San Antonio Cancels Arts Funding Over Gay Film Fest

by Aaron Krach/indieWIRE

The City Council of San Antonio, Texas voted September 11, to de-fund all city supported arts organizations
15% and cancel all funding of The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the fiscal sponsor of San Antonio's
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival . The Esperanza Center, which was scheduled to receive $62,000, is known for its
work combining cultural programming and political advocacy for a wide range of issues; racial and gender equality,
peace in Central America and Mexico, Lesbian and Gay rights, labor, youth and low-income communities. Out At The
Movies: San Antonio's Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was scheduled to receive $7,000 in city funds.

The Christian Pro-Life Foundation, Bexar County Christian Coalition, San Antonio Right to Life and the
Association of Spirit-Filled Pastors were responsible for the change. They organized a massive telephone
campaign against City Council members urging them to cancel public funding for a gay film festival. During
the one public hearing before the vote, the Christian fundamentalists targeted two films in the festival
program, Ela Troyano's "Latin Boys Go To Hell" and "A Queer Story" by Shu Kei.

In an attempt to deny the decision had anything to do with homophobia, San Antonio's Mayor Howard Peak
explained why the Gay Men's Chorale would continue to be funded. "Everyone knows they're Gay, but its not
brought up. Those boys just stand up there and sing. The Esperanza promotes a way of life."