Resources for suicide prevention and depression

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 at 4:05pm

Robin WilliamsIn the aftermath of Robin Williams’ death, we thought this would be a good time to put some resources online:

If you are thinking about suicide, call:

The Trevor Project   866-488-7386

National Suicide Prevention Hotline   1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Deaf hotline   800-799-4889

For people with HIV, Legacy Counseling Center offers private and group sessions that include alcohol and substance abuse programs. 214-520-6308.

Youth, transgender and adult counseling is done at Resource Center in conjunction with SMU’s Master of Science Counseling Education Program. 214-393-3680.

Many local counselors also specialize in the LGBT community. Stonewall Behavioral Health is a mainstay in the area, having formed in 1983 specializing in relationship and romantic issues. Hall Counseling and Associates has offices in both Dallas and Arlington.

Area hospitals also offer depression and grief support groups. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Fort Worth and Tarrant County meets at Baylor All Saints on the first and third Sundays of the month.

Religious and Spiritual Support

Many area religious organizations are open and affirming to the LGBT community. These churches and synagogues not only provide the confidence you will be understood in your struggle, but also provide a spiritual path whether you are coping or healing.

Cathedral of Hope is an affirming congregation affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Other churches in Dallas include Northaven and Oak Lawn United Methodist churches as well as numerous congregations part of the Metropolitan Community Churches in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth. A quick Google search lead me to find an open and affirming church directory. Dallas is also home to the LGBT-friendly synagogue Beth El Binah.

Look for a complete story and additional resources on depression in Friday’s paper.

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Davis and rape victims speak at Dallas City Hall Plaza

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 at 12:38pm
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Sen. Wendy Davis speaking to rape victims at Dallas City Hall Plaza (Dallas Voice/David Taffet)

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and three rape victims spoke at Dallas City Hall Plaza today (Tuesday, Aug. 12). Among those speaking was Courtney Underwood, who co-founded Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center and who helped establish the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE, program at Presbyterian Hospital.

In the Texas Senate, Davis sponsored legislation that became law requiring all hospitals with emergency rooms to provide rape kits. In Dallas, only two of 46 hospitals provided treatment for rape victims before the law.

Additional legislation required those rape kits to be tested and victims are notified the testing procedure is ongoing. Before the law went into effect, more than 18,000 rape kits remained untested in Texas — 4,000 of those in Dallas County.

Underwood said the percentage of people raped in the LGBT community is even higher than in the general population. One in four women and one in 10 men are victims of sexual assault, she said. Those numbers are two to three times higher among the LGBT community and three to four times higher among homeless LGBT youth.

Davis recently began airing her first TV ads in the governor’s race. Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott is Davis’ Republican opponent, and her ad spotlights his record when he served as a Texas Supreme Court justice. In a case involving a door-to-door salesman who raped a woman in her home, Abbott found the company was not at fault for not doing a background check on the employee. What isn’t mentioned in the ad is that Abbott was in the minority and the court found in favor of the victim’s right to sue the company.

Rape is the most under-reported crime and only about 3 percent of rapists spend a day in jail.

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Navy names new ship after Sally Ride

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 at 11:22am
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(Courtesy U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, widow of U.S. astronaut Sally Ride, broke a bottle across the bow of the Navy’s new auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel, christening it R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28).

During her life, Ride, the first female astronaut, never spoke publicly about being a lesbian. That information came out after her death in 2012. She and O’Shaughnessy had been together 27 years and were married for five years.

Lynn Sherr recently spoke to Dallas Voice about her new book about Ride.

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Dallas Red Party taps Drag Racer Adore Delano, DJ Patrick Kuzara

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 at 11:11am

AThe Dallas Red Foundation and Pride Pharmacy will host the 6th annual Red Party, a fundraiser for Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage, on Friday, Sept. 19. And RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 winner Adore Delano will be the featured entertainment.

Adore will perform alongside New York DJ Patrick Kuzara at The Globe, a venue west of Downtown, on the kickoff to Pride Weekend. Tickets are $59 until Aug. 22, then $69 after. Tickets at the door will be $80 (if available). Some special VIP tickets will also be available. Watch the announcement video below.

2014 Red Party Reveal from Dallas Red Foundation on Vimeo.

 

 

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Sinead O’Connor: The gay interview

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 at 10:01am

Sinead2In 1992, Sinéad O’Connor was at the height of her career following the success of her single “Nothing Compares 2 U” when, during a one-woman protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, she tore up a pic of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live. Causing an uproar, and eventually thwarting her pop-culture presence (not that she cared), that defiance would come to define the Irish singer’s life and career.

More than 20 years later, O’Connor found herself entangled in more controversy — this time with Miley Cyrus, who became the target of the Grammy winner’s digs last year. The two famously feuded in 2013 over the music business, when Sinead warned the twerker that it “will prostitute you for all you are worth” (per O’Connor’s people, questions about the viral brawl were off-limits for this interview).

Does Sinéad have balls? Of course she does — big ones. She talked with our Chris Azzopardi about that region during our recent conversation, insisting that sex — whether it’s with a man or a woman — isn’t necessary for making her “dick hard.” Still, she lets it all hang out on her 10th studio album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss — which drops today — candidly revealing that, Everybody wants something from me / They rarely ever wanna just know me.

The exception: this chat, during which Sinéad recalled her introduction to the gay community — and how that community gave her the courage to be herself, speak out and “take shit.”

Dallas Voice:  With regard to this album and your last, 2012’s How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, you’ve been on a mission to find yourself. What kind of sacrifices and choices did you have to make on that journey to self-actualization?  O’Connor: Gosh, god, I don’t know. I suppose it’s the same for everybody. It’s not like you’re suddenly there and you don’t have any more work to do; it’s a life’s work for all of us, isn’t it? It doesn’t finish until you get to the other side. I think, actually, the things that help you self-actualize are the mistakes — so-called “mistakes.” I don’t like that word. But the things that you get wrong is how you learn to get things right. 

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BREAKING NEWS: Robin Williams is dead

Posted on 11 Aug 2014 at 6:44pm
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Nathan Lane, Robin Williams, Gene Hackman and Diane Wiest in The Birdcage.

Robin Williams, 63, is dead of an apparent suicide. Marin County Sheriff’s Office officials have confirmed  that the Oscar-winning actor was found just before noon at his home in Tiburon in Northern California.

TMZ reports that Williams is believed to have died of asphyxia, and notes that he had recently gone into rehab to “focus on his sobriety.” Williams battled alcohol and drug addiction in the 1980s but had been sober for 20 years.

Los Angeles Times reports note that Williams rose to fame in the 1980s as an alien wearing suspenders in the TV sitcom Mork and Mindy and was named the “funniest man alive” in 1997 by Entertainment Weekly. But it was his serious roles that won him critical acclaim: He won a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting in 1997 and was nominated for Oscars for his roles in The Fisher King in 1991, Dead Poets Society in 1989 and Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987.

LGBT fans also remember him for his role as Nathan Lane’s husband in The Birdcage in 1996 and a divorced father who dons old lady drag to get to spend time with his kids in Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993.

Susan Schneider, Williams’ wife, told TMZ: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.  I am utterly heartbroken.”

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This week in marriage equality … with a few pointed opinions thrown in

Posted on 11 Aug 2014 at 5:01pm

EqualityFLORIDA

Florida is doing marriage equality New Mexico-style — one county at a time. Where New Mexico was a hodgepodge of counties across the state, Florida is working its way up from the bottom. First a Monroe County (The Florida Keys) court overturned the marriage law. Then it was Miami-Dade. Next Broward County (Fort Lauderdale). Most recently, Palm Beach County, the next county up the coast from Broward.

A stay was placed on the judges’ decisions, so marriages have not begun in that state.

Tallahassee and Tampa are expected to rule next.

Here’s a suggestion for judges placing stays on their rulings, delaying the implementation of equality. If it’s OK for gay people to wait until the Supreme Court rules, it’s OK for everyone to wait. If you must place a stay on the state’s marriage law, stay the entire law and ban everyone — yes, everyone — from marrying in your state until the Supreme Court weighs in. If it’s OK for gays and lesbians to delay 1,000+ rights conferred with marriage, it’s OK for some straight people to experience that delay as well. Is that a little spiteful? No, that’s equality.

The state court in Tallahassee may rule that there’s no need to stay the lower court rulings and those counties where couples have sued, same-sex couples be able to begin marrying.

 

OKLAHOMA

One couple in Oklahoma ran out of time waiting for the Supreme Court to rule.

Jerry Custer and Kim Woodward planned to marry until Woodward passed away in late July following complications from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH (unrelated to our new old editor).

The couple was together for 20 years.

Shortly before Woodward passed away, a federal judge in Oklahoma struck down the state’s ban on marriage equality. The couple was planning on marrying but the decision was stayed, making it impossible for them to legally commit before Woodward died. After spending so much of their lives together, Custer said that one of the hardest things was dealing with the death certificate: “I lived here with him for 20 years. On relationship, I had to put down: friend.”

 

VIRGINIA

On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Bostic v. Schaefer, the case challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

“I believe this case will prove compelling for the court because of the stringent, discriminatory nature of Virginia’s marriage ban, the range of critical questions presented, the clear legal standing of the parties, and Virginia’s historic role in 1967’s Loving case ending bans on interracial marriage. Virginia got that case wrong. Now, we have a chance to get it right, and to help extend to all Americans the right to marry the person they love,” Herring said in a statement.

Although Herring did not defend the law in court, he did seek a stay, indicating there could be harm or confusion if couples are allowed to marry before the Supreme Court rules. If he believes this, then all marriages in the state should have been suspended.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania became a marriage equality state earlier this year when a district court declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional and the governor and attorney general agreed to abide by the court’s ruling. No, everything doesn’t need to go to the Supreme Court.

In Bloomsburg, Penn., W.W. Bridal Boutique refused to help a lesbian couple preparing for their wedding, saying that they do not work with same-sex couples. The shop, which has faced public scrutiny, stood by their statement, saying: “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do. And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.” The Bloomsburg City Council is meeting today to discuss the incident and according to ThinkProgress, “possibly consider legislation that will will protect LGBT residents in the future.”

We agree these two women shouldn’t force this company to take thousands of dollars from them for their dresses. This couple should find a store that will share their joy — a store that will serve their customers. It’s nice to know the bigots in Bloomsburg have a place to shop.

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Uplift Education introduces new inclusive anti-bullying policy

Posted on 11 Aug 2014 at 2:46pm

60144_470172559670970_1080250106_nUplift Education, a network of 14 charter schools across North Texas, began the new school year with a new robust anti-bullying policy drafted in collaboration with Fairness Fort Worth and the Resource Center Dallas. David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Fort Worth, wrote on Facebook:

When school started at the 14 campuses of Uplift Education’s charter schools across North Texas last week, the over 12,000 students were greeted with a new, fully inclusive anti-bullying policy that includes protections against acts “motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic such as…sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” That policy was developed with the input of Fairness Fort Worth and Resource Center. Officials from both groups met with senior leadership of Uplift in the spring of 2012, proactively suggesting that the schools adopt a policy that would specifically protect LGBTQ and other students. Uplift developed a draft policy last fall, and turned to Fairness Fort Worth and the Center for additional input and review. The new policy was adopted by the Uplift board this spring and went into effect at the beginning of the school year.

Check out this coming week’s edition of the Voice for more information on the policy.

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Sisters not welcome at Gay Games in Cleveland

Posted on 11 Aug 2014 at 1:05pm
Lawna

Sister Lawna Jocqui

Sister Lawna Jocqui of the DFW Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had tickets for the opening ceremony of the Gay Games in Cleveland, but Lawna says police refused to allow her and other sisters to enter the arena. The games are held every four years and run through Aug. 16.

Dallas Voice is following up on the story and will be contacting officials with the Cleveland PD, the city of Cleveland and the Gay Games. But for now, here is Sister Lawna’s account of what happened:

“There have apparently been some ‘ideas’ as to how the opening ceremonies for Gay Games 9 in Cleveland should be portrayed to the spectators and various other visitors to the city. I wasn’t aware of this until I arrived Wednesday night.

“I flew up early this week so I could visit my fellow Sisters and prepare for the opening ceremonies at Q Arena, as well as the Exequatur Weekend Celebration. Originally the Sisters were supposed to greet and take part in the opening ceremonies, and as I understand, those organizing and running the games — the city, Olympic officials and otherwise — were hesitant to allow any form of drag/crossdressing as part of the event.

“Perhaps it was a security measure? Luckily they canceled their plans on dress code enforcement for athletes and spectators. I also noticed they aren’t too big on calling it the Gay Games here in Cleveland. It’s referred to as ‘GG9′ or simply ‘The Games.’

“I asked a local why that is, and was informed the city of Cleveland isn’t too keen on the word ‘gay.’ I’m sure they’re just prepping their vocabulary for the Republican National Convention to be held here in 2016. Sister Rachel of Cleveland and I had 2 tickets to go in to at least watch the opening ceremony last night [Sunday, Aug. 10], so a group of the Cleveland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Sister Medusa, a member of the Seattle house, and myself representing the DFW Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence arrived at the sidewalk out front of Q Arena in downtown.

“We were immediately greeted by smiles from HRC, asking us to come up and take pics with them and share some hugs and laughs. We stayed with HRC as they passed out flags, literature and tote bags, greeted attendees, passed out our condoms to promote safe sex, and took photos with all those who came to enjoy the games.

“We’re Sisters. It’s what we’ve done for 35 years. We spread joy, expiate stigmatic guilt and promote safe sex and equal rights for all. It’s our mission!

“We were well received by the public as well as the Cleveland Police Department, many of whom stopped to shake our hands and even pose for pictures with us. Shortly after entry to the arena began, a lieutenant with Cleveland PD came to us and told us we were not allowed on Q Arena Property and advised us to leave. Even though Sister Rachel and I had tickets to not only be on the sidewalk in front of the arena, but to also be inside during the opening ceremonies, we were told we would need to go completely across the street in front of a closed building on another block.

“Two honor guards assisting us went back to speak to someone and the same lieutenant immediately intercepted them and told them he wasn’t going to tell them again to leave. They informed him they were not doing anything wrong and he yelled at them, ‘I don’t know who you are. You all fucking look alike! Go across the street!’

“Even though Sister Rachel and I had two pre-purchased tickets, we were not permitted near the arena. Later we were informed by the angry lieutenant that HRC had a contract with exclusive rights to be the only organization near the arena or passing anything out. I spoke to several HRC volunteers and they said they were not aware of such a contract, and it sounded like BS to them on the part of that particular law enforcement representative.

“After the games, many athletes and spectators asked, ‘Why didn’t the Sisters wall with us?’ and ‘Why weren’t the Sisters part of the ceremony?’ We’d simply reply that the Gay Games and the city of Cleveland didn’t want the Sisters.

“We stayed across the street, gave out condoms, hugs and smiles to all who passed by and continued our mission with our heads held high, even though we were not welcomed near the stadium. It’s not about pomp and circumstance, flags, banners and spotlights. It’s about helping people and loving your fellow humans. We accomplished that last night, therefore I view it as a successful evening, even though it didn’t go as planned.”

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2nd West Nile case confirmed in Dallas

Posted on 11 Aug 2014 at 12:53pm

Dallas County Health and Human Services has confirmed a second case of West Nile Virus in a human in the city for the 2014 season. City officials are not released the patient’s name, for privacy reasons, but did say that the person lived in the 75238 zip code.Mosquito_rdax_400x277

The 75238 zip code area is in the northeast part of Dallas, bordered primarily by East Northwest Highway, Skillman Street, Forest Lane and Jupiter Road.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there have been 15 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans this year. Of those, eight have been West Nile fever, and seven have been the more severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease. Both of the Dallas County cases have been West Nile fever.

There has been one confirmed case of West Nile fever this year in each of the following counties: Brazoria, Ellis, Parker, Tarrant and Travis. Both Galeveston County and Liberty County have confirmed one case each of neuroinvasive West Nile.

Montgomery County, north of Houston and just west of Lake Conroe, has confirmed five cases of neuroinvasive West Nile and one case of West Nile fever this year.

DSHS recorded 183 human cases of West Nile Virus last year. Of those, 113 were the more severe neuroinvasive West Nile. The virus killed 14 people in Texas in 2013.

The city of Dallas protocol calls for targeted ground spraying in areas where West Nile has been confirmed in mosquitoes and in areas where trapping has indicated a significant increase in the number of mosquitoes with the potential to carry the virus.

City officials said that existing traps near where the infected person lives have not tested positive for West Nile. Still, they said, the city will expand surveillance and place an additional trap near the location in an effort to get more information.

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75238 Zip Code

According to a press release from the city: “The city’s mosquito control program is continually evolving to address the threat of the West Nile Virus. Public information and outreach is extensive, using television, radio, billboards, brochures and community meetings. A webpage at www.dallascityhall.com is dedicated to WNV information, including links to videos developed to educate the public on WNV prevention.

“Additionally, the city is proactively identifying sources of mosquito breeding by responding to 3-1-1 standing water, stagnant pools and water conservation complaints. However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.”

The best defense against contracting West Nile is not get bitten by a mosquito. And city and state health officials urge everyone to reduce outdoor activity during the evening and nighttime hours, and when you are outside, cover your arms and legs and use a mosquito repellent.

The best way to keep from getting bitten by a mosquito is to keep the little buggers from breeding in the first place. Get rid of standing water in places like dirty swimming pools, stagnant ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters and French drains. Get rid of the standing water and do it fast, because mosquitoes can grow from egg to adult in as little as seven days.

If you see standing water that you are unable to get rid of yourself , call 3-1-1 to report it to city officials. For more information on mosquito control, visit www.dallascityhall.com.

 

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