Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus Records
An Inventory of the Collection
The Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus (ALGPC) was formed in 1978 to organize Austin, Texas area lesbians and gay men to combat arbitrary discrimination on such bases as sex, race, age, physical handicap, economic condition with particular focus on discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the late 1970s local political activists in the gay and lesbian community organized to protest Anita Bryant and the referendum that would have banned the hiring of homosexuals in California public schools and were encouraged by the response of the Austin gay and lesbian community. In the winter of 1978 it was decided that it was an opportune time to organize a political caucus that would focus political action on issues related to discrimination. Steve Thomas and Janna Zumbrun were elected temporary co-chairs of the ALGPC steering committee and the first organizational meeting was held on February 28, 1979, at the Zilker Club House in Austin, Texas. Fifty people signed up as members and on May 20, 1979, the first official steering committee of Janna Zumbrun and Steve Thomas as co-chairs; Donna Johnson as chair of the finance committee; Scotty Scott as chair of political action committee; Ed Scarbrough as recorder; Ginny Cleaver as chair of the program committee; and Arnie Fleischman as chair of legislative relation, were elected.
The organization was asked for its first endorsement in the spring of 1980 by Guy Herman, a candidate for Justice of the Peace in Travis County Precinct 5. Herman's success led to requests from other candidates for political office in Austin and Travis County. In addition to their annual candidate forums and endorsements, the organization also brought lawsuits against various businesses based on discrimination; protested the inaccurate portrayal of gay men by a CBS news report; conducted surveys for housing rights; and worked to establish basic human rights and emotional support for AIDS patients.
Today the mission statement of the Austin Lesbian/Gay Political caucus is listed as "to unite and organize Austin area lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered citizens and our friends and supporter in political action against all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression. ALGPC shall also work in coalition to combat other forms of discrimination, including but not limited to gender, race or ethnicity, age, religion, disability or economic condition."
Source: Out Austin - ALGPC (http://www.outaustin.org/: accessed 7 June 2017).
The Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus records document the political, social and emotional struggles for human rights within the Austin, Texas LGBTQ community during the 1980s through the early 2000s. Steering committee meeting agenda and minutes, financial records, membership lists, proposals and resolutions, correspondence, bylaws, press releases, and LGBTQ-related issue files with reports and clippings make up the majority of the collection, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1980s.
The Steering Committee series (1978-1994) consists of agendas, minutes, issues survey, financial documents, membership rosters, bylaws, and proposals and resolutions. The meeting minutes for both the steering committee and the general member meetings provide insight into the internal workings of the organization as well as the local and national issues ALGPC was most concerned about such as the Fair Housing Ordinance, Domestic Partner Legislation, the "gay census project," voter registration, political endorsements and having LGBT representation on City of Austin boards and commissions. Also included are responses to an ALGPC Issue Survey that the organization distributed in 1990 to their members to ask their "feelings" about the types of issues in which ALGPC should be involved. In addition, the evolution of the organization's bylaws is evident by the various versions of the document.
The Correspondence series (1979-1999) is split equally into correspondence received and sent. The received correspondence consists of letters from politicians responding to inquiries regarding their positions on political matters of concern to ALGPC such as AIDS funding and thank you letters for endorsements including Ann Richards, Charles Urdy, Jim Hightower, Roger Duncan; letters from individuals from other cities looking for advice to start LGBT alliance organizations; responses from the Austin Human Relations Commissions regarding cases of discrimination filed by the ALGPC; examples of anti-gay letters; and form letters from a variety of human rights organizations asking for support. Sent correspondence includes copies of the organization's form letters soliciting membership, invitations to fundraising events and thank you letters to volunteers and other supporters of the LGBT community; invitations to politician to participate in ALGPC endorsement process and letters informing them that the general membership of ALBPC voted to endorse their candidacy; letters sent to politicians in support of, or in opposition to, their political stance on such issues as AIDS, House Bill 2138, allowing the American Family Association present to City Council and the City of Austin's human resources policy on "domestic partners"; letters sent to CBS complaining of bias in their documentary "Gay Power - Gay Politics" in their portrayal of the "gay lifestyle" and to local theaters calling for a boycott of the film "Cruising"; letters to the Human Relations Commissions regarding discrimination complaints; letters to City of Austin council members recommending applicants to various City boards and commission
Newspaper clippings, press releases and fliers in the Press Releases and Publicity series (1978-2002) highlight the activities of ALGPC. The newspaper clippings document the politicians endorsed by ALGPC, as well as political/social issues that affected the LGBTQ community such as sodomy law, Anita Bryant's opposition to anti-discrimination ordinance, and immigration laws. The press releases and fliers advertise events, endorsed candidates as well as promote awareness about social issues of importance to the ALGPC. Also included is a City of Austin proclamation for National Coming Out Day in 1997.
The Projects and Community Issues series (1980-2003) highlights some of the project and issues ALGPC was most concerned about and active in combating such as AIDS, candidate endorsements, employment discrimination policy at the Austin Independent School District, City of Austin domestic partner benefits, Fair Housing Ordinance, and voter registration. Newspaper and magazine articles, informational pamphlets and bulletins, correspondence, reports and questionnaires make up the majority of the series.
Lastly, the Other Civil Rights/LGBTQ Organizations series (1981-1995) contains administrative records, fliers, press releases and clippings of organization with whom ALGPC worked with or had similar interests. Citizens for a United Austin was an organization formed in the early 1980s to defeat the discrimination ordinance proposed by the Austin Citizens for Decency. Included are press releases, fliers and newspaper clippings from the organization. Austinites for a Responsive Government was an organization working to change the political process to obtain a voice in the decision making process on issues of concern to the LGBTQ community and materials include fliers, meeting minutes, correspondence, and membership lists.
Open to all users
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus Records (AR.Z.018). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1990/043
Donation Date: 1990, 2016
Original donation arranged by Tim Wilder in 1991. Additions integrated, finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2017.
Detailed Description of the Collection