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October 10, 1989 - Image 4

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Page 4
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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Tuesday, October 10,1989

The Michigan Daily

Support lesbian and gay men's rights:
Come out and celebrate

Vol. C, No. 24.

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
" cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Pittston and the press

WHAT COUNTRY in the world is
durrently experiencing a miners' strike
that has included major sit-ins? In what
ountry have the labor leaders involved
ii such strike action been arrested and
imprisoned for strike activities?
'If you answered "the USSR" to ei-
ther of these questions, you guessed
Wrong. The answer is the United
States, the strike involves 1900 miners
cf the Pittston coal company-as well
as almost 40,000 other miners who
walked out with them this summer-
and the repression they have suffered at
tie hands of state and federal govem-
ients contrasts sharply with
Gorbachev's peaceful stance toward
the Soviet miners' strike that took place
in July.
But don't blame yourself if you an-
swered incorrectly; blame the press.
While they have been all too willing-
appropriately so-to offer front-page
coverage of the Soviet strike, they have
almost completely ignored a strike that
has at times involved tens of thousands
-of miners and their supporters, over
three thousand of whom have been ar-
rested (not one Soviet miner was ar-
rested in the strike there this summer).
The reason for this disparity is obvi-
ous enough: our journalistic celebrities
can score ideological points on strife in
Eastern Europe, while they stand to
gain none from the class warfare going
ton in Virginia's coalfields. Soviet min-
=ers, so the logic goes, are striking for
-democracy and human rights; their
U.S. comrades are simply trouble-
Hence, two weeks ago, when one
hundred Pittston miners occupied
,Pittston Coal Company's Moss #3
preparation plant, thereby stopping all
of Pittston's non-union operations, you

probably heard nothing about them-or
about their two thousand supporters
outside, who prevented the hundreds
of state troopers, Federal marshalls,
and hired guns who were also outside
from going in and removing the strik-
ABC, CBS and NBC said not a
word about this occupation, even
though the miners had hired a heli-
copter to videotape the initial seizure of
the plant and offered the footage to all
three networks the same evening. The
New York Times mentioned the occu-
pation once, in a one paragraph story
about the miners leaving the plant four
days later. USA Today ran one sen-
tence about the occupation, three days
after it began. The Wall Street Journal
gave it one paragraph in a three para-
graph story.
Imagine how much attention the
press would have given to a similar
stand-off between thousands of Soviet
miners and the Red Army. If this
summer's Soviet strike-which in-
volved no police force-was worthy of
the front page every day, a strike there
like the one in Pittston would probably
merit a banner headline.
We do not begrudge the Soviet min-
ers the attention they so well deserve.
But the Pittston miners-less than a
day's drive from Ann Arbor-deserve
the same. Caught within the U.S. myth
about a classless society, the U.S.
press stands convicted of employing a
double standard in order to keep that
myth alive. Worse, it thereby forfeits
its primary function as a supposedly
independent source of information: to
challenge rather than confirm prevailing
wisdom and the powers that be which
such "wisdom" protects.

By the Lesbian and Gay
Rights Organizing Committee
You may wonder why the Lesbian and
Gay community has proclaimed tomor-
row, October 11, "National Coming Out
Day" or why Gay Men and Lesbians feel
the need to announce their existence. The
two are very related questions.
On October 11, 1987, one of the largest
protest marches on Washington, D.C. oc-
curred. Doesn't ring any bells? That's be-
cause it was a march for lesbian and gay
men's rights. It was virtually ignored by
the mass media.
It was organized because of a Supreme
Court decision to uphold the conviction of
Michael Hardwick, a gay man arrested for
sodomy when police entered his home
with a warrant and found him having sex
with his lover. Georgia courts convicted
him of sodomy, and the Supreme Court
used its power to sanction discrimination
of lesbians and gay men through sodomy
laws. Justice Byron White's majority
opinion stated that homosexual acts of
sodomy are not protected by the
Constitution because the Constitution
does not protect lesbians and gay men.
This decision sparked outrage in the gay
and lesbian community. The original
National Parks Service estimate for the

'Justice Byron White's majority opinion stated that homo-
sexual acts of sodomy are not protected by the Constitution be-

cause the Constitution does not,

protect lesbians and gay men.'

,.,.4-ch was 300,000 people. This is the
number that went to the press and was dis-
seminated through limited coverage. The
final number that the National Parks
Service gave was 600,000 people. Others
have estimated a turnout of 800,000 to
one million people.

cause of the widely accepted and often
sanctioned discrimination against gay men
and lesbians.
The Lesbian and Gay Men's Rights
Organizing Committee (LaGROC) is
holding a rally on the Diag this
Wednesday at noon. We are asking people


You may wonder how a march of this
size could be so easily concealed. This is
where the expression "coming out of the
closet" comes in. Society tells gay men
and lesbians toihide their sexual orienta-
tions from the rest of the world, to keep
"skeletons" in their closets. People silence
lesbians and gay men by committing and
accepting acts of discrimination against
Coming out of the closet is a process
that involves both realizing and accepting
that one is gay and telling other people
about it. This is an extremely difficult
process for all but the few people who are
lucky enough to come out in an environ-
ment where they are not likely to be ostra-
cized or threatened by friends, family, and
other people around them. Few people can
afford to be out to everyone they know be-

who want to come out to wear stripes that
day, and people who support gay and les-
bian rights to wear blue jeans. If you feel
it is unfair for us to ask you t~o do some-
thing that you might normally do anyway,
think about this: being gay is as natural as
wearing blue jeans is for some people. If
you wear blue jeans on Wednesday, will
you be afraid that someone might single
you out because your jeans say you sup-
port gay rights? Maybe they'll think you
are gay. Maybe you'll have a fraction of
an idea of what lesbians and gay men feel

every day.
So come out to the Diag, (if you want
to, come out on the Diag) Wednesday at
noon, listen to the speakers, watch the
skit, be saved by Preacher Dyke, and help
lift some of the silence surrounding les-
bians and gay men.

TR~rwT E~ Ei EfOOL6ED SY HtsR MOuS-LbNClG fp* H NR GUESS WNk5)iEt K Er a ro 5
RAUGN F 3 P5FCC NNltAL,%I~cA. rS u'5 t ~TNrIoN5 MA" O JyCE... DIR' T. 7"FIR~ST MovE"
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P~ARE wNTTWC aT+st u.ET. , ,
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L"F-elANLEAN 7H =;c. "A WET

rammoommom ----------------------- - Il M.- IV -

. . TT0 I MN~". .
Reproductive, rights awareness week:

so, ww" ARE
You AWW4 IN?
.F o


NJ.tlaw MLAI"S * 1Mo'lfi1g D7t.


©1986 Alison Eechdel, Dykes to Watch Out For, Firebrand Books




Pittston II:
Fight the powers that be

IN 1972, a dam of coal waste main-
tained by the Pittston Company-sec-
ond largest coal exporter in the United
'States-broke, killing 125 and leaving
hundreds homeless in West Virginia. A
Pittston spokesperson called the break
"an act of God." On June 21, 1983, an
.explosion ripped through Pittston's
;McClure #1 mine in Virginia, killing
4seven. The company was fined only
,$47,000, despite the 1972 disaster and
niassive safety violations at McClure.
:Now, in 1988, Pittston is guilty of
'something more heinous than the first
two actions combined: it is trying to
break a union.
w .The miners are fighting for their sur-
:vival-and the survival of their union.
:1ttston, which has successfully busted
the Teamster local at its Brinks sub-
idiary, is demanding unlimited con-
tacting out to non-union firms; aboli-
:tion of the workers' pension plan; a 20
percent cut in health care for active
nliners; and the elimination of all health
-benefits for Pittston retirees, widows,
-and disabled miners. One Pittston
.pokesperson, asked about the appar-
ent callousness of this last demand, cal-
lously replied: "It's like a credit card
that expires. Their's expired."

a good faith effort to negotiate: the
United Mine Workers (UMW) waited
fourteen months after the expiration of
their last contract before walking on
April 5. Pittston provoked the strike to
bust the union.
And they may wind up sorry that
they did so. Pittston's profits in its
Virginia operations alone are down 40
percent since the strike began.
Pittston's second quarter financial
statement records losses of approxi-
mately $1 million a month. The com-
pany's coal shipments from the ports
of Cleveland and Baltimore are down
25-33 percent.
But if the miners are going to win.
they must shut these operations-and
Pittston Coal-down completely.
The only reason they haven't accom-
plished this already is because of the
shameful role the State of Virginia and
the Federal Government has played
throughout the strike. Virginia's
Democratic governor, Gerald Baliles,
has spent $1 million a month on three
hundred state police designed to "keep
order" in the coalfields; he has also
racked up $300,000 in campaign con-
tributions from Pittston executives and
lawyers. And state and federal courts
are responsible for the outrageous fines
and three thousand arrests imposed on
the miners and their supporters.
These fines are meant to discourage
solidarity by making strikes by other
UMW miners-like the forty thousand
who walked in support this summer-
illegal. But as last week's new rash of
"illegal" solidarity strikes demonstrates
yet again, miner solidarity will prevail
against the heaviest oppression-as it
did in 1978 and through countless bat-
tles this century. The powers that be-
what one Catholic priest in Virginia re-
cently referred to as a "police state"-
are messing with a union which truly
understands the old song about

By the Ann Arbor Committee
to Defend Abortion Rights
Abortion and its implications are com-
plex issues. We may feel instinctively that
women should have the right to control
their reproduction, but we may not know
why. We may say that abortion should be
illegal because someone told us to think
that way, but we do not really have the
knowledge we need to decide for ourselves.
The Ann Arbor Committee to Defend
Abortion Rights, in conjunction with lo-
cal chapters of Planned Parenthood and the
National Organization for Women, is
sponsoring a Reproductive Rights
Awareness Week from October 10 to 14.
Our purpose is to make information about
abortion and reproductive rights readily
available to the public and to stimulate
discussion and thought about these issues.
"Abortion: Religion and Philosophy" is
the title of a panel discussion which will
be held on Tuesday, October 12 at 7:30 in
the Henderson Room of the Michigan
League. Members of the anti-choice
movement try to give the impression that
religious morality is on their side only and
that it is impossible to have religious be-
liefs and be pro-choice at the same time.
The media has helped to spread this im-
pression, but it is incorrect. There are
large numbers of clergy and followers in
all religions who believe that their faiths
sanction choice for women. We will fea-
ture two speakers who hold this point of
view: Rev. Ann Marie Coleman of the
Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights,
who is also a member of the Ann Arbor
City Council, and Sandra Damesworth,
president of Catholics for. Choice,
Michigan. In addition, Jeff Gauthier, a
doctoral candidate in Philosophy; and
David Frankfurter, a doctoral candidate in
Religion at Princeton University, will add
an academic perspective to the discussion
of abortion rights and theology.

On Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30 in
the Michigan Union Ballroom, our guest
speaker will be Dr. Ethelene Crockett-
Jones, OB-GYN. Dr. Jones came to the
attention of the media recently when she
performed the abortion for a 15-year-old
rape victim who is challenging
Michigan's ban on Medicaid funding for
pregnancy termination. Although Dr.
Jones' specialty is saving the lives of in-
fants born prematurely or at risk due to
poor prenatal care, work which the anti-
choice movement wants us to think of as
conflicting with a pro-choice view, she
has long been at the front lines of the
abortion rights movement. Dr. Jones' talk
on "The Politics of Medicine" should help
to clear up many misconceptions.
Thursday's panel will discuss "Abortion
Rights and Women of Color." Barbara
Ransby of the United Coalition Against
Racism, lawyer and community activist
Paquetta Palmer, and Christina Jose-
Kampfner, a professor of Women's
Studies, will share their perspectives on
the necessity of freedom of choice and the
approaches which need to be taken to as-
sure that freedom. Join us for their presen-

Kurg, a nurse and longtime activist, will
share "Strategies and Tactics of the Pro-
Choice Movement." Cindy Tobias of Ann
Arbor Planned Parenthood will present
"Birth Control and Abortion Technology.'
And the Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood
Peer Educators will discuss "Youth and
Reproductive Choice." The Reproductive
Rights Workshop will provide an oppor-
tunity for women and men of all ages to
learn more about reproductive control and
the pro-choice movement in a friendly, re-
laxed atmosphere.
Saturday, October 14, will be the cul-
mination of Reproductive Rights
Awareness Week. A March For Choice
will leave from the Federal Building at
Fourth and Liberty at 3 p.m. Kathy
Edgren, a former Ann Arbor City Council
member and longtime supporter of repro-
ductive choice, will give the kick-off
speech. In addition, women who have had
abortions - some recently, others before
abortion was legalized - will speak out
about their experiences. Come and hear
what they have to say firsthand, and then
join us as we march through downtown
Ann Arbor, ending at the Diag.

'Our purpose is to make information about abortion and re-
productive rights readily available to the public and to stimu-
late discussion and thought about these issues.'


tation on October 12 at 7:30 in the
Michigan Union Ballroom.
In the spirit of self-education,
Reproductive Rights Awareness Week will
include a Reproductive Rights Workshop
on Friday, October 13 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Come to the First Unitarian Universalist
Church, 1917 Washtenaw (just south of
the Washtenaw/Hill intersection), to learn
more about reproductive control and the
history of the pro-choice movement. Jean
King, from Planned Parenthood of
Michigan, will discuss "The History of
the Abortion Rights Struggle." Elissa

Last but not least, the week will finish
with a Dance Benefit For Choice at the
Dance Gallery studio in the Performance
Network complex, 111 Third St. The
dance will begin at 9 p.m., and free snacks
will be served. A $3 donation will be col-
lected at the door, to support our work for
freedom of choice in the future.
We look forward to seeing you at the
Reproductive Rights Awareness Week
The Ann Arbor Committee to Defend
Abortion Rights meets Tuesdays at 5:30
in the Michigan Union.

ILetters to the .editor


No justice in

stop at a very limited definition
of justice - "getting what you
deserve" - without exploring
farther the imnl 'rtiwnn f thic,

education? Are those not born
into such a situation not enti-
tled, do they not "deserve" any

those who exist at the bottom
of the socio-economic ladder
are denied the freedom to put-
cliP anddo nont have enal a1 c,

I 1 11 I\, 1) \ , \ \ \\\1 I/ W[ WVv\,ATAA I

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