Lambda Legal holds transgender empowerment and passport clinic

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 4:47pm

Lambda Legal will hold a free empowerment and passport clinic on Thursday, Jan. 5, from 5-7 p.m. for the transgender community and LGBT parents. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.

Free legal information for transgender people on changing names and gender markers on Texas identity documents and hands-on assistance amending passports and Social Security records. Lawyers are also on hand to help LGBT parents ensure their children’s SSA records reflect a parental relationship for a non-biological parent. Financial assistance with passport fees is available to a limited number of participants. Reserve your spot by January 4rd.

The clinic is co-hosted by Vinson & Elkins. On Jan. 10, the clinic will be held in Houston, co-hosted by Reed Smith LLP. Register for Houston on the same page.

The Dallas office is at 3500 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 500.



Burrell won’t appear on ‘Ellen’

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 4:31pm

Ellen Degeneres tweeted that Kim Burrell, the gospel singer scheduled to sing “I See Victory,” the song from the new film, Hidden Figures, will not appear on her show this week. Burrell created waves when she recently delivered an anti-LGBT sermon in a Houston church and called gays perverts.


GOP backpeddles furiously on effort to gut ethics watchdog

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 11:58am

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte

In a “secret vote” Monday night, Jan. 2, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to move the independent Office of Congressional Ethics under oversight of the House Ethics Committee. But after an immediate and widespread outcry against the effort, House Republicans called an emergency conference Tuesday morning, Jan. 3, to withdraw the proposal.

The House established Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008 in response to a series of scandals plaguing numerous GOP lawmakers, including three who went to prison. Changes proposed Monday would mean the OCE would no longer be independent, that lawmakers would vote to determine if a fellow Congressmember had broken the law, that the OCE would not be allowed to receive anonymous tips and that accusations against lawmakers would no longer be made public.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had both urged GOP lawmakers to wait before pushing for such changes, and to seek bipartisan support for the effort. But Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte ignored the warnings from his party leaders and went introduced the proposal anyway.

The vote sparked outrage across the board and even drew a reprimand from Donald Trump who, per his established practice for discussing policy issues, tweeted about it Monday night: “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS”

(DTS stands for “Drain The Swamp,” one of Trump’s many catchphrases during his campaign, one he has since said he initially hated but decided to use because it was obviously popular with his supporters. Since the election, though, instead of draining the swamp of politics in D.C., he’s just been adding gators — and maybe a crocodile or two, and even the Loch Ness monster — to the mix.)

(What I am wondering is, how long will it be until someone unearths some ethics scandal involving Goodlatte or one of his cronies?)


Bitch is crazy*

Posted on 02 Jan 2017 at 3:21pm

Kim Burrell, a gospel singer who is scheduled to appear on The Ellen Degeneres Show next week, recently called gays and lesbians perverts in a sermon she delivered at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted… You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted,” she said, according to People magazine.

Burrell is supposed to sing “I See Victory,” a song from the film Hidden Figures with Pharrell Williams on Ellen’s show. The stars of the movie have spoken against Burrell’s comments, as have numerous others. Williams issued a statement that read, “I condemn hate speech of any kind,” and did not mention of Burrell.

When a video of the sermon began circulating, Burrell used the tired love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin to defend her bigotry.

Neither Degeneres nor the show’s producers have issued a statement.

What isn’t clear is why Burrell would want to be on a show hosted by a pervert, just because it’s a top-rated daytime talk show where Ellen will give this singer, whom many of her viewers never heard of before, a chance to be seen.

Certainly Ellen won’t include a clip from Burrell’s sermon on the show and confront her. We’d love to see her do that, but that’s not Ellen’s style. Ellen’s more the “when they go low, we go high” type of talk show host. Expect her to handle the situation with class.

*Headline suggested by Stephen Mobley.


Paxton gets injunction allowing medical professionals to discriminate against transgender people

Posted on 02 Jan 2017 at 1:32pm

Texas AG Ken Paxton

Well, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton started off the new year in the same old homophobic vein, issuing a Jan. 1 press release crowing over a federal district court’s decision to issue an injunction against portions of the Affordable Care Act that prohibited health care professionals from discriminating against transgender people.

The regulation was set to go into effect on Sunday, Jan. 1.

Paxton filed suit against the regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in some health programs back in August on behalf of Texas, two other states and the Franiciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network. The suit claims that the regulation redefines term “sex” to “thwart decades of settled precedent” and impose “massive new obligations” on health care providers.

Paxton and his cohorts argued that the rule violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act because by compelling religiously-affiliated health organizations to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by “forcing them to choose between federal funding and their livelihood as healthcare providers and their exercise of religion.”

Of course, folks who aren’t right-wing homo/transphobes have a different view of the regulation. As Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow told the Texas Tribune back in August, the regulation “doesn’t force an individual to do anything in particular” but instead clarifies that health care providers can’t deny services or insurance to someone because they’re transgender.

“The example unfortunately used by individuals who oppose this is that this is going to force doctors to provide transition surgeries to children [but] this doesn’t take away a doctor’s ability to make informed decisions in the best interest of their patients. What the doctor can’t do is say, ‘I won’t treat you because you’re transgender.’”

Paxton’s Jan. 1 press release announcing the injunction, claims that “Not only does it require taxpayers to fund all treatments designed to transition to a different sex, it also forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services. Under the new rule, a physician that believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best interests may be in violation of federal law. And a physician that, for religious or conscientious reasons cannot perform a particular procedure, chooses to instead refer a patient to another health care provider may also be determined to be in violation of this new rule.

The press release quotes Paxton as saying, “This striking example of federal overreach under Obamacare would force many doctors, hospitals and other health care providers in Texas to participate in sex-reassignment surgeries and treatments, even if it violates their best medical judgment or their religious beliefs. I will always fight to protect the constitutional rights of Texans.”

Unless, of course, it’s a constitutional right or a doctor’s “best medical judgment” he doesn’t agree with, like the right to marriage equality or reproductive decisions. And Kenny-boy is always going to fight “federal overreach,” but that doesn’t mean that he and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick can’t reach out and tell local school districts how to handle their business.

The injunction came from U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, in Fort Worth. This is the same judge who issued the injunction against the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on how school districts should treat transgender students (you know, not discriminate against them).

We’re not saying that Paxton and his cronies hand-picked O’Connor to hear these two cases regarding regulations banning discrimination against transgender people because they know he’s a right-winger who would rule in their favor — but then, we don’t need to say that because said it for us.


Hanuka is oddly relevant this year

Posted on 29 Dec 2016 at 10:10am
By David Taffet

Donald Antiochus

This time of year, I usually write a “Why I Hate Chanukah” story.

I have a whole list of reasons Hanuka isn’t my favorite holiday starting with: I won’t celebrate a holiday they can’t decide how to spell. Also, Channukah celebrates a battle victory. I prefer holidays like Rosh Hashanah, secular Rosh Hashanah (that’s New Year’s) or Passover, which celebrates freedom from slavery. I love Martin Luther King Day, which honors civil rights.

In 164 B.C., the Maccabbees, a Jewish tribe, fought against Antiochus IV, the Assyrian tyrant who came to power in 175 B.C. and ruled over Judea.

Until Antiochus, the Jews in Judea were allowed to practice their own religion. Antiochus was threatened by people who practiced different religions, so he desecrated the temple in Jerusalem and forbade celebrating the Jewish Sabbath.

Political positions, under Antiochus, were sold to the highest bidder. Unqualified cronies were given high positions. Civil liberties were restricted and the government pillaged and plundered its own people.

Hannukah celebrates 4,000 Maccabbees beating the crap out of an army of 40,000 Assyrians. They won by inventing guerrilla warfare. Really, I prefer some of the other contributions Jews have made to the world, like Windows XP or thumb drives that were both developed in Israel.

But this year, I really like Hanuka. It’s a holiday that warns us what will happen if we allow unqualified people to take leadership jobs and political positions go to the highest bidder and if we allow religious bigotry to be enshrined in government.

But I wasn’t thinking of Donald Trump. Really. I wasn’t.


George Michael, pop superstar, dies at 53 in Oxfordshire home

Posted on 25 Dec 2016 at 10:10pm

george-michael-net-worth-600x422The legendary pop star and gay icon, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and continued his success as a solo performer, passed away peacefully at his home in Goring, Oxfordshire on Christmas Day. Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, says the cause of death was heart failure, as reported by AP.

Having sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades, Michael became one of the world’s biggest-selling artists.

On Twitter, his former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend.”

The pop superstar split from Texas art dealer Kenny Goss in 2009 after 13 years.

The loss of Michael continues a year of grief in the music industry, with David Bowie, Prince and Glenn Frey among those dying before age 70.



My favorite photo of the year

Posted on 23 Dec 2016 at 1:09pm

george-and-michelleAs we were putting together our Year in Review issue for next week, I came across my favorite photo of the year.

Dallas Voice Managing Editor Tammye Nash and I attended the Dallas Police memorial at the Meyerson Symphony Center the week five officers were killed. Former President and first lady George and Laura Bush sat between the Obamas and the Bidens on the stage. From our front and center balcony seat, we had a clear view of the stage and Tammye captured this moment of genuine friendship between George Bush and Michelle Obama as well as the reaction by the president and the former first lady to their spouses.

The expression on the first lady’s face as she reacts to a quip by the former president reminds us how much we’ll miss her and just why we love her. And now that the Obamas are going out of office, one thing I will look forward to seeing is how the Obamas and Bushes are going to team up on important issues.


N.C. legislature votes down HB2 repeal

Posted on 22 Dec 2016 at 10:32am
NC Atty Gen Roy Cooper

Incoming Gov. Roy Cooper

The North Carolina Legislature on Wednesday, Dec. 21, reneged on a deal with the city of Charlotte by voting down repeal of HB2, according to the Charlotte Observer. Incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper negotiated the deal.

The legislature was called into special session to repeal the law that allowed discrimination against the LGBT community after a deal was struck with Charlotte to repeal its nondiscrimination ordinance that prompted the legislature to enact HB2 in the first place. After the city repealed its ordinance early Monday, Dec. 19, legislators balked and the hateful state law remains in place.

The law has cost the state millions of dollars in lost jobs, investments, sports and entertainment events and travel boycotts.

On Monday, Dec. 19, Charlotte’s city council repealed the city’s ordinance, but state legislators said their action did nothing at all. So on Wednesday, the city rescinded all action taken since the enactment of the ordinance. Then the Senate voted 16-32 against repeal of HB2. The House never voted.

So boycotts against North Carolina remain in place and so does HB2 and the discrimination it allows. Let’s hope that the Charlotte City Council quickly re-enacts the city’s ordinance.



Taylor Dayne and Cece Peniston signed for Metro Ball

Posted on 21 Dec 2016 at 11:57am

Taylor Dayne

Dance-music icons Taylor Dayne and Cece Peniston, along with American Idol favorite David Hernandez, will headline for the 12th annual Metro Ball.

Metro Ball, the main fundraiser for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, will be held on June 2 at S4 on Cedar Springs Road. In addition to musical talent, the event features surprise guests, a DJ-dance party, and an art and gifts silent auction.

Over the past two decades, MetroBall has raised more than $500,000 and assisted more than 3,000 people with HIV/AIDS. GDMAF partners with other HIV agencies to provide emergency financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Dayne has enjoyed Top 10 hits over three decades, selling a combined 75 million singles and albums along the way. With the release of her first two albums, 1988’s Tell It to My Heart and 1989’s Can’t Fight Fate, Dayne racked up three number 1 singles: “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back” and “Prove Your Love to Me.” On Broadway, she starred in Elton John’s Aida.

Peniston’s first single, “Finally,” thrust her into the international spotlight and she has continued her success ever since. She continued to achieve Billboard Top Ten Pop chart status with singles including: “We Got A Love Thang,” “Keep On Walkin,” “I’m Not Over You” and “Lifetime To Love.” Her numerous awards include: Billboard Best New Artist and Best New Song of The Year; ASCAP Song of The Year, Pop Songwriter of The Year, and Most Performed Song of The Year; Annual Winter Music Conference’s Best New Dance Artist, Best Dance Artist Solo and Best 12″ Dance Record.

David Hernandez gained national attention with his powerful voice and affable personality as an American Idol finalist. He began acting and singing at age six, starring in musicals and performing with various theatre companies throughout Arizona. As a teenager David began writing original music and recording his material. President Barack Obama invited him to sing at the Inaugural Kick-Off Celebration ball in 2008.

Tickets are $30 in advance and available online here.

Information on sponsorship packages are available at GDMAF, or contact David Hearn or 972-743-6323.