Tickets remain for Angels After Dark

Posted on 20 Jun 2017 at 4:58pm

Legacy Counseling Center’s Be An Angel is sold out, but tickets remain for Angels After Dark, the afterparty honoring LeeAnne Locken, The Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas and Dallas Red Foundation for their ongoing support of Legacy and its programs.

Sister Helen Holy hosts the afterparty and Vince Martinez performs.

Be An Angel is a seated dinner that begins at 6 p.m. on June 24 at party venue Seven for Parties and is sold out. Tickets for Angels After Dark, which begins at 9 p.m., are $45 general admission and $65 VIP and available here.

Online bidding for the silent auction has been added for anyone unable to attend. Register here and bid remotely until the auction closes on Saturday night.

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Ex-NFL pro O’Callaghan comes out as gay

Posted on 20 Jun 2017 at 3:48pm

Ryan O’Callaghan when he played for New England, left, and today

Ryan O’Callaghan, a former lineman for the world champion New England Patriots and later the Kansas City Chiefs, has come out as a gay man, and says he believes that the NFL is ready for openly gay active players.

O’Callaghan told OutSports.com that he had wrestled with his sexuality throughout his NFL career and that he used football “as kind of my cover for my life.” He also said that he had planned on committing suicide when his pro career ended, because he couldn’t imagine a life as a gay man without football as his “beard.”

He had written a note and had a cabin full of guns waiting on him. But, he said, the Chiefs trainer, David Price, realized something was wrong and encouraged O’Callaghan to speak to the team’s counselor, Susan Wilson. Wilson told O’Callaghan that before he killed himself, maybe he should find out if he “needed” to kill himself. So O’Callaghan came out to his family and friends, and their acceptance changed his life.

Read O’Callaghan’s complete interview with OutSports.com here, and watch the SB Nation video of him telling his story below.

O’Callaghan story breaks at the same time that word comes the NFL is considering taking all Texas locations out of consideration for hosting the next draft or future Super Bowls because state lawmakers are set to consider a “bathroom bill” that would prohibit transgender people from using the appropriate public restroom facilities.

Kind of blows all kinds of holes in Dan Patrick’s claim that a bathroom bill would’t hurt the state, don’t it?

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Medrano named deputy mayor pro tem

Posted on 20 Jun 2017 at 10:55am

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano, second from the right, with the council’s progressive block at the council’s June 19 inauguration. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Adam Medrano, who was sworn in for his third term in office yesterday (June 19), was named deputy mayor pro tem. He succeeds Erik Wilson who was not re-elected to the council. Medrano represents District 2, which includes part of Oak Lawn.

Dwaine Caraway, who returns to the council after sitting out a term because of term limits, was selected as mayor pro tem.

For progressives on the council, Medrano was a great choice. For establishment Dallas, he represented one of two bad choices for the position. Traditionally, if the mayor is white, an Hispanic and an African-American member of the city council are selected mayor pro tem and deputy mayor pro tem. When Ron Kirk, who is black, was mayor, a white and a Hispanic council member were selected.

Medrano is one of two Hispanic members of the current Dallas City Council. The other is first-term Councilman Omar Narvaez, who staged an upset in the election against former Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo. Naming a District 2 councilman to council leadership isn’t new. Medrano’s aunt, Pauline Medrano, who preceded Adam Medrano in the position, served as mayor pro tem, as did her predecessor John Loza and Chris Luna served as deputy mayor pro tem.

Caraway has held the position of mayor pro tem before. He served as acting mayor after Mayor Tom Leppert resigned to run for the U.S. Senate in 2011.

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Dallas Wings celebrates Pride

Posted on 19 Jun 2017 at 3:08pm

The WNBA’s Dallas Wings celebrated Pride with Pride Night at the June 16 game against the New York Liberty.

In a tribute victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando a year ago, Dallas Wings Pride T-shirts were placed on 49 seats, one for each person killed in the attack.

And to prove I actually know something about sports, here’s my wrap up of the game:

The Wings maintained a lead through most of the game. At one point, they were 10 points ahead. In the fourth quarter, several calls went against the Wings and in the last few seconds, the Liberty wiped out the Wings lead, putting the game into overtime. The WNBA overtime is 5 minutes. More bad calls against the Wings led to a final score of 97-93.

The game’s top scorers were Skyler Diggins-Smith with 23 points and rookie Allisha Gray with 16.

 

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Narvaez sworn in amidst cheers

Posted on 19 Jun 2017 at 1:52pm

Dallas City Councilman Omar Narvaez received and ovation and cheers twice during this morning’s (June 19) swearing-in ceremony at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Narvaez is the first openly gay person elected to Dallas City Council in a decade.

The ceremony began with each council member and a guest coming on stage as Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, announced that person’s name, district number, number of terms in office and the name and relation of the accompanying person.

Only when Narvaez entered the stage with his partner Jesse Vallejo to thunderous applause did the announcer add, “Talk about great expectations.”

Cathedral of Hope’s senior pastor Neil Cazares-Thomas delivered one of three invocations. He called for equality for all marginalized communities.

Also delivering invocations were Imam Omar Suleiman, co-chair of Faith Forward Dallas Thanksgiving Square and Father Rodolfo Garcia from the Cathedral of the Virgin Guadalupe, located across the street from the Meyerson. To close the ceremony, the Rev. Canon Charles F. Camlin dean of the Church of the Holy Communion and Rabbi Andrew Paley from the liberal North Dallas synagogue Temple Shalom.

Who was invited said as much about Dallas as who was not. Not invited was the divisive Rev. Robert Jeffress from the next closest church, First Baptist.

Before swearing-in the new city council, Mayor Mike Rawlings honored four outgoing council members. Then each of the 14 members of the new council were called to the podium to receive their Certificate of Election. That’s when Narvaez received his second ovation and a shout of “Love you Omar” from the balcony.

District Court Judge Dennise Garcia administered the oath of office.

In his Inaugural Remarks, Rawlings spoke about crises the city has faced in the past six years including the Ebola virus, last summer’s police ambush and the protests at DFW Airport and across the city after immigration stopped visitors from six countries with valid visas from entering the country two days after the Trump inauguration. Separating himself and Dallas from state and national politics, he said he couldn’t have been prouder about the way the city welcomed those who had been detained.

“This is what Dallas stands for,” Rawlings said. “Tolerance. Equality.”

Rawlings said venom has entered politics and used examples from the recently ended legislative session in Austin. In particular, he noted the bathroom bill.

“Danger doesn’t lurk in our public restrooms,” he said. “Our transgender neighbors aren’t criminals.”

He also mentioned that two weeks ago, Dallas decided to enter the lawsuit against the sanctuary cities law that could make criminals out of law enforcement, especially our police chief and sheriff.

At the end of his speech, Rawlings said he was not running for higher office, which some in the audience took as his campaign kick-off. Rawlings has been mentioned as one of the best possible opponents to face Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican who represents part of Oak Lawn.

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‘Paws in the Plaza’ is Tuesday at Victory Plaza

Posted on 19 Jun 2017 at 12:53pm

There’s more to the SPCA than just dogs and cats! Check SPCA.org/findapet to see all the animals currently available for adoption through SPCA of Texas.

American Airlines Center is hosting “Paws in the Plaza” on Tuesday June 20, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center in Victory Plaza as a way to help homeless critters find loving homes as well as benefit the SPCA of Texas and its Community Pet Program. The event will collect leash and collar donations for the Community Pet Program and raise funds for SPCA.

Organizers hope to collect at least 35,000 leases and collars for the program, which “provides another layer of support to the people and their pets of Southern Dallas, keeping pets in homes, off the streets and out of shelters.” Chewy.com kicked off the effort by donating 400 leashes and collars.

Paws in the Plaza will include pet-friendly activities, vendors, food trucks, $25 on-site pet adoptions, raffles and more. For each leash or collar you donate, you’ll get a raffle ticket, and Dustin Kross with The New Hot 93.3 will be broadcasting live from the Victory Plaza studios.

SPCA of Texas is offering $25 dog and cat adoptions through Sept. 3. The fee includes spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, a heartworm test for dogs six months and older, and an FIV/FeLV for cats for months and older. It also includes an initial flea/tick preventative and heartworm preventative, a microchip, 30 days of free PetHealth Insurance provided by PetPlan, a free 14-day wellness exam with VCA Animal Hospitals, a free year-long subscription to Activ4Pets, a rabies and tag and a free leash.

The event is sponsored by American Airlines Center, Chewy.com, Citydog! Club, DFW Street Eats, Levy, Noah’s Bark All-Natural Dog Biscuits, The Arrangement, Uber, Victory Park and Victory Tavern City Grille. Good Morning Texas/WFAA and New Hot 93.3FM are media sponsors.

Check here for information on pets available for adoption through SPCA, and here for more information on SPCA of Texas. Read Dallas Voice each Friday, online and in print, to see our SPCA of Texas Pet of the Week. And watch DVtv in Spayse on the fourth Friday of each month — streaming live on the Dallas Voice Facebook page and on the Spayse Studios YouTube channel — for our video Pet of the Month from the SPCA of Texas.

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1 dead, 1 injured in stabbing; police seeking injured man’s ex-boyfriend

Posted on 19 Jun 2017 at 10:52am

Jorge Alberto Garcia Pedroza

One man is dead and another is hospitalized after they were stabbed by the injured man’s ex-boyfriend, according to police and news reports.

Police are looking for Jorge Alberto Garcia Pedrozo, 30, in connection with the attack that left Jose Sanchez, 48, dead and a 35-year-old man — whose name has not been released by police — hospitalized. The attack happened about 5 a.m. Friday, June 16, at The Village apartments on Amesbury Drive, just east of Central Expressway and just north of Lovers Lane.

Police reports indicate that officers responding to two separate calls at 5454 Amesbury when they found Sanchez and the other man, both “severely injured.” The two were transported to an area hospital where Sanchez later died.

According to a post on Facebook by Texas Latino Media, police were called to the scene by witnesses who heard someone calling for help and then heard glass breaking. “When the witnesses looked outside, they saw a man with a beard coming out of an apartment unit with an unknown object in his hand. He looked around and then fled on foot towards the parking lot. One person saw him drive off in a light-colored car,” the Texas Latino Media report notes.

The post also says that witnesses found Sanchez lying in a breezeway, “bleeding heavily.” The other victim, who identified the suspect to police, was found inside an apartment.

Anyone with information about the attack or information about where Garcia Pedrozo might be is asked to contact Detective White at 214-283-4825 or jacob.white@dallascityhall.com.

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Attend a free screening of the Oscar-winning ‘Moonlight’ Tuesday

Posted on 19 Jun 2017 at 10:39am

MoonlightDespite what Faye Dunaway said (accidentally — we forgive you, Faye!), it was Moonlight, and not La La Land, that won the Oscar for best picture … and deservedly so. But if you still haven’t seen this moving portrait of a gay black man at three stages of his life, well now if your chance… and it’s free. Dallas’ Coalition for Aging — LGBT is hosting a screening of Moonlight at the AMC NorthPark cinema Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m. Following the screening, I’ll moderate a panel that will briefly discuss the importance of the film. Although there’s no charge, space is limited, so you will need to RSVP to obtain tickets — either call 800-418-2281 or visit AARP.cvent.com/moonlight_dallas.

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Dallas Wings celebrate Pride; raise money for Resource Center

Posted on 16 Jun 2017 at 10:57am

Allisha-Grey.Dallas-WingsThe WNBA Dallas Wings will offer a specially-designed Pride t-shirt at their Pride Night game tonight as a fundraiser for Resource Center. Game attendees who make a minimum $20 donation to Resource Center will receive the limited-edition Pride t-shirt to show their team spirit and support for the LGBTQ community.

“The Dallas Wings team is proud of its diverse audience,” said Nicole Smith, Dallas Wings CMO. “June is a league-wide, month-long celebration of Pride, and a perfect time for us to partner with a worthy organization like Resource Center. Both the Wings and Resource Center are dedicated to helping youth and the community at large, and I am excited that we get to help them raise funds, highlight their services and potentially help those in need of their services.”

In addition to the campaign for Resource Center, the Wings will have a memorial for the anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting.

The Wings play the New York Liberty for the June 16 Pride Night game at College Park Center on the University of Texas at Arlington campus. Take the Center Street exit off I-30 and head south 2.5 miles to College Park Center.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and tip-off is at 7 p.m. Fans can receive 30 percent off their ticket for the game with the code PRIDE17. Tickets and season memberships are available at www.dallaswings.com or by calling 817-469-9464.

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The lives of the leftovers

Posted on 16 Jun 2017 at 8:40am

Some long-term HIV survivors have thrived; others have not

AIDS-Survivors

 

Gary Bellomy 2017I just finished watching the series finale of The Leftovers. I was drawn to this television show for a couple of different reasons. First, as with most every gay man watching, Justin Theroux had my attention with his now legendary jogging scene in his sweatpants (We are so predictable. I can probably lump a majority of the straight, female viewing audience into that equation, too). But beyond that riveting performance, he and the entire cast delivered stellar performances throughout the three-year run of the show.

For those of you not familiar with The Leftovers, it was a very dark portrayal what happens in the lives of those people left remaining after a large portion of their loved ones disappear suddenly, in the style of the biblical Rapture. Those remaining are the “leftovers.”

The actual disappearance is the show’s only similarity to the traditional fire and brimstone fairytale. (Spoiler alert: Armageddon never arrives to end the daily suffering of these characters. Instead, they are left to develop some very quirky coping skills to deal with the reality of their loss.)

This scenario, of course, hooked me, because I am a member of the generation of gay men, lesbians, straight allies and family members who endured the loss of so many lives in the 1980s and 1990s. In ways we would rather not admit we are the “leftovers” of the AIDS era.

We survived the devastation and crushing loss AIDS dealt this community. Yes, we have moved on in our lives. Effective drugs for treatment and prevention of new infection has slowed the ravages of HIV. We have learned to live with the gaps left in us where those that perished once dwelt.

But at what cost are we standing here today? Believe me when I say that cost is huge. Parts of us will ever remain broken. And in the quiet, in the still moments, each of us faces this fact.

As for me, I am one of those HIV-positive “leftovers” tagged “long term survivors.” I received my positive test results in 1984. But for reasons unknown, I have managed to live with this virus, experiencing little of its damaging effects for at least 32 years, when so many others did not.

I could say it’s thanks to my healthy diet and exercise, but others with the same type of lifestyle died long ago. Maybe the single most significant factor is I did not rush to begin any of the early drug regimens when they became available. I was skeptical.

I saw too many friends panic when they discovered their status, grasping for any treatment that might save them. Once as healthy as I was, they withered under those treatments.

I have read several articles in recent years about the plight of others like me. And what I’ve read paints a grim picture. They show a group of people lingering outside of society’s norm — unhappy, unhealthy and out of step with the rest of the world.

This is unfortunate. In many instances, these people still cling to their identity as a person living with AIDS rather than seeing themselves as a person with HIV, a manageable chronic condition. Most of them went on disability years ago, abandoning viable careers because they believed their death was imminent. I said at that time that it was a bad idea, and I stand by that assessment today.

Some are facing determination of disability policies when they reach legal retirement age. Many of the men being chronicled would like to return to employment, but their skills are outdated. They’re bored. Often, they live in government-assisted housing that is dangerous and depressing. Others live in housing provided by AIDS assistance organizations where they are reminded daily of the morbidity rate of the HIV-infected. Not the most positive environment in which to dwell.

Collectively, they feel, accurately enough, that the lives they were dealt have been siphoned away in this strange limbo they accepted.

Make no mistake; I am not trying to crow about my superior abilities compared to other “long-term survivors.” I know full well how fortunate I have been with my own health.

As I said, I passed on early HIV medications. But over time I became complacent in monitoring my health. Asymptomatic for so long, I began to feel I was immune. I was foolish. I began drug treatment because a KS (Kaposi sarcoma) lesion developed on the lens of my eye. The drugs at that time were effective in dissolving that growth, and it has never returned. I know I would be dead without these drugs; so would every other person in my situation. The drugs have given many of us the opportunity to survive.

I can’t judge those who have had to live with very real HIV-related illnesses for decades. But it’s not clear that this is what happened with those I read about. Wasting their own lives while chaining themselves to a dead-end disability lifeboat is not their main concern; convincing themselves they are ill and have already lost the battle with HIV is what is lethal.

Many that bought into that toxic mindset perished quickly because of it. Other’s will continue for a spell longer, watching all of life’s meaning fade.

That is what I believe is the true nightmare of this kind of existence. You are setting yourself up to die.

I don’t think this picture of “long-termers” is accurate for a great many of us. It certainly, does not represent my life. Some of us have moved on with the other members of that generation of survivors. We certainly have had unique hurdles to master: decades of high insurance premiums to provide the costly drugs we require, dealing with prejudice concerning HIV in our workplaces and, at times, in our own community.

All of it became manageable somehow because we chose to press on along with the rest of humanity.

Plenty of us have had rich and rewarding lives. We held onto jobs. We stayed active. We risked involvement with new friends and new mates. We allowed others to bring happiness into our lives, and we slowly learned again to reciprocate.

We live in this world. We take what this life offers us today. And it is enough.

We don’t expect what was taken to be returned. We don’t allow the sorrow of the past to take hold of our souls. We make our way. We will continue to contribute. We have chosen to die with our boots on when that day comes. No one is sure how HIV will influence our more senior years. I remain hopeful.

HIV-negative gay men, lesbians and the straight people that supported us then and do so today did not retreat. Many would have liked to, I’m sure. It’s seems unfair that we were given an escape clause that would release us from the burdens life holds, because we owe it to them and to those who did not survive to continually find ways to live productive lives.

If this community can find ways to rehabilitate these men and return them to the light of present day, I will be there to reach out to them as well. We can never give up. HIV did not win the battle; we did.

 

Gary Bellomy is a longtime Dallas activist working on issues of LGBT equality, HIV/AIDS services and family violence prevention. He is a war resister and a Trump resister.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 16, 2017.

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