Tapes of 2004 Obama interviews with Chicago LGBT press released

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 9:59am

Barack Obama at 2004 LGBT fundraiser. (Courtesy Tracy Baim/Windy City Times)

Windy City Times has released the tapes of interviews publisher Tracy Baim did with Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.

The first interview was recorded during the primary and the second after he won the primary during an LGBT fundraiser for senate candidate Obama. A transcript of the first interview ran in Baim’s book Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage.

The interviews are linked through the Windy City Times’ story with links to additional coverage the newspaper did of its hometown candidate.


‘Throwing Shade’ Podcast becomes a TV show… tonight!

Posted on 17 Jan 2017 at 8:50am

Erin&BryanBFor years, we’ve been big fans on the Podcast Throwing Shade — which, as they say, addresses issues important to women and gay men, so basically like a talk show on Lifetime TV. The hosts, Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson, are native Texans with a dishy, funny but socially-conscious take on the world. We discussed all that with them last summer in this interview. At that time, they talked about their new TV show — part current affairs, part pre-recorded bits — which would begin airing this month. Well, that time has come! Tonight on TVLand at 9:30 p.m. local time, Throwing Shade, the TV program, will make its debut. It’s on my season pass already, and I hope y’all will show your support as well. During Fauxnauguration Week, we could all use a little shade.


Pulse killer’s wife arrested

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 at 7:25pm

Noor Salman

CNN has reported that federal authorities have arrested the widow of the man who killed 49 people and injured than 50 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June 12 before being killed himself by officers responding to the scene.

In a story posted just before 8 p.m. EST today (Monday, Jan. 16), CNN reports that Noor Salman faces federal charges including obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband’s material support to ISIS, according to a law enforcement official. The law enforcement official said that despite Salman’s claim that she was coerced by her husband’s abusive behavior, authorities believe she acted of her own free will and knowingly obstructed the investigation into what was the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in modern U.S. history.

The arrest of Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, was first reported by The New York Times.

Authorities believe Salman acted of her own free will and knowingly took steps to obstruct the investigation into the massacre, according to a law enforcement official.

The official said Salman’s claims that she was coerced through her husband’s abusive behavior did not stand up. Another official says the evidence will show that she was complicit and knew her husband was going to do something bad.

Neither Salman’s attorney nor her family in California have commented on the arrest.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said he is glad Salman was arrested and that “we are grateful that they have seen to it that some measure of justice will be served in this act of terror that has affected our community so deeply.”


Gay man attacked outside Target on Haskell

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 at 5:31pm

Derek Whitener

Theater director/actor Derek Whitener remains hospitalized in Dallas after being attacked by two masked men outside the Target store on Haskell on Saturday night, Jan. 14.

Friends confirmed to Dallas Voice that Whitener is a member of the LGBT and that he was not robbed in the attack. Some of his friends are calling the attack an anti-gay hate crime.

Dallas Morning News reports that Whitener, 33, stopped at the Target on his way home after performing as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Firehouse Theatre in Farmer’s Branch, where is he is artistic and education director.

Reports say that one of the men was wearing a ski mask and the other was wearing a monkey mask. One of them hit Whitener on the head with a pipe, fracturing his skull. Friends said he has undergone brain surgery


Thank you, Mr. President

Posted on 13 Jan 2017 at 7:50am



Jesse GarciaOn Jan. 20, we’ll say goodbye to a transformative leader who tied his legacy to advancing LGBTQ civil rights, along with increasing health care access, saving the nation from economic depression, ending two wars, brokering a nuclear deal with Iran and normalizing relations with Cuba.

The Obama administration will be seen as a milestone for the LGBTQ community. The landmark achievements for which he will be remembered include signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2010, and ending the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011, which ultimately led to marriage equality in 2015 via a Supreme Court ruling.

But hope and change for the LGBTQ community didn’t end with these accomplishments.

Each year, President Obama and his cabinet made sure we continued to become part of the American fabric. Here are some highlights* (from a very long list of LGBTQ advancements):

2009: President Obama ended a 22-year ban on travel to the United States by HIV-positive people and ended mandatory HIV tests for residency applications.

2010: He developed the first comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy for the United States and continued to update and fund it.

2011: The President supported the Department of Health and Human Services’ StopBullying.gov, which provides resources to youth, parents, and community members to build a safe environment for all kids, including LGBTQ youth.

2012: The Obama Administration issued a final rule to ensure that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s core housing programs are open to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

2013: Following the Windsor decision, the president directed federal agencies to extend federal benefits to same-sex married couples. The Human Rights Campaign called it “the largest granting of rights in history.”

2014: He signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

2015: The Obama administration supported efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.

2016: The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education sent a directive to school districts advising them that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, rather than their gender assigned at birth.
From ensuring hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones to expanding access to health care coverage and preventing LGBT discrimination by insurers, this president made society more tolerable.

President Obama worked hard to protect our future, while also recognizing the importance of preserving our past. He called on the Interior Department to identify significant LGBTQ historic sites. In 2016, the department selected the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, as the first national monument honored for its role in the LGBTQ rights movement.

On a personal note, President Obama is the reason I came to Washington, D.C. In July 2011, I was politically appointed to HHS. I became one of 250-plus openly LGBTQ professionals who would serve in his administration — this total is more than all the known LGBTQ appointments of other presidential administrations combined, according to the Victory Fund.

It was important that President Obama not only discussed and acted on our issues, but he allowed us to become part of those conversations and placed us in positions of power to act on them. Thank you, Mr. President. I’m forever grateful.


Jesse Garcia is the former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and LULAC Dallas Rainbow Council. He now resides in Washington, D.C., and volunteers for his local LGBT Democratic group and the LULAC Lambda DC council he cofounded.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2017



Back of the line

Posted on 13 Jan 2017 at 7:45am

Is there hope for Dallas queer people of color in 2017?

Sammi NesbitMany of us brought in the New Year with resolutions that we hoped to maintain past January, and tried our best to forget the disasters of 2016. But Nov. 8 still haunts some of us beyond cruelty — and for a good reason.

No, Bernie Sanders didn’t make it past the primary, and people are still holding on to the notion that if he were the Democratic nominee that he would have won the general election. I hate to crush your fairy tale, but the outcome would have probably been the same.

Bernie had a hard time connecting to older, lower-income black and Latino communities that serve as a 46 percent voting bloc in the

Democratic party and a 27 percent voting bloc in the general election. In the southern states, this problem was so apparent you could put the icing on it, and reality wouldn’t taste any sweeter.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, didn’t have this problem to deal with; she had the luxury of being from a southern state, with a husband many black people adopted as “black” during his time in office. As far as the numerous scandals are concerned, black and

Latino people were not really fazed, because those were considered “white collar” problems.

We can go on and on about the “should’ve/could’ve/would’ve” of candidates that supported our community, but unfortunately,

America has chosen to buy a cruise ship ticket on a voyage into the orange abyss. The only people that will possibly enjoy this journey are those of privilege, and I’m not just referring to the white straight middle-class community.

I am talking about the people who don’t have to think twice about things in life, who can go to brunch with friends on Sunday, or take a weekend vacation just to flood everyone’s timeline with photos.

But many people over the next four years won’t come remotely close to that luxury.

If you are HIV-positive and signed up for the Affordable Care Act, you may go to bed tonight wondering if you must relive the traumatic experience of answering hours of questions at some community-based organization about your personal finances to qualify for Ryan White, just to pay for your HIV drugs.

If you’re an undocumented immigrant busting your butt in school to maintain high grades with hopes of going to graduate, law or medical school, now that dream has been put into a holding pattern mid-flight.

For some of us in the gay community, the impact won’t be as brutal. We may occasionally find ourselves outraged by some insensitive tweet or remark, or we may rally to boycott some restaurant, store or product because they insulted one of our peers in the LGBT spectrum. But the outrage will be grandiose, without any real thought as to what our movement/voice looks like to the people that have pissed us off.

Honestly, if we were to take a look from the outside looking in, our storm of resentment would look like a group of young/middle-aged white men with a few friends of color fighting for change.

A large group of LGBT people of color won’t see these struggles the same way, nor will they have the inclination to join the fight — not because we don’t care, but because only a few of us share a thread with the greater LGBT community, a thread called “privilege.”

Some black and Latino queer people may have the privilege of attending a fundraiser for an LGBT charity or a ritzy mixer in Uptown to raise awareness about an issue. Though these strides for inclusiveness are noteworthy, it’s only a small incremental success toward our dream of the ideal LGBT community.

If we were to look at the top three non-profits or organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that champion the beliefs of the LGBT community, how many of them have board members who are black or Latino queer people with experiences of not having privilege?

We must also ask ourselves, although black and Latino queer men account for majority of the new cases of HIV in Dallas County, why do we continue to come up short for a reasonable solution. Dallas remains one of the top three cities in the United States with the highest rate of HIV infections every year, but many leaders in our health community are perplexed. Many state- and federally-funded AIDS service organizations see black and Latino queer men only as a number, without any resolution to bring change.

One person can’t solve our problem overnight, and sprinkling pixie dust won’t make it any better. But the answer is simple: We don’t have a seat at the table.

If we do have a seat, it usually remains empty. And if we are present, our voice is dismissed. This new year, 2017, should be the year that queer people of color start to demand a voice and speak up about problems that we face in our community.

Queer people of color face a myriad of hurdles to access HIV preventive tools, such as PrEP. In the dark of the night, queer men of color are fetishized as a sexual accessory in several bars in the gayborhood but treated like damaged goods during the day.
But now, we have the unique opportunity to stand as one community to embrace each other’s cultural differences as unique. To be effective at change, we must reach beyond our social country clubs and embrace the discomfort of simply not knowing but still being open to understanding.

Just because we have achieved marriage equality, doesn’t mean the fight is over. Our black queer brothers who have fewer sex partners is still three times more likely to contract HIV. Some of our undocumented Latina lesbian sisters who want to live better lives by being a first-generation college students now have to worry now about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) being revoked. And our transgender brothers and sisters are still being siloed into sex work because they don’t have the privilege of being cisgender.

As a community, we can be a mighty fist of change that knocks out every obstacle threatening equality, or we can remain divided, thinking that our fight is won when queer people of color must fight an unseen battle every day, even in our our community.                            
Sammi Nesbit is the chief science officer of the Center for Minority Community Health and is currently a doctoral candidate at University of North Texas. He currently researches adolescent black and Latino HIV seroprevelence behaviors in large urban communities.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2017



Opening day at the legislature

Posted on 13 Jan 2017 at 7:00am

These photos were taken on the opening day of the 85th Texas Legislature, Jan. 10, 2017. House Chamber photos were taken from the gallery because, apparently a White House press pass isn’t good enough for Austin.


DPD releases video of suspect in CoH graffiti incident

Posted on 12 Jan 2017 at 5:21pm

Screen cap from security video footage of the man suspected in several vandalisms in the area, including graffiti spray-painted on the outside wall of the Interfaith Peace Chapel

Dallas Police have released video of a man they say is suspected of painting graffiti on the wall of the Interfaith Peace Chapel, on the campus of the Cathedral of Hope, a week ago on Thursday, Jan. 5.

The video was taken from a business at 4701 Bengal St. of a suspect painting graffiti on a nearby building there. The suspect, believed to be the same person who vandalized the Interfaith Peace Chapel, is described as a 40-year-old black male with a goatee and an unusual walk, police said. The suspect vehicle appears to be a gold/tan Chevy Blazer/GMC/ Jimmy small SUV.

Police have asked that anyone with information call 214-670-6233. Watch the video below.

Similar graffiti was found Monday, Jan. 9, on the wall of an empty shopping center on Denton Drive Cutoff, and that same day, a reader sent Dallas Voice a photo, taken some days earlier, of more similar graffiti found on the wall of a storage unit on Lemmon Avenue. Neither of those locations appear to have landscaping like that seen in the video footage released by the police department.

In all three locations, someone used black spray-paint to leave messages about “kitty porn” or “child porn” on the walls. Graffiti on the walls at the Peace Chapel and the empty shopping center refer to someone named “Johntion Kimbrow” or “Kimbrou.”

Graffiti at all three locations includes a northern Louisiana phone number, which Dallas Voice has traced to a man with a name similar to that painted on the buildings who is already incarcerated.


STAGE REVIEW: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Posted on 12 Jan 2017 at 3:19pm

Curious-IncidentWe are in the era of post-modern theater, like it or not. And I don’t always like it.

Theater is a dynamic art form, and three cheers for experimentation and finding the “new normal.” But for about the last decade, plays have relished a little too much in reminding us that they are plays, while trying to turn a “night at the theater” into a sensory overload. Projected sets. Ear-splitting musical cues that occur suddenly. Lighting designs that approximate film editing more than staged-scene transitions. Sometimes, some combination of these work (American Idiot, The Lieutenant of Inishman, Chinglish); sometimes they don’t (Dirty Dancing springs horribly to mind).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, now at the Winspear Opera House, falls generally into the “plus” column of these po-mo plays, though it feels more sizzle than steak. Based on Mark Haddon’s book (for years, the biggest-selling book in British history), it tells the story of 15-year-old suburban kid Christopher. Christopher is “special needs” — the word “autism” is never used, though it’s clear he falls on the spectrum of savants with underdeveloped social skills. Christopher hates to be touched (even by his parents), he cannot tell a lie (though he proves himself adept and selective truth-sharing), he’s good at math but not at metaphor (he able to sit for his “A levels” — roughly the equivalent of SATs in the U.S. — two years early, but doesn’t understand when people say “I’ve got my eye on you” or “you’re the apple of my eye”). His manias conspire when he discovered the brutally murdered dog of a neighbor, and determine to figure out who committed the crime. (The reveal is not at all surprising.) This leads him, in Act 2, to run away to London in search of a different set of answers.

The novel, which is told from Christopher’s perspective, is an “unreliable narrator” book, a chance to see the world through the unique eyes of its complex protagonist. The play can’t do that exactly, so Christopher’s story — in the form of his journal — is read aloud by his teacher (with repeated references to the fact we are actually watching a play about that story); we get inside Christopher’s head by the use of sound, movement and lighting effects that turn the electrified cube that is the set into a puzzle box. It’s as loud and weird to us as the world must seem to Christopher.

That works effectively… for about half the 150-minute performance time. When Christopher is set loose in London — navigating the tubes, wandering the streets, encountering strangers — it turns into an almost psychedelic nightmare that makes its point long before the adventure ends.

It’s that awkward admixture — Act 2 begins with a nerve-shattering drum beat, without so much as the lights dimming to warn you to put away your cell phone — that makes Curious a slight conundrum: You appreciate it more than you enjoy it.

CuriousIncident1181rThe same was true, to be frank, with director Marianne Elliott’s last stateside production, War Horse. (Curious is the longest-running new play on Broadway to open since 2000; War Horse is No. 2.) War Horse used life-sized puppets to tell its prosaic story of a boy and his quadruped; Curious uses similar “wows” to tell its story of a boy and his pet rat. But for both, the equation adds up to less than the sum of its parts; the pacing drags, and the effects lose their punch eventually. (The same is true of the full-frontal male nudity in Naked Boys Singing.)

Before the gimmicks overstay their welcome, however, you’re delighted and intrigued by the stagecraft, which employs Tony-nominated choreography to move Christopher around his environment, a protean stage of hidden doors and LED lights and primary colors that set and re-set the mood. But it all meanders eventually, until you’re not entirely sure what you’ve seen. On opening night, the audience jumped up in applause at the end, appropriately impressed by the energy and creativity. That is, the audience members still there — a fair amount of attrition occurred during intermission. Whether the defectors missed out on the full impact or got the point quickly and moved on it anyone’s guess.

At the Winspear Opera House through Jan. 22.


Mattis won’t change LGBT military policy

Posted on 12 Jan 2017 at 11:59am

James Mattis

WASHINGTON — During confirmation hearings this morning, Secretary of Defense nominee retired General James Mattis said he will not work to reverse the current policies that allow any qualified person to serve, including LGBT people.

“We open the door to all patriots who are eligible and meet the standards, provide them with the training, equipment, and leadership that’s central to their success, and ensure all service members are treated with dignity and respect,” Mattis said during his testimony.

“We are heartened by General Mattis’ stated commitment during his testimony not to reverse the profound progress we have made in ensuring LGBT service members and their families are able to serve our nation with pride,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn. “Because questions had been raised about his commitment on this front, uncertainty in the future had given our military families great cause for concern. His comments today give us hope for a working relationship between our organizations and the new Defense Department leadership.  If confirmed, we look forward to working with General Mattis in supporting our nation’s brave heroes and their families. We are committed to holding the incoming administration accountable and ensuring all who serve, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the support and respect they need and deserve.”

When asked by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) about his support for LGBT service members currently serving our nation, General Mattis said, “Senator, my belief is that we have to stay focused on a military that’s so lethal that on the battlefield it will be the enemies’ longest day and their worst day when they run into that force. I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe. It’s simply the way that they demonstrate their commitment. And I believe right now that the policies that are in effect, unless a service chief brings something to me where there’s a problem that’s been proven, then I’m not going in with the idea that I’m going to review these and right away start rolling something back.”

He also said, “Frankly, I’ve never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”

Later, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked him, “Is there something innate in being a woman or LGBT that would cause you to believe that they could not be part of a lethal force?”

“No,” he replied.