Anti-gay businessman targets Dallas Voice after Hill County sheriff speaks out against anti-gay ads

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 at 10:32pm

An ad taken out by Hillsboro businessman Alvin Kaddatz targeting Dallas Voice after Instant Tea spoke to Hill County Sheriff Jeff Lyon about his distaste for the anti-gay ads Kaddatz has published for years.

Earlier this month we reported that Hill County Sheriff Jeff Lyon was speaking out against  anti-gay ads businessman Alvin Kaddatz had been putting in local papers for years.

In the last month Kaddatz, who owns Kaddatz Auctioneering & Farm Equipment Sales, has posted ads in the online “trading post” section of the Hillsboro Reporter condemning sodomy and abortion.

But a local reader of the Reporter brought us a hard copy of an ad that now targets us for publishing the sheriff’s comments.

The ad mentions that the sheriff has reached a “new low” by getting us to “attack him.” He refers to a “Texas Tea,” by which we think he means Instant Tea, unless a beverage is apparently writing about him too.

He also refers to “vulgar” emails he’s received before clarifying that “God said this lifestyle is wrong” and referring to us as a “lesbian, gay, bi-gender and transsexual organization.” If he means the only email Instant Tea has sent him, he must think asking for a list of companies to boycott because they are pro-gay is vulgar if a gay publication asks for the list. Our bad.

As far as I’m concerned, we simply reported the anti-gay ads when they were brought to our attention. Although I should point out Kaddatz’s wife is one of a few county employees who are accusing the sheriff of sexual harassment. But with three other Republican candidates running against Lyon in the primary, sources tell us the accusations are most likely political.


Tom Leppert convinces evangelical leaders he’s sufficiently ex-gay-friendly to represent Texas

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 at 5:54pm

I was baffled when I saw this headline in the DMN last week, because the story was over a year late. I now suspect the newspaper was just doing its part to help Leppert distance himself from his past.

In November 2009, after then-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert enthusiastically joined the virulently anti-gay First Baptist Church of Dallas, I opined here on Instant Tea that the move was purely politically motivated because Leppert was planning to run for U.S. Senate. After calling Leppert’s decision to join First Baptist “a slap in the face to not only the LGBT community, but also to Hindus, Muslims and Mormons,” I wrote that it would be “good riddance for Dallas if he steps down to run” for Senate.

Not surprisingly, Leppert’s office, including openly gay chief of staff Chris Heinbaugh, didn’t take kindly to my comments, and let’s just say I ended up being called on the carpet. But to this day, I stand by those statements, and in retrospect, it would certainly appear as though they were dead on.

When he did finally step down as mayor to run for Senate, Leppert promptly sent out his infamous anti-gay tweet, before coming out against both same-sex marriage and civil unions on his campaign website. During his Senate run, Leppert has been attacked by the other GOP candidates for appearing at gay Pride twice while mayor, but now it looks like he’s managed to win over some of the folks you’d expect to be most critical of his decision to participate in such an “orgy” of “drunken revelries,” in the words of Lela Pittinger.

The Dallas Morning News reports today that a group of evangelical pastors, led by none other than First Baptist’s Robert Jeffress, has formally endorsed the former mayor. The group includes others such as David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Randel Everett of First Baptist Church of Midland, etc. (On a side note, we’re sure the DMN’s main headline on its Metro page last Friday quoting Ed Oakley as saying Leppert had “abandoned gays” didn’t hurt his cause among the pastors. At first I was baffled by this headline because it was over a full year late, but now I consider it to be nothing more than a ceremonial political ex-gay cleansing by the city fathers, if you will.)

As I wrote last month, it’s sad to think that on paper at least, Leppert may be the least anti-gay of the four major GOP candidates for Senate. But I don’t care, I’ll still be glad when he comes in third May 29 behind Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former solicitor general Ted Cruz. And in the highly unlikely event that Leppert were to decide to never again run for public office, it would indeed be good riddance.


Today is the 25th anniversary of ACT UP, which was predated in Dallas by activists with G*U*T*S

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 at 4:22pm

Members of ACT UP hung a banner on the Cedar Springs Tollway overpass in 1991 for Pride Week.

AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, turns 25 today. In the early days of the AIDS crisis, the group was known for civil disobedience to obtain funding for research into the epidemic and care for people with the disease. The group was created by playwright and activist Larry Kramer in New York.

In an ACT UP demonstration marking the anniversary today, JoeMyGod reports that nine members chained themselves to the entrance of the New York Stock Exchange at the opening bell.

Dallas had its own version of ACT UP prior to the formation of the national group. The Dallas version was known as G*U*T*S, or Gay Urban Truth Squad.

G*U*T*S staged a number of demonstrations including chalking outlines of bodies in front of Dallas City Hall — and outside the Convention Center as President George H.W. Bush spoke inside. An earlier protest involved staking an empty field on Carlisle Street with crosses honoring the fallen.

Another ACT UP demonstration in front of Parkland Hospital called on the facility to prescribe AZT, the only known drug at the time that helped combat the HIV virus. The hospital claimed it didn’t have enough money to give the drug to everyone who needed it.

In most cities, ACT UP demonstrators and those working with local governments to provide resources for people with AIDS were different people. Not in Dallas.

John Thomas, executive director of the AIDS Resource Center (now Resource Center Dallas), was among the ACT UP demonstrators at Parkland. He met with city and county officials and told them he thought he could call off the demonstrators if money was appropriated to get AZT to people who needed it.

When John got the money, John stopped demonstrating.

Most of the founders of G*U*T*S/ACT UP Dallas, including John Thomas, Bill Hunt, Mike Richards, Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo, died of AIDS in the 1990s.

This evening, USA Film Festival screens How To Survive A Plague that includes the story of ACT UP. Arnold Wayne Jones moderates a discussion after the film.


UPDATED: Fred Karger ad featuring gay kiss deemed “inappropriate” by YouTube

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 at 10:11pm

Fred Karger

Fred Karger has released the first ad in history for a presidential candidate that includes a gay kiss.

Karger is one of four Republicans left in the presidential race. Six names, including Karger’s, will appear on the California ballot.

He is kicking of his California campaign with a press conference in Sacramento on Wednesday. A 30-second version of the ad begins airing in three southern California counties — Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego — on Thursday.

“This is our biggest and most exciting commercial to date,” Karger wrote in an email. “It ends with a gay kiss, a first for a Presidential campaign commercial. My friends Andrew Reynolds and Michael Aguirre have been together for 7 years and I really appreciate their history making smooch.”

Below is the one-minute online version of the ad dubbed “Sexy Frisbee.” The Karger campaign has been giving out frisbees as campaign mementos.

UPDATE: On Wednesday morning I received this message from Fred Karger:

Thanks for the coverage of our commercial, you’re the best.

Guess what? YouTube pulled it as “inappropriate.” Going to do battle with them to put it back up. Crazy. Was it the kiss? Will keep you posted.

All the best,
Fred Karger


WATCH: Lesbian says she was kicked out of Williamson County bar, beaten by patrons

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 at 4:56pm

Julie Ward

A resident of Florence said she was asked to leave a bar and then beaten by other patrons because she’s gay.

Julie Ward, her sister, her sister-in-law and a friend went to the only bar in nearby Weir, called The Bunkhouse, around 1 a.m. Sunday.

Weir is a small town in Williamson County about 6 miles northeast of Georgetown and 30 miles north of Austin. Florence is about 20 miles northwest of Weir.

Ward told KVUE News they had been at the bar for about half an hour playing pool when an employee told them The Bunkhouse doesn’t serve their kind and asked the bartender to have them removed.

Ward said they left but then women held her arms while men beat her, calling her derogatory names in the process. Ward, her sister and her friend suffered scrapes and bruises.

Bruises that Ward, her sister and a friend say they suffered on their arms when patrons held them and beat them early Sunday at a bar in Weir, Texas.

“As we came outside into the parking lot, we were followed by the patrons of the bar and our arms were held back by women and we were beaten by men,” Ward told KVUE News. “A man told me if I was going to look like a man, I better be able to take a hit like a man, and I was punched in the face at that moment and hit the ground.”

The manager’s wife told the news station that the women were roughhousing and weren’t asked to leave because of their sexual orientation. She said the violence toward the women didn’t occur.

Sgt. John Foster with the  Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing for multiple assaults. He said  if “it is warranted that charges be filed for a hate crime, charges will be filed.” He declined further comment.

Watch the video below.


Author seeks info about Roe v. Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey’s time as a lesbian in Dallas

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 at 2:01pm

Norma McCorvey

Joshua Prager, a journalist and author in New York City, is working on a book about the Roe v. Wade case and plaintiff Norma McCorvey, who went by the legal pseudonym “Jane Doe.” McCorvey lived in Dallas and worked at gay bars in the years prior to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that overturned state anti-abortion laws.

“If you knew her, I would love to talk to you,” Prager said. “According to her book I Am Roe, Norma worked at three gay bars in Dallas (The White Carriage, Roadrunner and Sultan’s Harem) in the years before the landmark 1973 ruling. After the ruling, for many years, she lived in Dallas with her partner Connie Gonzales and worked for the rights of women. (Norma is now in a different place. She became a born again Christian and renounced the pro-choice movement.)”

Prager can be reached at


Dallas Voice contributor subpoenaed to testify at hearing on gag order against Joey Dauben

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 at 1:27am

David Webb

A Navarro County district judge has issued a subpoena for Dallas Voice contributor David Webb to testify at a hearing this week on whether to impose a gag order against Ellis County Observer Publisher Joey Dauben, who faces charges of child sex abuse.

Webb has reported extensively on Dauben’s case for Dallas Voice, including a column on our Viewpoints page last week and a follow-up article on Instant Tea on Friday. Webb said he received the subpoena Monday for the hearing at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Corsicana, before Judge James Lagomarsino of the 13th District Court.

According to Webb,  Lagomarsino and District Attorney R. Lowell Thompson conferred Sunday and advised Dauben’s attorney that a hearing on the gag order had been scheduled. In a text message forwarded to Instant Tea by Webb, Dauben lamented that the gag order would prevent him from using “the forum that has aided not just me, but others in their legal and political fights.”

“The gag order won’t apply to readers, fans or supporters,” Dauben added. “I couldn’t say anything about my two criminal cases anyway, so the gag order will be on top of what my lawyers restrict anyway, but one cannot see this as anything other than another way to silence me.”


Funeral for Bettie Naylor set for May 5

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 at 9:17pm

Bettie Naylor

Family and friends of beloved Texas activist Bettie Naylor will celebrate her life spent advocating for LGBT and women’s rights May 5.

The service will be at 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1201 Lavaca Street in Austin.

A celebration will then follow at the Family Life Center located one block from the Church, according to information released on behalf of Naylor’s partner Libby Sykora by Equality Texas. Memorial donations may be made to Family Eldercare, 1700 Rutherford Lane in Austin, in honor of the The Bettie Naylor Fund established to provide care for LGBT seniors.

Sykora found Naylor, 84, April 19. She had died in her sleep.

A founding member of Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign and Annie’s List, Equality Texas Deputy Executive Director Chuck Smith told Dallas Voice that she was the  “creator of the equal rights movement in Texas.”


UPDATED: Gay activist Phil Johnson, reported missing this morning, has been found

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 at 6:47pm

Phil Johnson


Phil Johnson is in physical therapy after falling in his bathtub a week ago.

Friends were worried when they could not get in touch with him and contacted Plano police and Dallas Voice.

Johnson’s sister took him to the hospital and had his cell phone so he was not able to answer calls. He is expected to be released later this week.


LGBT community leader Phil Johnson, 86, is missing, and Plano police are asking for help and any information.

Daniel Sepko, a friend from Ohio who keeps in touch with Johnson, contacted Instant Tea on Monday and said he hasn’t heard from him in more than a week. After calls to Johnson weren’t returned, Sepko contacted several friends in Plano who also had not heard from Johnson in several weeks. This morning Sepko contacted Plano police.

Plano police went to Johnson’s house. When there was no response at the door, they entered the house and found his car in the garage but no sign of Johnson.

Officer David Tilley said Plano police checked hospitals and ambulance calls. There was no mail stacked in the box or newspapers at the door. However, he said, neighbors said they haven’t seen Johnson in about a week.

Sepko said Johnson was taking a class at Collin County Community College, so it’s unlikely he went out of town during the semester, especially without telling anyone.

Johnson is best known as a chronicler of Dallas LGBT community. His donation of printed material to Resource Center Dallas was the beginning of that organization’s archives known as the Phil Johnson Archives & Library. He had collected every copy of the Advocate, Dallas Voice, TWT and articles about the LGBT community in Dallas dating back to the 1940s. In the 1960s, he also created the first gay group in Dallas, called Circle of Friends.

Anyone with information or who has seen Johnson recently should contact Plano police at 972-941-2148.


Gonzalez issues statement on marriage equality plank, as San Antonio continues to lead the way

Posted on 21 Apr 2012 at 4:56pm

Charles Gonzalez

U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, a national co-chair for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, is also the only member of Texas’ congressional delegation who’s signed Freedom To Marry’s petition in support of a marriage equality plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform.

Gonzalez is one of several Obama campaign co-chairs who’ve endorsed the marriage equality plank. In response to a request from Instant Tea, spokesman Drew Stout sent over a statement from Gonzalez explaining his position. Here’s the full statement:

“The Democratic Party has been and always will be the Party committed to fighting for equality for all Americans,” Gonzalez said. “As an individual Member of Congress, marriage equality is an issue which I support. During the platform writing process, ideas and opinions will be considered from our diverse Democratic Party family, and I understand that the President and the Party are committed to crafting a platform that reflects our values and a belief that America is a nation in which everyone deserves a fair shot and hard work is rewarded. I fully expect that my opinion, and the opinions of others, will be an important consideration in reaching a consensus in drafting our party’s platform. The time will come to consider the content of the platform, but at this time, not a single platform committee member has been chosen and the process has yet to begin. As the election season moves forward, my chief objective will be for President Obama and our candidates in every part of the country to prevail in November so that we continue to make this country a better place for everyone.”

Interestingly, Gonzalez’s public support for the marriage equality plank continues a recent trend of politicians from the San Antonio area leading the way on this issue in the Lone Star State. Of the six Texas mayors who’ve joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry campaign, three are from Bexar County.