Texas schools on Campus Pride’s ‘Shame List’

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 3:57pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.49.42 PMCampus Pride — a national organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups that each year releases its “Best of the Best” list of college campuses with the most inclusive LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices — has this year, for the first time, issued a list of the most anti-LGBTQ campuses across the country.

The “Shame List” enumerates 102 campuses that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth in policies, programs and campuses, and it includes several schools in Texas: Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Criswell College in Dallas, East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, University of Dallas in Irving, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton and Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.

Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride’s executive director, said, “Most people are shocked when they learn that there are college campuses still today that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth, It is an unspoken secret in higher education how they use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination.”

The Shame List, Windmeyer said, “uncovers the religion-based bigotry that is harmful and perpetuated against LGBTQ youth on these campuses.”

The Shame List was first published on Dec. 1 last year, highlighting 57 campuses that received or requested Title IX exemptions that would allow them to freely and openly discriminate against LGBTQ people. The schools applied privately for those waivers and often even faculty, staff and students didn’t know administrators were requesting permission to discriminate.

The U.S. Department of Education has since published the letters regarding Title IX exemptions online, and Campus Pride spent the last six months researching public records and compiling a database related to anti-LGBTQ policies, programs and practices. To included on the Shame List, schools had to have applied for a Title IX waiver and/or demonstrated a past history and track record of anti-LGBTQ behavior.

Windmeyer said his organization created and published the list for students and their families have a right to know what to expect from these schools, “and so do the corporations who do business with these campuses — from those who hire and recruit, to vendors who contract food service, sell books and make donations and in any other way provide goods or services to a college or university.”

The Shame List published this week includes the findings of those six months of work, and it will be updated annually.


The Rev. Todd Scoggins leaves CoH

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 3:31pm

The Rev. Todd Scoggins, right, with the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas on the pulpit at Cathedral of Hope.

The Rev. Todd Scoggins has announced he is leaving Cathedral of Hope after serving as associate pastor of the congregation since 2009.

Scoggins was instrumental in holding the congregation together after the church’s former senior pastor, the Rev. Jo Hudson, resigned suddenly in 2013. While going through a period of healing and a nationwide search for a new head pastor, Scoggins remained at Cathedral of Hope providing stability for the congregation while the Rev. Jim Mitulski served as interim senior pastor. After Mitulski left and before the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas arrived, Scoggins again offered the leadership the church needed.

A statement from the church read:

“On August 28, 2016, the Cathedral of Hope Church of Christ received the resignation of Reverend Todd Scoggins as Associate Pastor.  Todd has faithfully served our church for the past 7 years and we are extremely grateful for his service.

“In his resignation to the church Reverend Todd said this:

“‘Throughout scripture, the number 7 has great significance and it is often followed by a time of rest and restoration. I began to notice a feeling of imbalance in my life at the beginning of this year, but I allowed myself to be ‘too busy’ to give it much attention.’ He continued, ‘I want you to know my departure has nothing to do with Neil, the staff or the Board of Stewards…they have gone above and beyond in supporting me as I have wrestled with this reality that God is doing a new thing in me.’

“There will be a farewell reception to honor Todd scheduled for Friday, September 9, 2016 from 5:00 -8:00 pm at the Interfaith Peace Chapel located on the campus of Cathedral of Hope.”


It’s not too late to book a trip to SoDec!

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 1:56pm

Ace-Hotel-New-Orleans_ Alto_Fran-Parente_2Southern Decadence — also known as Gay Mardi Gras — is New Orleans’ most flamboyant event … and that says a ton. Taking place in the Crescent City over the Labor Day weekend, it’s a sea of twinks and bears, drag queens and leathermen, dykes on bikes and hell on wheels.  Still, it truly has grown beyond its “weekend” status, and now begins this Wednesday. And it’s not too late to book a last-minute trip to revel in all the frolic. (I found airfare for about $200 round trip.)

This year’s event — its 45th — has the theme Decadence Takes the World, and the “colors” are ruby red, pearl white, blue sapphire and amethyst purple.

There are tons of things to do, but readers of Dallas Voice can get some special discounts if they book at the Ace Hotel, a 1928 art deco building located the crossroads of Carondelet and Lafayette streets in the Warehouse District. If you book here and use the code BLANCHE, you can get a discounted room rate, VIP access for two to shows at its Three Keys venue (which include a Queer Bounce and Hip Hop Night a drag double-header, a Black Decadence seance and more), plus two free drinks on the property.


Dallas Voice cartoonist nominated for important award

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 10:05am


Movies have Oscar, theaters have Tony, even scifi writers have Hugo. But comic artists? Well, they have Harvey. The Harvey Awards have been around for about 10 years, and recognize artists, writers, letterers, colorists and all the folks who turn pencil drawings and ideas into works of art, political commentary, humor and more. There are 21 categories, like best syndicated strip or panel (nominees this year include Pearls Before Swine and Zippy the Pinhead),best artist (with Batman and Daredevil in the running) and best online comic (including Berke Breathed and Mark Stokes).

Wait a second… Berke Breathed, legendary Texan and creator of the recently revived Bloom County… is up against… Mark Stokes?

harvey-logo-nomineeStokes, as regular readers of Dallas Voice know, contributes regularly here with his Drawing Dallas Sketches, profiling ordinary North Texans in amazingly accurate caricatures. (He also designed the Ask Howard author logo.) But Mark also has an online comic strip called Zombie Boy (we wrote about his Kickstarter campaign a few years ago). And it’s his work there that has landed him a coveted slot as a finalist for this year’s Harvey Awards, which will be presented Saturday during Baltimore Comic-Con.

“Win or lose, just being nominated it a real honor,” Mark told me about the thrill of being in the running. “It’s a slightly unreal feeling — this [recognition] is something I’ve  wanted since I started creating comics back in the 1980s.”

We’re just excited to know one of our friends is getting a shout-out for work he’s done… then again, we’ve known about his talent for a long time. Fingers crossed, Mark!


Cocktail Friday: Throw Shade

Posted on 26 Aug 2016 at 1:42pm

Throw Shade 1Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson, the hosts of the queerish podcast Throwing Shade, bring their live show to Dallas tonight (see our interview here), so we thought it would be nice to welcome these Texans back home with a cocktail named for what they do. Enjoy!

2 oz. Sailor Jerry Rum

Juice of half a lime

1.5 oz. simple syrup

8 mint leaves

Amber lager

Making it: Muddle the simple syrup and mint. Add rum and lime juice and shake over ice. Double strain into a beer mug (or pint glass) on the rocks. Top with the lager. Garnish with lime and mine.


Young Professionals raise $10,000 for Youth First

Posted on 26 Aug 2016 at 1:13pm

The Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) held their annual Back-To-School Fundraiser to benefit Resource Center’s Youth First program Thursday, Aug. 25, at Conduit Gallery.

The $10,000 raised surpassing last year’s total of $7,000.

YPAC is a giving circle for young professionals 45 and under who are passionate about supporting the emotional needs, life skills and educational advancement of Dallas area LGBTQ youth. All funds raised by YPAC benefit Youth First programming at the Center.  Contact Dean Wilson for membership and additional information.



Kim, Donald and the decisions we make

Posted on 26 Aug 2016 at 7:30am

Being a reality star doesn’t qualify you as an entertainer nor as president



Brent PaxtonIn modern times, we have the luxury of witnessing history being made through mass and social media. We can watch a presidential candidate’s every move on the campaign trail or see our favorite reality stars’ lives play out on camera, whether it be staged or not. The Internet, television, extended cable and the 24-hour news cycle have dramatically increased the world’s ability to see, hear and experience every conceivable reality on earth.

It started with radio. Then came television, giving viewers the ability to see and hear what was happening all around the world as it was happening. Both radio and television dramatically changed not just national life, but home life. The living room would never be the same.

Now the Internet has taken the top spot for audience and engagement, due in large part to social media. However, instead of one medium usurping the other, they’ve reached a point of synergy, wherein media use all of their outlets together to achieve their goal: to entertain, to inform, to influence and (most importantly) to sell.

Since content online is so high in volume, it can seem like an assault, an onslaught of material that is impossible to sort through. Therefore, we edit. We edit ourselves, and we allow the content providers and powers that be to edit for us. But it’s all of us, together, who collectively drive the machine. After all, we won’t continue to consume that which we don’t want.

There are plenty of failed attempts to sell the pubic on something that was flatly rejected; think about the Internet’s (and box office’s) rejection of an all-female Ghostbusters cast or the public’s (and Congress’) resistance to Barak Obama’s gun control measures. Ultimately, it is “the people” who decide when and where change happens.

It’s very democratic at its best, but at its worst, dangerously ill-informed herd-like behavior. As Winston S. Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

These democratic decisions collectively made by a society result in what television shows continue to air, who we hold to high esteem, who makes the covers of magazines, which type of movies continue to get made, which companies get our money and — most importantly — who runs our country.

Today, we can see where our national values lie based on what is being produced by the media and subsequently consumed by the public. If an alien from outer space were to land in the United States he/she/it might mistakenly — or maybe accurately? — assume that Kim Kardashian is our most revered citizen, that twerking is the national dance and that Donald Trump is what we consider presidential material.

Just like that alien, our children are entering the world fresh-faced and bright-eyed, absorbing everything around them.

Are these really the messages we want them to hear?

Like Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump is on television at any given moment, ever so slightly influencing us through words and action. Thousands of videos are available at our fingertip to show what Kim and Donald are up to, who they are feuding with. The news headlines are full of Kim’s feud with Taylor Swift and with Trump’s latest ill-informed rants about Hillary’s supposed incompetence.

Trump and Kim Kardashian are similar in that they symbolize a shift in definitions, priorities and what we’re willing to accept as national news. Kim represents our changing definition of what it means to be an entertainer; Donald highlights our acceptance of entertainers and businessmen as politicians (or our inability to know the difference).

Neither Kim nor Donald is very good at what their supposed roles — entertainer or politician — traditionally imply. But both, for some reason, continue to mesmerize the public. Kim can’t — won’t? — sing or act or dance. Donald does not seem to know or care to learn about issues that previously seemed like prerequisite knowledge for an American president.  And still, Americans gobble up the news on gossip websites about Kim’s new haircut or booty pic, while major news outlets run months-long coverage of Donald Trump’s controversial tweets.

What brought us to the point? Is it a good place to be?

I say no. And I say that both Kim Kardashian and Donald J. Trump are the result of an American public that is becoming increasingly fickle and ill-informed about national issues and what we consider art.

The Kardashians of the world for many people. And I understand the escapism that those people seek by incessantly following reality stars’ every move.

But we cannot apply that same frivolity to the race for president of the United States, or to any democratic election at any time. Following Donald Trump on Twitter does not make you informed on the issues of the day; just like hosting the Miss Universe pageant doesn’t make you an expert on foreign policy – an argument Trump has tried to make.

So, I passionately implore all voters to inform themselves on the issues at hand and truly consider the decision we are about to make. I hope that drawing the connection between our national obsession with Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian will help you draw the line between an unqualified entertainer and a life-long public servant.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2016.               


Rob Morrow out as Travis County GOP chair

Posted on 25 Aug 2016 at 5:49pm

Rob MorrowRob Morrow unseated the incumbent Travis County Republican chair in the election held during the primary in March. Today, the state party ousted him from his seat.

Morrow has been controversial throughout his tenure, but the party wasn’t able to get rid of him because he was elected legally.

This week, Morrow filed to be a write-in candidate for president of the United States. A party chair can’t be a candidate for another office.

Morrow has also been outspoken in his criticism of Donald Trump and protested outside the Trump rally in Austin this week with a sign that read, “Trump is a child rapist.” On his Twitter account, he links to a lawsuit from a woman who claims Trump raped her.

Aside from hating his own party’s nominee, the party has been critical of his constant posting of scantily clad women on his social media pages.

Here’s the hypocritical statement from the Republican Party:

In accordance with state law, upon filing as a write-in candidate for President of the United States on August 19th, 2016, Robert Morrow became ineligible to hold the office of Travis County Republican Chair. There is absolutely no place for rhetoric as distasteful as Mr. Morrow’s in the Republican Party of Texas. We are excited to move forward with the Travis County GOP and the new incoming Chair as soon as an election is held to fill the position.

Interesting they criticize Morrow’s rhetoric as distasteful, when Trump has been spewing racist, mysogynistic and anti-Muslim crap.


South Dallas Fair Park Trust Fund Board honors local nonprofits

Posted on 25 Aug 2016 at 12:20pm

Abounding Prosperity CEO Kirk Myers

The South Dallas Fair Park Trust Fund has announced its 2015-16 grant recipients totaling $378,275.15 in awarded funds to support 19 local nonprofits programs working to improve the South Dallas/Fair Park area. The Trust Fund will host its annual award dinner to honor the recipients for its most recent grant cycle from 6-8 p.m. today (Aug. 25) at the Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

Among the recipients is Abounding Prosperity, the only HIV/AIDS organization based in South Dallas.

In addition to Abounding Prosperity, others receiving awards are:

• ACT for Justice
• African American Museum
• Alley’s House
• Business Assistance Center
• Circle of Support
• Dallas Black Dance Theatre
• Edge Education Group
• Educational First Step
• Jubilee Park
• National Kidney Foundation
• North Texas Capacity Builder
• On the Road Lending
• Skill Quest
• St. Phillips
• Transformance, Inc.
• Victory Baptist Church
• Zan Holmes Community Outreach
• Zip Code Connection


WATCH: Trailer for ‘Hurricane Bianca,’ shot partly in Dallas

Posted on 25 Aug 2016 at 10:20am

Screen shot 2016-08-25 at 10.15.48 AMDrag Racer Bianca Del Rio filmed her leading feature debut, Hurricane Bianca, last summer in Texas, with local boy Ash Christian (Fat Girls, Mangus!. Petunia) serving as the film’s producer. In it, Del Rio plays a straight-laced high school teacher fired for being gay who comes back stronger than ever in the guise of Bianca. Here’s a trailer for the film, which gets its world premiere next month in San Francisco.