3 snaps
Volume 16/Issue 22

by Sonny C. Cleveland

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Matthew Shephard - A Martyr

A beautiful boy in and OUT and a loss that has taken the world by storm. It's not only the celebs like Princess Di that we mourn but those in OUR "family". Versace was one that was endeared across the globe. Many others have been associated with our own in the major media that were not OUT, but we know who they are and what they were about. Murder & Hate Crimes seem to be on an uprise amongst our community. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!

From all I have read on Matthew he was loved by many. The injustice that was done was not only cruel but inhumane. He loved and accepted wholeheartedly and just wanted to be treated the same. I share his heart and mind in the same way, as many of you know. His martyrdom is causing an awakening. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the rights of his people and caused his own to come OUT and stand up for themselves. Their choice was to either sit in their living rooms and do nothing about their rights or to come OUT and be counted. Lots of riots, unjust killings & brutality, tons of political bullshit and lots of visibility had to be brought about for the changes to be made to be rid of discriminatory laws and stereotypes. Their slavery should have never happened. Mankind thought he had the right to enslave his own human race and take precious rights and privileges of living away from them. Hitlers, Husseins, Czars, The Religious Right - they all have made themselves out to be Gods, when in fact they bleed and die just like the rest of the human race. Regardless of skin color, religious beliefs or who you are prompted to love should have no bearing on one's rights and privileges of living. You are brought into this world with no CHOICES! Who, other than God, has the right to build walls around those that they personally don't feel "fit in"! Quite a role to take upon oneself, wouldn't you say. Just because one is born with darker skin or from the African regions, is this reason enough to take their rights away? Absolutely NOT! The difference between being Black and being Gay is if you are born Black, you don't have a choice of being discriminated against because your skin color and genetics have determined that fact of life for you. Being Gay, you have to decide to COME OUT to be discriminated against. Rather sad, don't you think? Mankind has overstepped boundaries, boldly! I wonder what our creator thinks about that. Is mankind created equal? Doesn't look like it, according to all the evidence.

What the world is not aware of is the more they kill, martyr and treat us wrongfully, the more we will rise up. History proves it to be true. Our rights have been challenged across the globe and even more so in our own country of "FREEDOM"-- the United States of America. Hmmmmm! The very country that brags about freedom continues to take rights away, as well as refusing rights to many. The Preamble of our US Constitution states: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Did I miss something?

If Matthew Shepard is an example of what the Religious Right is working towards, then it is time to say, "Enough is Enough! There is no Gay Agenda other than to fight for our rights as humans--to be given the same rights as any other red-blooded American. I said all this to ask you to COME OUT & VOTE! It is very important to get those in office that believe everyone is created equal and not just according to their satanic & "holier than thou" driven stereotypes.

We mourn the brutal death of Matthew Shepard across the globe. Let's not have to do it for anymore. COME OUT of your closets, stand up with the rest of your people and be counted! If every homosexual came OUT at once, the fight would be over! They would have no choice but to give us our rights to love and marry whomever we wish. Please don't let the Religious Right's agenda succeed against us.

Pride Hurricane Relief Fund Begins!

As in my last report on PrideFest 98 the festival is in the red for about $16,000. A local Gay owned and operated fun shop "super store" called Something Different has begun an all out effort to help us pay off the debt so we can begin working on next year's 20th Anniversary Blowout! They will be holding a Grand Raffle for the limited editions of the ever popular Billy Doll. A raffle will be held at Oz during their weekly Gong Show on Mon., Nov. 16. Your raffle tickets will make you eligible not only to win the "Holiday Billy," but also for the brand new "Policeman Billy," a "Carlos" doll, a "Wall Street Billy" (also a 1000 piece edition) as well as several other prizes. Purchase your raffle tickets one of 4 ways at $2.00 each (or 6 for $10.00): 1) at Ambush's hot Website www.gayamerica.com/pridefest; 2) at Oz, 800 Bourbon, New Orleans; 3) at Something Different, 5200 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans; or 4) call the PrideLine at 504.949.9555 and leave a message. Visa, MasterCard & Amex accepted! All Raffle proceeds will go to benefit the Pride Hurricane Relief Fund.

International Pride Conference a Success!

West Hollywood, CA was the host for the Annual InterPride Conference on Oct. 15 - 18, and was attended by some 300 representatives and organizers of Pride Celebrations across the globe. 66 countries were in attendance including the USA, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, South America, Australia & Scotland, just to name a few. GLBT Pride organizers from across the world converged at the Hyatt West Hollywood on Sunset Blvd to discuss, train, & network for 3 intense days. Many topics included Women's Issues; People of Color; EuroPride; Accounting; PR/Media; City/Regulatory Agencies; Millennium March; Internet Marketing; Parade Organizing; Newsletter Production; Human Rights; Contracts: Volunteers; Entertainment Production; and, Festival Operations.

World Pride, Rome 2000 will include a march against the Vatican for the stance the Catholic Church has taken against Gays & Lesbians, which has almost completed a total mandatory shutdown of all GLBT businesses & bars in Rome, Italy. From reports of Rome Pride organizers, deaths occurred once the orders by the Pope and Vatican were given. Prides are being encouraged to begin stepping out and expanding their celebrations to enforce the numbers for the media. Coming Out campaigns are ever increasing and being promoted, according to HRC leaders.

I'll have more on the conference next issue.

In Search of New Meat!

Tired of the same-o same-o? Want to see some new faces? Try checking out the clubs outside New Orleans! Lately, the Excursion Team (made up of myself and Eddie of Wolfendale's fame) have been making our way out to some of the bars & nightclubs located in the outskirts of town. Beginning just as a search for new boys to play with, it has become an adventure. The first trip was to Lafayette to visit the Sound Factory located in a downtown section of Lafayette with a very visible store front. Loaded with cajun bred cutie pies and them favorite daddys, this club is a mixed crowd of boys & girls. All ages, sexes, sizes & looks are the range of the patrons. Eddie Bauer & Gap college preppy is the look for the young 'uns and casual to gruff is the older crowd. One side is the seating and dance floor area with a large DJ area overlooking the dance floor, complete with a nice lighting system. The other side is quieter and has pool tables. The bar is the centerpiece for both sides. The crowd is fun and friendly! The manager was serving Eddie and me some Black Widow shots (JeagerMeister & Goldschlager). Damn, that will make your head spin, and put a permanent silly grin on your face.

The next weekend stop was in Hammond at the nightclub/truck stop called Chances--talk about a cool spot to visit! Nice and spacious featuring two separate clubs. One is the truck stop known as Chances Lounge. Very redneck looking, simple & basic with plenty of light, pool tables and a wrap around bar. The other is Chances Night Club. A great ambience with a bar located right at the front door, dance floor/show seating area & a huge stage for shows and entertainment. Very nice! Manager Carol is the perfect hostess and true party girl. She did her best to get us looped with my first flaming Dr. Pepper and then during the show brought me a Cocaine Cocktail that tasted just like chocolate milk. A true weakness for me! The outside is very "gas station" but the parking lot was packed. Lots of new faces and some familiar ones. The staff was a truly HAPPY crew. Everyone of them were friendly and full of smiles and giggles. Very impressive. For those that love to buy rainbow and pride goodies, the newly opened Dorothy's Closet is available to quench your shopping thirst.

Wigs off to both clubs, staffs and management teams. We will be back!


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