Get your pRide on: Uber offers discount this weekend on rides to LGBT Dallas destinations

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 2:11pm

Person using the Uber app

Uber is offering a discount of up to $20 to customers using the service to go to specific locations in the Dallas gayborhood this weekend, according to a statement the company released today (Friday, June 17):

“Like people across the world, we were deeply shocked and saddened by the recent murders at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The world is a brighter and better place when we are all free to be ourselves. And we want to bring people together, no matter who you are or where you’re from.

“To celebrate life and love in all its forms, this weekend we’ll be offering free rides to and from places around Dallas that are important to the history and culture of the local LGBT community,” the statement reads.

To take advantage of the discount, users just need to open the Uber app, request an uberx and be picked up or dropped off at any of the designated locations, and a discount of up to $20 will automatically be applied to their fee.

The offer is limited to two rides per person, up to $20 per ride, and is valid from noon today through 11:59 p.m., Monday, June 20.

Locations included in the offer are Station 4 (S4), Sue Ellen’s, JR’s Bar & Grill, TMC: The Mining Co., Resource Center, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and Cathedral of Hope.

Uber also encouraged users to donate if they can to OneOrlando Fund, established by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to “provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse tragedy. The distribution of the funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds.”


Cocktail Friday: Grapefruit Summer Solstice Punch

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 2:07pm

The summer solstice — the astronomical start to summer, and the longest day of the year — arrives bright and early on June 20, which gives you all that much more time for day drinking. Of course, day drinking is sad unless you do it with other people, and a punch is the ideal way to get everyone a little hammered and soak in the season.

10 parts Bacardi Grapefruit

4 parts Pineau des Charentes

5 parts triple sec

7 parts lime juice

5 parts orange blossom honey syrup

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice and stir. Garnish with lemon slices.


Dallas remembers Charleston

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 9:36am
Thanksgiving Square

Thanksgiving Square

Today (June 17) is the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

While we’re remembering those lost in Orlando, Dallas also remembers the people killed in Charleston with a celebration of unity and faith at 11 a.m. at Thanksgiving Square, 1627 Pacific Ave.

The event is organized by the REv. Gregg Alan Smith, associate pastor of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.


Appreciating, protecting our safe spaces

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 8:45am



Jesse GarciaLike many Gaytinos, I began my Pride Month with a visit to Latin Night at Washington, D.C.’s popular gay bar, Cobalt. Every first Saturday of the month, Cobalt dedicates its third floor to Latin music and performances by drag talent that appeal to the small, but growing Hispanic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population in the district.

D.C. doesn’t have a seven-day a week Latino gay bar like Dallas does, but the city has several spots during the weekend that cater to LGBT Latinos.

During Latin Night, Cobalt is jam-packed with patrons arriving near midnight. Many are in their 20s, just getting off work after putting in long hours to afford living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. They’ve had just enough time to go home, get dressed, and jump on the metro to head to the Dupont gayborhood, where rent is nowhere near affordable — especially if you’re an LGBT Latino immigrant or a Puerto Rican U.S. citizen who left the island because of the economic crisis.

Still, these young Latinos trek back to the hood, and they’re ready to party. Some of these individuals are thousands of miles away from home. So Latin Nights have a special place in our community — our chosen family. It’s beautiful to see this younger generation expressing themselves, living in a world where being gay or trans is accepted, and more importantly, legal.

And Latin Night is something to behold with all these new freedoms.

Queer people of color dominate the dance floor. Couples elegantly dance in sync to the sounds of Bachata, then transition into Spanish pop with the next song — and lo and behold — the D.J. spins a hit from Tejano legend Selena (which warms my native Texan heart). And without missing a beat, these Gaytinos jump from genre to genre flawlessly.

I saw this fem queen lead his butch date all night — because, of course, he was the better dancer. But these two, like others at this bar, aren’t hung up on gender roles. They’re living their true selves at Cobalt. This is their safe space.

That’s what I pictured when I thought about Pulse this week — an Orlando neighborhood bar where people escaped problems, homophobia, transphobia, racism, poverty and violence.

For the young, it was a place to be themselves, to hear Spanish music that speaks to their souls and makes them proud to be Latino. For older guys like me, it was a safe place to hold a guy’s hand or kiss someone without worrying about machismo attitudes that have conditioned us to never act like a sissy in public.

The shootings at Pulse changed everything when it comes to national tragedies. This event forced leaders across the political spectrum and news media to mourn, recognize and uplift some of the most marginalized people in this nation: LGBT Latinos and Latinas, including immigrants.

After 9/11, we had to seek out stories about Latinos, gays and immigrants who died in that tragedy to remind folks and our own communities that we suffered loss, too.

In this Orlando incident, the worst mass shooting since the execution of Native Americans in the 19th century, the story cannot be whitewashed. The majority of victims and heroes were people of color.

This past week, people across America have read multiple accounts of those who were killed and injured. For some, it forced them to identify with people they would never associate with or come across in their social circles. This tragedy put a human face to a community that is often neglected or scapegoated.

The frustration and push back by queer people of color in the aftermath of Orlando is being felt. I attended a vigil where I saw black, brown and Muslim queers lead the event and set the agenda to make sure everyone was heard. I witnessed minorities being ushered to the front of the rally so their voices wouldn’t be drowned out.

I looked at the reactions from our Anglo brothers and sisters who were surprised at being relegated to the back, but who, after reflection, understood that another community within our LGBT family was disproportionately affected, and it was their moment to grieve and share.

Speakers need to share the whole experience of what these Orlando victims endured. The amazing lives they lived despite obstacles they may have encountered:

• The undocumented who worried about being deported or losing family in the next raid.

• The transgender person of color who was often a victim of discrimination and crime.

• The Latino youth who was outed in the worst possible way to their family because of his or her death at Pulse.

LGBT Latinos and Latinas need to process and speak out on this tragedy — and the many tragedies you will never read about.

Last year, a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showed a 20 percent increase in murder rates between 2014 and 2015. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people of color made up the majority of homicides, according to the report. It was also reported that people of color and undocumented survivors were more likely to experience physically violent forms of hate violence.

Just like Latino Nights across the nation, it is important for the community to allow LGBT Latinos and Latinas to have their own space. We need to speak our own truth during this moment of grieving. And I thank those who have allowed us to do so.

Jesse Garcia is a former Dallasite now living in Washington, D.C. He cofounded the League of United Latin American Citizens Dallas Rainbow Council in 2006, and in 2015 cofounded a second council, LULAC Lambda DC, in the nation’s capital to continue the dialogue between the Hispanic and LGBT community.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.


Defining moments

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 8:40am

Leo-CusimanoIt was 1992 and I had just moved to Dallas from a small college town in Florida. HIV/AIDS was a growing issue in my experience, but it had already taken many people in Dallas, including leaders in our LGBT community. I was too young to understand the power of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, so my personal experience with HIV/AIDS was my first defining moment to get involved in the community.

The mind-set in our community was different then. We had lost so many, and ACT-UP was in the streets and angry. Our community was under attack.

I remember making signs for protests and joining the board of DGLA. Lesbians fought to help save the lives of their gay brothers and in the process galvanized our community. Drag queens and transgender people were at the heart of many community actions. The sense of LGBT community was very strong.

Today, HIV/AIDS is still a devastating diagnosis for anyone, but is viewed by some in our younger community to be a manageable illness. These millennials have not experienced the struggles and death at the same scale. Our sense of community has waned over the years.

But then ….

It’s 2 in the morning in Los Angeles, where I have traveled for work, and the phone rings. Fifty people lay dead in a Florida gay bar, and more than 50 others are injured.

This is the start of another heart-wrenching, defining moment that unfortunately will make history and play out as Pride celebrations prepare to march.

The morning stretches on and I find myself sitting in a hotel room in West Hollywood preparing for LA Pride. I feel sick as the stress rises in my body, watching the reports from Florida, then the vibration of my cell phone makes me jump. A text message about an arrest near L.A. that has foiled another attempted attack on our community illuminates the room. My heart drops.

What is next?

We have come so far as a community, and each positive or negative defining moment presents an opportunity for us to come together in a way that makes our community stronger.

My husband Tony and I had been living in Dallas for several years when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws with the Lawrence vs. Texas ruling in 2003. This was a positive defining moment for us that provided hope for our community and empowered our movement.

We experienced a setback in 2008 when California passed Prop 8, but our commitment to stand up and fight just made us stronger. Last year, the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling legalized our marriages, and as a community we have seen growing acceptance as Love Wins.

But now, once again our community is under attack. We are devastated by this senseless act of violence. As we mourn the victims in Florida, we also march on in solidarity and in honor of those we lost.

This is another defining moment for me. I feel like our community has a renewed fight. Once again, arm-in-arm we march. We stick together and support each other. My hope is that we find renewed strength in this tragedy and we once again become galvanized and strengthened as the LGBT community.

Our life experiences and defining moments influence our choices and how we choose to show up in the world. What is your defining moment? How will you make a difference?

Leo Cusimano is co-owner and publisher of Dallas Voice and Voice Publishing Co

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.


LOVE IS LOVE: Make a statement, help a good cause

Posted on 17 Jun 2016 at 8:30am

Love Is Love Orlando

It’s been five days now, but if you’re like me, the mass murder that occurred early Sunday morning, June 12,  in the Orlando gay nightclub called Pulse still weighs heavy on your heart. If you’re like me, you want to do something — anything — to help, in some way. Now, Greenville Avenue T-shirt shop Bullzerk — you can do something. And you can look stylish while you do.

Bullzerk is now selling the “Love is Love, Orlando” T-shirt, modeled in the photo above by Dallas Voice’s very own Chad Mantooth. The shop will donate 10 percent of all their sales today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday, June 17-18), to the fund to benefit the Pulse shooting victims.

The folks at Bullzerk told Dallas Voice: “We are printing this #‎LoveIsLove shirt over the next three days, so Dallasites can start wearing their support for #‎Orlando. Stop by the Greenville store and you can pick your color. This Friday and Saturday we are also donating 10 percent of all sales (not just this shirt) to the #‎PulseOrlando victims fund.”

You can order your shirt — for $23 — online here, or go by Bullzerk’s shop at 1909 Greenville Ave.


Beware the Trump rally: DPD warns of traffic congestion around Gilley’s

Posted on 16 Jun 2016 at 1:31pm

Donald Trump


Domingo Garcia

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is in Dallas today trying to round up some donations, and he will stage a rally this evening at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St. (It took Trump at least a week to find a place for his rally, Irving turned him down, as did Grand Prairie.)

There is also a counter-protest planned outside Gilley’s, and Dallas Police are planning ahead to try and avoid as many problems as possible, considering the violence that has become part-and-parcel of Trump rallies and protests. To that end, police are asking businesses in downtown Dallas to help out by sending their employees home early, encouraging everyone to vacate the downtown area by 3 p.m., in anticipation of major traffic delays and for safety reasons.

Police have since issued a statement saying they will begin closing streets around Gilley’s — between the 1000 block and the 1300 block (at Belleview) on Lamar — about 2 p.m. in preparation for the 7 p.m. rally.

Longtime Dallas activist (attorney, former city councilman and former state representative) Domingo Garcia, one of the lead organizers of the counter-protest, said the rally will begin outside Gilley’s at 6 p.m. Organizers are asking that those attending the protest rally wear white shirts to promote peace. And if you want to carry a flag, make sure it is an American flag, not one from Mexico or any other country. Those who bring flags representing any country other than the U.S. will be asked to leave, Garcia told Dallas Observer.

He also said the rally is being staged “to send a message to Donald Trump that his campaign of hatred, bigotry and division is not welcome in the United States or North Texas.”

DPD said in a statement that the department is “committed to protecting every person’s right to free speech and to assemble peaceably.” The statement went on to warn, however, that “there will be no tolerance for individuals who engage in criminal activity or attempt to incite violence or civil disorder. In order to accomplish this, a significant number of police officers, both uniformed and undercover, will be utilized to maintain order.”


Dallas MMA fighter accused of gay bashing dies

Posted on 16 Jun 2016 at 11:06am

Cory Weddington claims he was a victim of Ivan Cole

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Ivan “J.P.” Cole, 25, died Saturday after shooting himself while “playing” Russian roulette in his North Dallas apartment.

Cole also worked at XTC Cabaret. He was the employee who allegedly initiated an incident in which Cory Weddington was punched and kicked. The women he was with were told, “Get that faggot out of here.”

In a response to Dallas Voice, XTC said Weddington, who’s about 5’4″, attacked MMA fighter Cole.

Weddington filed a lawsuit against XTC on May 1 for damages stemming from the April 2 incident. He alleges assault by four employees that “delivered repeated blows to plaintiff’s head, neck, back, face, shoulder and hips, causing Cory severe and irreparable injuries including a fractured jaw, broken nose, abrasions, and a seizure disorder caused by trauma to the back of the head.”

He is asking for at least $200,000 in compensation for damages, penalties, costs, expenses, pre-judgment interest and attorney fees.

Weddington was cleared as a suspect in Cole’s death by Dallas Police.

No charges were filed against Cole before his death or against the other employees. Dallas police weren’t working off-duty at the club, because DPD officers are not allowed to work at XTC.

At the time of his death, Cole was on suspension from competing in his sport.

From a report by the Combative Sports Advisory Board, “On September 4, a default order was entered against Ivan Cole assessing an administrative penalty of $5,000 and suspending Respondent’s boxer and second license for one year for failing to exhibit sportsmanlike conduct.”


7 ways social media has made you a sex addict

Posted on 16 Jun 2016 at 9:18am

Finger Pressing On Red Button With Porn Word On It And Blurred BTen years ago, when Facebook was in its infancy and iPhones were but a glimmer in Steve Jobs’ eyes, you had to work hard to be a perv. Now, fulfilling your friskiness is just a flick away, and that’s not exactly a good thing. Social media has taken over our lives, both personally and professionally, and the dark underbelly of our online world is as dank and seedy as a dimly lit bathhouse. As a result, you may very well be a sex addict; here are seven ways to find out.

1. DM on Twitter and Facebook has gotten you in trouble with your boo. What starts out as innocent “likes” and flirty comments on Facebook and Twitter soon evolves into a deep-see-diving expedition into the object of your burgeoning affection’s profile, left-swiping on the family and milestone photos but holding steady on the shirtless-vacay jackpot. Eventually one DMs the other in an attempt to push the boundaries of social-stranger etiquette — even though you know you shouldn’t – until a sordid relationship of sexts and sweet-nothings arises. Which is all well and good if it’s as innocuous as you say it is, but your partner doesn’t believe you when you get caught (as well he shouldn’t since you’re being dishonest), and therein lies your problem — likely one of many.

2. You spend way too much time on Grindr. Thanks to social media — and very specifically Grindr with regards to our gay community — most of us have developed not only a need but, more dastardly, an affinity for 375-feet-away validation and instant gratification. You open the app every 15 minutes to see if someone new has pinged you or, hopefully, that brick-bodied bro you’ve got your eye on has finally responded to your “Sup?” Friday and Saturday nights? Forget about it. What were once bastions of freedom and nightlife exploration have devolved into afternoon-to-evening-long sessions of sitting on the couch surfing headless thumbnails while Netflix plays in the background as you consistently turn down the so-sos and frequently get rejected or ignored by the more-sos. It’s cyclical, and you can’t quit it — until you hit it, that is (and you’re almost always compromising, which makes the whole situation even sadder), ultimately ushering in a brief respite before ending up back at square one a few hours later.

3. When theres a Grindr outage, you turn to Scruff. Gay Twitter loses it collective mind when Grindr experiences an outage, like it did recently — at least on the West Coast (and during the Palm Springs White Party, no less) — driving hordes of Grindr loyalists to other apps like Scruff to fulfill their insatiable desires. If you find yourself in a cold sweat, clamoring to connect nakedly with somebody — anybody! — nearby when the Grindr gods throw down the gauntlet, it’s probably high-time for reflection… and confession.

4. You’re really on Instagram for the man-butts. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re on Instagram for the sweeping views and vistas of other people’s getaways, pics of kittens and your BFF’s brunch plate. Real talk, you’re there to scroll through the endless images of the buffed-out, swole-up models and meatheads you daydream about tossing you around like a rag doll. If you follow @seductionboys, @themuscleleague or @datbubblebutt, you might be a sex addict.

5. You bookmark YouPorn and Pornhub more than any other websites. We all have a handful of super-hot vids saved that are our go-tos. But if you’ve got them bookmarked on your phone or computer so you can have them at the ready whenever you’re ready — and they outnumber the more relevant and G-rated content you have stored — it’s time to pull up your pants, put the devices away and introduce yourself to the real world again.

6. We can all agree that Snapchat exists to share dick pix. A friend of mine asked me a few months ago if I’m on Snapchat. My response? No, because I’m not a 17-year-old kid trying to sext undercover. I’m grown, and when I send you my dick pic you get to keep it forever — because I’m confident like that. But I digress. My point that Snapchat is strictly for younger Millennials and high-schoolers to trade nudies with no cyber trail (even though that’s inaccurate) is proven by this appropriately worded statistic from research firm Martin-Wilbourn Partners: “Snapchat is now the third most popular social app among Millennials, with a 32.9 percent penetration on the demographic’s mobile phones, trailing only Instagram (43.1 percent) and Facebook (75.6 percent).”

7. You visit Tumbl for celeb nudes and homemade sex tapes. Does anybody even understand Tumblr? I don’t — except when I’m googling a celebrity’s junk or looking for amateur porn (because watching normal people do it as awkwardly as I do is comforting). That’s really all Tumblr is good for. Anybody who tries to tell you differently is either a liar or a 13-year-old girl, or probably both.

— Mikey Rox


The last straw: I am pissed off and I am fed up

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 9:35pm

raised_clenched_fist_with_gay_pride_rainbow_flag_postcard-rc1c641d62e3447a5beabaec8c7a51e92_vgbaq_8byvr_324I am done y’all. I’ve had it. I am pissed off. Fed up, ya hear me? Fed the fresh hell up.

Why, you ask? Because my spouse woke me up before 8 a.m. Sunday with the words, “There’s been a shooting in a gay bar in Orlando. Twenty people are dead.” Because the day got worse from there.

I am grieving and I am angry because it turned out there weren’t just 20 people dead. Forty-nine people were murdered inside Pulse nightclub on that early Sunday morning, and at least 53 more injured.

I am pissed off because my wife spends her days worrying about me being at work at the LGBT newspaper, an easy target, along with my coworkers, for some other hate-filled maniac with a gun, or a bomb. She shouldn’t have to be afraid for me to go to work.

I am furious with politicians who send out tweets, hours after the massacre, about “reaping what you sow,” as if those people in that nightclub deserved to die for some reason — because they’re gay, maybe? Or maybe because they were mostly people of color, mostly Latino? And I’m furious with politicians who want to use those deaths to grandstand about how he’s gonna ban people from certain countries and of certain religions from coming to this country — even though, you know, the Orlando killer was an American, born and raised in this country, and the murders may not have had anything to do with religion anyway.

I am fed with people, no matter how well-intentioned, who think stricter gun laws will solve all our problems with violence and keep the crazy assholes who want to kill people from being able to do so. These assholes don’t follow the damn law; stricter laws won’t make them straighten up and act right.

And I am just as fed up with people at the other end of the firearm spectrum who think that if the people in that bar had just been armed themselves, the shooting wouldn’t have happened. Please! Say the people who have been dancing all night and drinking all night and having a good time all have their 9-mils tucked in their waistbands and nestled in their ankle holsters or wherever. Crazy asshole walks in with a semi-automatic assault rifle and starts mowing people down, if anyone managed to pull their gun to get a shot off before being shot themselves, whose to say they’d even shoot back at the right person.

Sure, I guess they could all be carrying their own semi-automatic assault rifles. Now THAT would be a pretty scene when the shooting stopped, wouldn’t it?! Think about it. Remember a couple months back when the Good Samaritan pulled his gun on the guy who’d just shot his wife in the leg in that store in Arlington? Good Samaritan had his license to carry; had his gun; knew what he was doing. Good Samaritan was killed.

Yes, we need better gun laws. Smarter gun laws. But no, we don’t need laws that take all the guns away from all the people. Surely there is a reasonable middle ground solution, but we won’t find it until those on opposite sides of the argument refuse to admit they may not be absolutely right.

I am angry, and I am sad, because so few people are actually talking about the true root problem: hatred and ignorance. I am angry, and I am sad, because so many people want to offer up prayers and a moment of silence and think that’s all they need to do. I believe in God y’all, and I believe in prayer. But sometimes, God’s answer to your prayer is, “Get off your ass and do what needs to be done!” I mean, Jesus already told us how to fix things — you know, “judge not” and “love your neighbor” — and all the praying in the world won’t help if we aren’t willing to help ourselves

I am done y’all. I’ve had it. I’m fed the fresh hell up. And on top of that I am tired. Exhausted — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. And then, I sat down here at my computer and checked my work email. And I got this letter, from some straight white guy whose telling me that he and the other straight white guys are the ones who have been mistreated all these years, and that ‘the Orlando incident’ is just hoax perpetrated by people who want to take away the guns and mistreat all those poor white guys some more. (I’m posting the full text of the letter here so you can read it for yourselves.)

And that was the last straw. I am done. I am pissed off. I am fed the fresh hell up.

So here’s the thing: I can’t just stop being sad, feeling broken. But I am gonna focus a little more on being angry. I am going to continue to grieve, but I am going to let that grief morph into anger. And then I am going to turn the anger into action.

I won’t let my grief and my anger make me hate, and I won’t let it make me afraid. But I won’t be complacent anymore. Something’s gotta change y’all. I’m gonna let the change start with me. Wanna come along?