UPDATE: Museveni event moved to private venue in Allen

Posted on 20 Sep 2014 at 2:17pm
Yoweni Museveni

Ugandan dictator Yoweni Museveni will be protested in Allen

Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni is meeting with investors and supporters in Allen after being run out of Irving and Grapevine.

Ugandan nationals will be protesting his presence on Saturday and Sunday. Museveni will be at 1415 Stinson Road, Allen, 75002 on Sunday, Sept. 21 3-9 p.m. Protesters should arrive before 3 p.m. to greet his arrival.

After Dallas Voice reported that the dictator would be in Irving, the Four Seasons hotel in Las Colinas canceled his reservation. Museveni is known for sponsoring the “kill the gays” bill and is trying to get it through the Parliament again after it was declared unconstitutional on a technicality in August. The Irving Convention Center also canceled the meetings that were to be held there when the Ugandan embassy didn’t return paperwork by Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The entourage tried to move the event and reservations to the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine. That hotel also denied him accommodations and meeting rooms. A spokeswoman for the hotel said they were already heavily booked for the weekend and could not provide the security a head of state would require. The Ugandan embassy, however, sent out the incorrect information that they would be meeting in Grapevine at the hotel.

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Our PRIDE should unite us, not divide us

Posted on 19 Sep 2014 at 2:24pm

By Todd Whitley  | Contributing Columnist

We have a problem.

Many have known it for a long time. Some deny it. Others — like me — who LOVE the parade are waking up to the realization that all things are not equal in the Dallas LGBT community.

A march that originated as a defiant celebration of personal expression, sexual freedom, and individuality, has turned into a parade. A parade full of rainbows, pulsating music and pelvises, and unbridled joy. A parade where straight allies and churches march along with drag queens and kings, leather daddies, go-go dancers, and all manner of lesbians and gays. A parade that people in our community celebrate with their families. A parade that now has corporations participating and giving us money to be a part of it.

And a parade that many question whether it actually reflects all LGBTQ people, whether it’s outgrown its purpose, whether it’s off-track, whether it’s even necessary.

In many ways the evolution of Pride is inspiring even as it’s troublesome.

Let’s talk about some of those trouble spots.

First off: The forebearers of the current Dallas Pride parade have maintained a legacy for the Dallas gay community for 31 years and they deserve our gratitude, especially for doing it in a time where it was nowhere near acceptable or safe to do so.

But several issues make it appear the event has lost its way — or hasn’t evolved as it should. And further, I believe Dallas is not unique in the controversy — too corporate, too exclusive, too white — surrounding other Pride celebrations.

At the predominately LGBTQ (some of us prefer “gay and straight together”) church I belong to, I would hope, in my heart, that all people of all orientations, gender expressions and races would know they are welcome. And regardless, I respect their right to organize/attend churches they might better identify with — churches that might be largely heterosexual, or mostly African-American, for example

Similarly, there is absolutely a specific need for separate events like Teen Pride, Tejano Pride, Black Pride, and in other cities, Trans Pride. These communities have specific issues to address that don’t necessarily reflect or aren’t being addressed by the at-large community. However, to drive these folks into these events specifically because they are not welcomed is a poor expression of the solidarity that should bind us.

And therein lies the problem: When we fail to acknowledge, understand or admit there’s a problem, we cannot even begin to change it.

The burden of feeling welcomed is not on the individual, it is on the group doing the welcoming or lack thereof. If someone doesn’t feel welcome, our response should be to ask why, not immediately go on the defensive and justify how we do include them. We must ask ourselves, honestly, “ Are we really actively seeking to represent everyone and do our actions reflect that?”

All lesbians, gays and transgender people are children of the Queer movement. We are counter-culture. As diverse as we are, we all want — and deserve — to be treated fairly and with equity, especially within our own community.

Some of us want to become more mainstream, while others of us want to maintain our unique queerness.

Some of us want marriage; others of us do not want to assimilate to that societal structure.

Some of us want to express ourselves with our bodies; others prefer not to.

Some of us are twinks, some are bears, some are into leather, BDSM, dressing in drag; others are not.

Some of us congregate with people who are more like us in one way or the other but I suspect most of us do not do so intentionally to exclude others.

Some of us love the spirit of a parade while others want a more vigorous march and protest.

But we are all of us QUEER. And as I’ve said before, we have far more in common than we have separating us.

Back in June, the more traditional month of Pride, Mused Magazine published an article entitled  “Gay Pride is for White People” rejecting the notion that Pride is only “synonymous with white, skinny, able-bodied, cisgender maleness.” [Preach!]

I reposted this article and asked people to comment. Hardly scientific, this survey nonetheless yielded some not-so-surprising (at least to me) results.

Of the few folks who would actually wade into the debate, the white folks were somewhat mixed in their observations while every non-white person asserted Pride is at the very least unwelcoming if not downright exclusive. (Incidentally, not a single lesbian or trans person commented on my post.)

Here are some of the responses:

• From a white person: Too often the face of gay Pride is young, white, male, slender and upper middle class. I don’t think that’s an accurate image. The reality is more of a rainbow. It includes LGBTQ people of all races, gender expressions, shapes, ages and classes.

• From an Asian person: I feel that Asians get marginalized and fetishized. You are only visible if you are white and affluent. If you are a minority, you are a sex object or accessory.

• From a black person: The black community generally has it’s own Pride events, I’m thinking mainly because of the segregation that occurs within the gay community and the difference in celebration styles.

• From a white person: I personally haven’t felt or seen marginalization in the parades here.

• From a black person: We still have a long way to go with equality but I think what we are failing to realize is it starts within our community.

• From a Latino person: Every Pride event I’ve ever been to — East Coast, West Coast, Dallas, Houston —has included diversity as far as I’m concerned. But if for example someone’s going to say that my people, Latinos, are under-represented, first of all I would question that, and also I would say it’s up to my chicos to get up there on a float, not wait to be asked.

• From a white person: I do think that this issue in the LGBT community reflects issues affecting the society at large.

• From a black person: I don’t know if it’s just my city or the because I live in the South, but I don’t feel welcomed at gay functions that are predominately white let alone feel apart of the gay community.

• From a white person: As an older member of the LGBT community, I don’t necessarily feel “celebrated” by the younger ones, but that’s just how it is. There certainly is plenty of racism, ageism, and sexism in our community, and especially discrimination among the sub-groups.

Sadly, the Dallas Pride Parade’s history of all-white grand marshals propagates the notion that “Pride” isn’t for non-whites. Their recent evolution allowing the community to submit nominations is a step in the right direction but it’s not near enough.

Also deeply problematic for us is that we allow groups to give us money with one hand while their other hand is extended to those who would oppress us and continue to marginalize us or used to marginalize their own employees. I am deeply concerned that we will just take anyone’s money to support us. Frankly, if you’re going to vote against my equality or support causes that marginalize me, you can keep your damn money. Period.

And beyond our [un]intentional exclusivity, it’s important to consider what a Pride parade is all about anyway. I believe it is first and foremost a celebration. But it is also a vigorous, counter-cultural display of solidarity and assertion of our queerness.

As much as gays and lesbians have become accepted into mainstream society (we still have much work to do on behalf of our trans sisters and brothers), there is much work to do to reach a point where we are all respected for who we are — even if we choose not to assimilate.

We all love a good parade, especially a gay one. (Wait! Aren’t they all pretty gay?) But sisters and brothers, we must MARCH!

Cathedral of Hope minister — and someone I refer to as a spiritual matriarch — the Rev. Shelley Hamilton challenged us last year in her Pride Sunday sermon: “It’s time to give up parades and start marching.” [And trust: she had a LOT of other good things to say, too! “Hallelujah and Amen,” indeed!]

So, those are the trouble spots.

Here’s what I want to know:

How do other community members get involved in the leadership of the Pride celebration?

What is the organizing group doing to make sure that every single facet of our community is represented?

Why isn’t there a purposefully diverse parade committee — diverse in every area in terms of race, gender expression, sexual identity — appointed to plan the parade?

Why do we not create a morals and ethics committee to vet every single sponsor to ensure they’re there to SUPPORT our community and not exploit us.

How can we come together to create a festival that is free to everyone who wants to attend?

The parade appears to be “owned” by a group, but PRIDE is not owned by any one organization, any one race, any one sexual identity. WE — people of every gender, every race, age, HIV status, yea every group — We have done it without corporate money before and the results were world-changing. And we can do it again.

There are some people who think the “image” of the Pride parade should be cleaned up, edited. Folks, our self-expression is not what needs to be cleaned up. Our hearts need to change and our actions need to reflect that change.

I believe there is room in Dallas Pride for all of us and yet, perhaps Dallas is a two-Pride-events city. Regardless, let’s create a community in Dallas that includes everyone, that respects everyone, that holds accountable those who would proclaim to support, and that gives each other — and our allies — room to grow.

The notion of PRIDE is to celebrate who we are. To educate the community and world around us. To march proudly for ourselves. To act up.

Let’s come to the table, all of us, and start working toward that. Together.

I leave us with this:

“Each of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm. When we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.”
― Maya Angelou

Todd Whitley is a local activist who can usually be found tweeting (@toddwhitley), holding a picket sign, thrift store shopping, or eating Tex-Mex. Read his blog at tdub68.wordpress.com.

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Get your collectible Dallas Voice Pride Edition — 3 covers to choose from!

Posted on 19 Sep 2014 at 12:37pm

Cover1Cover2Cover3

Here at Dallas Voice, we’ve done something for Pride Weekend we’ve never done before: We are offering readers three versions of the Voice to read in one week.

Now, the content inside is the same. There’s coverage of the upcoming Gay Softball World Series, a calendar of Pride events to take you through the fall, some thought-provoking opinion pieces, telling interviews with musicians Andy Butler and Jennifer Hudson as well as a piece on how Stoli is making a push into the gay market again following its Olympics disaster.

But on the outside? Three different full-color glossy covers reflecting three sides of Pride. Check them all out! Thanks for your support, and Happy Pride!

 

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UPDATE: Ugandan event at Irving Convention Center canceled

Posted on 18 Sep 2014 at 7:41pm
Yoweni Museveni

Dictator Yoweri Museveni has been unguested by Texas

Diana Pfaff of the Irving Convention Center has notified Dallas Voice that the Ugandan Embassy had until the close of business today to get all paperwork back to them. Because embassy officials did not meet that deadline, the event featuring Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni will not take place Sunday in Irving as originally planned.

Earlier today, the Four Seasons Hotel in Irving canceled Museveni’s reservation and the Marriotts put the gay back in Gaylord hotel by refusing to accommodate him either.

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UPDATE: GAYlord hotel will NOT host Museveni

Posted on 18 Sep 2014 at 3:56pm
Museveni

Sorry I keep using the same picture, but my buddy Yoweri here just won’t send me a new pic.

The Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine will NOT be hosting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The Gaylord’s PR director, Martha Neibling, called Dallas Voice to say Museveni’s party inquired about staying at the property but because of logistics, the hotel was unable to  accommodate the Ugandan leader.

Providing protection for a murderous head of state might prove to be a challenge for the Grapevine Police Department as well, with less than 12 hours notice, because Museveni is expected to arrive in Dallas on Friday.

The Gaylord is owned by Marriott, which has 90 percent rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.

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BREAKING NEWS: Four Seasons in Irving cancels Ugandan president’s stay

Posted on 18 Sep 2014 at 9:32am
Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

After a post appeared in Dallas Voice’s Instant Tea blog on Wednesday, Sept. 17, the Four Seasons Hotel in Irving canceled Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s accommodations. Museveni has pushed for the so-called “kill the gays” bill in his country.

The Irving Convention Center and Irving police are also concerned about the controversial head-of-state’s visit. Museveni is supposed to attend a religious service at 10 a.m. and speak to potential investors at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Irving Convention Center.

Museveni is currently negotiating with the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine to host his stay. No word yet whether that hotel will accommodate him or how Grapevine police plan to protect him with little notice.

In Boston, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders announced Ugandan gay activist John “Longjones” Abdallah Wambere was granted asylum in the U.S.

According to GLAD, Wambere was “outed as gay by newspapers, harassed by strangers, received death threats by anonymous phone calls, arrested, evicted from his home and beaten up.”

Under the “kill the gays” law, Wambere would face life imprisonment and he faces the threat of arrest should he return to Uganda.

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Arlington woman executed for killing girlfriend’s son

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 8:42pm
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.38.07 PM

Lisa Ann Coleman

The state of Texas tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 17) executed a woman convicted eight years ago of intentionally starving her girlfriend’s son to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., CDT, 12 minutes after Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials began administering a lethal injection.

Coleman and her then-girlfriend, Marcella Williams, were arrested in 2004 in after calling paramedics to their home in Arlington to treat Williams’ 9-year-old son, Davontae Williams. Paramedics found the child already deceased and in rigor mortis. They said they were shocked to learn how old he was since the child, at the time of his death, weighed only about 36 pounds.

Authorities later determined that Davontae had more than 250 distinct injuries, including burns from cigarettes or cigars and scars from ligatures, and that a lack of food made him stop growing.

Coleman’s attorneys claimed at trial that the boy’s death was an accident and that his injuries and malnourishment were a result of Coleman’s and Williams’ misguided efforts to discipline the boy. They also claimed that Davontae may have had mental health issues that made him hard to handle, and that Coleman and his mother didn’t know how to deal with him.

The Texas Court of Crimimal Appeals upheld Coleman’s conviction in 2009, and the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected  a last-day appeal.

Marcella Williams agreed to plead guilty in connection with her son’s death, to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to life in prison. Now 33, she is not eligible for parole until 2044.

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Polis using parliamentary procedure to try and get a House vote on ENDA

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 5:38pm

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service

lisakeen@mac.com

 

polis.jared

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis

House Democrats announced Wednesday, Sept. 17, that they will try to use a parliamentary procedure — a discharge petition — to force the Republican-dominated chamber to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Scott Overland, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who initiated the petition, said it had 76 signatures within the first couple of hours. It needs 218 and the bill has 202 co-sponsors who are eligible to sign the petition.

The discharge petition has become the only hope in the Republican-dominated House for ENDA to reach the floor. House Speaker John Boehner has made clear repeatedly that he will not schedule ENDA for a vote.

The “discharge petition” can force the bill out of committee and onto the floor, but it is a complicated and difficult maneuver.

According to House rules, the petition is first filed with the House clerk. If a majority of House members (218, not including delegates) sign the petition, the clerk will put ENDA on the “discharge calendar.”

After seven days on that calendar, supporters can, on the second or fourth Monday of the month, bring a motion to discharge the bill from committee to the floor. If the House passes that discharge motion, supporters can then ask the House to approve a motion to send ENDA to the floor immediately.

If the motion for immediate consideration passes, the House will debate and vote on ENDA. If any of the votes fail, ENDA returns to committee. If the discharge motion fails, ENDA cannot come up again this session.

ENDA currently shows 205 co-sponsors, but that includes three delegates, from D.C., Puerto Rico and the Mariana Islands. So the discharge petition needs the signatures of all 202 co-sponsors plus another 16 members.

The U.S. Senate passed ENDA last November by a vote of 64 to 32. But since then, many national LGBT groups have begun to withdraw support for the Senate version of the bill because it exempts some employers based on the degree to which they are involved in religious activities.

The discharge petition seeks to force consideration of the Senate version of ENDA (S. 815) (as amended by Polis in July), includes an exemption for religious organizations but only to the same extent such organizations are exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with respect to discrimination based on race, color, sex and national origin.

Although Polis’ discharge petition has the support of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Assistant Democratic  Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., discharge petitions are “rarely successful,” according to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

In a statement released Wednesday, Polis said he introduced the measure because “Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.”

“In our nation that was founded on the notion that with hard work and dedication anyone can get ahead, it is unthinkable that employees can still be fired for who they love or what gender they are,” said Polis. “I hope members from both sides of the aisle will sign this petition and protect all Americans from discrimination in the work place.”

ENDA seeks to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in private and public employment. In private employment, it applies only to employers who have 15 or more employees.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

 

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QueerBomb holding ‘Dirty Shame Pride Promenade,’ encouraging Pride parade boycott

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 2:11pm

Screen shot 2014-09-17 at 2.04.24 PM

Activists with QueerBomb Dallas are organizing a last-minute alternative Pride celebration on Sunday in Dallas in response to reports that Barry Andrews, the founder and CEO of Andrews Distributing Co., the largest corporate sponsor of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, is holding a fundraisers for Dan Patrick the anti-gay Republican candidate for Texas lieutenant governor.

QueerBomb activists have also called parade organizers to task for the event’s lack of diversity in terms of racial and economic minorities and transgender people. They are calling on people to boycott the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, the Festival in Lee Park and all Dallas Tavern Guild bars. (DTG puts on the parade each year, organizing the event and getting sponsors, including Andrews Distributing, to cover most of the costs.) QueerBomb is also asking people to sign this online petition calling on the parade organizers to “drop human rights abusers and anti-queer businesses” as sponsors of and participants in the parade.

Among the parade participants QueerBomb wants organizers to drop are groups from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, companies that “create weapons that kill thousands of innocent civilians every year;” JPMorgan Chase, whose “unethical financial practices caused the 2008 U.S. financial collapse;” and Heineken, which “excludes transgender people from its employment protections.”

“Dallas Pride’s organizers refuse to drop sponsorships from anti-queer and human rights abusing companies. Plus the parade itself has continually excluded racial and economic minorities from its ranks,” noted the press release announcing the “Dirty Shame” event, “an alternative pride promenade” set for 5 p.m. Sunday in Main Street Garden, 1902 Main St. in downtown Dallas.

“QueerBomb Dallas is assembling a flash force of LGBTQIA individuals who find Dallas Pride to be non-inclusive, capitalist, hetero-normative, needlessly safe and unchallenging,” according to the press release. “We’ve organized ‘DIRTY SHAME’ with boisterous urgency to create an alternative ‘Pride Promenade’ that carries a strong Queer message through the heart of Downtown Dallas. Let’s reclaim the radical, carnal and transgressive lineage of our ever-changing community, while celebrating every [one of] the unique individuals that make us a vibrant whole.”

The QueerBomb rally begins at 5 p.m. at the Main Street Garden and will feature performers, speakers, fun and “heart-stirring queer-fuckery.” Open mic slots are available and anyone who is interested can email QueerBombDallas@gmail.com for information.

The Queer Pride Promenade starts at 6:30 p.m., with participants encouraged to “strap on your cha-cha heels and get ready to stomp the sidewalks of Main Street in a festive display of undiluted queerness.”

Those attending Dirty Shame are encouraged to bring blankets, picnics, signs and banners, flags, noisemakers, musical instruments and “your friends.” Organizers also stressed that there are no rules regarding what manner of dress is allowed: “QueerBomb is a safe and affirming space. We promote body positivity and self expression. So wear what represents you. Wear anything you have ever wanted to wear or as little as the law will allow. Let is united and celebrate Pride without beer ads or exclusion.”

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Protests planned against genocidal Ugandan president who will be in Irving

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 11:22am
Yoweni Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be in Irving this weekend, and several members of the Ugandan community are calling on the LGBT community for help in protesting his appearance here.

Museveni’s government has passed anti-LGBT legislation, better known as the “Kill the Gays bill,” that criminalizes not just being gay but protecting family members or friends who are gay. Uganda even asserts the right to extradite gay Ugandans from other countries.

The law was declared unconstitutional on a technicality in August, but was immediately reintroduced in the Ugandan Parliament.

The legislation was originally proposed by American “Christian” pastors, including David Dykes from Tyler.

Museveni will be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel on MacArthur Boulevard in Irving. He will attend a morning service at Irving Convention Center, 500 West Las Colinas Blvd., Irving at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 and will address the meeting at 5 p.m.

Museveni is in Dallas to promote tourism and look for investors in his country’s oil and gas industry. Irving is a perfect location: ExxonMobil world headquarters are just blocks away.

Several members of the Ugandan community asked members of the LGBT community to join them protesting Museveni and the genocide he has repeatedly threatened to unleash on the gay community. They will meet at the Irving Convention Center on Sunday at 10 a.m. and at 5 p.m.

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