Major and Beau finally get married

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 1:34pm

Mark Jiminez, better known as Major, and Beau Chandler were married by Judge Tonya Parker in her courtroom at noon today (Thursday, Jan. 5) exactly four-and-a-half years after they were first arrested for trying to get married in Texas.

On July 5, 2012, Jimenez and Chandler got in line at the Dallas County Clerk’s on the second floor of the Dallas County Records Building to request a marriage license. The clerk brought them into an adjoining room and, through tears, explained she was unable to issue that license under Texas law.

Chandler and Jiminez handcuffed themselves to the stanchion at the front of the line and sat in protest for the rest of the day.

Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin, who had no jurisdiction because it was a county office building, and Shelley Knight, LGBT sheriff’s liaison, sat with the couple along with TV and Dallas Voice reporters.

When the building closed at 4:30 p.m., sheriff’s deputies told the couple to leave or face arrest for criminal trespass. Jiminez unlocked the handcuffs, but the couple refused to leave. Deputies escorted them downstairs and privately offered to let the couple go, if they would leave. They refused and were escorted to jail.

“They’re the nicest couple,” Martin said of Chandler and Jiminez at the time. “They’re the first guys after any protest to come up and thank the officers.”

Overnight they made bail, and during their time in Lew Sterrett, Jiminez said Sheriff Lupe Valdez looked in on them.

The couple made several court appearances. Each time, a group of supporters protested outside the Crowley Courts building.

In a plea deal, they agreed to serve 40 hours of community service, Chandler raised money for Youth First and Jiminez for the North Texas Food Bank.

Jiminez was arrested a second time on Aug. 2, 2012 when he and Chandler again tried to get a marriage license. They repeated their protest throughout the day and at 4:30 p.m., they uncuffed themselves. Jiminez was arrested. Chandler agreed to leave the building and he left to get bail money. A group of protesters stood vigil outside Lew Sterrett until Jiminez was released.

After the marriage equality ruling on June 26, 2015, Jiminez and Chandler planned to get married and even got a marriage license, but illness intervened.

On Marriage Equality Day, they drove to Arkansas to share the news with Chandler’s mother, who was in the hospital. She asked them to wait until she could be there with them for their big day. Their attention shifted focus to caring for her. His mom passed away in October. Then Jiminez’s mother became ill and passed away in May 2016.

As they worked their way through the grieving process, they decided to set a new date and picked April 20, 2017, their five-year anniversary. Then the November election happened and they decided to push the date up. They said they fear court appointments and legislation that could reverse much of the progress the LGBT community has made over the last few years.

“We hope to see gay and lesbian couples resisting the backlash we feel we are about to see and one of the ways we can do this is by continuing to get married,” Jiminez said.

Before the marriage equality ruling, Parker was not performing weddings, something a judge in Texas may do but is not required to do. Parker said she would marry couples when all couples could get married.

On Marriage Equality Day, other judges allowed Parker to symbolically perform the “first” same-sex wedding in Dallas County. (Judge Dennise Garcia performed the actual first same-sex marriage in Dallas County, between George Harris and Jack Evans). Today, Parker happily married the couple that went to jail fighting for their right to marry.

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Interfaith Peace Chapel defaced with graffiti

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 10:56am

Dallas police were at Cathedral of Hope this morning (Thursday, Jan. 5) investigating graffiti painted onto the church’s Interfaith Peace Chapel. The building was vandalized at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, according to the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, CoH’s lead pastor.

Thomas said that he appeared on a talk show on KHVN, a gospel station, yesterday, but he doesn’t think the graffiti was done by any of the callers, in particular. But it may have been someone who listened to the show that vandalized the chapel.

The spray-painted message included a Louisiana phone number and referred to a car as a “Brown Chivy Suburbin.” The name “Johntion Kimbrou” — possibly “Kimbrow” — was also painted on the church, along with a reference to “kitty porn.”

Cazares-Thomas said he is concerned about removing the paint from the porous surface and hopes to have the building clean by this weekend when a wedding is scheduled to be performed in the building.

Channel 33 interview with Neil Cazares-Thomas:

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Ellen and Pharrell discuss Kim Burrell’s bigotry

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 10:02am

Ellen DeGeneres and Pharrell Williams discussed gospel singer Kim Burrell’s bigoted statements about gays and lesbians. Burrell was scheduled to sing on the Ellen show with Williams to publicize the new film, Hidden Figures, for which Williams wrote the soundtrack.

“I don’t want anyone to feel hurt because they’re different,” DeGeneres said.

“Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you don’t think it has anything to do with you, all you have to do is put the word black in that sentence,” Williams said, “Or put gay in that sentence … and all of a sudden it begins to make sense to you.”

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Patrick holding press conference to announce filing of bathroom bill

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 9:32am

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaking at a press conference in Fort Worth last spring against Fort Worth ISD guidelines on protecting transgender students. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is so proud that he is going to put Texas’ economic health at risk that he’s holding a press conference this afternoon to announce it.

Patrick and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, sent out a “media advisory” yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 4) to say they will be holding a press conference today (Thursday, Jan. 5), at 1 p.m. in the Senate Press Conference Room at the Texas Capitol, to announce the filing of Senate Bill 6,”The Privacy Protection Act.”

For those who might not know, “Privacy Protection Act” is the alias Patrick has given to his version of HB 2, the anti-transgender bathroom bill that has cost the state of North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars. Patrick thinks that by pretending he is trying to protect women and children from predatory men instead of just plain ol’ hating on transgender people, he can fool people into thinking SB6 is a good thing. Of course, if he really wanted to protect women and children from predatory men, he would be working to stop the men in the Texas Legislature from passing laws that interfere with women’s control over their own bodies and health decisions.

Hopefully there are enough people in the Legislature who have more sense than prejudice that they will be able to stop this bill before it gets anywhere. But we suggest that everyone who does oppose it put as much effort as possible into letting your representatives and senators know that this is a really really bad idea.

 

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The ‘Curious Incident’ of movement choreographer Steven Hoggett’s career

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 9:19am

When people think of “choreography,” the first image that comes to mind is probably of arabesques and plies, pirouettes and chorus line kicks.

Steven Hoggett has none of that.

I’m actually trained in English literature, not dance,” the Brit quips. “But I did choreography as soon as I realized I could not make a living at English.”

“Make a living” undersells what he does. For much of the last decade, Hoggett has been in-demand in the U.S. and the U.K. for his unique take on choreography — usually more along the lines of “director of movement” and “stager of dances.”

“I honestly don’t really know [why that’s my niche],” he admits.” Certainly in terms of work, here in the States I have been doing more movement that [traditional choreography].” It started with his work on the Green Day jukebox musical American Idiot. “Producers and directors saw that work as not the traditional step-ball-change. Since then, I never tend to get the jobs that require the particular tropes and methods [of dance choreography]. There’s a lot of boys [in New York City] who do that kind of job very well. So I tend to get this sense of [being hired] for less orthodox shows, because what I do is not choreography in the strictest sense of the word. And I’m very happy with it.”

Consider this: Among his credits are not only American Idiot (which itself was a compelling and edgy but far-from-traditional musical), but also Once (the Tony Award-winning, based on the Oscar-winning Irish film, set almost entirely in a pub), Rocky The Musical (doing fight choreography), the plays Peter and the Starcatcher and The Crucible, and the reason we are talking, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which opens Wednesday at the Winspear Opera House for a limited run.

Curious, based on a book that was, until 50 Shades of Grey, the top-selling novel of all time in England, concerns a teenaged boy, Christopher, who lives on the autism spectrum. He noticed everything, and sets out to solve the mystery of the killing of his neighbor’s dog. Much of the story is told from his skewed perspective of the world, so it was up to Hoggett and his collaborator, Scott Graham, to integrate that sense of disconnect with the movement in the play.

How do you do that, though, without all the musical cues that come with a score?

“All of that is as easily attributable to a script as to a score — there’s a textual rhythm, looking for the rhythm in the dialogue or the narrative. But also, what are the gaps — what’s not on the page that needs to be there? We let choreography tell a story, and Curious has lots of that kind of opportunity. It’s one single boy’s world viewpoint.”

He faced similar challenges on Once, which Hoggett says the create team considered “a play with some songs in it, as opposed to a group of songs with no book to it. There happened to be moments where it lifted itself into song and then came down into a play. To my mind, it was about being as delicate as possible — slight choices instead of rash choices. Movement should be threaded through the narrative.”

One element of his kind of work is a mixed blessing — Hoggett tends to work with actors “who have a proclivity for movement as part of the storytelling more that ‘dancers’ — in fact, in America, I have yet to work with ‘dancers.’ So you have to create a physical palette for everyone in the room. No one can do what the think they can do on Day One, so it’s always a clean slate, always a fresh start. On the other hand, I can never rely on anything physically in my cast, so it’s always about thinking on your feet. But it doesn’t feel intimating. I love it.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time plays Jan. 11–22 at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Tickets available at ATTPAC.org.

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Roy Moore receives ‘Bill of Rights Award’

Posted on 04 Jan 2017 at 4:10pm
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, 2016 Bill of Rights Award winner

Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was suspended from that position last May after ordering the state’s probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and instead continue to enforce Alabama’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage, last month was named the recipient of the 2016 Bill of Rights Award.

Carris Kocher, chair of the Bill of Rights Bicentennial Committee of Concordville, Penn., the organization that sponsors the annual Bill of Rights Award, made the announcement last month at the 25th annual Bill of Rights Commemorative Banquet in New Holland, Penn.

Kocher said that Moore won the award for his “courageous standing on the 10th Amendment,” and the press release announcing the award points out that — to no one’s surprise — “Like Judge Roy Moore, Mrs. Kocher believes criminal law and marriage law fall entirely under the jurisdiction of state law.”

(The 10th Amendment, for those who may not remember, is the one that says any powers not expressly given to the federal government or expressly prohibited to the states by the U.S. Constitution is “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Kocher added, “This is the constitutional ground on which Judge Roy Moore has standing in his actions as the chief justice of Alabama. It would be well for all of us to have a look at what rights ‘of the states’ and what other rights ‘of the people’ this amendment has reference to.”

Mat Staver, the “founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel” — that is the right-wing organization that provides pro bono legal representation to haters who don’t want to have to treat LGBT people as equal citizens — said that he “cannot think of anyone who deserves the 2016 Bill of Rights Award more than Chief Justice Roy Moore. This award is an honorable recognition of his courage to faithfully defend the Constitution. The Liberty Counsel stands proudly with Chief Justice Moore on the front lines of battle to uphold justice in the courts and to preserve the America our founders gave us.”

(What he really means is: “We agree with FORMER Chief Justice Roy Moore that since we don’t like gay people or anybody else that disagrees with us, we should be able to discriminate against them however we want, and we should be able to act like it is 1776 instead of 2017.”)

According to the press release, The Bill of Rights Bicentennial Committee was founded in 1990 to “promote observance of the Bill of Rights Bicentennial,” which was on Dec. 15, 1991. The first “commemorative banquet” was in 1992, and is now held each year on Dec. 15. “It includes musical entertainment and special speakers along with the announcement of the award recipients.” (Photos from this year’s event show about 40-50 people sitting at two long tables.)

And just in case you have some ideas on who deserves the 2017 Bill of Rights Award, nominations will be accepted through Dec. 1. Mail your nominations to P.O. Box 912, Concordville, Penn. 19331.

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Charges dropped against man who threatened to exterminate gays

Posted on 04 Jan 2017 at 3:14pm

Craig Jungwirth

Charges against a Florida man arrested in September after posting threats against the LGBT community were dropped, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Craig Yungwirth threatened to exterminate gay people and said, “If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”

He was referring to the Pulse nightclub massacre in June that left 49 people dead and 68 injured.

Prosecutors dropped the case because the evidence against Jungwirth was weak.

Jungwirth remains in a Broward County jail on two unrelated misdemeanor charges and a judge said he will remain in jail until those charges are settled.

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Year in Review: Sports

Posted on 04 Jan 2017 at 6:55am
Cyd-Ziegler

Cyd Ziegler

It’s the time of year when we show gratitude… and LGBT folks (and their allies) have a lot to be thankful for.

Not as much as if the presidential election had gone the other way, of course. From a gay point of view, a Vice President Pence is at least as scary as a President Trump. The men (or women, but don’t hold your breath) who could wind up on the Supreme Court may well roll back many of the hard-earned rights the LGBT community has gained over the past few decades. We are in uncharted waters, and the seas are likely to be very, very rough.

Fortunately, there is smoother sailing on the LGBT sports front. Over the past few years — especially during 2016 — gay issues and athletics have moved from a corner of the locker room out into the center of the arena. A tipping point was reached, then passed. Gay, lesbian and bisexual athletes and coaches are no longer seen as rarities, outliers or freaks. Allies are no longer afraid to speak up. Americans understand that we are indeed everywhere. “Gay sports” has moved from oxymoron to “ho-hum.”

So when we sit down to dinner this year, and say (Will and) grace, let’s give thanks to all the men, women, organizations and institutions that have helped get us where we are today.

For nearly 20 years, for example, Outsports has been the go-to website for LGBT sports news and commentary. Quietly, doggedly — but with spirit, humor and joy — Cyd Ziegler and Jim Buzinski have told stories about out competitors, coaches, referees and administrators. In the beginning, many of those tales were filled with fear and worry. Over time, they brimmed with hope. Now, they’re almost uniformly positive.

Each story is different. Yet taken together — this experience at a religious school, that one on a curling team; this one describing a welcoming lacrosse culture, that one ending with a hug from a formerly unenlightened homophobe — they offer a clear, comforting picture of a segment of society that has changed quickly and significantly. The mainstream media has not taken much notice of the shift, but Outsports has. In fact, Outsports has made those changes possible.

HudsonTaylor1Hot on Outsports’ heels, in terms of value to the LGBT sports world, is Athlete Ally. The brainchild of Hudson Taylor, the straight University of Maryland wrestler whose decision to put a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his headgear sparked first a backlash, then a movement, Athlete Ally has emerged as a potent educational and advocacy force.

The organization provides public awareness campaigns, programming, tools and resources. It’s mobilized an impressive list of “Ambassadors,” at over 80 colleges and including over 100 professional athletes. Through speaking engagements, op-ed columns and social media, Athlete Ally has moved the needle of public perception significantly. In doing so, it’s helped make LGBT people aware of the importance of allyship and intersectionality. We often say that sports teaches lessons of value far away from the playing fields. These can be some of the most important ones.

Sports teams and leagues themselves have hopped aboard the gay athletics train. Nearly every major league club now sponsors some variety of “LGBT Night.” Teams respond quickly to isolated incidents of unwarranted behavior, like homophobic chants or signs in the stands, and intemperate comments by players and coaches. Those are (thankfully) fewer and farther between these days. And while the motive may be partly financial — gay and lesbian fans buy tickets, too — it’s also indicative of societal shifts. Change once came slowly to the sports world. Now it mirrors the real world.

For 34 years, the Gay Games has promoted equality in and by sports. Calling itself “the world’s largest sports and culture festival open to all,” the Games (which legally cannot be called anything close to the “Gay Olympics”) are, well, like the Olympics but with broader participation, less commercialism and a ton more fabulousness. Every four years, the Gay Games makes a major statement about the value of diversity and inclusion. Want to be part of the next one? It’s in Paris in August 2018.

That’s a lot of things to be thankful for. But websites, non-profits, teams and organizations are not really what drive change.

The LGBT sports movement would not be where it is now without the courage and conviction of the countless men and women (and boys and girls) who have come out of the closet. By standing up — in their locker rooms, on their fields and in the sports pages — they have enabled countless more to be who they are. They’ve opened the eyes and hearts of their teammates, coaches and fans. They are the true story of gay athletics.

And for that, we are very, very thankful.

— Dan Woog

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Lambda Legal holds transgender empowerment and passport clinic

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 4:47pm

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

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

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

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

 

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Burrell won’t appear on ‘Ellen’

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 4:31pm

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

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