Fox News’ Shepard Smith has officially come out

Posted on 17 Oct 2016 at 12:48pm

Shepard Smith

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, long rumored to be gay, made it official today (Monday, Oct. 17), coming out as a gay man in response to a question over whether the network’s former head, Roger Ailes, forced him to remain closeted, according to a report by The Advocate.

The interview was conducted by Huffington Post D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim and posted on the HuffPost site this morning,

In 2014 Gawker editor Nick Denton reported that Ailes told Smith, during contract negotiations, that he couldn’t come out because Fox News viewers wouldn’t tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes and Smith issued a joint statement at the time denying that claim.

Ailes resigned his position as CEO of Fox News in July following allegations by numerous women that he had sexually harassed them. Smith told Huffington Post that the allegations against Ailes were “horrifying,” and “trusts were betrayed.”


Dallas and Fort Worth receive 100 on Municipal Equality Index

Posted on 17 Oct 2016 at 10:37am

mei-2016-cover-1600x900Dallas and Fort Worth have both received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for the second year in a row. Austin was the only other city in Texas to receive the top score.

Houston scored 71. Much of its lower score is a result of its repeal by general election of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which made Houston the largest city in the country without any local protections based on personal characteristics such as race, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other category.

San Antonio’s score improved this year to a 95, Last year it received a 90.

Although 100 is the top score available, it is not considered a perfect score. Each of the seven categories have bonus points that a city can earn. Dallas, for example, does not have a human rights commission, which lost the city 5 points, but because there is an enforcement mechanism, the MEI credits Dallas with 2 bonus points.

Both Dallas and Fort Worth also lost 6 points for not having transgender-inclusive health benefits. Those benefits were among a list of changes recommended to the Fort Worth City Council by Fairness Fort Worth after the raid on the Rainbow Lounge that injured patrons. Fort Worth adopted all of the recommendations except trangender-inclusive health benefits.

Dallas received 2 bonus points for having LGBT elected or appointed officials. Fort Worth did not receive those points, even though it does have several appointed officials, including Sharon Herrera, who serves on the Human Relations Commission. That loss of bonus points didn’t affect the city’s final score.

All progressive cities in Texas received 4 bonus points for being “pro-equality despite restrictive state law.” That would include El Paso, which only scored 57, but not Houston, because of voter hostility.

Among Dallas suburbs, Plano received the highest score — 74 — and Irving, whose mayor was elected to keep Sharia law out of the city, earned 6 points for having an enumerated anti-bullying policy in its schools. Irving should have received a zero, however, because the school district doesn’t have an enumerated policy and balked when Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center tried to work with them to improve its policy after the “clock boy” incident.

Rating a city in Texas because of its school system is problematic. Dallas received all points based on Dallas Independent School District’s policies. A full quarter of the city of Dallas lies within Richardson ISD, however, and that school district has been hostile to its LGBT students in everything from resisting an enumerated anti-bullying policy to preventing students from forming gay-straight alliances.

Other DFW-area cities that were rated were Arlington — 44, Denton — 35, Garland — 22, Grand Prairie — 12 and Mesquite — 21.



Lory Masters: Her life in photos

Posted on 14 Oct 2016 at 1:50pm

We didn’t have room in our print edition to share the wonderful photos we found in our archives and that her friends sent to us of Lory Master’s through the years. So we are sharing them all here online. Enjoy.


Partying for Peggy

Posted on 13 Oct 2016 at 4:15pm

Peggy Drury, left, with her longtime boss — and friend — Joe Elliott

If you ever went to Jugs on a Friday night, then you know who Peggy Drury is. She could sling some drinks faster than just about anybody you ever saw, and if somebody started getting a little too rowdy, she could usually get them to calm it down with a stern scowl and a gruff “Hey!” If that didn’t work … well, she’d come out from behind that bar and take care of business.

I first met Peggy at the Jugs on Congress Avenue, and I spent many a night laughing at her silly stories — like the one about the time she was trying to impress a girl (her beloved Diane, who was at that time not yet her girlfriend) by super-gluing her upper lip to her nose. She’d come over when she had a minute to give me a hug, and when she was feeling particularly feisty, she’d grab my head between her hands and lick my glasses. Then’d she laugh and laugh.

Later on, after Diane had passed away unexpectedly, Peggy moved to Irving with me and Betty Pepper. I will never forget the two of them calling me at work in the afternoons so I could listen as Peggy’s dog Bubba “sang along” to the “Jeopardy” theme song.

After Joe Elliott died and Howard Okon kept Joe’s Place open, as the small bar at The Brick, Peggy worked there, too. But eventually health problems forced her to retire from the bar business, and these days she hangs out with her sister and brother-in-law in Garland.

But Saturday night, Oct. 15, Peggy is coming back to the gayborhood for a party in her honor at Liquid Zoo Bar and Grill, 2506 Knight St., from 7-9 p.m. There will be food for munching (sandwiches, chips and dip) provided by the bar, a special cake and, of course, the beverages of your choice available for purchase. Organizers — Deedee Heart, Norma Jean Featherson and Shelley Benson, want everybody to wear green — Peggy’s favorite color.

Make your plans now to go by and say hi to Peggy — or, as Dedra always called her, Poogy. It will make her day, and yours, too.


Michelle Obama addresses sexual assault

Posted on 13 Oct 2016 at 12:14pm

First lady Michelle Obama

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, first lady Michelle Obama said she couldn’t just deliver her usual campaign speech because she was so upset and shaken about Donald Trump’s joking about sexual assault of women. She said a country should be judged on how it treats its women and girls.

She said:

We have a candidate for president of the United States who over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign have said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today. And last week we saw this candidate bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.

I can’t stop thinking about this.

It has shaken me to my core in a way I couldn’t have predicted.


Get ready for the PrEP Rally!

Posted on 12 Oct 2016 at 3:58pm


Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis — PrEP for short — is a a daily regime of medicines for HIV-negative individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection intended to help them keep from becoming HIV-positive. It is, Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said, “one of the tools” that people can use to avoid HIV infection.

But it is, possibly, a greatly under-utilized tool, McDonnell said, maybe because people just aren’t familiar with it and how it works.

Resource Center‘s United Black Ellument and Team Friendly DFW, an organization focused on fighting the stigma that too often accompanies  an HIV-positive status, aim to change that. And they plan to start with the PrEP Rally set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 2-5 p.m. at Resource Center, 5750 Cedar Springs Road.

Those who attend will learn what PrEP is, how it works, and if it is right for them, as medical professionals and community volunteers share their own PrEP stories and talk about Resource Center’s plan to launch its own PrEP clinic soon.

“We will be launching a PrEP clinic sometime later this fall or early next year,” McDonnell said, adding that center officials are already working to line-up the volunteer medical professionals necessary to operate the clinic.

“We need medical professionals to do the necessary blood work for those who come in, and to talk to people about PrEP and whether it’s right for them,” he explained.

“Right now, Tarrant County is the only public health clinic in the state of Texas that operates a PrEP clinic,” McDonnell continued. “We’d love to see Dallas County start a similar program here. It’s likely that a county PrEP clinic would reach people that the Resource Center couldn’t reach, and we’d reach people the county couldn’t reach.”

The PrEP Rally will include food and beverages for those attending, but McDonnell encouraged interested persons to RSVP quickly because seating is limited. Admission is free, but those who want to attend should register here to guarantee their seat.

For more information visit



Dallas City Council names Union Station for EBJ

Posted on 11 Oct 2016 at 1:55pm

Dallas City Council voting to name Union Station for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (photo courtesy Mayor Mike Rawlings)

The Dallas City Council just voted to rename Union Station in honor of U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernie Johnson.

Johnson has represented the 30th District since 1992. Her district includes parts of Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff. Before entering Congress, she was a state senator and worked in the Carter Administration.

Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted, “Rep. EBJ has been a strong advocate for Dallas residents. It is our pleasure to name Union Station in her honor.”


UPDATE: Geico nixes National Coming Out Day

Posted on 11 Oct 2016 at 12:57pm

Geico isn’t very progressive

How are you celebrating National Coming Out Day?

Well, if you work at one of the many companies that have employee resource groups, you might be sitting at a table with a display and information.

Then again, you may be working at a company like Geico.

Employees in the company’s diversity group in Richardson planned a celebration during lunch with a display. The company stopped that, “because it would be a sensitive subject to some of our employees to discuss.”

Yet the company has allowed displays for Women’s History Month, Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo.

In order to not offend anyone, the table and exhibit were replaced by the company with a one-paragraph, easy-to-delete email that mentions it’s National Coming Out Day.

Geico is a division of Berkshire Hathaway. So are Nebraska Furniture Mart, BNSF, Acme Brick, Fruit of the Loom and many others. On the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, Berkshire receives a score of zero. That means it doesn’t even have a simple, no-cost nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation or gender identity.

Other insurance companies with offices in the DFW area include AIG, CNA, MetLife, Nationwide, New York Life, State Farm and Travelers, all of which have a rating of 100. Liberty Mutual, which is moving its headquarters to Plano, has an 85.

Some companies with low ratings don’t actually translate those poor policies into outright discrimination. Geico did. After the Pulse shooting, a gay couple, who each work for different insurance companies, discovered that where you work makes a difference. They had lost a friend in the massacre. The partner who worked at New York Life was offered counseling by his company. The partner who worked at Geico was sent home on leave.

When employees tried to put together an LGBT employee resource group at Geico, they were accused of trying to start a union and threatened with dismissal.


According to sources, even the promised National Coming Out Day email never went out, going back on the little the company’s area management said they would do.


DVtv: Getting in the mood for Halloween with Dark Hour Haunted House

Posted on 10 Oct 2016 at 4:52pm

Brad and Amy tour Dark Hour Haunted House

Brad Pritchett and DVtv vist Dark Hour Haunted House and get ready for Halloween. (Watch for the Cuss Counter!)


A loss by N.C. Governor could be an LGBT rights turning point

Posted on 10 Oct 2016 at 2:10pm

Gov. Pat McCrory

The Washington Post said a loss in November by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory would be watershed moment in LGBT rights at the ballot box. Post writer Dana Milbank wrote it “would be the first case of a prominent official being voted out of office because his anti-gay actions backfired.”

After the N.C. House and Senate both passed HB2, the “bathroom bill,” in less than a day of its introduction, McCrory signed the bill that night. Since then he has defended the law and blamed the state’s subsequent economic woes on the LGBT community and businesses that have limited travel to the state or scaled down business in the state. Human Rights Campaign estimates HB2 has cost the state half a billion dollars so far. The Williams Institute estimated the law could eventually cost the state $5 billion.

Since the bill’s passage, the governor’s favorability rating has plummeted from 54 to 39 percent. In election polls, he trails N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposes HB2, by 4 points.

After years of suffering election defeats, especially in the area of anti-marriage amendments, this would be the first time an elected official was thrown out of office specifically because of his support for and enforcement of an anti-LGBT bill. What’s even more significant is the anti-trans hatred written into the law and the majority of North Carolinians unhappy with the entire law. Only 34 percent believe the law should remain in place.

The New York Times noted that if the courts strike down HB2, it would be the 14th law found unconstitutional since Republicans took control of the N.C. Legislature in 2011.

While Gov. Mike Pence signed an amendment to the Indiana bathroom law as soon as a backlash against his state’s anti-LGBT law threatened business and basketball in his state, McCrory has become more strident. As he’s become more defiant against those opposing HB2. That may be his undoing.