The Upstairs Lounge Fire


Gay People’s Coalition Organizing

HRC to Attack Gay Problems

Committee Acts after Meet with Coalition

The New Orleans Human Rights Committee (HRC) appointed a sub-committee Monday night to plan an attack on the problems reportedly confronting homosexuals in New Orleans.

After meeting with a delegation from the Gay Peoples’ Coalition (GPC) for over an hour Monday the HRC passed a resolution by Metropolitan Area Committee representative Harry Blumenthal committing the HRC to six months of studying homosexual problems.

He termed these problems, “a clear and present matter of concern.”

The HRC sub-committee and the Coalition will present to the community a detailed strategy at next month’s meeting.

According to a coalition spokesman, this strategy will entail “getting as many gay people as possible to declare that they are gay.”

“This will cause either a great deal of embarrassment or cause them to be accepted,” she said.

“The idea is to get people to see that homosexuals are not just freaks they see on the street, but people they work with and respect,” she added.

The coalition has worked with HRC staff since the Up Stairs fire on how city government can best respond to the problems confronting homosexuals.

Speakers for the GPC at the committee meeting included Celeste Newbrough, director of research for Total Community Action, Inc., the Rev. Lucien Baril, religious coordinator for the Metropolitan Community Church; and Bill Rushton, managing editor of the Vieux Carre Courier.

The Gay People’s Coalition forms in the aftermath of the fire and works with the Human Rights Committee to make New Orleans a safer and more open place for LGBT persons.
Source: The Times-Picayune, August 4, 1973
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