Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 11, No. 50, Ed. 1 Friday, April 14, 1995 Page: 3 of 56
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1st gay pride event of ‘95 held
last weekend in South Carolina
3,000 turn out for march and rally at statehouse
By Pete lacobelli
COLUMBIA, S.C. — More than 3,000
marchers stood side-by-Side, shouting
for gay and lesbian rights on Saturday at
the nation’s kickoff Pride March.
Gays, lesbians, family members,
clergy and other supporters turned out
for the 30-minute march to the steps of
the South Carolina statehouse. Groups
from Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina
and Florida loudly took part in the rally,
alongside people from throughout South
“We’ve seen some positive things
and this is just another step for us,”
nationally known lesbian activist Mandy
Carter told the crowd.
The marchers were met by about 50
mostly peaceful protesters, who
distributed pamphlets, carried placards
with Biblical sayings and urged the
crowd to change their ways.
However, there was no stopping this
spirited gathering. Once at the
Statehouse, they filled the top two levels
of steps on the long approach to the
front doors. Matt Tischler, co-chairman
of the Gay and Lesbian Pride March of
South Carolina, said people should be
proud of themselves and not hide away.
“It’s time to fight back when we
hear things we don’t like,” he said. “The
time has come when we have to quit
putting up with comments and jokes that
The exuberant crowd were clearly
happy to be themselves. Clutching
balloons, ribbons, noisemakers and
banners, they chanted, laughed and
waved throughout the 10-block march.
“What do we want? Gay rights.
When do we want it? Now,” they yelled.
“Out of the closet and into the street.”
Their views were not shared by all
who turned out. Roger Davenport, 63,
drove 30 minutes from Leesville, putting
off a garden that needed tending to, to
display a sign with a quote from the first
chapter of the Bible book Romans.
“You only need to take one look
and see the destruction and suffering
AIDS has wrought because of the
proclivity and abominations of this sort,”
Performers and speakers took the
Statehouse steps in the rally that Tischler
said was the first chance to bring the
community together and heighten the
visibility of lesbian and gay issues.
Carter, a leading black lesbian
activist, said the movement for gay and
lesbian rights is picking up steam. She
said 10 states tried to get anti-gay and
lesbian legislation on ballots last year.
Just Idaho and Oregon were successful
and neither measure passed with voters,
“We’ve got the ultra-conservatives
running scared,” said performer Deidra
McCuller, a single lesbian mother from
North Carolina. “Who knew we had that
More important was the solidarity
such a march brought to the community
in the buckle of the Bible belt, said 19-
year-old Penni Kantrowitz, who moved
to Columbia two months ago from Boca
“I noticed a quietly visible group
when I got here,” she said. “And it’s only
going to grow with support like this.”
Kantrowitz was taunted by
protesters when she tried to hand them
purple flowers, and wondered why such
“We are not here to hate,”
Davenport said. “We are here to love
and share our love with these people
who need our help and guidance.”
Austin Watson, a United Methodist
Minister in Columbia, took part in the
march along with other clergy who
sympathize with the cause for gay and
“We read the same Bible they do,”
he said. “We just don’t happen to
believe the same things.” ▼
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APRIL 14, 1995
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 11, No. 50, Ed. 1 Friday, April 14, 1995, newspaper, April 14, 1995; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616232/m1/3/: accessed July 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.