Sometimes I get emails from people asking about what organizations here and in the States are working on the AIDS crisis and for information. There are several organizations that I know about here and in the States. One such organization here is Amigos Siempre Amigos. This organization works under incredible circumstances to help the Gay community here. Some friends and I offered to help, either with condoms or anything else that they might need that we could help with.
Before I moved here I met with the executive director of Amigos Siempre Amigos, Leonardo Marte. He is a very dynamic individual, smart, intelligent and very capable. Their most pressing need at that time were condoms. Through some contacts in NYC, I was able to get 10 boxes shipped here and told them that if they ever needed anymore to please let me know, as I could make sure they get them. I never heard from them again. The next time I contacted them was when there was a scare going through the Gay business community here. The Cardinal of the Catholic Church here had given an interview and one paper ran a headline basically saying that the Cardinal wanted to close down all the "homosexual whorehouses" in the Colonial Zone. The rhetoric was so heated that Lawrence Goldsby, the former owner of the Phoenix bar, and a Gay business pioneer called me to ask what should he do? I was shocked. He had been through raids and harrassment and now HE was scared. He said friends told him he should pack up and move back to England.
Not knowing where to turn to, and the rumors going hot and heavy that they were going to deport foreigners who owned the so-called "homosexual whorehouses," I went to meet with Leonardo. He very calmly told me what we should do and was generally very helpful. He said we should meet again and he would be in touch, but again, I didn't hear from him.
I bring this up because again we are trying to figure out what cause we donate money and other items to for Dominican Island Heat II. I saw Leonardo in ARENA Sunday night and he didn't recognize me (I cut my hair). Last year we contacted several organizations to find out what we could do and the only people that helped in any significant way was G.A.L.D.E., and Francisco Lazala, who brought down a documentary on Buggarons to show, along with hand out literature. They have even put our flyer on their site, thanks Francisco.
I know the thought is that all Gay tourists come here only for is sex. I don't believe that is true, but a majority do come here for that. But, there are some who come and would like to help the country, too. Lastly, I would say that a majority of ALL Gay tourists that travel anywhere in the world are looking for sex.
Anyway, we will continue to support anyone that seeks our help. There have been many who have come here and brought clothes, medicines, checks and other things to La Casa Rosada. Anytime we take anyone there they are ALWAYS very kind and appreciative of what is offered to them. And they are run by the Catholic Church.
Just my 2 cents on the matter.