National news notes

Posted on 05 Sep 2014 at 5:09pm

Here are just a few items from around the U.S.:

Sinema

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

Organization calls for release of trans woman raped in ICE custody

PHOENIX, Az. — Trans and queer undocumented immigrants from the Arcoiris Liberation Team and the Arizona Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project are demanding that Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and the LGBT Equality Caucus to join in calls for the release of a trans woman who was raped more than a month ago while in the custody of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency.

Marichuy Leal Gamino, whose legal name is Jesus Leal Gamino, 23, has been housed with male inmates for more than a year in the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Az. She was allegedly raped by her cellmate in late July. According to the Transgender Law Center, she experienced weeks of “bullying, lewd comments, and threats of rape” from her cellmate, all of which she reported to detention officers, who told her to “deal with it.” After she was raped, she was not only pressured to admit that she consented to it, but she “has still been offered no real recourse or assurance that her safety will be protected,” TLC reports.

Activists with the Arcoiris Liberation Team, AZQUIP, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement say that after being raped, Leal Gamino was put in solitary confinement and denied basic hygiene, and that she has gotten death threats from the man accused of raping her.

Although born a Mexican citizen, Leal Gamino grew up in Arizona and has spent most of her life there.

 

Lambda Legal HIV Project director appointed to Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

Scott Schoettes, director of Lambda Legal’s HIV Project, has been appointed to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. The 25-member council provides advice, information and recommendations to the secretary of Health and Human Services regarding programs and policies to promote effective prevention of HIV disease and to advance research on HIV disease and AIDS.

Schoettes was sworn in for a three-year term on Thursday, Sept. 4.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve in this capacity, and I look forward to working with other members of the council to promote sound federal policies with respect to HIV,” Schoettes said.

 

Lambda Legal files emergency papers seeking accurate death certificate for gay man’s husband

Attorneys with Lambda Legal on Wednesday, Sept. 3, filed emergency papers asking a U.S. District Court in Arizona to order the state to provide an accurate death certificate to Fred McQuire for his husband, George Martinez, who died Aug. 28.

Without an accurate death certificate naming McQuire as Martinez’s surviving husband, McQuire could face difficulties in handling his late husband’s affairs and in filing for the benefits generally available to a surviving spouse, Lambda Legal attorneys said.

McQuire, 69, and Martinez, 62, lived in Green Valley, and both were U.S. military veterans. Martinez served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, and McQuire served in both the Air Force and the Army, and was stationed in Guam. After leaving the military, Martinez joined the staff of Arizona’s Court of Appeals in Tucson, becoming the court’s first deputy clerk, holding that office for 30 years.

The two men first met in 1969 and were a couple for 45 years. In recent years, both men battled life-threatening illnesses. McQuire has pulmonary disease and Parkinson’s. Martinez was diagnosed three years ago with prostate cancer, a result of having been exposed to Agent Orange while he was in Vietnam. Although the prostate cancer was in remission, in June he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

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CVS Health — not selling cigarettes since earlier this week

Posted on 05 Sep 2014 at 2:01pm

cvs-pharmacyLast week, CVS was selling cigarettes.

This week, not only have they stopped selling cigarettes, but they want you to think of them as a health care provider and go to one of their 900 new in-store clinics for all your primary care medical needs.

Really?

“We’ve stopped selling cigarettes,” isn’t the best reason to replace your doctor with your corner pharmacy.

How aggressive will these stores become in pushing their medical services? When I go to CVS or Walgreens, I often ask someone in the store a question if I’m looking for an over-the-counter medication. Will “Try this one” be replaced with “Maybe you should see our doctor first”?

Of course, CVS isn’t looking to replace your doctor. They’re looking to pick up business from the doc-in-the-box quick care medical clinics and from the millions of newly insured. They also looking to pick up some cash business from those who still don’t have insurance.

But “We stopped selling cigarettes last week” just shouldn’t instill confidence in their long-term medical experience. In fact, it says, “Practicing medicine since right after Labor Day.” Perfect — if you’re looking for someone who has days of medical experience.

So far, the new “CVS Health” (as the company has renamed itself) ad campaign reminds me that there are two Walgreens in the neighborhood. At least all their cashiers are trained to ask is, “Can I get you a flu shot with that?”

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Cocktail Friday: Wise Margarita

Posted on 05 Sep 2014 at 11:58am

WiseMargaritaThe Owl’s Brew — artisanal, fresh-brewed, ready-to-pour teas crafted especially for cocktails — are essential to those lazy summer brunches where less work means more play. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

1 part fresh pressed watermelon juice

1 part Pink & Black

1 part tequila

Making it: Shake with mint. Garnish with mint, lime and watermelon

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Sheriff Lupe Valdez takes the ALS ice bucket challenge

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 5:09pm

Sheriff Lupe Valdez and other members of her department took the ALS ice bucket challenge on Sept. 4 and raised $610 for ALS research.

Valdez was challenged by Dallas County Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, Denton County Sheriff Bill Travis and Dallas County DA Craig Watkins. After taking the challenge, she challenged Sheriff Department LGBT liaison Shelley Knight who accepted on the spot and also challenged the two remaining Dallas City Council members who have not taken the challenge yet — Rick Callahan and Tennell Atkins.

Click here to watch the video: MVI_2109

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Seventh Circuit strikes down Indiana and Wisconsin marriage bans

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 2:54pm
Judge Richard Posner

Judge Richard Posner

The losing streak ends at 1 loss.

A day after a Louisiana judge upheld a state marriage ban for the first time since the Windsor decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Wisconsin and Indiana, upholding lower-court decisions. Judge Richard Posner wrote the marriage bans are a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The three-judge panel’s decision was unanimous.

The judge involved in yesterday’s decision in Lousiana and the judge who wrote today’s decisions were both Reagan appointees.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, wrote, “Today’s sharp and scathing ruling demolishes the arguments and unsubstantiated claims made by opponents of the freedom to marry, repeated in the outlier decision out of Louisiana yesterday, and affirms what nearly 40 other federal and state courts have found: the denial of the freedom to marry inflicts real harms and is constitutionally indefensible.”

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BREAKING: Joan Rivers dead at 81

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 2:03pm

joan_riversJoan Rivers, 81, has died, according to her daughter Melissa:

You can read the full statement here.

Dallas Voice interviewed and/or reviewed Rivers on several occasions. Here are links to some of the stories:

Review of Rivers’ March 2013 Dallas show at the Winspear.

And interview with Rivers prior to that appearance.

A review of the 2010 documentary about Rivers.

Another interview prior to her 2011 Dallas performance.

 

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Group plans ‘massive protest’ at Cowboys Stadium

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 12:21pm

o-GOSFORD-ANGLICAN-facebookThe American Decency Association announced that thousands of people will descend on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to protest the team’s hiring Michael Sam for its practice squad.

The organization, which opposes pornography and indecency in the media, originally planned to picket in St. Louis. The group’s plans changed when Sam was released by the Rams earlier this week and then signed with Cowboys. “We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country,” said Jack Burkman, a conservative lobbyist and head of American Decency, in a statement.

“Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values. The people of Dallas — and Christians all across this land — are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team.”

Evidently the out gay Sam is contrary to God’s natural design for football watchers: straight men who drink beer and yell a lot.

They must have overlooked Jones’ provocative photos partying with younger women.

Or maybe they just alternate picketing schedules with the Westboro Baptist Church.

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Michael Sam in Dallas: Dale Hansen’s take

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 12:18pm
sam.Hansen

Michael Sam, left, and Dale Hansen

As soon as we heard this week that Michael Sam was possibly coming to Dallas, my editorial staff and I started working on getting contacts for a story. We contacted the Dallas Cowboys public relations department. We contacted Sam’s agents. We contacted friends who contacted friends who knew somebody who knew …….

Well, you get the picture.

Wednesday afternoon late, I heard back from Sam’s agent, who informed me that Sam isn’t doing any “one-on-one interviews” right now because he just wants to focus on playing football. And you know what, I understand that. This is a young man who maybe didn’t get chosen as early in the draft as he might have been because of the media hoopla over the fact that he’s openly gay. He might have lost out on a spot on the St. Louis Rams roster for the same.

Everybody has been focused on Michael Sam’s sexual orientation and not his abilities as a football player. I am sure it’s frustrating for him. I understand that. Of course, as the largest LGBT newsmagazine in Texas, Michael Sam playing for the Cowboys is a story Dallas Voice has to go after. Even if we understand his desire to focus on football. Hopefully we can do it in a reasonable way, and talk about something other than what it might be like in the showers for Sam and his teammates (way to go, ESPN).

Yesterday, WFAA Channel 8 sportscaster Dale Hansen posted a piece on his blog, Dale Hansen Unplugged, that puts the situation in very clear, simple-to-understand terms: “He simply wants a chance.”

Hansen, who already won the hearts and minds of LGBTs across the country in February with his commentary on how ridiculous it is for the NFL to not have a problem with players who beat up their girlfriends, kill a teammate in a drunk driving accident or “lie to police to cover up a murder,” but then turn around and have such a huge problem with an openly gay player.

Hansen’s opinion on Michael Sam surprised a lot of people, and earned him a place of honor at this year’s Black Tie Dinner coming up in November.

This week, Hansen posted another Hansen Unplugged blog on Sam: “So the Cowboys decide to sign Michael Sam (and do we really need to say ‘The NFL’s first openly gay player?’ Geez, I hate hearing that every time his name is mentioned … and I would think he does, too).”

Hansen admits that Michael Sam being openly gay is a “very big” story, if for no other reason than “the first of anything is a big story.” At the same time, Hansen says he is fed up with the idea that Sam is too much of a “distraction” to play pro football. The real question is can Sam play at a pro level. “He simply wants a chance. The Cowboys are giving him that chance — nothing more, nothing less,” Hansen says.

As for all the other uproar, Hansen cemented his position as a valuable LGBT ally with this closing statement: “But the critics who are concerned about the decline of America because a gay man plays football disgust me, and I would hope they disgust you, too.”

Thanks Dale Hansen. We couldn’t agree more.

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The winner of ‘SYTYCD’ is …

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 10:05am

_W5A1689_hires1… not in any way a surprise. If you’ve been watching this season of So You Think You Can Dance since the start, it was pretty apparent Ricky Ubeda was the one to beat. And no one did end up beating him, not even runner-up Valerie, who was among the best of the girls. The contemporary dancer who could spin and twist and become a different personality with every dance seemed to have no limitations, and last night it took him the prize.

But…

MY2_7038_hires1…It might be a good thing he did not have to go up against the winner of Australia’s SYTYCD, Michael Demeski, whose Lord-of-the-Dance-ish acrobatics in pleather tights was an amazing display on the show.  Check out his chops.

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Heather Kitchen retiring from DTC

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 9:27am

Heather Kitchen

Many professions are about forming relationships — some necessary, some welcomed — and when someone clicks with you personally, it makes your job all that much better. In the nearly five years I’ve known Heather Kitchen, she’s been one of the best working relationships I’ve encountered. From the first day we met, she’s greeted me with “Hey, Arnie!” every time she sees me. She has that familiar, dare I say motherly, aura, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve made her day better when in fact it is she who has improved yours.

Since 2011, she’s led the business side of the Dallas Theater Center as its managing director, giving the support that artistic director Kevin Moriarty has needed to make exciting theater and revitalize the 55-year-old institution. By keeping it in the black — and always with a smile — she’s actually contributed to the artistry, and more importantly, the tone of theater in all of North Texas.

So her decision to retire — at 62, she’s been involved in arts administration for 40 years — just as the DTC begins its new season is a personal loss as well as a professional one. She’ll stay on until her successor is found (probably early 2015), but whoever it will be could never replace Heather. She’s someone I’ll miss.

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