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in the news-2

Volume 15/Issue 24

Metro Orleans To Commemorate
World AIDS Day

The tenth observance of World AIDS Day will be commemorated globally on Monday, Dec. 1, 1997. In the New Orleans area, World AIDS Day will be marked by two events. On Sun., Nov. 30, there will be an inter-denominational service at 2pm at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), 5342 St. Charles Ave., featuring songs, poems and testimonials from area children, as well as prayers and dance, followed by a Jazz Funeral parade led by the Treme Brass Band ending at Audubon Park with the laying of wreaths in the lagoon at Audubon Park. On Mon., Dec. 1, the NO/AIDS Task Force will hold a patron party for its annual Art Against AIDS event featuring the Prometheus Awards, and the Art Against AIDS Gala Auction Dec. 5, 8pm, on the 3rd level of the New Orleans Shopping Centre.

This year's World AIDS Day theme is "Give Children Hope in a World with AIDS." The theme highlights the need to promote action and sound policies to prevent HIV transmission, and to minimize the epidemic's affect on children, their families and their communities. In a time when children need to fear for their own health as well as family security, we need to make sure that fewer children are infected and vulnerable to the impact of HIV/AIDS. We need to give them hope-hope that we will have a better understanding of the magnitude and diversity of the impact of HIV/AIDS on children, their families and their communities.

All communities are affected by the spread of AIDS, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic is having a profound effect on the lives of children around the world. The United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that, as of Dec., 1996, 21.8 million men, women and children worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. If current trends continue, between 60 to 70 million adults will have been infected with HIV by the year 2000. By the end of 1997, it is estimated that 1 million children worldwide will be living with HIV. In addition, it is estimated that at least 30 million children are living with HIV-positive parents, and are at risk of being orphaned in the next few years.

The inter-demoninational service at the JCC will feature songs, poems and testimonials from area children, as well as prayers and dance. Following the testimonials, the Jazz Funeral will end with the laying of wreaths in the lagoon at Audubon Park.

Acadiana To Commemorate World AIDS Day

The tenth observance of World AIDS Day will be commemorated on December 1, 1 997. The events for World Al DS Day are being coordinated by Acadiana C.A.R.E.S. in conjunction with several other agencies located throughout Acadiana. Acadiana C.A. R. E.S. (Concern for AIDS Relief, Education and Support) offers education and services for the purpose of HIV prevention and the care of those affected by HIV.

This year's World AIDS Day theme is "Give Children Hope in a World with AIDS." The aim of this theme is to emphasize that even persons under the age of 18 years are affected-directly and indirectly-by HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day this year aims to increase understanding of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, its global dimensions and that it continues despite new hope in treatment. It emphasizes promoting action and sound policies to prevent HIV transmission and to minimize the epidemic's impact on children, their families and their communities.

One hundred ninety-one countries around the world are celebrating this day to draw attention to the AIDS pandemic. In the United States, activities for World AIDS Day around the country are coordinated by the American Association for World Health, in conjunction with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Pan American Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

All communities are affected by the continuing spread of AIDS. UNAIDS estimated that, as of Dec. 1996, 21.8 million men, women and children worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, and if current trends continue through the end of this century, between 60 and 70 million adults will have been infected with HIV by the year 2000. Children under the age of 15 years account for 830,000 of the 21.8 million living with the disease. Since the beginning of the global epidemic, more than 9 million children under age 15 have lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS.

In the United States, 581,429 people had been reported with AIDS to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Dec. 31, 1996. Of these, approximately 63 percent had already died.

In Acadinna, 561 people have been diagnosed and reported with AIDS, 355 of which have died.

Art Against Aids Events

A major fund-raiser for NO/ AIDS Task force, Art Against Aids, will have a number of events Dec. 1 - 5 on the 3rd level of New Orleans Shopping Center. The Patron Party on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, offers a preview of ornaments and auction items following a reception, with cocktails, music and delicious delectables. Selected goods, such as this year's Buddy Bear, will be available for purchase.

New to the patron party this year is the conferring of the Prometheus Awards to leaders in the battle against AIDS. Noted glass sculptor Maurice Alvarado designed the award.

Reception, art preview and entertainment commence at 6:30pm; Prometheus award presentation; 7:30pm.

Dec. 2-4, from noon to 6:30pm, there will be a free Art Preview of the works donated for this year's Art Against AIDS Gala, which will be held Dec. 5 at 8pm. The gala will include the auction and sale of the art, as well as entertainment, hor d'oeuvres from area restaurants and cocktails courtesy of Absolut Vodka.

Ticket levels vary for the Patron Party and the Gala. Call 504.586.9255 for ticket information. All proceeds benefit the NO/AIDS Task Force, the oldest and largest AIDS service organization in the Gulf South, now in its 14th year.

Pretronius' Christmas Action and Buffet

The Krewe of Petronius, New Orleans' oldest gay carnival krewe, will hold its annual Christmas Buffet and Auction Sunday, December 7, from 1pm to 6pm, at the Mississippi River Bottom (MRB), 515 St. Philip St.

The auction will feature incredible Christmas presents of art works, antiques, jewelry & unique surprises.

For $5. enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet created by krewe members.

All proceeds go towards the krewe's 37th bal masque to be held Sunday, Feb. 15, 1998 at the Municipal Auditorium.

If you would like to donate something to the auction, or for more information, call Captain Mickey Gil at 504.525.4498.

Team New Orleans Needs Your Support

Team New Orleans, a group of over 50 male and female athletes who will be representing New Orleans in the upcoming 1998 Gay Games V Amsterdam 1998, presents, in association with Mid-City Rock & Bowl, a Bowling Extravaganza Sunday, Nov. 30, from 4 -7pm at Rock & Bowl, 4233 S. Carrollton Ave. A $10. donation (which includes shoe rental) will give you three fun-filled hours of free bowling, door prizes and raffles with a cash bar and grill. All proceeds will benefit Team New Orleans, which is raising funds to supply team members with uniforms for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as for individual events, and to help offset the large cost of travel and accommodations for team members in Amsterdam. It is estimated that the cost to compete in the Gay Games will be in excess of $2000. per person.

Team New Orleans will conduct various fund raising events throughout the coming year, by hosting parties, conducting raffles and other events in their attempt to assist members in being able to compete and represent our city.

They are also asking local businesses for assistance. Businesses that wish to become a Complete Team Sponsor, with a donation of $5,000., will have their company name above Team New Orleans on its banner as well as company logos on all uniforms. For a donation of $2,500., Team New Orleans will include company logos along the bottom of the banner as well as on team uniforms.

Gay Games V Amsterdam 1998, the first time the event has been held outside North America, will be the biggest Gay and Lesbian event of the 20th century, with over 15,000 athletes competing in 30 sports and 200,000 or more people attending the 8 day celebration next summer, Aug. 1-8

White House Honors MCC Founder

U.S. President Bill Clinton included at least two openly gay men among some 120 religious leaders honored at a White House ecumenical breakfast November 20 for their contributions to society. When three conservative Christian organizations issued a joint press calling on the President to revoke the award to one of the gay men--Reverend Troy Perry, Founder and General Moderator of the gay-affirming Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC)--the White House instead extended Perry reassurances and a warm welcome. There was no further evidence of the protesting organizations beyond their press release.

Honored along with Perry was openly gay author and Harvard chaplain Peter Gomes. Gay-friendly evangelical speaker and author Tony Campolo, the sociologist-theologian known for his staunch opposition to the politics of the religious right and his close association with Clinton, was also in attendance. Other honorees included representatives of some groups with histories of intolerance towards gays, such as the Salvation Army and the Greek Orthodox Church, but no clergy are known to have declined their Presidential invitations because of the gay and gay-supportive honorees.

The protesting press release entitled "President Clinton to Honor Homosexual Minister Who Advocates for Sadistic Sex" was issued November 19 specifically in response to UFMCC's November 18 announcement of Perry's honor. The release came from Americans for Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera, a relatively new group (if indeed it has members per se other than LaBarera) which has been primarily visible via paid newspaper advertisements lobbying against gay and lesbian civil rights. In the release, LaBarbera cited the Family Research Council's Robert Knight and the Institute for Religion and Democracy's Mark Tooley as joining him in the view that, "Perry's movement merely celebrates a sin condemned by the Bible and that he should NOT be honored."

LaBarbera's statement continued, "Troy Perry is a testament to man's infinite capacity for self-delusion. He's taken all divine judgement out of sexuality and champions the most vile perversions known to man. In addition to promoting sodomy and denying the hopeful truth that homosexuals can change, he glorifies the infliction of pain and humiliation through bondage, whipping and torture. Honoring him further degrades the Office of the Presidency." The release went on to condemn Perry's contribution to the collection of essays Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics and Practice (Alyson: 1991), and to cite, out of context, Perry's statement there that John the Baptist wore leather. IRD's Tooley was then quoted as saying that instead of offering "hope and redemption," Perry and MCC "distort the Gospel, telling captives to a particular sin that deliverance is not only impossible, but undesirable." The release concluded with a quote from FRC's Knight that, "We are witnessing the Administration's moral meltdown. What's next? A memorial to Church of Satan founder Anton LeVay?"

UFMCC responded with a press release of its own saying, "This is another instance in which the Religious Right is simply wrong. The news release issued by the Family Research Council and Americans for Truth is full of misstatements and untruths which are designed to inflame and divide the public."

On learning of the protest, two White House aides contacted Perry to assure him that the President was unmoved by it and still wanted to honor Perry at the event. Perry was given preferred seating in the front row near the Vice President and two tables away from the President. Perry also had the opportunity for a one-to-one talk with Vice President Al Gore, in which Perry thanked Gore for supporting the LBGT communities and Gore thanked Perry for his spiritual and civil rights work. Perry reported that the Vice President was familiar with UFMCC's ministry.

The breakfast also held a moment of personal reconciliation for Perry as he spoke with the head of the denomination which had excommunicated him some 30 years before. Perry reported that he was not only gracious and cordial, but had followed the work of Perry and the UFMCC over the years.

An opening invocation by United Methodist minister Thomas White-Wolf Fassett aptly said, "We stand in this house to pray for our president and all world leaders who seek to provide a viable means by which all people may live together, in spite of the echoes of sometimes discordant ideologies."

The main thrust of the President's own 15-minute remarks during the three-hour event was to urge the churches to join in his national dialog on race, set to kick off with a town hall meeting in Akron, Ohio on December 3. He also made reference to his determination to prevent Iraq from threatening other countries, and to his having made an executive order affecting federal employees that was intended to do what he could to reinstate the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in its last session. That act established the highest judicial standard for government interference with religious groups, that the government' s need to do so be "compelling" and that its method be the least intrusive possible to meet the need.

"Draw Me Sumpthin', Mister!"
Walt Handelsman Cartoons at Community Center

The Lesbian and Gay Community Center is extremely proud to announce the opening of "Draw Me Sumpthin', Mister!" a show of original cartoons by Pulitzer Prize-winner Walt Handelsman on Saturday, December 6, 1997 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in conjunction with the publication of his new book by the same name.

Handelsman is the nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist for New Orleans' Times-Picayune. Every morning, with irreverent, razor sharp wit, he skewers political hypocrisy, the media, sporting crazes, fashion trends, the world of business, even El Nino. And, of course, life in the Big Easy.

Handelsman joined The Times-Picayune in August, 1989. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he creates cartoons that appear in more than 100 papers around the country and internationally. He has won many awards for cartooning excellence including the National Headliner Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons are frequently reprinted in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time and USA Today. Handelsman lives with his wife and son in the Lakeview area.

"My main goal each day is to have a good time," says Handelsman. "I look in the papers for news stories, whether attacking someone for their political views or a situation that they got themselves into or some futuristic study on human cloning.

"I try to make sure every day that whatever I draw, whether humorous or hard-hitting, should have an impact and force the reader to have a reaction whether they cringe, feel like they've been punched in the stomach or laugh out loud. With the topics I cover in Louisiana, my job seems pretty easy sometimes."

In addition to fifteen original cartoons, Handelsman's new book, Draw Me Sumpthin', Mister!, and reproductions of his "Ellen" cartoon will be on sale at the December 6th opening. Handelsman will be available to personally autograph all purchases made that evening.

Walt's cartoons-they're not just for breakfast anymore!

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of artwork from this show will be donated by Handelsman to the Lesbian and Gay Community Center. The Center is located at 816 N. Rampart St.; call 504.522.1103 to confirm daily exhibit hours. The show will run through January 4, 1998.

Virginia Woolf On The Air

The Artist' Company, under the direction of Ken Mentel, presents Edward Albee's searing play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, on WRBH Radio For The Blind & Print Handicapped, 88.3FM, at 8pm Sat., Nov. 29 & Sun., Nov. 30.

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