UCC signs agreement with Boy Scouts

Posted on 05 Oct 2015 at 11:39am

890px-Boy_Scouts_of_America_corporate_trademark.svgThe United Church of Christ is scheduled to sign an agreement with the Boy Scouts of America to affirm the right of UCC congregations to charter Boy Scout troops that are in line with its religious principle of inclusion without discrimination.

The memorandum of understanding will be signed this afternoon during a BSA board meeting says that UCC’s position is consistent with BSA values and polices.

Cathedral of Hope, one of UCC’s largest churches, has tried to charter Boy Scout troops in the past and has been turned down by the Irving-based organization.

Earlier this year, Boy Scouts changed its policy to allow LGBT Scout leaders. A year earlier, the organization began allowing gay Scouts, but those Scouts were kicked out of the organization when they turned 18.

The Memorandum of Understanding will by signed at the DFW Marriott in Irving by Michael B. Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive. The Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, executive for the UCC’s Health and Wholeness Advocacy Ministries, will represent the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, the UCC’s general minister and president.



17 gayish TV shows to add to your DVR this season

Posted on 05 Oct 2015 at 6:26am

‘Supergirl’ arrives later this month on CBS.

The 2015-16 TV season is well underway. What to watch for the discerning gay viewer? Pop the corn, grab a blanket, and cozy into your favorite couch cushion for this selection of new-season shows featuring LGBT characters we can root for.

The Real O’Neals (ABC). The O’Neals have a secret; several of them, in fact … not the least of which is 14-year-old Kenny’s confession that he’s gay, which he reveals in front of his family’s church congregation. Upfronts for the Martha Plimpton-starring vehicle show initial promise, but it’s the boycott by the American Family Association that should seal the deal.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW). Scheduled to premiere midseason, this series from out exec producer Greg Berlanti will feature a host of familiar superheroes, including at least once crossover character, Sara Lance, a bisexual crime fighter who died on sister series Arrow, but is now resurrected through the mythical Lazarus Pits as “White Canary.”

Grandfathered (FOX). John Stamos, who ages just as well (or better) than a fine wine, helms this half-hour comedy about a still-in-his-prime bachelor who finds out he’s a father— and grandfather — all in a day. Kelly Jenrette stars as his lesbian assistant restaurant manager Annelise.

Rosewood (FOX). Private pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood (Morris Chestnut) runs a for-hire autopsy agency with his toxicologist sister Pippy (Gabrielle Dennis) and her DNA specialist fiancé Tara (Anna Konkle) in this Wednesday-night crime procedural.

Faking It (MTV). Aside from making the most popular boy in school, Shane, gay, and giving him a hot MMA-fighter love interest, Duke, to make out with, Faking It also warrants your DVR space for introducing TV’s first intersex character, Lauren, who will spend this season handling the fallout of being outed by her ex-boyfriend … who we can only hope meets the business end of a choke hold.

Supergirl (CBS). There’s no indication that there’s anything LGBT about this new series initially, but it’s produced by Berlanti, so there’s high-flying probability that we’ll see some diversity soon. It’s already well on its convention-shattering way with Mehcad Brooks (True Blood) playing former Daily Planet photographer James Olsen.

Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris (NBC). Doogie has turned his perennial hosting prowess into a full-time gig (at least for a short season of shows) with this primetime party that will feature comedy, music, games and more.

Modern Family (ABC). Tensions are rising for semi-newlyweds Cam and Mitchell, the latter of whom admitted to losing his job at the end of season 6. Can the oddest gay couple on TV weather the storm? Yeah, probably, and hopefully with a lot of hilarity.

How to Get Away With Murder (ABC). Sure, Connor Walsh is a stereotype of a gay man who uses his sexuality to his advantage, in How to Get Away With Murder — but, really, who’s complaining? Less shirt, more sex, please.

Todrick (MTV). Quadruple-threat Todrick Hall — the YouTube sensation famous for his full-scale productions of gay-ified Disney covers — gets his comeuppance in this docu-series about (what else?) the making of said full-scale productions.

Nashville (ABC). Nashville’s Will Lexington is the hottest gay cowboy since, well, you know.

Undateable (NBC). The highly underrated multi-camera comedy will return to NBC this fall for its third season (didn’t know about the first two seasons, did ya?) with — get this — all-live episodes. As if that’s not enough to pique your curiosity, perhaps bear-tastic bartender Brett can.

The Walking Dead (AMC). The body count will continue to rise in season 7 as Rick Grimes and group try to strike a survivable balance within the fallen Alexandria society while facing a new threat of the Wolves. Here’s hoping that boyfriends Aaron and Eric get a decent storyline before one of them bites the dust.

Out actor Jussie Smollett as the gay scion on ‘Empire.’

Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn (VH1). When you can’t bear witness to an actual train wreck, Couples Therapy is a solid stand-in, this season starring Drag Race alums Carmen Carrera and Adrian Torres.

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX). Lady Gaga stars as Elizabeth the Countess, bisexual owner of the Hotel Cortez, which will see its fair share of LGBT characters pass through its door, including roles filled by Angela Bassett, Denis O’Hare, Finn Wittrock and Cheyenne Jackson.

Empire (FOX). Gay heir to the Empire Records fortune, Jamal (Jussie Smollett) gives Empire its LGBT street cred, but it’s family matriarch Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who makes us want to put those jams on repeat every single week.

Younger (TVLand). You’ll have to wait until January to catch the second season of TVLand’s sleeper-hit Younger, starring Sutton Foster as a 40-something divorced mother pretending to be a 26-year-old editor’s assistant, but it’s worth scheduling on your DVR in advance. The indispensable Debi Mazar provides the show lesbian realness while too-tempting tattoo artist Nico Tortorella’s eye candy gives us something to suck on.

—Mikey Rox


2015 Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade

Posted on 03 Oct 2015 at 7:54pm

Here’s a quick look at the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Parade through downtown this afternoon (Saturday, Oct. 3). Stay tuned for more photos from the parade and the festival in General Worth Square AND from the TCGPWA picnic coming up tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 4). at Trinity Park. Photos by Tammye Nash.


Out & Equal opens career pavilion to students

Posted on 02 Oct 2015 at 4:03pm

Out & Equal CEO Selisse Berry

Out & Equal staff is already in Dallas preparing for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit taking place at the Hilton Anatole on Oct. 6-8.

More than 3,000 will attend next week’s convention. They’ll be coming from 48 states and 31 countries.

Among the latest confirmed attendees are White House LGBT liaison Aditi Hardikar and Australia’s human rights commissioner, according to Chief Development Officer Rachel Rubin.

Most events are for attendees only, however, the AT&T Workplace Summit Career Pavilion that takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 7 in the exhibit hall, has been opened to students. Representatives from a number of companies will be available for career counseling and some may even do some hiring.

Some conference attendees will arrive early to participate in Leadership Day. Rubin said they’ll take a “deep dive” into topics like employee resource group leadership and other topics related to diversity in a business setting.

Dallas Voice will have more coverage of the conference throughout the week.


Cocktail Friday: Ginning up recipes

Posted on 02 Oct 2015 at 3:10pm
Caorunn_Gin_LizClayman_Lost & Found_011

Lost & Found

I only recently discovered Caorunn gin, a small-batch gin created, surprisingly, in Scotland. But bartenders have known about it for a while at least (I found one recipe from last fall prepared by Henderson Avenue’s hipstery dive bar The Gin Mill, called Gin, Smoke & Lies, made with amaro, pineapple, hibiscus syrup and lime). I’m a big gin drinker, though, so here are a few more recipes culled from mixologists around the U.S., that fall into a category called “shrub drinks” (“shrubs” usually combine 1 cup each fruit juice and sugar with vinegar and citric acid, plus other ingredients as needed).

Lost & Found (created by Vincent Favella, Brooklyn)

1 oz. Caorunn gin

3/4 oz. prickly pear shrub


Making it: Whip-shake gin and shrub with one ice cube; pour into coupe glass; top to taste with champagne. Garnish with orange twist.

The Brand New Companion (created by Scott Koehl, Chicago)

2 oz. Caorunn gin

Blueberry balsamic shrub

3/4 oz Cynar

Caorunn_Gin_LizClayman_Brooklyn Sunset_027

Brooklyn Sunset

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Making it: Stir together ingredients, and serve in a Nick Nora glass. Garnish with lemon.

Brooklyn Sunset (created by Tony Del Pino)

2 ox. Caorunn gin

5 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. ginger shrub

Club soda

Making it: Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker; strain into a Collins glass. Top with club soda to taste. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Kim Davis’ meeting with the Pope wasn’t that special after all (but a gay man and his partner got a private audience with the pontiff)

Posted on 02 Oct 2015 at 2:00pm
Kim and Francis

Pope Francis did meet Kim Davis, but it wasn’t really the way Davis and her lawyer described it

Despite Kim Davis’ rapturous description of how Pope Francis embraced her and her bigoted efforts to continue to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it now looks like the pope isn’t as big a Kim Davis fan as she led us to believe.

In fact, Vatican officials today (Friday, Oct. 2) released statements that totally contradict the implication that Davis had been specifically invited by the pope for a special meeting.

“Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong,’” Davis told CNN earlier this week. Davis said she put her hand out to greet the pontiff, and that “he hugged me, and I hugged him.”

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel founder and Davis’ lawyer, told CNN the meeting lasted about 10 minutes and was just between the pope, Davis and her husband. Staver was not at the meeting, but said that Pope Francis hugged Davis and gave her and her husband both rosaries, and that Davis gave her rosary to her parents, who are Catholic.

After the meeting, Davis told ABC News, “Just knowing the pope is on track with what we’re doing, and agreeing, you know, kind of validates everything.”

But now it’s looking like Davis’ “everything” isn’t so valid after all.

Vatican officials initially refused to either confirm or deny that Pope Francis had met with Davis, and then later acknowledged that the meeting took place. But, they are now adding, Davis was just one of “several dozen” folks that the pope greeted during a reception at the Vatican Embassy just before he left Washington, D.C. And, officials have said, it wasn’t the Pope who asked for Davis to be there, but instead an embassy official that extended the invitation.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, released this statement:

“Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.

“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

And as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports from Italy, “the Rev. Thomas Rosica, English language assistant at the Holy See Press Office, says that Francis may not have understood ‘the impact’ a visit with Davis might have in the U.S.; Rosica also says the group that included Davis was selected by the nunciature, the Vatican’s diplomatic office in D.C.”

To top it all off, not only is the Vatican now stressing that the Pope is not “on track” with Kim Davis and her bigotry, it appears that the “former student” and his family that Rev. Lombardi referred to in his statement is a gay man and his partner and some friends, according to the New York Times.

Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man living in Washington, D.C., told the Times that his a former student of the pope, and that he had been granted a meeting with the pontiff. Grassi said he was accompanied by his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, and four friends.

Contacted by phone, a former student of Francis, Yayo Grassi, said he had been granted a meeting with the pope. Mr. Grassi is an openly gay man living in Washington, and he said he had been accompanied by his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, as well as four friends.

According to the New York Times, “Mr. Grassi, a 67-year-old caterer, said that his group met with Francis at the Vatican Embassy on Sept. 23 — a day before Ms. Davis met the pope. In the 1960s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the future pope was called, taught Mr. Grassi Argentine literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, a Jesuit high school in Santa Fe, Argentina.”


Stonewall Inn becomes historic landmark

Posted on 02 Oct 2015 at 10:14am

Stonewall Inn

The New York City Council voted this week to make the Stonewall Inn a historic landmark. This finalizes the vote the Landmarks Preservation Commission took in June.

The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, is considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

When police raided the bar on June 26, 1969, drag queens and trans women rebelled. The scene was repeated every night for a week.

To celebrate the designation, the New York Daily News posted a video of Gov. Andrew Cuomo marrying a gay couple in front of the landmark bar.



Claiming Pride every day

Posted on 02 Oct 2015 at 8:10am


I was invited to capture what Pride means to me. For many that is an easy request.  It means solidarity, social justice, becoming more visible, finding a voice, being with a larger community with a similar story to commiserate and celebrate.

David WynnI remember my very first Pride parade many, many years ago in Austin. The thing I remember most is the continual unfolding of the sense of being “not alone.” It was wonderful. I felt more courageous in expressing my truth.

And yet, I can struggle. I struggle with special days set aside to really “be who we are,” or to “be recognized and celebrated.” It smacks a little of tokenism and I don’t want a day, I want every day, and I want that for every person — that steady trickle of acceptance, celebration, being seen and heard.

I want Pride to have a shelf life, for every group that finds themselves labeled in any way.

Poet David Whyte has written: “Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its linguistic origins leads us in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French, Coeur, or heart.

“Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go — to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.”

For me Pride parades are an invitation to the much deeper soul work of “staying close to the way we are made,” and in so doing, getting closer to the way those around us are made.  It’s a clarion call to relationship that is deep and vulnerable work.

Pride is an external, embodied ritual that will hopefully lead us to the internal ritual of recognizing our own beauty and worth. The challenging part is that it asks us not only to do that for ourselves and those who understand our stories because they share some piece of our story, but to also cast the net wider and see the same beauty and worth in those beyond our stories, including those who protest and want to suppress our stories.

The Pride event is a way to practice our courage, so that when we step away from that space into the larger space of the larger world we do so with our whole heart and “heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future.” It takes great courage to live this way.

Stay close to the way you are made. Have courage.  Happy Pride to all of creation in every day.

The Rev. S. David Wynn Sr. is lead pastor of Agape MCC Church in Fort Worth. He has a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and is a shamanic practitioner and reiki master.



Tents interfere with enjoying the parade
I really enjoyed the [2015 Alan Ross Texas Freedom] Parade, but it took a long time to find a spot to watch the parade because of the tents up and down the street allowing only their party — no matter how small — to see the parade.

This has gotten totally out of hand in the last couple of years. It doesn’t represent the message of inclusivity and equality of the parade when the city or the tavern owners guild allows people to claim space to see the parade.

Most people with tents weren’t even watching the parade. They were sitting around playing with their phones, playing beer pong, or the tents were almost completely empty but still had “do not enter” caution tape draped around their claimed space. I have a few pictures showing this.

I have never seen any other city allowing this during a parade. These are not the businesses that sent up the space between their business and the street I am addressing (to make a few extra bucks, which is also sleazy). Evidently anyone can set up a tent along the route and keep anyone else out as long as you show up early and have an obnoxious tent.

This is wrong.

Tom Cunningham, via email

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2015.


Best Bets • 10-02-15

Posted on 01 Oct 2015 at 8:00pm

Friday 10.02 —Sunday 11.01

Friday 10.02 —Sunday 11.01

Denise Lee sings the blues … again

Is it typecasting or the role of a lifetime? Frankly, we don’t care — we just know that, even though M. Denise Lee has portrayed Billie Holiday in two prior productions of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, we’re happy she’s back in a new version at Jubilee Theatre about the final concert by the legendary blues singer and tragic figure. This is the same role that won Audra McDonald her fifth Tony. Eh. We still prefer to see Denise in it.

Jubilee Theatre
506 Main St.
Fort Worth

Saturday 10.03—Sunday 10.18


Gay Latinas get hip-hop treatment in Cara Mia’s ‘Blu’

Here’s a story you don’t hear told every day: A queer Latina couple raising a family in a society ravaged by gang violence, told in the form of an epic poem flavored with hip-hop. But that’s exactly what Cara Mia is taking on with Blu, a play by San Antonio native Virginia Grise. Rene Moreno directs the mix of modern musical and spoken word.

Latino Cultural Center
2600 Live Oak St.

Sunday 10.04


Live ‘La Vida Ricky’ at Gexa concert

From Menudo cutie to daytime hottie to international pop sensation to gay icon, Ricky Martin has been in the public eye (and he’s an eyeful) for decades. And he hasn’t slowed down. The guy who popularized Spanglish and electrified dancefloors with his sultry moves on songs like “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “She-Bangs” is in concert Sunday. If you were lucky enough to win our ticket giveaway, you already have your plans in place, but there’s still time to get seats to what may be the last big outdoor concert of the summer season. (Opening acts are Wisin and Ha*ash.)

Gexa Energy Pavilion
1818 First Ave. in Fair Park
7 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2015.


Fall foodie fiesta!

Posted on 01 Oct 2015 at 4:00pm

Whet your appetite: October is chock full of foodie fundraisers and functions

IMG_7535ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

Fall is sort of synonymous with eating: Thanksgiving, Halloween candy, pumpkin spiced lattes, German Oktoberfests. And Dallas hits it full force starting this week.

It begins, as it has the past seven years, with Burgers & Burgundy, the annual benefit for DIFFA that includes sliders and munchies crafted by some of the top chefs in North Texas (pictured). Only this year, it’s not just Texas representin’ — lead chef/organizer John Tesar (Knife, Oak, El Bolero) has invited nationally-known chefs like Justin Brunson (Old Major) and Kris Morningstar (Terrine) to join local notables like Tre Wilcox, Blaine Staniford (Grace), Sharon Van Meter (3015 Trinity Groves) and Brian Luscher (The Grape, Luscher’s Red Hots) in crafting bites to pair with wines. It returns to the beautiful gardens of the Seanor Estate (4627 Meadowood Road) on Oct. 2, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. tickets run from $85 (online) to $150 (VIP). Learn more at DIFFADallas.org.

This weekend also welcomes a newcomer to the food stage: The inaugural Taste of the Anatole. This three-day food fest, taking place at the Hilton Anatole in the Design District, begins with  Food and Wine Around the World on Oct. 2 ($85), followed on Saturday, Oct. 3 with intimate workshops and an evening Grand Tasting ($99) and finishing up with Sunday brunch ($59). The evening events will be accompanied by live music, as well as wines and spirits from the likes of Cakebread, Robert Mondavi Napa, Maker’s Mark and more. And you can even get ticket packages that include a two-night stay at the hotel, and each night includes an after-party at SER. For more information, visit TasteOfTheAnatole.com.

The next big event is the annual Chefs for Farmers, which is bigger than ever. This three-day culinary event, which runs from Oct. 23–25,  includes a Guest Chef Dinner Oct. 23 at host-chef Matt McCallister’s FT33 in the Design District, The Butcher Block Party outside the Joule Hotel on Oct. 24 (featuring 15 local chefs and bartenders) and on Oct. 25, the main event Culinary Village at Lee Park. For tickets and a full list of participants, visit ChefsForFarmers.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2015.