personnel policies on open gays and lesbians, as described in his book, "A Special Agent."

Banana Prosecution Planned

Zimbabwe police on June 13 turned over at least nine charges of homosexuality and sodomy to the attorney general for prosecution of the nation's first post-colonial president, Canaan Banana. Investigation of Banana began in February after his sexual harassment and sexual assaults against his palace guard during his 1980 - 1987 presidency were revealed when one of his victims, police constable Jefta Dube, was tried for murder. Many other victims came forward whose complaints had previously been to no avail because of Banana's political power. They included other aides during his presidency, members of his soccer team, and students in his theology classes at the University of Zimbabwe.

There has still been no comment from Banana's decades-long political ally, current President Robert Mugabe, who has gained an international reputation for his vicious verbal assaults against gays.

"Drop Dead Gorgeous" on HBO

A New York Times critic liked it; one Washington Post critic loved it while.another found it dull; and TV Guide wrote it off with a 2-out-of-1 0 rating, saying, "This isn't entertainment; it's therapy." It's openly gay comic Steve Moore's "Drop Dead Gorgeous (A Tragi-Comedy): The Power of HIV+ Thinking," an hour-long mix of autobiography and bits from his standup routine that is presently airing on HBO June 30, and July 9. Who liked the show and who didn't seemed to pretty much rest on who found Moore himself to be likable, as opposed to egotistical.

Growing up working class (or as he says, "poor white Christmas trailer trash") in the town of Danville, Virginia ("My parents think HIV means 'Homosexuals in Virginia') in the 1950's and 1960's, Moore discovered his sexuality with another boy in the neighborhood, albeit not the boy next door. He disco'd to the max in the 1970's, yearning after the young men ("They were all named Troy") but experiencing so much rejection that he describes his life as being "like an old Susan Hayward movie, and I'm Susan." In 1980, he married a Canadian lesbian so she could move to the U.S. (he imagines introducing her to his parents, "Mom, Dad, this is my wife, Lois-and her lover, Christine") and it was 15 years before they divorced. He hied himself to Hollywood in search of stardom, but today at 42 he's still "struggling."

Eight years ago, Moore was diagnosed with HIV, and almost 4 years ago he determined to use his comedy to educate the public. That can be rough in front of a comedy club crowd, like responding to hecklers with, "I could open a vein and take out the whole front row." He was recently diagnosed with AIDS, but also began protease inhibitors and is doing pretty well at a time when he'd expected to be long since dead. Among the sentimental moments is the recollection of fishing with his father and hearing him say, "Well, boy, you've been dealt a bad hand, but you play it well," and feeling, "I knew right then I'd be fine."

"Drop Dead Gorgeous": performer, writer and co-producer Steve Moore; producers and directors, Fenton Baily and Randy Barbato; executive producer, Sheila Nevins; co-executive producers Annie Albrecht, Steve Kapland and Bob Read; co-producers, Steve Moore and Terry Danuser.

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