Obama sign in McKinney defaced with racial epithet, anti-gay language

Posted on 25 Sep 2012 at 3:10pm

An Obama yard sign in McKinney was defaced last week. One side had the inevitable racial epithet along with “Obama Sucks Dick.” The other read “Romney & Ryan Christian, white, anti-gay. Republicans rule.”

A neighbor brought the sign to McKinney resident Cassy Zobel after finding it in Zobel’s yard. Zobel filed a police report and wrote about it on her blog, Blue Chick in a Red Barn.

While there’s been a racial undertone to a lot of Obama criticism, the haters are rarely this blatant. Zobel notes in her blog that McKinney was recently rated second best place to live in America.

“I suppose there should have been a caveat,” she wrote. “’Best Place to Live If You’re A Bigoted White, Christian, Anti-Gay Person Who Doesn’t Support Our First African-American President And Hates Everyone Who Does.’ That was probably too long a title, though.”

Watch NBC 5′s report on the incident below.


S. Texas lesbian reflects 3 months after shooting that killed her girlfriend

Posted on 25 Sep 2012 at 1:00pm

It’s been three months since Kristene Chapa, 18, and girlfriend Mollie Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park in Portland, Texas.

Olgin did not survive, but Chapa was found still breathing early the next morning and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually was able to communicate with police and helped them sketch a photo of the man responsible.

Chapa updated her Facebook status this weekend, reflecting on her recovery and life without Olgin.

“Today marks 3 months since my accident. I’ve learned life is so fragile and cherish the people you have in your life love them don’t take things for granted and buy pepper spray! they deserve it!” Chapa wrote, according to NBC News.

She also posted lyrics to the Kenny Chesney song “Who You’d Be Today,” a song about a person who died too young.

“I still need time but I am happy,” Chapa wrote. “I’m moving on.”

Moving on also includes dating again. Chapa noted in early September she was seeing someone else.

“I know people deal with things different and I’m not gonna sit in my room and cry over what happened,” she wrote. “I was heartbroken but I’m not gonna be single for the rest of my life … she’s in my heart but I needed something else. I wanted a girl to be there for me and understand what I’m going through.”

Chapa is still recovering in a rehabilitation facility while police await more leads that will provide more answers and justice for Chapa and her family. Dozens of leads were called in early on in the case but have since dwindled down to few.

“I love that people pray for me,” she wrote. “I really think that’s why I’m recovering so fast.”

Portland Police Chief Randy Wright has previously said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard.

North Texans have helped raise money for a reward for information.

Anyone with information should call the Portland Police Department at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.


State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez visits Stonewall Dems in Dallas, Fort Worth

Posted on 25 Sep 2012 at 12:31pm

Mary Gonzalez speaks at the Round-Up on Monday night.

State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez was the keynote speaker at a Stonewall Democrats of Dallas fundraiser Monday night at the Round-Up Saloon. She will appear at a fundraiser for Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats tonight at a private residence in Fort Worth.

Gonzalez won her El Paso primary election and faces no opposition in November. She will be the youngest member of the Legislature and the first LGBT woman to serve. Gonzalez made national news a second time when she came out as pansexual in an interview with Dallas Voice.

On Monday night, she said she hopes to develop a warm working relationship with Stonewall Democrats.

Although she hasn’t yet entered the House, it seems Gonzalez may already have her sites set on the Senate. She pointed out that only six women serve in the 31-member state Senate.

While she hopes to break down stereotypes among her colleagues once she enters the House, Gonzalez said she ran to help people in her district. Large areas of her far West Texas district are without electricity, running water and plumbing. She said she hopes to represent the area better than her predecessors, one of whom was indicted on drug trafficking charges.

The evening was a fundraiser for County Commission District 1 candidate Theresa Daniel and Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Commissioner Elba Garcia attended, although she is not up for reelection. Several other candidates including Judge Don Adams also attended. Former state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt was there to greet the newest queer member of the Legislature.

Gonzalez is scheduled to appear tonight at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats with Hon. Tonya Parker and former Rep. Glen Maxey.

More photos from Monday’s event below.


Oops: HuffPo killed story about Rick Perry gay rumors after lawsuit threat

Posted on 24 Sep 2012 at 11:25am

Brokeback Perry

Just as former Texas state Rep. Glenn Maxey alleged at the time, Huffington Post killed a story about allegations that Gov. Rick Perry is a closeted homosexual because the Perry campaign threatened the news website with a lawsuit. According to BuzzFeed, the Perry campaign said it would own “a big chunk of AOL” if the site published the story.

At the time, the Huffington Post claimed Maxey just had no evidence and dropped the story after sending a journalist to Texas to work with the former state representative.

Instead, Maxey published his evidence in a book, Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry.

Perry hired scandal-fixer Lin Wood. Wood is an attorney who has represented a number of other people caught in scandals such as the parents of Jon-Benet Ramsey, Rep. Gary Condit (suspected in the disappearance of aide Chandra Levy) and security guard Richard Jewell (suspected in the Atlanta Olympics bombing).

Now, Texas Tribune reporter Jay Root has a new e-book out called Oops! about Perry’s failed presidential campaign, in which Root details the threat of the lawsuit.

Elsewhere in the book Root talks about how campaign aides blamed the governor’s disastrous “oops” moment on sleep apnea. Perry had not been sleeping and his sleep disorder had been undiagnosed for years. We’re not sure if they’re suggesting now that he’s sleeping better thanks to a CPAP machine, he’s a more coherent and better governor.

Regardless, none of this explains the similarities among sources’ descriptions of alleged sexual encounters with Perry detailed in Maxey’s book. Oops.

Nor does it explain the campaign’s decision to air the Brokeback Perry ad that rapidly became the most disliked video in YouTube history.

UPDATE: Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, contacted us to clarify that the story was not published because sources wouldn’t go on record fully before Perry’s campaign exploded.

“If they had gone on record, we would have run with the story,” Grim said.


Possible hate crime casts shadow over Austin’s Pride weekend

Posted on 24 Sep 2012 at 11:15am

Two gay men were attacked Friday night as Austin’s Pride celebrations were under way, leading them to believe they were targeted for being gay.

Nick Soret and a friend were on 4th Street getting pizza at a food truck when a man to them started asking them what they were looking at.

Soret told Austin’s KVUE when he picked up his pizza, the man beat him with it, burning him.

The man then punched his friend in the face when he tried to intervene, and attacked Soret, cutting his lip and bruising his arm before leaving the area.

His friend has a fractured jaw and will likely need surgery.

Soret said he thinks they were attacked because he and his friend are gay.

“He thought I was checking him out or he thought I was looking at him and so for that, he knocked all my friend’s teeth out, he punched me in the face,” Soret told KVUE.

Austin police are investigating the attack. The pizza trailer had a surveillance camera on it, so police expect to find the man soon.

“It was done just out of meaness and I think prejudice. It was unprovoked. We did not provoke him, we did not engage him. We didn’t do anything,” Soret said.

News of the attack spread through Austin over the weekend and cast a shadow on the Pride festivities. Soret, who has lived in Austin for 20 years, said his sense of security is now gone.

Watch KVUE’s report below.


Is Gold’s Gym the next Chick-fil-A?

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 at 8:59pm

Robert Rowling

OK, maybe not quite, but a Gold’s Gym franchisee who owns four locations in the Bay Area did just cut ties with the chain over CEO Robert Rowling’s donations to the conservative group American Crossroads. From CBS San Francisco:

The group, founded by former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove, supported anti-gay candidates in the congressional midterm elections, prompting Bay Area owners to vow an end of their association with the chain once the existing contract ran out.

The contract has expired, and the four former Bay Area Gold’s locations now exist under the name Fitness SF.

Gold’s Gyms have been fixtures in the Bay Area for 22 years, with the bulk of the clientele members of the LGBT community.

“Very rarely in a situation like this does a business stand up and actually take a position on the matter, which is why I think people have been so happy that we’ve taken this course of action,” Don Dickerson, Director of Operations for Gold’s Gym Bay Area said in October of 2010.

In contrast to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, Rowling went on record two years ago saying his donation of $2 million to American Crossroads was motivated by a desire for “fiscal sanity,” not anti-gay positions.

Rowling heads TRT Holdings, which in addition to Gold’s Gym owns Omni Hotels, one of the few lodging chains that doesn’t offer health benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.

The kicker, of course, is that Rowling lives in Highland Park, and TRT Holdings is moving its headquarters to Oak Lawn.


TX megachurch pastor Joel Osteen admits he didn’t choose to be straight

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 at 7:58pm

Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen appeared on Soledad O’Brien’s show on CNN along with former Clinton advisor Richard Socarides.

Most of the news about this appearance has focused on Osteen’s quote that homosexuality is a sin.

Socarides asked him if he chose to be straight and Osteen said that being straight is just who he is.

“So how can I choose to be gay?” Socarides asked.

But then Osteen said that he really only talks about the issue on news shows like this when he’s asked about it. He said it’s not a subject he feels he knows a lot about.

“I don’t necessarily focus on that,” he said, indicating it is not something he talks about much in church.

But when pressed about homosexuality being a sin, he lumped it in with other minor sins like pride or lying.

After Mayor Annise Parker was first elected mayor, I asked about Osteen’s appearance at her inauguration. She said at the time she had good relations with him and that homosexuality was not an issue he focused on in his church of 45,000.

Watch the clip below.


Chick-fil-A releases statement about recent ‘mischaracterized’ donations

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 at 4:57pm

Couple Tyler Savage, left, and Larry Farris at a Dallas Chick-fil-A on Friday, Aug. 3, for National Same-sex Kiss-in Day. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

News about Chick-fil-A no longer funding anti-gay organizations surfaced yesterday with the explanation that the chicken chain would refrain from engaging in “political debates.”

The company released a statement today and a longer “Who We Are” statement, detailing organizations and causes the company donates to.

Among organizations listed in the longer statement is the WinShape Foundation. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy tweeted a photo this week from the 2012 WinShape Ride for the Family, which The Advocate reports is a fundraiser for an organization that helps lobby against marriage equality.

So, what has changed?

Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer asks just that in a Huffington Post op-ed.

“The fact is that Chick-fil-A has not commented on any of these ‘what if’ statements or shared anything to substantiate the claims by Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno and the Illinois-based Civil Rights Agenda,” he writes. “The only action that Chick-fil-A has taken in recent weeks was to have private conversations in an effort to find ‘common ground,’ and to reiterate the company’s stance through an internal Chick-fil-A memo.”

The statement is below. Go here for the longer document.

Chick-fil-A: Who We Are. A Response to Recent Controversy.

For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving.

For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.

A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.

As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.


DPD seeks suspects who shot man on Lemmon Ave., leaving him paralyzed

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 at 4:37pm

Dallas police are trying to identifying possible suspects who might have information about an aggravated assault on Aug. 16.

A 21-year-old man was shot in the back near his shoulder blade shortly after 2:30 a.m. in the 4200 block of Lemmon Street near Lolita’s Restaurant, according to a police report.

The vehicle description of the people believed to be responsible is a silver two-door Honda.

The man is now paralyzed, according to a police news release.

Anyone with information on the identity of these suspects should contact Dallas Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment for this offense. Calls can be made anonymously.


Sandra Fluke to speak at SMU

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 at 3:03pm

Sandra Fluke

Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student attacked by Rush Limbaugh for her support of including contraception in healthcare coverage, will appear at Southern Methodist University on Sept. 24.

Fluke will speak on contraception, women’s health and the media. Following her talk, she will participate in a panel discussion, “Economics and Equality: How Obstacles to Women’s Health Care Access Affect Us All.”

On the panel with Fluke will be Charles Curran, SMU professor of human values; Linda Eads, SMU associate provost and law professor; and Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Texas.

The panel is sponsored by SMU’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.

Fluke was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte earlier this month. She gained national attention in February when she testified before Congress. Republicans blocked her appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the new administration rules on conscience clause exceptions in health care. She spoke only to House Democrats.

Following her appearance, Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute and said that he wanted to see videos of her having sex posted on the Internet. After three days of verbal assaults and the loss of more than 40 advertisers, Limbaugh apologized for his choice of words.

“I don’t think that a statement like this, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support from the show,” Fluke responded. She called his barrage of insults an attempt to silence her.

Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater, 3140 Dyer St. (lower level), Sept. 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Free and open to the public.