PHOTOS: Advocates march on Austin before Lobby Day

Posted on 11 Mar 2013 at 9:52am
LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state capitol during GetEQUAL TX's Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state Capitol during GetEQUAL TX’s Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

AUSTIN — More than 300 LGBT advocates stormed the state capitol Sunday evening in preparation for today’s Equality Texas Lobby Day.

Participants at GetEQUAL TX’s pre-lobby day event, Texas March for LGBT Justice, walked hand-in-hand, holding signs and chanting, “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!”

Several onlookers joined the mob as marchers made their way from Austin City Hall to the state Capitol a few blocks away.

GetEQUAL Dallas activate Cd Kirven encouraged the crowd to remain active in the fight for civil rights as she shouted from the Capitol’s steps.

“Don’t let this be the only time that you participate. Don’t let this be the only time lawmakers hear your voice,” she said. “Nothing is free. Justice has a price.”

Austin activist Sami-di Williams told the crowd that when she and her partner Amy began looking for other same-sex parents, she discovered that her daughter was friends with a girl who also had lesbian moms.

She then realized that her daughter hadn’t thought to tell her that her friend also had gay parents because it didn’t matter to her and she hopes one day it won’t matter in Texas either.

But until that day, being a gay parent in Texas still matters, she said.

“When Amy can’t sign documents for school, it matters. When she can’t take the kids to a doctor appointment without me, it matters,” she said. “When I’m not protected from discrimination whenever I volunteer at my kid’s school, it definitely matters. …When our family is looked at with disdain in public places, it matters.”

Daniel Williams, Equality Texas field organizer, spoke about the many monuments on the grounds of the Capitol that remind lawmakers what makes Texas great and what makes the state not so great.

But he stressed that there is no reminder of LGBT Texans. Not of the more than 19,000 same-sex couples raising children in the state or the 989 hate crime victims who suffered last year.

“You must be that monument. You must be the reminder, the daily sentinel to those Texas lives,” he said.

More photos from the march below.


Kroger, ilume clash over parking lot use

Posted on 08 Mar 2013 at 2:00pm


Management at ilume is upset that the Kroger on Cedar Springs Road isn’t working with them to address issues with the store’s parking lot on weekends.

Joshuah Welch, ilume community director, said the store’s parking becomes a paid lot Thursday through Sunday, but the person who takes the money leaves around 1 a.m. and doesn’t monitor the noise and other activity.

Over the course of a year, he and other residents of ilume have been woken by the partying and have called police to complain.

He began emailing Kroger management last February to address the issue, offering to have ilume pay for security to monitor the parking lot so it wouldn’t disturb ilume residents.

“The residents of ilume deal with this loud and destructive party scene every weekend, and in turn are forced to call the police to get them to end the mob scene,” Welch wrote in one email to Kroger. “This is not only a problem for our building, but also a safety concern for your employees that work late and are forced to walk through this late at night.”


Dallas City Council candidates to screen for Stonewall Democrats on Saturday

Posted on 08 Mar 2013 at 12:46pm


Twelve candidates or their surrogates from six Dallas City Council races will appear at Resource Center Dallas on Saturday as they vie for endorsements from Stonewall Democrats.

Everyone is invited to attend the candidate screening sessions, but only those who have been members of Stonewall Democrats for more than 30 days may vote on the endorsement recommendations, which will be ratified at the group’s next general meeting on March 19.

Opening remarks and instructions begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, and candidates will appear by district. Oak Cliff-area races will be covered in the morning, with Oak Lawn-area races in the afternoon.

Stonewall political chair Jeff Strater is organizing the screenings. He said each candidate will be given three minutes to make a statement and then members can ask questions for seven minutes.

Under Stonewall’s bylaws, the organization may endorse only Democrats, even though the races are nonpartisan.

Of the seven people running in District 14, five have predominantly Republican voting histories, according to Strater. Phillip Kingston signed a pledge affiliating with the Democratic Party to qualify for the Stonewall endorsement. Bobby Abtahi’s most recent voting is in Democratic primaries, which qualifies him without signing a pledge, Strater said. Only Jim Rogers has a record of voting exclusively in Democratic primaries.

The full schedule for Saturday’s screenings is below.


Black Transmen launches female group at 2nd annual advocacy conference

Posted on 08 Mar 2013 at 10:58am
Carmarion D. Anderson

Carmarion D. Anderson

The Rev. Carmarion D. Anderson is a trans woman known for many things in Dallas: minister, mom and activist.

Anderson grew up in Dallas in a strict Pentecostal family. She had a calling to the ministry at a young age, but she said her gender identity prevented her from ministering at the church she grew up in when she came out as trans to her family at 16.

She was kicked out her house and shut off from her church, as both her biological and spiritual family disowned her for acknowledging who she was.

“It made me a stronger person,” she said. “I knew that [the church] was my life, my passion, but I could no longer not be myself.”

Anderson then began her transition and remained active in her faith at other churches. She is now a minister at Living Faith Covenant Church and is the south regional minister for the national group TransSaints of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.

Her experience got her involved with Black Transmen Inc. She’s known its founder Carter Brown for 15 years and is the inspiration for the group’s creating an equivalent component Black Transwomen Inc, which will be launched at the organization’s second annual Transgender Advocacy Conference from March 13-17 in Dallas.

Anderson said Brown focused on the black male trans community because that was his life, but over time she recognized a need to expand the organization to include the trans sisterhood.

“It made a wonderful friendship,” she said about her and Brown’s love of activism. “I got involved because I believed there should be a balance in terms of the transgender community.”

Brown said he was excited to launch the women’s portion of the organization, which started last summer as a result of conversations about expanding the group’s reach.

He said the five-day conference is already larger than last year, with 221 people registered, compared to 186 people who attended last year. Those who attend will also experience a broader and more diverse conference, as workshops will span health and educational issues to how to be an LGBT ally and handling workplace issues. Night events during the conference will range from a talent show to a ball and pageant.

The focus of this year’s conference will build upon last year’s work, which inspired people to become leaders in their community. Now, Brown said the shift will be discovering who people are as leaders with the theme, “The Power of You.”

“Our focus is establishing a knowledge of who we are to create change,” he said.

Oliver Blumer, regional coordinator for Transgender Education Network of Texas, said most transgender conferences focus on primarily trans women without a focus on different ethnicities. He said attending the conference last year brought a different kind of excitement to a trans conference because of the diverse culture that’s represented.

“It’s a whole different feeling,” he said. “They [the organizers] bring a compassion to a community that’s less visible.”

Blumer said the conference isn’t just for trans people, encouraging family members, friends and supporters of the LGBT community to attend, as workshops will focus on several issues. He said City Council members and City Manager Mary Suhm should attend, as well as council candidates. People can register for one day or just the Saturday banquet March 16.

For more information about the conference, go here.


Man indicted for Austin Pride attack won’t face hate crime enhancement

Posted on 07 Mar 2013 at 2:20pm
Lambert Borgardt

Lambert Borgardt

A Travis County grand jury indicted a Lambert Borgardt yesterday for the attack of two gay men during Austin’s LGBT Pride weekend in September.

The grand jury didn’t indict Borgardt, 28, on a hate crime enhancement because there isn’t audio of what was said during the attack caught on surveillance video, prosecutor Andrea Austin told KVUE. Instead, he was indicted for aggravated assault and battery, a second-degree felony.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering pizza at Roppolo’s Pizza on Sept. 21 with friend Nick Soret when Borgardt began asking Soret if he was looking at him. He became enraged and attacked Soret, breaking his nose. Oppleman stepped in and was also attacked. He lost five teeth and had a fractured jaw from the attack.

The video helped police identify Borgardt, who later turned himself in, claiming self-defense for the attack.

Soret told KVUE that he believed the attack was a hate crime because they are gay and Borgardt kept asking him what he was looking at during Pride festivities, as if he thought they were checking him out.

If Borgardt’s charge was enhanced because of the hate crime element, he would have faced a first-degree felony conviction. If convicted, he now faces two to 20 years in jail.

Watch KVUE’s report below.


Poll: TX voters back marriage equality

Posted on 06 Mar 2013 at 4:22pm

Picture 48

A growing number of Texas voters support the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians, according to new polls released today by Equality Texas and University of Texas/Texas Tribune.

The Equality Texas poll was similar to one commissioned by the organization in 2010 and asked about 11 key issues, including discrimination, domestic partner benefits and relationship recognition.

The biggest change was that 47.9 percent of voters support marriage equality compared to 47.5 percent who oppose it. In 2010, 42.7 percent of voters supported marriage equality.

The poll also found that 64.7 percent of voters support civil unions, compared to the 63.1 percent who favored it three years ago.

The poll was conducted by Glengariff Group, Inc. and surveyed 1,000 voters between Jan. 24-27. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Other areas with a high increase in support were making medical decisions for a partner, inheriting possessions without a will, extending domestic partnership benefits to government and public university employees, and recognizing same-sex marriages from other states.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll also released today found that 37 percent believe gay and lesbian Texans should be able to marry, 28 percent answered they should have civil unions and 28 percent said they shouldn’t have either.

As for what they feel is the most important issue facing Texas, 0 percent answered gay marriage. Only 1 percent answered that gay marriage is the most important problem facing America today.

The results are close to a similar October 2012 poll that found 36 percent support marriage equality, 33 percent support civil unions and 25 percent don’t support either.

That poll questioned 1,200 respondents between Feb. 15-25, with a 3.3 percent margin or error.

A summary of the Equality Texas finding is below.


Dallas Voice staffer brings Station 4 pickpockets to justice

Posted on 06 Mar 2013 at 1:55pm

After he used an app to track down his stolen iPhone and called police, Chad snapped this photo of DPD officers taking the suspects into custody.

One of our sales reps here at Dallas Voice, Chad Mantooth, fell victim to pickpockets on the dancefloor of Station 4 on Friday night. As those of us who look through police reports regularly know, this is an all-too-common occurrence. (I would avoid taking your wallet to the club – but if you do, carry it in your front pocket.)

While what happened to Chad is common, what makes his story unusual is that he subsequently took the law into his own hands and tracked down the thieves — who are now facing charges. And thanks to him there are a few less pickpockets in the Cedar Springs gay bars. Below is the real-life, gay-on-gay crime story as Chad tells it:


WATCH: Cathedral of Hope wins Telly Award for ‘Dates of Change’

Posted on 06 Mar 2013 at 9:39am

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 9.36.03 AM

Cathedral of Hope was named a winner in the 34th annual Telly Awards for a video in which church members describe how their life changed on the date they began attending the church.

“Dates of Change,” a video produced by Jerry King and David Mehl of the Cathedral’s TV ministry, was named a Bronze winner in the 2013 contest, which attracted nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, video and film productions and online commercials, video and films. Each year awards are given in both silver and bronze categories.

“Cathedral of Hope’s television ministry accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production,” said Linda Day, executive director of the Telly Awards.

Telly Awards are given by the body of the academy and are judged by past Silver award winners within the industry. Entries do not compete against each other, but rather they are judged based upon a “high standard of merit.”

Watch the video below.


DART board again puts off vote on adding domestic partner benefits

Posted on 05 Mar 2013 at 6:38pm

DARTDART’s board postponed discussion on a plan to offer domestic partner benefits to its employees today.

The plan, which would offer healthcare benefits to opposite- and same-sex partners of employees, wasn’t discussed at the three-hour meeting of DART’s committee-of-the-whole because time ran out for the issue to be addressed.

The board considered the plan last Tuesday but didn’t vote to approve it, deciding to discuss it further during today’s meeting.

The plan was approved three weeks ago by the administrative committee but must be approved twice by the committee-of-the-whole before being approved by the Board of Directors.

The board will take up the issue again March 26 and could vote for the plan’s first approval or request more information. The board would again consider the issue April 9 for a second approval before a formal vote on the plan on April 23.


Judge Tonya Parker among honorees at SMU’s Women’s Symposium

Posted on 05 Mar 2013 at 4:21pm

Judge Tonya Parker

Lesbian Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker is among six women who will be honored at SMU’s Women’s Symposium on Wednesday.

Parker, who took a stand for marriage equality last year when she divulged her policy of not performing heterosexual marriages, was selected as a Profiles in Leadership Award recipient. The award recognizes accomplishments made by women that had a significant impact on Dallas and on the quality of life of women.

The symposium, themed “Mind the Age Gap,” is all day tomorrow with workshops focused on how to unite women of all ages to work together on women’s issues.

Brent Paxton, administrative coordinator for SMU’s Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, informs us that online registration for the symposium has officially closed. Paxton says the general public can still register at the door to attend, but it will be first come, first serve. Lunch is $40 and dinner is $60.

“I just recounted our registrants and we have plenty of room,” Paxton added. “Please spread the good word and tell people to come.”