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New LGBT Democratic Caucus in Palm Beach Holds Fundraiser

by Donald Cavanaugh
Friday Nov 4, 2011

Florida's newest and only LGBT and allies (GLBTA) Democratic club, the Rusty Gordon Democratic Caucus, is holding a celebrity bartender fundraiser and membership drive Sunday, Nov. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cottage at 522 Lucerne Avenue in downtown Lake Worth.

The celebrity mixologists and pourers include State Representatives Joseph Abruzzo (dist 85); Jeff Clemens (dist 89) and Mark Pafford (dist 88).

"I'm not sure about how you make all the different drinks," said Pafford when this writer ran into him in Lake Worth last week. "It's for a good cause, though, so I'll just do my best."

"Everyone is welcome," said event coordinator Wayne Whitson. "There's no admission fee although donations will be gratefully accepted."

The celebrity bartenders are donating their tips to the club so it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, Green or Libertarian, independent or even an anarchist.

You can even drink soda and know that your generous tip is going to a good cause - a county-wide get out the vote (GOTV) for 2012. In fact, the Supervisor of Elections will be there to accommodate voter registrations on the spot.

In addition to the tips there will be a few raffles including a 50/50 raffle and door prizes from local merchants to help raise funds, according to Whitson.

The caucus is named after Rusty Gordon who was born in 1942 and died in 2009 after a lifetime of political activism.

"She was an amazing woman," said Kevin Muth, president of the caucus. "I had no real involvement in politics until I met Rusty and she convinced me of the need to engage in order to accomplish anything."

"From the first time I met her I was in awe of her knowledge, intelligence, and her rich history with the LGBT movement. The effect she had on the elected officials was amazing," he added

A leading advocate for women's rights and LGBT equality, Gordon assumed the mantle of the grande dame of Florida gay politics in the late-'60s when she founded the Whimsey Political Clearinghouse in South Florida, named after her life partner Davey Whims (a member of the caucus) and dedicated to women's studies and LGBT issues.

She helped found the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus and served as its vice president for many years, according to an obituary in a Sep 2009 article in The Bilerico Project.

In addition to Muth, the club's officers are: Mark Pafford, Vice President; Tom Lazenby, Secretary; and Davey Whims, Treasurer. Having been chartered just about a year ago, the club has approximately 25 members and hopes to double that number as the 2012 elections approach.

"Our goal is to work with the strengths of all the organizations that are focused on civil equality, partisan or not," Muth said. "We just happen to be the Democratic representation in the GLBT community making this effort in Palm Beach County. The Dems have been supportive, we need to support them."

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