Vigil for Orlando planned in Athens, Texas

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 3:46pm

_MG_0700

A vigil in memory of the victims of the June 12 shooting in Orlando is being organized in Athens, Texas. The event will be held Monday, June 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Henderson County Courthouse, 100 E. Tyler St.

For information call 903-681-4486 or email Hollaway951@gmail.com.

POST A COMMENT »

PULSE: Melissa Etheridge responds to Orlando massacre with music

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 3:04pm

melissa_etheridge_640_dkambouris_106135185

Lesbian singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge has written a new song, “Pulse,” in response to the shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning, June 12, Rolling Stone reports.

The song begins with the lyrics, “Everybody’s got a pain inside/Imaginary wounds they fight to hide/How can I hate them, when everybody’s got a pulse?” The refrain calls for unity in the fight against hate: I am human; I am love/And my heart beats with my blood/Love will always win/Underneath the skin, everybody’s got a pulse.”

“I’m dealing with it the way I deal, which is, I wrote a song,” Etheridge told Rolling Stone. “I just sat here, and I just started writing a song… That’s how I first started to cope … . I feel called to speak; to do what musicians do. We’ve been the town criers for hundreds of years. We’re mirrors of society. We want to try to make sense. We want to try to heal. We want to bring some meaning, some purpose. We also want to put it down forever in history. That’s how I’m coping.”

Etheridge went into the studio Monday, June 13, with Jerry Wonda to record the new song, which she named after the nightclub where the shooting happened because “there’s just something very poetic and very meaningful about the name,” she told Rolling Stone. “You just start thinking about your own pulse. It’s the way I’ve always felt about the gay movement, the gay issue. Here we are — people who are loving; we are fighting for who we want to love.”

Etheridge said the song will be available to purchase soon, and that proceeds will be donated to an LGBT charity.

Listen to “Pulse” here.

POST A COMMENT »

City of Dallas celebrates Pride; Cuban donates to DPD

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 2:53pm
IMG_9097

The DFW Sisters received an award for community service at Pride at City Hall

Mayor Mike Rawlings read a proclamation at noon today (Wednesday, June 15) declaring June to be LGBT Pride Month in Dallas. He also announced that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has pledged $1 million toward Oak Lawn safety.

The proclamation recognizes the strides that have been made in the LGBT community, mentioning the Lawrence v. Texas decision that declared the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in 2003, and the marriage equality ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. But it also acknowledged that more work needs to be done in light of the June 12 Orlando massacre. Jalinzski Brown from United Black Ellument accepted the proclamation on behalf of the community.

“This was supposed to be an up celebration,” Rawlings said before describing how the Orlando massacre affected him personally, calling Orlando a neighbor and saying he wakes up in fear something similar could happen here.

“We’ve got to do better,” he said.

Rawlings announced that Cuban called him on Sunday and pledged $1 million that will be used toward overtime pay for police officers. That will pay for about 16,000 hours of overtime pay that DPD will devote to counter-terrorism efforts in Oak Lawn. He said Cuban asked him to relay the message that he’s proud to help.

Cuban didn’t attend the City Hall event because he is in Los Angeles filming Shark Tank.

The Pride at City Hall event was planned several months ago by the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force. Councilman Adam Medrano, who heads the task force, recognized a number of people for their contributions to the city.

Omar Narvaez, Sr. Cpl. Brittani Pilcik and Jesse Vallejo read the names of the Orlando massacre victims.

The Task Force awarded Special Recognition to Dallas Black Pride for its June Pride event that takes place this weekend. Kirk Myers of Abounding Prosperity accepted the award from Councilwoman Tiffanni Young.

The Ally Award went to the city council and mayor. All were in attendance to accept the recognition for voting 15-0 to clarify wording in city ordinances.

The Community Award went to the DFW Sisters. Medrano mentioned their work to distribute whistles throughout the community as a way of calling for help if attacked or in a dangerous situation. The group works diligently to raise money to distribute through the community whenever it’s needed.

The Leadership Award went to Take Back Oak Lawn. Burke Burnett and Michael Dominguez, two of the founders of the group, also created SOS, the survivors support group. John Anderson has been reporting street lights that are out. Alexandre’s owner Lee Daugherty has been at the forefront of boosting security at the bars. Daniel Cates organized the rally and march for Orlando this weekend and other rallies in support of attack survivors. Medrano called him the group’s loudmouth. Organizer Cannon Brown and Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell were also recognized for their work with Take Back Oak Lawn.

POST A COMMENT »

Threat in San Diego: What about Comic-Con?

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 1:52pm

Screen shot 2016-06-15 at 1.48.39 PMEarlier this morning, I came across a news report for San Diego Lesbian and Gay News about a posting on Craigslist threatening an Orlando-style attack on San Diego’s LGBT community. Once police were notified, they began an investigation, with the FBI lending a hand, and notified officials at Craigslist, who promptly deleted the threatening post.

The San Diego mayor and police chief reassured the city that police and city officials have seen no credible threat to the LGBT community there, but that security had already been strengthened in response to the Orlando shooting. I have absolutely no doubt they are taking the Craigslist threat seriously, and no doubt they are taking every step possible to make their city and its LGBT community as safe as possible.

But I also want to remind folks to keep in mind the safety of our nerd community, too. As my partner pointed out to me after I posted the blog about the Craigslist threat. Comic-Con International, the largest comic con in the world, takes place July 21-24 in San Diego, and the con will be brimming over with LGBT nerds and non-LGBT nerds who are staunch allies of the LGBT community.

Let’s make sure they’re safe, too.

Last year at Comic-Con, my partner told me, cosplayers re-enacted a gay wedding scene from a comic book (The X-Men #51 comic maybe? I don’t know). And a special effects artist from the web series Con Man surprised his boyfriend with a proposal on stage during a discussion of the series, earning wild applause and cheers from the capacity crowd.

My partner also reminded me that it was the nerd community that staged an uprising of sorts in 2013, boycotting a much-anticipated story arc in DC Comics Superman series after finding out that an anti-gay writer named Orson Scott Card had been asked to write it. DC eventually put Card’s Superman story on hold indefinitely. And that same year, an LGBT group called Geeks OUT! proposed a boycott of the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game calling Card’s view anti-gay, causing the movie studio Lionsgate to publicly distance itself from Card’s opinions.

As my partner explained to me, “Nerds said having someone who’s anti-gay write a comic book stood in direct opposition to what they believed. They celebrate diversity, and comics feature people that are shunned by society for being different, where mainstream America seeks to destroy them.”

She told me that nerds understand because the bigotry and bullying aimed at LGBT people mirrors what the nerds went through in their youth, being bullied and made fun of. Besides, she said, a lot of nerds are LGBT themselves.

So hey, San Diego, keep the Comic-Con safe for us. (Oh, and just so you know, I use the word “nerd” because that is the word that my spouse and both of our sons use to describe themselves and others like them.)

POST A COMMENT »

UPDATE: Cuban donation confirmed

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 12:52pm
Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has released a statement confirming that Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban has, indeed, donated $1 million to the Dallas Police Department to help fund added security measures for the city’s LGBT community in the wake of the Sunday morning massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The money will be earmarked for an estimated 16,000 hours of Dallas police overtime to be utilized at Chief David Brown’s discretion for enhanced counterterrorism efforts, including additional police presence in the Oak Lawn area, the news release said.

 Mayor Rawlings was expected to comment on the donation during the Dallas Pride Month Spirit of Equality Awards Ceremony taking place now at Dallas City Hall. Dallas Voice senior staff writer David Taffet is at that ceremony now and will photos and more as soon as he gets back.

POST A COMMENT »

Cuban donating to DPD for LGBT security

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 12:11pm
Mark-Cuban_Dallas-Mavericks_HD_768x432-16x9

Mark Cuban

I haven’t seen this confirmed yet, but I just got a message that NBC 5, on its noon newscast, is reporting that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced that he is donating $1 million to the Dallas Police Department to be used for measures to protect Dallas’ LGBT community, in the wake of the massacre Sunday morning, June 12 at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

We’ll post more when we know more.

POST A COMMENT »

San Diego LGBT community threatened on Craigslist

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 11:57am

Screen shot 2016-06-15 at 11.45.29 AM

Police in San Diego are investigating a post on Craigslist threatening violence against the LGBT community there, according to SDLGN.com (San Diego Lesbian and Gay News).

The post, which included a photo of a revolver being fired, read:

“We need more Orlando’s (sic).

“Orlando was long overdue. Cleanse your community of the filth that gives decent gay men and women a bad name. Those people were walking diseases, bug chasers, and thank god for AIDS and 9-11 and now Orlando. San Diego you are next…”

 According to SDLGN, “A concerned Craigslist user saw an ad in the men-seeking-men sub-section of the site which depicted a firing handgun. The user became more distressed by the posting’s title, and the conflicting message that followed. … The concerned citizen followed the ‘see something, say something’ rule and sent the ad to 10 News San Diego, who sent a screen shot of the threatening message to law enforcement. Craigslist has since removed the post from their site.”

The San Diego mayor and police chief said on Monday, June 13, a day after the shooting in Orlando that killed 49 and injured more than 50, that they have found no credible threats against San Diego’s LGBT community but that they have increased security in the city, nonetheless. They also stressed that people should trust their instincts, and that if anyone sees or hears something that concerns them, they should contact police as soon as possible.

(The same goes here, folks. The same goes everywhere. If you see something that worries you, then let someone in authority know about it.)

POST A COMMENT »

Sessions: Pulse wasn’t a gay nightclub

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 11:18am
Sessions.Pete

Rep. Pete Sessions

According to Rep. Pete Sessions, whose district includes parts of the Oak Lawn gayborhood, the Orlando nightclub Pulse where the massacre occurred on June 12 wasn’t a gay club.

In an interview with National Journal reporter Daniel Newhauser, Sessions said Pulse wasn’t a gay club, but a young person’s club. Most of the people killed were Latinos, not gay, according to the Oak Lawn representative whose district includes Lee Park, The Round-Up Saloon and Hunky’s. (S4, Sue Ellen’s and JR’s are within Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s District, but Sessions’ district crosses Cedar Springs Road to include Zephyr and Woody’s).

This is the same politician who, when asked several years ago about gay people in his district,  said there weren’t any.

Since he believes most of those killed in Orlando weren’t LGBT, can Sessions suddenly justify any sympathy for them? Of course not. They were Latino, apparently a step below gay on the Sessions scale.

For the record, Latinos and Latinas may be gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. (Did I really have to spell that out for a congressman?)

And also for the record, if we learn that any of the people killed at Pulse were straight, we’ll mourn for them exactly as we mourn for the others massacred on Sunday morning.

POST A COMMENT »

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: Chorale comforts the community

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 11:10am
Denise Lee

Denise Lee performs in the Songs for Healing concert with Turtle Creek Chorale on Tuesday night at Cathedral of Hope.

Turtle Creek Chorale Artistic Director Sean Baugh woke up on Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. and knew he needed to do something in response to the Orlando attacks. So he started sending emails. One after another, members of the Chorale responded, saying they would participate.

Baugh quickly pulled together a program — Songs for Healing. Denise Lee said she’d be there with him. Chris Chism said he’d do a solo. Jodi Crawford Wright agreed to reprise “I Love You More,” the mother’s song from Tyler’s Suite, the piece commissioned by the Chorale about the death of Tyler Clementi. Members of Resounding Harmony and of the CoH choir also stepped up to participate.

Cathedral of Hope opened its doors on Tuesday night, June 14, for the community to come and grieve. The Dallas Police Department responded with 60 officers swarming the campus, quietly but visibly making their presence known. DPD Chief David Brown and his officers received their own standing ovation.

Had he had time, Baugh said he would have pulled together photos from news reports of survivors carrying gunshot victims out of Pulse and running with them down the street to the nearby hospital. Even without the visual, the image was clear as they sang, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

The concert streamed through KERA and WFAA to more than 28,000 people. About 2,000 people filled the church and several hundred more packed the Interfaith Peace Chapel to watch on monitors. Passing a plate raised $15,000 to help cover expenses for the Orlando victim’s families and medical expenses for the survivors.

The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas reminded those attending that the men’s choral movement began in San Francisco the night Harvey Milk was shot when a group of men gathered and began to sing.

The concert itself was a testament to the brilliance of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Baugh pulled several songs from last week’s Heartstrings concert but others were from more distant concerts. Without a rehearsal, the performance came off without an apparent glitch. One song after another received a well-deserved standing ovation. Throughout the concert, Chorale members read names of the dead. The crowd left the church still stunned by the massacre but comforted as the community came together.

POST A COMMENT »

WATCH: Brooke Candy video ‘Nasty’

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 8:56am

Described as a cross between John Waters, a Bugs Bunny cartoon and Pam and Tommy’s sex tape, this is the latest funky video from Brooke Candy.

POST A COMMENT »