The Move is on!

Posted on 29 Aug 2014 at 10:09am


Today (Friday, Aug. 29) is the big day here at Dallas Voice. We are packing our bags and moving across town to our new offices in the Design District — 1825 Market Center Blvd., Ste. 240, in the Chase Bank building at the corner of Market Center and Turtle Creek boulevards, to be exact.

So, as we are in the midst of the move, we may be (we will be) out of touch for a little bit. We just wanted to let you all know that if we don’t return an email or answer your call, it’s not because we are ignoring you. It’s just because our computers and/or our phones are enroute to our new offices and haven’t been set up yet.

So keep trying and be a little patient with us. We will be back up and running soon! And watch for our announcement of the open house to show off our new offices, which we will hold as soon as the dust settles!

Thanks, and see ya on the other side (of town).


BREAKING: Dallas County Schools amends policies to protect LGBT employees, students

Posted on 28 Aug 2014 at 6:50pm
Screen shot 2014-08-28 at 6.37.46 PM

Larry Duncan

Officials with Dallas County Schools have announced that DCS revised its policies today (Thursday, Aug. 29) to include protections for LGBT employees and students in its nondiscrimination policy.

The new rules apply to both DCS’ 3000 employees and to the 440,000-plus students it serves, officials said.

DCS is a pupil transportation provider that also provides student safety programs, technology solutions, online instructional services, psychology services and risk management solutions to schools throughout Texas.

Officials said the new policy takes “the broadest comprehensive approach” nu prohibiting “all discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, military status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or on any other basis that is prohibited by applicable law and these policies.”

The policy also expressly prohibits retaliation against anyone who complains that they have suffered such discrimination.

DCS officials acknowledged that the policy is “not enforceable on employee health care and retirement benefits because DCS is bound by Texas law to the state Teachers Retirement System for both.”

DCS Board President Larry Duncan said, “We are committed to dealing with all our employees and students on a fair and equal basis. There are no excuses.”

DCS Trustee Omar Narvaez said that DCS had asked Lambda Legal to review its policies and procedures and make recommendations, and that all of Lambda Legal’s recommendations are included in the policy revisions.

“Today, we took a vital step forward in our continued commitment to creating an inclusive, safe and respectful workplace,” Narvaez said.

Duncan and Narvaez noted that DCS has had an anti-bullying policy on the same comprehensive basis since 2011.



Joan Rivers in critical condition after complications during throat surgery

Posted on 28 Aug 2014 at 1:43pm

Joan Rivers


TMZ is reporting that acerbic comedienne Joan Rivers is in critical condition at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York following complications during surgery on her throat early this morning at a clinic.

The entertainment news website initially reported that Rivers, 81, stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal cords. An update to the story indicated that Rivers’ heart stopped beating.


This Week in Marriage Equality

Posted on 28 Aug 2014 at 12:26pm

Gov. Pat McCrory

After Equality North Carolina delivered a petition with 12,000 signatures to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory asking him to stop defending the state ban on marriage equality, the governor responded to a local media outlet:

“We’re going to let the process work,” McCrory said. “During that process we ought to have a stay to allow the current law to remain in place, but this is going to the Supreme Court for all the states. … I firmly believe a marriage is between a man and woman, but I’m going to respect our Supreme Court and the Constitution of the U.S., and that’s what we ought to let happen.”

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he will no longer defend the state’s ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples.

No word on why the stay on marriage only applies to gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court’s only ruling on the right to marry is in the Loving v. Virginia case. In that case, the court ruled heterosexual couples of different races have the right to marry. The court, however, has never ruled that heterosexuals of the same race have the right to marry.


On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard two cases challenging marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. In June, federal judges in both states struck down the states’ bans on marriage equality. Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in each state were married prior to the states’ attorneys general obtaining stays on the rulings.

The Indiana case is a consolidation of three cases. Paul Castillo, a Lambda Legal attorney based in the Dallas office, is the lead attorney in one of the cases.



Florida Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi, who is on her 4th marriage

After Florida’s marriage law was declared unconstitutional for the fifth time last week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who believes in traditional marriage so much she was recently married for the fourth time, said she will continue to defend the ban on gays and lesbians getting married even once.

“This is me doing my job as attorney general,” Bondi said. “And I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”

By just getting started, we’re not sure if she means she’s already planning her fifth marriage — one for every time the Florida law’s been declared unconstitutional.

Bondi is up for re-election this year.

The Sun Sentinal, a Broward and Palm Beach County newspaper said this in an editorial: “The state of Florida — actually, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott — have lost. They need to admit it and give it up.”

Regarding Bondi and her “traditional” marriage as it’s existed since Biblical times, we have no word on whether her husband paid two goats and a camel for her, or if that dowry is paid only by a first husband.


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Organization for Marriage does not have standing to appeal a ruling in favor of marriage equality in Oregon. In May, a federal judge struck down the state’s marriage ban. Since no state officials would defend the ban, including state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, NOM appealed the decision. The judge ruled that the group lacked standing, at which time NOM appealed to the Ninth Circuit.


UNT receives grant to digitize 16 years of Dallas Voice

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 at 3:23pm

UNTUniversity of North Texas announced it has received a $19,915 grant to digitize all copies of Dallas Voice from its inception in 1984 through 1999.

Copies of the paper from March 2004 through the current issue are already available on the UNT web portal.

Dreanna Belden, assistant dean for external relations, said $7,200 more is needed “to close the gap.” The grant is from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Digitizing begins on Sept. 1 and must be completed by next August.

Belden said the paper would be digitized from original paper copies to create high-quality, searchable documents online. The copies currently available get high usage compared to the overall collection, Belden said.

UNT collects newspapers from around Texas. Last week the library celebrated 2 million pages of Texas newspapers online. Another half million pages should be available by November.

“In 2013, across the entire newspaper collection, issues on the Portal averaged 15.54 uses for every single issue,” she said. “In 2013, the Dallas Voice experienced an average use per issue of 58.22 uses per issue which is much higher than statistics for the rest of the collection.”

So Dallas Voice issues were used four times as often as the entire historic newspaper collection.


All female California college changes policy to allow trans students

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 at 3:19pm

Mills_Hall_(Oakland,_CA)Mills College, a women’s liberal arts college in Oakland, Calif., recently amended its undergraduate admissions policy to allow transgender students to enroll. Following a unanimous vote in favor of the policy by the school’s trustees in May, the undergraduate admissions policy went into effect today, the school’s first day of classes.

The historically progressive women’s college is the only of the country’s 119 single-sex colleges to have a codified policy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The policy amendments only impact applicants and students in the undergraduate program. Its graduate programs are co-educational.

Under the new policy applicants may now include self-identified females as well as those who identify as gender-fluid but were born female. Applicants who were assigned female at birth but have legally become male are not allowed to apply to the undergraduate program. The amendments also now allow current students who transitioned after enrolling to graduate.

“Of the roughly 1,000 undergraduates at Mills, three to five each year are transgender or identify as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth,” Brian O’Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions, told the Chronicle.

Incoming student body president Skylar Crownover, who identifies as male, said it was always understood at Mills, but not codified. “Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students” he said.




Know Your Rights at Work

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 at 2:15pm

Greg Nivens

As we get ready to celebrate the Labor Day weekend holiday, Lambda Legal is launching the newest section of its “Know Your Rights” information hub, this time focusing on workplace rights for LGBT and HIV-positive people.

Greg Nevins, a Lambda Legal counsel and Workplace Fairness Project strategist based in the agency’s Atlanta office. said that workplace issues continue to be a major concern among those who call Lambda Legal’s Legal Help Desk. The new Know Your Rights Workplace site “will help people advocate for themselves as well as assist them if issues arise,” Nivens said.

He said the hub will soon be mobile-friendly and translated into Spanish. It includes legal and advocacy guidance on a wide array of issues, including what to do if you experience discrimination, what laws protect you, HIV discrimination in the workplace, what to do if you are fired, gender identity discrimination. job searches, immigrant rights, good company policies, how unions can help and same-sex spousal and partner benefits.

This is Lambda Legal’s third Know Your Rights hub. The other two are Know Your Rights: Teens and Young Adults, and Know Your Rights: Transgender.


DPD’s ‘no refusal initiative’ this weekend

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 at 2:01pm

Just got this advisory from the Dallas Police Department:Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 1.54.28 PM

“The Dallas Police Department will conduct a No-Refusal DWI Initiative for the Labor Day weekend holiday, beginning 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, and will conclude at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2.

“During this initiative officers will secure a search warrant for a blood sample from all persons arrested for DWI who refuse to voluntarily give a breath and/or blood sample.”

So remember that as you are out and about over the long weekend. Celebrate all you want, but celebrate responsibly. If you drink, don’t drive. Designate a driver, call a friend, call a cab — something. Just don’t get behind the wheel if you are even just the teensiest bit tipsy. It’s not worth your life or someone else’s.

And oh yeah, don’t think you can escape just by not driving in Dallas. I am pretty sure all the other law enforcement agencies in the area will have their own “no-refusal initiatives” in force this weekend.


Beachum murder trial postponed

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 at 10:23am

Christopher Beachum

The trial of Christopher Beachum, who is accused of of murdering Gerald Canepa after the two met on Craigslist, has been postponed until October.

The trial was scheduled to begin this morning (Wednesday, Aug. 27) and the jury was already selected before the trial date was changed.

Canepa was found strangled and stabbed in his bed on March 18, 2013. Police found email messages arranging for Beachum to go to Canepa’s house in the Hampton Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Several items were taken from Canepa’s house that Beachum pawned. Canepa’s cell phone last registered off a cell tower near Beachum’s home after Canepa’s death.

Beachum was arrested in May 2013 in Eugene, Ore. He was transferred to Dallas and has been held in Lew Sterrett since May 18, 2013 on $500,000 bond.

He’s charged with capital murder. In addition to that charge, he has credit card abuse and burglary of a habitation charges pending against him.

Canepa, 68, was a retired DISD computer programmer.


McAffrey wins Oklahoma primary runoff

Posted on 26 Aug 2014 at 9:07pm
McCaffrey Stinson

Al McAffey, left, and partner David Stinson

Associated Press declared Al McAffrey the winner in his runoff against Tom Guild for the Democratic nomination for the Oklahoma 5th congressional district. He faces Republican Steve Russell in the November election.

If elected, he’ll become the first gay congressman from Oklahoma … or Texas … or most of the states in his neighborhood.