Malaysian passenger jet shot down in Ukraine

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 12:44pm

Multiple news agencies, including the New York Times, are reporting that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet carrying 295 people has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, allegedly having been shot down by Russian-led separatist militants with an anti-aircraft missile.

This isn’t “an LGBT story.” But it is a human story, and something we should all care about. Besides the fact that this could spark world war, we should remember that the families and friends of 295 people are now mourning the loss of their loved ones.


Broadway legend Elaine Stritch has died at 89

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 12:14pm

Stritch2It was just a few months ago that I got to interview Elaine Stritch, the Broadway legend whose irascible nature and coffee-stained voice made her a one-of-a-kind star. That was the second time I interviewed her, which I did for the documentary about her life that came out earlier this year. Both times were high-water marks in my career.

But I also got to do more than just talk to Elaine: I got to see her — onstage (in her acclaimed, Tony Award-winning one-woman show At Liberty and most recently on Broadway with Bernadette Peters in A Little Night Music) and once you’ve seen the old broad perform, your life is forever transformed.

She was a marvelous performer, a prickly human being and an unforgettable character … as well as a true friend of the gay community. The footlights are dimmer with her passing.


In CDC study, less than 3 percent identify as LGB

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 11:18am

cdcStraight men are more likely to be overweight than gay men.

That was one of the not-so-surprising results of a study done by the Centers for Disease Control.

What was surprising was less than 3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual. An additional 1.1 percent refused to answer. The CDC did not necessarily take into account the higher percentage of gays and lesbians who move to larger cities and weight the responses from those areas.

The survey was a broad survey of more than 33,500 adults. However, the study doesn’t take into account how many people are uncomfortable revealing their sexual orientation and rather than refusing to answer, will tell a stranger they are straight. So the results reflect the difference between the straight population and those in the LGB community who are out and comfortable talking about their health to a surveyor.

The study found some health differences between gays and straights. Gays are more likely to smoke and drink more. Straight women are more likely than lesbians to consider themselves in good health. Gay men are more likely to consider themselves in good health than straight men.

Bisexuals are more likely to report psychological distress in the past month than straights.

Gays are more likely to get a flu vaccine and 30 percent more likely to have been tested for HIV.

Gay men are more likely than straight men to have a regular place to go for medical care. Lesbians are less likely than straight women to have a regular place to get health care.

Despite Ryan White, ADAP and other plans that cover HIV, gay men and lesbians are less likely to be on a public health assistance program than straight men or women and are more likely to have private health insurance.

The CDC’s estimates of population translate to just 3.7 million gays and lesbians in the U.S.


Our pets are our family

Posted on 17 Jul 2014 at 9:38am

Me with Banjo, in the last minutes of his life two weeks ago.

Tomorrow’s edition of Dallas Voice is called The Pet Issue, but the timing for me is bittersweet. Two weeks ago, I had to put down a cat — my pet grimalkin Banjo — when he became inexplicably ill and stopped eating and drinking. I took him to the vet and spent a small fortune without ever learning what was wrong with him, other than he was shutting down. I tried injecting water down his throat with a syringe, but he fought me — he cast a look that seemed to say, “What are you doing? I’m trying to die and you’re messing me up.”

We communicate with our pets in a series of largely non-verbal ways. We cluck our tongues and whistle and stroke their fur. We play with them and walk them and get them worked up and excitable because it makes us happy to see them happy. We feed them and nurture them and, when the time comes, we lead them out of this world — the hardest thing, and the one that requires the most love.

Gay folks often talk about our pets as if they were our children. In many ways, they are, at a minimum, members of our families. A lot of LGBT are used to “making” family — a word we have co-opted to mean who we choose to form a bond with instead of those we are born to. No pets are “born” to humans, so of course they are all adopted. And all are “made” members of our family.

Banjo left this life too soon. At 12, he still should have had a few years left in him. But I adopted him from the SPCA to give him a life rather than having him destroyed. He had a good life, and I miss him every day … even as I have three dogs remaining to keep me company.

Anyway, I hope you will pick up the paper tomorrow, or read the stories online, because even though we call it The Pet Issue, it’s really something else. It’s The Love Issue. Because that’s what our pets are.


POZ Magazine founder to speak in Arlington

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 3:43pm

Sean Strub

Sean Strub — founder and advisory editor of POZ Magazine, executive director of the Sero Project and author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival — will speak Aug. 21 in the Rooftop Gallery at Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St. in Arlington, at an event benefiting AIDS Outreach Center.

The event is presented by Friends of AOC. A $75 donation to AOC is requested of those attending, and tickets are available here.

Strub, a long-time activist and writer, has been HIV-positive for more than 33 years. He was publisher and executive editor of POZ from 1994-2004. Sero Project, for which he is executive director, is a network of people with HIV fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. He is also treasurer of the U.S. Caucus of PWHA Organizations, and he served on the board of directors of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS from 2009-2012, and as co-chair of its North American affiliate from 2011-2012.


Rodeo coming back to Cowtown

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 3:11pm


Polish up your cowboy boots and get those Wranglers starched: The International Gay Rodeo Association is once again bringing its Finals Rodeo to Fort Worth, Oct. 16-19 in the John Justin Arena, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. Bud Light is once again the signature sponsor for the rodeo.

The rodeo will include competition in calf roping, team roping, bull riding and other traditional rodeo events, along with other events unique to gay rodeo, like goat dressing and the wild drag race. Both men and women compete in each category, and cowboys and cowgirls have  been competing in rodeos around the U.S. and Canada all year to pile up enough points to earn a spot in the finals. Only the top 20 point-winners in each of the 13 events win a spot at the Finals Rodeo to compete for the titles of WGRF Champion and All-Around Champion.

The four-day Finals Rodeo also includes the culmination of the Mr., Ms. MsTer and Miss IGRA 2015 competition, beginning Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Rose Room at S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, and continuing Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17-18, at the Hilton Arlington, 2401 E. Lamar Blvd. in Arlington. The new titleholders will be crowned Saturday night, with the ceremony folled by a “Hoe Down Party” with live music and dancing. Royalty contests and the hoe-down are free and open to the public.

The four-day event will also include food and merchandise booths and entertainment. Competition in the 13 events will take place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19. Doors open each day at 9 a.m. Admission is $15 a day or $20 for a weekend pass. Proceeds will benefit IGRA’s two charities for 2014: the National LGBT Cancer Network and the Gay and Lesbian Rodeo Heritage Foundation



Be An Angel celebrates Legacy’s 25th anniversary

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 11:35am
Melissa Grove

Melissa Grove

On Sunday, Legacy Counseling Center celebrates its 25th anniversary with Be An Angel.

That’s such appropriate timing because Executive Director Melissa Grove and her staff at Founders Cottage are my angels. I call them that because they saved my friend’s life recently. Oh, I don’t mean, “Gee, Melissa. Thanks for the ride home. You saved my life.”

I mean a friend of mine was at Parkland last month and was suddenly diagnosed with organ failure. After just a few days, they were looking for hospice care for him — somewhere he could go to die. My partner called Melissa. After all, she has a hospice. Maybe she could help.

While Legacy didn’t have room, Melissa had this crazy idea for my friend. Maybe someone with HIV should be on HIV medication. And maybe, if that medication works, he won’t die.

I’m not sure why a doctor at Parkland didn’t think of putting someone with HIV on HIV meds. When someone goes to Parkland with a heart attack, do they say, “Hey, he had a heart attack. Find a hospice where he can die.” No, they treat the heart condition.

When someone with cancer goes to Parkland, do they say, “Hey, go home and die.” No, they send the patient to an oncologist.

So why, when someone with HIV came to Parkland, did they not treat the HIV? And why didn’t I think to suggest it myself? Well, I thought he was on his HIV meds, but I wasn’t looking at his medical chart or monitoring his medications, because I’m not a doctor. Thankfully, those angels at Legacy thought of it. Now Legacy is monitoring his care at a recovery facility and, guess what. He’s getting better.

“Yes, that happens a lot,” Grove said. “We get a lot of referrals to ‘hospice’ for people who have never even been tried on HIV meds.”

You can help Legacy continue to save lives. Legacy operates its counseling center in Uptown and Founder’s Cottage in Oak Cliff. In addition, it runs the country’s largest HIV-positive women’s conference through its Grace Project and its newest program, Homebase for Housing, that helps people with HIV find housing.

Be An Angel celebrates Legacy’s 25th anniversary with dinner, a live and silent auction and music by Vince Martinez at 7 for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. Suite 107 on Sunday, July 20 from 6–9 p.m. Wendy Krispin is catering the three-course dinner. Tickets are $75 and available online.


LISTEN: Drunk guy leaves me an insane voicemail message

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 at 10:57am

I have no idea who left this on my voicemail, or really what he’s talking about. But it was an entertaining way to begin my day. Listen for about a minute for the best stuff.

Crazy Message


New Fort Worth Councilwoman Ann Zadeh sworn in

Posted on 15 Jul 2014 at 8:57pm
zadeh swearing in

Courtesy of Kathryn Omarkhail

Ann Zadeh was sworn in as Fort Worth’s new councilwoman for District 9 at Tuesday night’s council meeting. After winning a special election in June to replace former councilman Joel Burns, Zadeh told the Star-Telegram she’s ready to “go back through this thick notebook I have been compiling from neighborhoods to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”

In her first speech, she didn’t go without acknowledging her supporters, thanking the “dynamic citizens who were never lacking in enthusiasm.”

Nor did she hesitate to be ambitious.

“I want to lay out my vision for the district,” but that would take two hours, she said with a laugh.

She also didn’t forget a shout out to her influential predecessor, either.

“I have big shoes to fill,” she said with a pause.

“Literally, Joel’s feet are big,” she told the crowd to a laugh.

Burns, who announced his resignation in February, must’ve heard her. After the former chairwoman of the Fort Worth Zoning Commission thanked her supporters and took her seat, Burns joined the meeting via Skype to say hello … from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Some things never change.


Puerto Rico’s first gay Supreme Court justice sworn in today

Posted on 15 Jul 2014 at 4:49pm
Oronoz 2

Puerto Rico Associate Supreme Court Justice Maite Oronoz Rodriguez

Maite Oronoz Rodriguez was sworn in today to become the youngest person and the first openly gay person to serve as an associate justice to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Oronoz Rodriguez, 38, is the fourth woman on the nine-member court.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla nominated Oronoz Rodriguez to the court last month. He called her “an example of what this generation has to offer Puerto Rico. This is a brilliant young woman who will contribute from the Supreme Court in defining the guidelines for our society in this new century.”

Oronoz Rodríguez has been serving as chief legal counsel to the city of San Juan under Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz since 2013. She earned her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico, where she was a member of the Law Review and was recognized for outstanding achievement, both academically and in community service. She holds a master’s in law from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. She also studied history, literature and Italian at the University of Florence in Italy.

Oronoz Rodríguez fills the associate justice spot left vacant by the appointment of Liana Fiol Matta as chief justice in April.