It’s here! Here’s the first episode of DVtv in Spayse! (Live)

Posted on 24 Mar 2017 at 9:43pm

DVtv in Spayse (LIve) episode one: Brad Pritchett, Brandi Amara Skyy, Israel Luna and Tammye Nash

Today (Friday, March 24), we aired the very first episode of DVtv in Spayse! (Live), streaming it live from the Spayse Station, the internet TV studio at Israel Luna’s Spayse Studios.

I was thrilled to have Israel himself, DVtv video host Brad Pritchett and new Dallas Voice contributor Brandi Amara Skyy there to carry the show. They are OUTstanding!

Watch our first episode below. And click here to watch our show and others on the Spayse Station YouTube channel.

AND put it on your calendar to tune in next Friday at 4 p.m. to see DVtv in Spayse! (Live).

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Sara Ramirez speaking at the All In for Equality Advocacy Day rally

Posted on 24 Mar 2017 at 12:43pm

Sara Ramirez

Gray’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez— who played a bisexual character on the show and recently came out as bisexual herself — was one of the speakers on Monday, May 20, in Austin as part of All In for Equality rally on Advocacy Day.

Read the story here.

See photos here.

Here is a brief video clip of part of her remarks:

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Coming Friday: DVtv in SPAYSE!

Posted on 22 Mar 2017 at 3:34pm

Last Friday, March 17, I participated in an episode of Don’t Panic!, Israel Luna’s internet radio/TV program that streams live every Friday on the Spayse Station YouTube Channel from 3-4 p.m. — live from Israel’s Spayse Studio. Joel S. Hoselton (aka entertainer Jenna Skyy) and poor college student Michael Anthony Garza were the other guests, along with Israel as the host. (You can also watch here, on the Spayse Studio Facebook page.)

You can watch it here.

I had a lot of fun, and now, I get to do it again!

On Friday, immediately after Don’t Panic! We are going to livestream the first episode of what I’m calling DVtv in Spayse!

Israel and I will be there, along with DVtv host Brad Pritchett and Dallas Voice’s newest freelance contributor, Brandi Amara Skyy. We’ll be talking about news, entertainment and more.

Put it on your schedule and check it out!

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UPDATE: Trans woman murdered in Baltimore identified

Posted on 22 Mar 2017 at 2:37pm

Guilford Street in Baltimore, where a transgender woman was murdered this morning.

UPDATE: The murdered woman has been identified as Alphonza Watson.

Police in Baltimore are investigating the murder of a transgender woman shot to death early this morning (Wednesday, March 22) in Baltimore. The woman was identified as Alphonza Watson, and her mother, who said she had come out as transgender during her teens, said Watson went by the nickname “Peaches.”

According to The Washington Blade, police responded to reports of shots fired in the 2400 block of Guilford Avenue at about 4:15 a.m. and found the 38-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the stomach. She was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Blade notes that witnesses reported hearing someone yelling for help and then hearing gunshots. Immediately after the shots, witnesses said they saw black men getting into a dark-colored vehicle and speeding away.

This marks the eighth transgender women murdered since the first of the year.

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Trump administration has removed questions on sexuality from surveys on aging

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 at 2:18pm

The administration of Donald Trump, the man touted by gay Republicans as the “most pro-gay” Republican president ever, has now removed questions regarding sexuality from federal surveys on aging and services for the disabled. Trump’s minions had already withdrawn another planned survey intended to evaluate the effectiveness of a homelessness project for LGBT youth.

According to ABC News, the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, a Health and Human Services department survey conducted each year, gathers information from those receiving transportation, homemaker and meal services, visiting senior centers, or taking part in other programs funded by the Older Americans Act. In a draft of this year’s survey, a single question asking about respondents’ sexual orientation has been removed. In the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, a second report sponsored by HHS, has been edited to delete the only question regarding sexual orientation. This survey is intended to gather feedback on counseling, skills training and other services provided to the disabled.

Kelly Mack, a spokeswoman for the Administration for Community Living, the HHS division which oversees the two surveys, claimed the question on sexual orientation had only been included in the first place as part of a “pilot test,” and that it was removed because “the sample size was insufficient to be reliable,” according to ABC News. But LGBT advocates called bullshit, saying the survey results had already provided insight into the lives of LGBT elders.

Mack was also questioned by Associated Press journalists who noted that she claimed the question on sexual orientation was one of several removed from the surveys, but that in fact, it was the ONLY question removed. In response, Mack pointed to a question on respondents’ date of birth, then posted a revised version of the surveys in which that question was also removed. (Hey Kelly Mack, “two” does not equal “several.”)

Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, accused the Trump administration of “choosing to not only ignore us but erase us from the discussion.”

Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said, “Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million LGBTQ seniors in America. This is an extremely vulnerable population, many of whom will have to face the challenges of advanced age or illness without the traditional support systems and legal protections that other seniors can take for granted. If we do not collect data on LGBTQ seniors, policymakers and advocates can not know the extent of the problems they face.”

HRC “implore[d] the Trump Administration to add this crucial question back to the NSOAAP and expand their questions to include data collection on gender identity.”

Officials with Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) has launched a nationwide effort to “oppose the Trump administration’s proposed erasure of LGBT elders from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants.”

SAGE CEO Michael Adams said, “Caring about our LGBT elders means making sure they have access to publicly-funded senior services, which can be literally life-saving. Now it appears that the Trump Administration wants to make believe LGBT older people don’t exist, by erasing them from this critically important survey. We insist that this decision be reversed and that the federal government commit to serving all elders in need, including those who are LGBT.”

 

 

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A&M elects gay student body president

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 at 2:15pm

Bobby Brooks, center front, was elected Texas A&M student body president (photo via Facebook)

Texas A&M elected its first gay student body president after the original winner was disqualified.

Several charges were leveled against the original winner, including a voter fraud charge that has since been overturned by a student court. The other charges included 14 reports of voter intimidation and finance report failure, according to the campus newspaper The Battalion.

Bobby Brooks of Belton was declared the winner and became the first openly gay student body president. Until 2014, Texas A&M regularly appeared on the list of Top 20 most homophobic schools in the country. And while SMU also appeared on the list, SMU had nondiscrimination policies in place. A&M didn’t.

While Brooks didn’t hide who he was, he didn’t make being gay an issue during the campaign.

Texas A&M had refused to recognize an LGBT student organization as early as the 1970s. In recent legislatures, bills attacking LGBT resource centers on campuses primarily were attacking the one on the A&M campus. The bills never passed.

On his Facebook page, Brooks wrote:

We did it.
I can’t express enough wholehearted thanks to my family who encouraged my dreams, to my campaign team who sacrificed countless hours of free time, to every friend who smiled and hugged me when I shared this seemingly ridiculous idea, or to every person who searched me out to share their vision of how to make Texas A&M the best university in the world.

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Roy Williams has died

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 at 1:30pm

Roy Williams

Roy Williams, 74, one of two men who sued the city of Dallas over the make-up of its city council, has died.

Williams’ lawsuit brought an end to citywide and at-large districts and resulted in the 14-1 plan requiring 14 single-member city council districts and one mayor elected citywide.

The lawsuit allowed black and Hispanic candidates to be elected to the council regularly, but it also had the unintended consequence of allowing gay candidates to be elected.

In the creation of the single-member districts, Oak Lawn was divided in half, with the district line running down the middle of Cedar Springs Road. City officials’ intention was to disenfranchise the LGBT community. Instead, Chris Luna ran in District 2 and Craig McDaniel ran in District 14 — and both won. Other LGBT candidates followed and some candidates, like District 14’s Angela Hunt and Veletta Lill, wouldn’t have won without the support of the LGBT community.

Williams ran for city council several times, but was never elected. However, minority representation on the council went from 25 percent before 14-1 to about 40 percent today. Williams died on March 18 at the Dallas VA Hospital. Funeral services are pending.

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A message from a Trump American?

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 at 11:23am

Really? I guess that depends on your definition of “great”.

When you are an openly LGBT person working for a well-known LGBT newspaper/website, you expect to get some hateful (sometimes threatening, sometimes just downright weird) letters/calls/emails on occasion. And since my first day on the job with Dallas Voice — which, by the way, was Monday, June 6, 1988 — I have gotten my fair share of all those things.

For instance, five days short of my one-year anniversary with Dallas Voice, a red-haired man walked into our office and confessed that he was the one who had deliberately set the February fire that had destroyed the Cedar Springs Road offices of the Dallas Gay Alliance and the AIDS Resource Center, and had damaged several other businesses there, including the Round-Up Saloon. That kind of thing doesn’t happen very often.

A few years ago, when our offices were still on Travis Street, a handsome, well-groomed and neatly-dressed young man walked into my office and proceeded to tell me about the police officers and secret agents who were harassing him by following him and shooting x-rays through the walls of his apartment to read his mind and fry his brain. When he started making threats against then-President George W. Bush, I knew I was going to have to contact authorities, including the Secret Service. I mean, I didn’t really think this guy was going to try to assassinate the president or that he had any true information about somebody else trying to assassinate the president. But I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

We used to get all kinds of weird and/or threatening letters, back in the day when people mailed things instead of emailing them. And since the dawn of the age of email and the internet, we get all kinds of weird and/or threatening and/or hateful emails in our inboxes and comments on our website. But honestly, it’s really not as bad as it used to be. It seemed the bigots and the crazies had retreated into their holes, unable to stand in the dawning light of a new age of equality.

And then came Trump. And the bigots and the crazies decided his election meant they had won, and that they once again have free reign to harass, insult, threaten and even harm those of us outside the parameters of their brand of normal.

I said all that as prelude to sharing a couple of emails I got this week, and my responses to them. Yes, I know that I probably should have ignored the troll and trashed the email. But I am genetically pre-dispositioned to smart-ass, and sometimes I can’t help myself. So here you go; here are the transcripts of my recent email communications with “Danny,” presented as evidence that we are living in a time of renewed hatred and bigotry:

(First email sent to Dallas Voice, via our website:)
LGBT Meaning
Please clear this up: I am hearing LGBT stands for: Liberty, Guns, Beer, Trump
Is that true?

(My first reply:)
Mr. XXXX,
Yes, indeed, LGBT stands for Liberty, Guns, Beer, Trump. If that’s how you want to use the acronym.
It might also stand for Let Go Bitch, There! Or any number of other phrases.
Here at Dallas Voice, though, it also stands for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender.
Thanks for writing.
Tammye Nash, Managing Editor

(His reply to my email:)
HaHa,
Actually, alot of us are sick and tired of your LGBT craming that lifestyle down our throats as being normal, and frankly sir, we are not going to allow it in the future. We will stand up against it

(And my answer to him:)
Haha, I’m not a sir.
Just so you know, a person’s sexual orientation is not their lifestyle. My “lifestyle” involves working a full-time job and a couple of freelance jobs to pay the bills for me and my family. I drive a small car, that I bought used, because it was cheap and it gets good gas mileage. I stay home most nights and watch TV with my family. I don’t smoke; I rarely drink. Maybe one weekend a month my partner and I go out with friends (most of whom are heterosexual). That’s my lifestyle. I don’t see anything “abnormal” or “exotic” about it. And I am not cramming that lifestyle down yours or anyone else’s throat. I am minding my own business and living my own life.
Frankly, Mr. XXX, what you think you get to allow or not allow makes no difference to me. You don’t get to tell me what I can or cannot do. You don’t get to decide what is and is not normal for anyone other than yourself. If you don’t like LGBT people, don’t be around them. And don’t write them stupid, threatening emails. Trust me, I don’t imagine there are any LGBT people who want to spend any time in your company, either.
A lot of us are tired of your bigotry and hatefulness. Grow up.

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25th anniversary of AIDS memorial marked

Posted on 20 Mar 2017 at 10:31am

Community members gathered in Lee Park on March 18 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial that Alan Ross worked years to get approved. Thanks to photographer John R. Selig for sending the photos he took and to his husband Rodolfo Arredondo for one photo in which Selig appears.

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T-Mobile and Dallas blaming each other in 911 mess

Posted on 17 Mar 2017 at 11:43am

The 911 system is still not operating the way it should be.

T-Mobile is claiming parts of the Dallas system are not up-to-date. That’s possible, but not the entire story. Why is Dallas the only city having problems receiving 911 calls? We’re not the only city with older 911 equipment.

T-Mobile said Dallas staffing is not up to par. Again, it’s possible that is part of the problem. Dallas has been growing at an incredibly fast rate and there’s higher call volume on the 911 system.

T-Mobile identified one problem it’s having on its system. When a caller using T-Mobile doesn’t get through on its 4G network, the system automatically puts the call through again on its 3G network to increase the chance of connecting with emergency services. T-Mobile has suspended that. But again, why only in Dallas?

Mayor Mike Rawlings’ office is frustrated as hell trying to get answers and get the 911 system fixed. T-Mobile said they’ll remain on site until the mess is fixed.

Thanks to our friends at CNN and HLN who’ve been on the phone with the Dallas mayor’s office this morning trying piece together the 911 mess and called me with the latest information they have.

 

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