Fanning honors AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack

Posted on 18 Jan 2017 at 3:16pm

AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack, left, and her wife

At a ceremony in the Pentagon today (Jan. 18), Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning awarded AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award. The award was presented in Secretary Fanning’s office just prior to his official farewell ceremony.

The award from the Secretary of the Army reads:

Ashley Broadway-Mack is awarded the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award for exceptional service and support to the United States Army and the Department of Defense during my tenure as the 22nd Secretary of the Army. Drawing from more than 19 years as a military spouse, Ms. Broadway-Mack has been an advocate for the timeless importance of military partners and children, while highlighting the need to adjust support and services with an eye for changes in family structure. As President of the American Military Partner Association she demonstrated a steadfast commitment to ensuring our force provides support to meet the changing nature and needs of our military families. Ms. Broadway-Mack’s unwavering commitment and dedication to Soldiers and our nation’s Army is in keeping with the highest traditions of public service and reflect distinct credit on her, the United States Army, and the Department of defense.

“Ashley Broadway-Mack is a phenomenal advocate for our nation’s modern military families,” said AMPA founder and President emeritus Stephen Peters. “Her passion, drive, and vision for a stronger and more inclusive military family community is truly inspirational and has made a profound difference in the lives of so many. We congratulate her on this incredible honor.”

And a congratulations from Dallas Voice as well. Broadway-Mack and AMPA are always a pleasure to work with.



Straus speaks out against SB6

Posted on 18 Jan 2017 at 2:38pm

House speaker Joe Straus

During his acceptance speech after his re-election as Texas Speaker of the House, state Rep. Joe Straus laid out his priorities for the session. Obviously missing was any anti-LGBT legislation, especially Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s notorious bathroom bill.

In a speech to the Texas Association of Business today (Jan. 18), Straus made it completely clear what he thought of Patrick’s bill: He pointed to sporting events that North Carolina lost. One of those tournaments, the Final Four, will be played in Straus’ hometown, San Antonio, in 2018.

Straus based his argument completely on business interests, according to the Texas Tribune.

“Many people where I come from get concerned about anything that can slow down our overall job-creating machine,” Straus said.

He encouraged the business community to speak out against the bill.

TAB has come out strongly against SB6, the bathroom bill.

The day before, Attorney General Ken Paxton called SB6 narrowly focused and, ignoring more than $600 million in North Carolina losses, said it wouldn’t affect business. He told businesses to consider children’s safety. The bill, however, would force trans men to use ladies rooms.


Chorale and other theater groups support Whitener

Posted on 18 Jan 2017 at 1:54pm

Derek Whitener

North Texas’ music and theater community is stepping up to support Derek Whitener, the popular local actor/director who remains in a coma at Baylor Hospital with a fractured skull after being attacked by two men Saturday night, Jan. 14, in the parking lot of the Target store on Haskell.

The attack bears some similarities to a series of attacks against gay men in Oak Lawn that began in 2015.

At its weekly rehearsal, the Turtle Creek Chorale raised more than $1,000 when it passed the hat to support Whitener. Executive Director Bruce Jaster said the Chorale is open to collecting more.

“We’re glad that there’s something we can do, joining with others in the arts community, to help,” Jaster said.

A GoFundMe account has been created and has brought in more than $74,000 so far.

Whitener recently became executive director of Firehouse Theater in Farmers Branch, where he was currently appearing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. A portion of ticket sales for the show through the end of the week will go towards Whitener’s medical expenses. Tickets are available here.

WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Mama’s Party at Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie and OnStage Bedford are among the theaters that have already announced they’re helping defray medical costs.


Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 3:40pm

Chelsea Manning

President Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the U.S. military servicemember who was convicted of leaking information to Wikileaks and sentenced to 35 years in Leavenworth, according to the New York Times.

She will be released in May 2017.

Manning is transgender, and began her transition while in prison.

Manning deployed to Iraq in 2009 and worked as a security analyst. While there, she copied hundreds of thousands of military incident logs that documented abuse of detainees by the Iraqi military and suggested Iraqi civilian deaths were much higher than had been reported.

At her trial, Manning confessed and apologized, although she hadn’t accepted a plea deal.

Most previous leak cases resulted in one- to three-year sentences. Manning received 35 years and will be released after serving seven. Over the past year, she attempted suicide twice. Although she asked for a pardon, which would wipe out the sentence, a commutation releases her for time served.


Dallas Women’s March announced

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 12:09pm

State Rep. Victoria Neave

Can’t get to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Saturday, Jan. 21? Then there’s the Austin Women’s March that begins at the Texas State Capitol.

Can’t get to Austin on Saturday? How about Dallas?

Freshman state Rep. Victoria Neave announced a Dallas Women’s March that begins at Dallas City Hall, 1400 Marilla St., at 10 a.m.

The event includes a rally, mega phone bank and march. The march that begins at City Hall ends at the AFL-CIO union hall on Washington Avenue, about a mile away.

The rally is hosted by Planned Parenthood, Dallas AFL-CIO, Texas Young Democrats, Moms Demand Action, Battleground Texas, Women Organizing Women Democrats, Together We Will East Dallas, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats Dallas Chapter, Dallas County Democratic Party and Texas Organizing Project.

For those not familiar with downtown Dallas and looking for parking for the rally and march, check here or here. This interactive map shows where and how much parking is in downtown. And then there are sites like and that will help you find a spot and then, apparently, reserve it for you.


Police issue more info on Target assault

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 10:55am

Dallas police released more information on the assault of Derrick Whitener at the Haskell Avenue Target Saturday night. The photos are from Target surveillance video. The circumstances of the attack — against a gay man using a wooden rod — are similar to the rash of attacks in Oak Lawn that began in the fall of 2015. This is what police released this morning:

On January 14, 2017 at approximately 11:05 p.m., the complainant, Derrick Whitener, was assaulted with a wooden rod by two suspects in the Target parking lot located at 2417 N. Haskell Avenue. The complainant arrived at Target and as he was walking towards the front entrance of the business, the suspects began walking towards him. The suspects are observed walking away from the complainant after he makes it to the front door. While inside, the complainant reported the individuals as suspicious to Target personnel.  Meanwhile, the suspects remained near the front entrance.

Target security alerted an off-duty Dallas Police officer. Both the security guard and the off-duty officer approached the suspects near the entrance. One suspect walked away, while the suspect with the wooden rod had a brief discussion with the off-duty officer and security guard. The two suspects were asked to leave the property.   At around 11:05 p.m., the complainant exited the business after shopping. As he walked to his vehicle, he was approached by the suspects. They made a threatening statement to the complainant and then beat him with the stick and fled on foot towards the street. A customer in the parking lot reported the incident to the off-duty officer, who then assisted the complainant. The Assault Unit was notified of the incident on January 15th and began the assault investigation.

Detectives were able to retrieve video surveillance of the offense. Detectives will need to interview the victim [who is currently hospitalized following brain surgery to repair damage done in the attack], but have canvased the area for additional video and witnesses. The victim received severe injuries, but is expected to recover. We are asking for the public’s assistance in the identification of the two suspects.

Suspect #1: B/M/18-20, 5’9”, 150 pounds. Last seen wearing a gray jacket, black pants, black backpack, black gloves, gorilla mask, and armed with a 3 foot wooden dowel rod.

Suspect #2: B/M/18-20, 5’9”, 150 pounds. Last seen wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, red/blue jeans, white Nike shoes, black backpack, and a gorilla mask.


Tapes of 2004 Obama interviews with Chicago LGBT press released

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 9:59am

Barack Obama at 2004 LGBT fundraiser. (Courtesy Tracy Baim/Windy City Times)

Windy City Times has released the tapes of interviews publisher Tracy Baim did with Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.

The first interview was recorded during the primary and the second after he won the primary during an LGBT fundraiser for senate candidate Obama. A transcript of the first interview ran in Baim’s book Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage.

The interviews are linked through the Windy City Times’ story with links to additional coverage the newspaper did of its hometown candidate.


Pulse killer’s wife arrested

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 at 7:25pm

Noor Salman

CNN has reported that federal authorities have arrested the widow of the man who killed 49 people and injured than 50 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June 12 before being killed himself by officers responding to the scene.

In a story posted just before 8 p.m. EST today (Monday, Jan. 16), CNN reports that Noor Salman faces federal charges including obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband’s material support to ISIS, according to a law enforcement official. The law enforcement official said that despite Salman’s claim that she was coerced by her husband’s abusive behavior, authorities believe she acted of her own free will and knowingly obstructed the investigation into what was the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in modern U.S. history.

The arrest of Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, was first reported by The New York Times.

Authorities believe Salman acted of her own free will and knowingly took steps to obstruct the investigation into the massacre, according to a law enforcement official.

The official said Salman’s claims that she was coerced through her husband’s abusive behavior did not stand up. Another official says the evidence will show that she was complicit and knew her husband was going to do something bad.

Neither Salman’s attorney nor her family in California have commented on the arrest.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said he is glad Salman was arrested and that “we are grateful that they have seen to it that some measure of justice will be served in this act of terror that has affected our community so deeply.”


Gay man attacked outside Target on Haskell

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 at 5:31pm

Derek Whitener

Theater director/actor Derek Whitener remains hospitalized in Dallas after being attacked by two masked men outside the Target store on Haskell on Saturday night, Jan. 14.

Friends confirmed to Dallas Voice that Whitener is a member of the LGBT and that he was not robbed in the attack. Some of his friends are calling the attack an anti-gay hate crime.

Dallas Morning News reports that Whitener, 33, stopped at the Target on his way home after performing as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Firehouse Theatre in Farmer’s Branch, where is he is artistic and education director.

Reports say that one of the men was wearing a ski mask and the other was wearing a monkey mask. One of them hit Whitener on the head with a pipe, fracturing his skull. Friends said he has undergone brain surgery


Opening day at the legislature

Posted on 13 Jan 2017 at 7:00am

These photos were taken on the opening day of the 85th Texas Legislature, Jan. 10, 2017. House Chamber photos were taken from the gallery because, apparently a White House press pass isn’t good enough for Austin.