Gay activists respond to Vonciel Hill’s bigotry with #RevLOVE rally Saturday

Posted on 20 Jun 2013 at 11:21am

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A rally to respond to the anti-gay bigotry of Councilwoman Vonciel Hill and the stigma of HIV in the black community will take place on Saturday outside the office of Abounding Prosperity, 2311 MLK Jr. Blvd., at 11 a.m.

Speakers will include Pastor Alex Byrd, senior pastor of Living Faith Convent Church and bishop-designate of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Community; community activist and health educator Alpha Thomas; youth advocate Eric Henry; and Abounding Prosperity founder and executive director Kirk Myers.

Poet Brandon Jackson and vocalist Miss Connie will perform.

Organizer Harold Steward encouraged everyone from the LGBT community to participate, especially those from the large LGBT community in Hill’s newly redrawn District 3.

The full press release is below.

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Exodus International’s shutdown, apology show change really is possible

Posted on 20 Jun 2013 at 11:15am

exodus_international_logo“Change is Possible” was the slogan used by the ex-gay organization called Exodus International. I use the past tense since that group is officially closing its doors. And lest you think it is just quietly going away, the organization’s president, Alan Chambers, issued the statement that he was “sorry for the pain and hurt” experienced by so many at the hands of his group.

“I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”

After I caught my breath, I read the apology from Chambers again and realized that the organization was not just admitting defeat; after working for 38 years and trying to convince people that they could change their sexual orientation the group is seeking to atone for its actions. Chambers envisions the group ree-merging as a new ministry, one that works to create “safe, welcoming and mutually transforming communities.” Now that is a group I could get behind.

Personally, I think the name is so tarnished and the reputation is beyond repair. Since the scientific community has openly repudiated “reparative therapy” for LGBT people, support for Exodus has been dwindling. Now as it closes I suspect the religious right will simply disavow any contact with it at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing is not swept from history, at least as far as the evangelical right is concerned. Rewriting history is their strong suit after all and if they can rewrite the Bible by cherry picking verses, they can certainly make an inconvenient episode like “Exodus” go away.

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WATCH: CW33’s ‘The Gay Agenda’

Posted on 20 Jun 2013 at 10:41am

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In this week’s Gay Agenda, CW33’s Doug Magditch discusses the Supreme Court’s upcoming decisions in two marriage equality cases, transgender New York City council candidate Mel Wymore, and 5-year-old Jayden Sink’s lemonade stand (above) across from Westboro Baptist Church. Watch it below.

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Villalba on marriage equality: ‘That’s a dangerous question for me to answer’

Posted on 19 Jun 2013 at 4:58pm
State Rep. Jason Villalba speaks at a Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas meeting Tuesday. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

State Rep. Jason Villalba speaks at a Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas meeting Tuesday. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Republican Jason Villalba just completed his freshman year in the state House, managing to finish the session with a D-minus on Equality Texas’ Legislative Scorecard.

Villalba was one of only three freshmen Republicans to score above an F on the scorecard. Gatesville’s J.D. Sheffield also got a D-minus, and Austin’s Tony Dale got a D.

Villalba discussed the session Tuesday at the Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas’ June meeting, focusing on education, transportation and water conservation. But he talked LGBT issues with Dallas Voice before the meeting.

His Equality Texas score resulted from his voting to table two amendments affecting the LGBT community and voting against Republican Matt Krause’s discriminatory amendment.

He said he also opposed the anti-gay bill by Drew Springer, R-Muenster, that would have defunded school districts that offered domestic partner benefits.

“I believe strongly that in Texas we need to keep the government out of our private lives and I want to make sure that we do that,” he said. “With respect to an issue like that, it’s a very sensitive topic. I think with respect to state money, we need to give that some very deep consideration.”

Asked if he supports offering DP benefits, he said it should remain a local control issue.

“I believe for private corporations, that if they want to provide benefits for same-sex partners, that that should be within their ability. I believe with respect state government agencies — agencies that receive federal resources or state resources — that should be up to the city or that should be under local control,” Villalba said. “I don’t believe the state of Texas should be making those kinds of decisions. I think that should be left to the local groups. If [Springer’s] local school district or local community wants to provide it, they should be able to do that. But if they want to prohibit that, they should be able to do that.”

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Houston Pride reverses course, allows condoms to be distributed at parade

Posted on 19 Jun 2013 at 2:28pm
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Participants toss items to spectators during last year’s Houston Pride parade.

After Pride Houston announced at a parade participation meeting that condoms could not be distributed at Pride, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services threatened to withdraw.

Pride Houston claimed in an email that a city ordinance prevented them from allowing condom distribution:

“Recent changes in city ordinances have constituted a change in the 2013 celebration rules. They are as follows: Parade entries are not allowed to throw/distribute contraceptives from their entry (i.e., float, vehicle or walking individuals).”

But letters from the health department and Legacy Community Health Services, a Houston AIDS agency, asked the parade committee to reconsider and pointed out that there is no such city ordinance.

The committee issued several clarifications during the week. One said condoms needed to be distributed in packs with educational material and could only be distributed to people over 18.

Another was condoms could be distributed at the festival after the parade but not at the parade.

Another noted that nothing could be thrown from floats, according to a city ordinance. But beads are regularly thrown.

Finally, the committee agreed that condoms could be distributed by walking participants in the parade but not thrown from floats. The health department may also distribute condoms at the festival. No age limit was mentioned in the latest clarification.

“My take is they got some bad information on what the ordinances are,” said Daniel Williams, a Houston LGBT activist.

Williams works for Equality Texas but was speaking as a Houston LGBT activist. He pointed out Pride Houston is a volunteer organization.

“Now that they have better information, they changed the rules to comply with the information they have,” he said.

The Houston parade takes place along Westheimer Road in the city’s Montrose neighborhood on June 29.

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Rainbow-colored version of ‘B-G’ letters coming to Oak Lawn

Posted on 18 Jun 2013 at 4:58pm
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A mock-up of the rainbow-colored ‘B-G’ sculpture.

Dallas’ “B-G” letters are coming to Oak Lawn repainted in rainbow colors, according to Scott Barretto.

Barretto’s Social House Media agency and ilume developer Luke Crossland are paying for the colorful paint job and the sculpture will be placed outside Crossland’s building at Knight Street and Cedar Springs Road in front of the old Monica’s.

Barretto said painting should take about six days but the letters in rainbow colors should be ready in time for some June Pride Month photography.

The letters are part of a marketing campaign conducted by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tourism to the city. The idea is for people to be photographed standing between the “B” and “G” to make the “I.” The letters have been placed in various places around the city, but not in Oak Lawn.

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WATCH: Dallas County passes 1st LGBT Pride Month resolution

Posted on 18 Jun 2013 at 11:00am
LGBT advocates who attended Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting gather on the steps of the administration building after the Pride resolution passed. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

LGBT advocates who attended Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting gather on the steps of the administration building after the Pride resolution passes. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Dallas County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday declaring June LGBT Pride Month.

The resolution is the first of its kind for the county. The Dallas City Council has issued proclamations the past three years recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel presented the resolution, reading it to the room before it passed. Commissioner Mike Cantrell, the only Republican on the five-member court, was absent from the meeting.

“On this special occasion, we must bear in mind that while we have overcome difficult obstacles, tolerance and acceptance is something we must all practice and teach future generations,” the resolution reads in part. (Read the full version here)

After its passage, activist Omar Narvaez then addressed the court with several LGBT supporters standing behind him. He spoke about the importance of the LGBT community having showing its Pride during June.

“It’s so appropriate that our symbol for the LGBT community is a rainbow because we are every single part, we are every fabric of that rainbow,” he said. “We are African-American, we’re Latino, we are white, we are Asian, we are Native American.”

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Dallas city councilwoman objects to billboard promoting HIV testing

Posted on 18 Jun 2013 at 8:23am

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Vonciel Hill

Vonciel Hill

Along with Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas City Councilwoman Vonciel Hill was absent last week when the council debated a resolution in support of marriage equality and LGBT job protections. Hill must feel like she missed an opportunity to join certain other council members in showing off their anti-gay bigotry, because this week she made up for it by emailing Fox 4 to complain about a billboard in South Dallas, above, encouraging people to get tested for HIV. From Fox 4:

Councilwoman Vonciel Hill wrote that the billboard has several messages: presenting African American men who are homosexuals as acceptable, engaging in such conduct presents health risks, feel free to continue what you are doing but protect your health.

It’s a little disturbing that Fox 4 would even consider this a story in 2013 — not 1983 — but reporter Shaun Rabb does a good job of getting Dallas County HHS Director Zachary Thompson and AIDS Arms Executive Director John Carlo to  thoroughly refute Hill’s arguments.

We’d only like to add that Hill’s email seems to have several messages: she hates gay people, she wants gay people to die from AIDS, and she wants African-American women to continue contracting HIV at alarmingly high rates.

Now, why on earth would anyone castigate her for that?

Watch Fox 4’s report below.

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Villalba, who got D-minus from Equality Texas, to speak at Log Cabin meeting

Posted on 17 Jun 2013 at 12:08pm
State Rep. Jason Villalba

State Rep. Jason Villalba

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, is the guest at the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans’ June meeting on Tuesday.

Villalba, who just finished his first session in office, received a D-minus on Equality Texas’ Legislative scorecard. He received a total of 40 points for votes in the House.

Villalba received point for opposing Fort Worth Republican Matt Krause’s discriminatory amendment to SB 215 that would have allowed university clubs to ignore “all-comers” policies regarding membership. But he lost points for voting against HB 2240, which was endorsed by Equality Texas and would have studied the reasons surrounding homeless youth in the state.

Villalba made headlines during the session with HB 1009, a bill he authored, that passed, allowing schools to employ an armed school marshal to protect campuses.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse, 3130 Lemmon Ave.

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Veasey does NOH8 shoot; Hall mistakenly attends gay event

Posted on 17 Jun 2013 at 12:05pm
Rep. Marc Veasey, left

Rep. Marc Veasey, left

While one North Texas congressman participated in a photo shoot supporting marriage equality last week, another recently attended a reception for an LGBT group — by mistake.

“This morning, I participated in a NOH8 Campaign photo shoot with over 60 members of Congress,” Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, wrote on his Facebook page on June 13. “As a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, I am proud to stand in support of marriage equality and equal rights for all Americans.”

He posted the photo above from tho shoot.

“Stay tuned for the official portrait,” he said.

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