Mexican Supreme Court decision could lead way to marriage equality

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 4:14pm

olga-sanchez-corderoA decision by the Mexican Supreme Court could pave the way to marriage equality in all 32 of its states according to the Yucatan Times.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled unanimously in January the state of Jalisco cannot deny the right to marry to same sex couples.

The court found restricting marriage between one man and one woman “was unconstitutional because it undermined the self-determination of the people and against the right to free development of the personality of each individual.”

The court added Jalisco “generated a violation of the principle of equality, because from that purpose, a differential treatment of homosexual couples compared to heterosexual couples arose, to exclude the possibility of marriage.”

Justice Olga Sanchez Cordero told a news agency that states should take heed and ensure other similar rules barring same-sex marriage were not found unconstitutional.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in six of Mexico’s 32 states.


Vigil planned for slain Austin trans woman Monica Loera

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 3:17pm
Monica Loera

Monica Loera

Transgender rights advocates in Austin are planning a rally and vigil for 7 p.m. next Friday, Feb. 12, to honor murdered trans woman Monica Loera, the first transgender person murdered since the start of 2016. The location of the rally has not yet been determined.

Loera was shot to death Jan. 22 outside her North Austin home by a man she had been arguing with, according to police reports. JonCasey William Rowell, 29, was arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with her death.

News of Loera’s murder was not publicized in the LGBT community for several days because police and Austin media initially misgendered Loera, referring to her by her pre-transition name, and circulating a driver’s license photo of her also taken before she transitioned.

The Facebook page announcing the rally and vigil, hosted by The Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, reads, in part: “Fear. Anger. Resignation. Sorrow. These are understandable emotions facing trans people and sex workers upon the news of the murder of sister Monica Loera. Austin has become home to ‘the first trans murder of 2016.’ And the disposability of this working-class trans Latina was only further exposed by her callous and disrespectful treatment even in death by the Austin Police Department and the media in a campaign of misgendering, deadnaming, and erasure — treatment which has long-been cornerstone to the death of trans women.”

The post continues: “When we say REST IN POWER, that is not a given thing. It is a resolution. It is a resolution that we will bring the memory of Monica Loera and so many others into power. It is a resolution that we will not only remember, but that we will weild each name of our dead as a sword in organizing against the systemic and devastating gridwork of economic, state, and social violences facing trans women, people of color, and sex workers. It won’t stop until we stop it.”

Calling the community to “mourn our dead and fight like hell for the living,” organizers promised to finalize details of the rally and vigil soon, adding that anyone willing to help, to speak or collaborate in staging the event should message the Facebook page.

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Martin Shkreli invokes the 5th Amendment, acts like a dick before Congress

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 2:13pm

Screen shot 2016-02-05 at 1.20.02 PMMartin Shkreli — the hedge fund manager who jacked up the price of a drug used by some HIV patients by 5,000 percent to $750 a pill — smirked, laughed, and grimaced before a hearing of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform yesterday, Thursday, Feb. 4.

Shkreli appeared before the committee following his December arrest. He is accused of securities fraud and those charges are unrelated to the manipulation of drug prices.

Throughout the hearing, Shkreli invoked his 5th Amendment right to not testify as “a witness against himself.” But he was hardly quiet or humble. On camera, the 32-year-old was seen laughing, yawning, turning his head away from committee members and dismissing questions.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, asked Shkreli if he would admit he was wrong if asked by someone living with AIDS who relied on the drug Daraprim, according to Reuters.

Shkreli declined to comment.

After South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy suggested he could answer non-incriminating questions, like how to spell his name, Shkreli declined.

“I intend to follow the advice of my counsel,” Shkreli said, “not yours.”

Shkreli looked away even when Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings pleaded with him to apologize and use the opportunity to become an advocate for patients.

“I truly believe – are you listening?” Cummings asked at one point.

At the advice of his counsel, Shkreli answered, “Yes.”

After the hearing Shkreli tweeted “Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.”


Trump promises to ‘bring people together,’ even the LGBT people, if he is elected

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 1:57pm

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After having the Iowa caucus win stolen from him by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump headed to New Hampshire this week to try and improve on what polls say is his double-digit lead headed into next Tuesday’s primaries there. And Sue O’Connell with NECN’s (New England Cable News)  Broadside show was there to interview him live on camera.

O’Connell, who is a lesbian and also co-publisher of the LGBT newspaper Bay Windows, did manage to ask Trump if the LGBT community can expect more “forward motion” on our issues, but got only a vague “bring people together” in return.

After noting that she is a lesbian and that the LGBT community has seen great progress on civil rights and equality issues in recent years, O’Connell asked: “When President Trump is in office, can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?”

“Well, you can,” Trump responded. “And we’re gonna bring people together. That’s your thing. Other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together, and if we don’t we’re not gonna have a country anymore. It’s gonna be a total mess. It’s a mess right now but it’s gonna be even more of a mess.”

Then Trump declared his love for the people of New Hampshire and pledged that once he is elected he will solve “the heroin problem, the drug problem” in New Hampshire that he’s heard so much about, and that he will do that by building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Watch the 6-minute-18-second interview here.


Dallas County JP refuses to conduct same-sex weddings

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 10:48am
Dallas County JP Bill Metzger

Dallas County JP Bill Metzger

Dallas County Justice of the Peace Bill Metzger wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday that he will only conduct marriages between a man and woman.

“Because of my faith in God as a devout Catholic, I will only be conducting traditional marriages,” Metzger’s wrote.

He cited a nonbinding opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued last June that county employees, including clerks and judges, may refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if issuing those licenses would go against their “deeply held religious beliefs.”

But retired Dallas County district judge John Cruezot told WFAA Metzger’s position may not hold up to a legal challenge.

“You don’t have to do any marriages, nobody can compel you to do a marriage,” Cruezot said.  “However, once you take on one set of individuals, you have to do it for everyone.”

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has also issued an opinion, following the Obergefell decision last summer, countering Paxton’s opinion.

“A judge or justice of the peace is authorized to perform a marriage but is under no obligation to do so. However, once the judge elects to undertake the performance of marriages, the service must be offered to all (including same-sex couples) in a non-discriminatory manner,” Ryan wrote in his opinion.

During the summer, some county clerks around the country initially refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on their religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang in Texas posted on the front page of her website, “I will be not be issuing same sex marriage license’s due to my religious convictions.”

Lang later relented, saying she would personally not issue licenses but that someone in her office would.

Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, defying multiple court rulings, was jailed for refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious convictions.

Davis’ supporters tried to compare, wrongfully, Davis to Dallas County District Judge Tonya Parker who announced in 2012 she would not perform weddings for any couple

But as my colleague David Taffet explained, Parker is not required to perform marriages; Davis is required to issue licenses:

Tonya Parker was elected to be a judge of the 116th Civil District Court. That court hears cases involving civil rather than criminal or family matters in which damages involved are more than $200. As a perk of her office, Parker may perform marriages. Performing marriage is not a duty of her office. She was elected to hear civil cases in her court.

Kim Davis, however, was elected to issue vital documents. That’s what a county clerk does. Kentucky law doesn’t say she may issue marriage licenses. Kentucky law says that’s what a county clerk does. She doesn’t get to issue them as a perk or if she decides to issue them. To refuse is refusing to do her job.

Metzger’s decision has yet to be challenged in court.


TrusTed? Google ‘trus’

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 10:48am

Screen shot 2016-02-05 at 10.17.34 AMSo Ted Cruz wants everybody to trust him. He is building his presidential campaign around that idea — the idea he is totally trustworthy, the idea that we can all “Trust Ted.” His oh-so-clever advertising folks even came up with an oh-so-clever campaign slogan: TrusTed, with the first four letters in white, and the last three in red

But maybe his advertising folks and whomever in his campaign staff approved that slogan/logo should do a little research before launching such slogans/logos. Why? Just Google “trus”:

transrectal ultrasound

Abbreviation: TRUS

Imaging of the prostate gland and periprostatic tissues with an ultrasound transducer inserted into the anus and directed toward the anterior rectum. It is used to identify malignant tumors, guide biopsies, and provide assessments of tumor staging.

Synonym: endorectal ultrasound (2)

Ummm, yeah. One more reason not to vote for Ted Cruz. And here’s a campaign video that will help reinforce reasons not to vote for him.


National LGBTQ Task Force launches free tax preparation guide

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 9:57am

gay-dollar1It’s tax season. Do you know where your receipts and pay stubs and 1099s are? Do you even know what you can and cannot deduct?

Well good news: the National LGBTQ Task Force has launched a handy new income tax preparation guide for the LGBT community. Despite all the help you may receive from a trusted advisor or handy program like Turbo Tax, it wouldn’t hurt to take advantage of this free guide.

The new publication is part of their “Queer Our Taxes” effort, a public education and advocacy campaign focused on securing economic justice for LGBT people.

“LGBTQ people are disproportionally more likely to live at or below the poverty line – they are also often the most in need of income tax information and least able to access it. The straight forward information in this guide will empower LGBTQ people to get credits and deductions that lift millions of people out of poverty,” said Meghan Maury, criminal and economic justice director at the Task Force.

Even as Obergefell streamlined the process for joint filings, adoption forms and other barriers to access (and tax deductions,) Maury said all members of the LGBT community will benefit.

“Most LGBTQ people don’t know that you can deduct out of pocket costs for transition-related care including surgery. Many of us also don’t know that you may be able to claim a large credit for adoption related expenses,” Maury said.

The last day to file taxes is April 18.


eXXXotica plans to return to the Kay Bailey Hutchison

Posted on 04 Feb 2016 at 5:00pm

These were last year’s dates, but the exxxpo is planning to return this year

EXXXotica, the porn expo held last year at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, wants to return to Dallas.

Mayor Mike Rawlings isn’t thrilled. His concern is the exploitation of women. The Dallas City Council was just off on a two-day retreat and apparently they went into executive session to discuss eXXXotica.

I’ll bet.

While the mayor isn’t thrilled about welcoming eXXXotica back, the Dallas Convention Center, unlike the former senator it’s named after, can’t discriminate. So it looks like eXXXotica is coming back to Dallas.

If they’d like to keep the Kay Bailey Hutchison a holy place, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence may be able to help.

“I wonder if they need some Sister volunteers,” Sister Lawna Jocqui asked.

Yes, Lawna, with you there, it would certainly be respectable.

EXXXotica is trying to schedule its event when it would be “least disruptive” to the Kay Bailey Hutchison’s business. In other words, when the facility would otherwise be empty and the city taking in no revenue.

Why Dallas and not Houston?

According to Men’s Health, the gay men’s health magazine for straight men, Dallas is the second most sex-happy city in the country after Austin. The magazine rated cities based on condom sales, birth rates, sex toy sales and STD rates.

Of course, when it comes to communicable diseases, we’re No. 1, but how can high condom sales and high birth rates jive? I guess straight guys here are buying lots of condoms and using them wrong or forgetting to put them on in the first place, resulting in lots of unplanned parenthood.

Houston only ranked No. 10.


Ed-U-Care presents compassion fatigue symposium

Posted on 04 Feb 2016 at 2:35pm

Ed-U-Care CEO Sharyn Fein

Ed-U-Care, an organization that provides programs and volunteer opportunities for groups and families that have traditionally been marginalized or neglected including older LGBT adults, presents “Compassion Fatigue Awareness, Education Cultural Humility Training for Caregivers.”

According to Ed-U-Care CEO Sharyn Fein, the program is designed to educate and teach seal-healing methods for those who provide care. The day is designed for professionals who can receive CEU credits for the day as well as individuals who are caring for an elderly parent or a partner with an ongoing condition.

Burnout can be so severe, Fein said, the caregiver dies before the person being cared for in some cases.

Fein said the sessions will be fun with presenters who including a music therapist, Nia practitioner and trainer, QiGong Master and more.

“Find what makes us happy,” she said. “Live without guilt.”

AIDS Arms and Lambda Legal are among the sponsors. The Dallas area Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s Society and Senior Source are some of the others presenting the symposium.

The event takes place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 1 at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road. Early bird registration is $30 until March 1. After that it’s $35. The price includes two catered meals.

Get tickets here.


National Black HIV Awareness Day

Posted on 04 Feb 2016 at 2:25pm

Phillip Turner

Sunday is National Black HIV Awareness Day. Look for our stories in this week’s paper, but here’s the testing information for the weekend:

• Abounding Prosperity will hold a testing and fish fry event from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Abounding Prosperity, 2311 MLK Blvd.

• Turner and other AHF staff will be testing for HIV and other STDs from 3-6 p.m. at Out of the Closet, 3920 Cedar Springs Road. AIDS Walk South Dallas director Antoine Wiley will speak. Chips, dip and margaritas will be served.