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.


Holder: DOJ will file brief in favor of same-sex marriage

Posted on 15 Jul 2014 at 4:15pm
eric holder.small

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas on Monday that the Justice Department will be filing a brief in the Utah same-sex marriage case urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court ruling and block states from banning same-sex marriage.

District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled last December that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling last month, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced that instead of asking the full 10th Circuit Court to review the case, he would appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Holder said that filing the brief would be “consistent with the actions we have taken over the past couple of years,” in which the Justice Department has refused to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Holder said that decision was “vindicated by the Supreme Court,” which ruled last year in Windsor vs. United States that the sections of DOMA allowing the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions that recognize such marriages are unconstitutional.

Holder told Thomas that he believes banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that such bans cannot survive the standard of heightened scrutiny. He called the fight for LGBT rights “a defining civil rights challenge of our time,” and that LGBT people are waiting for an “unequivocal declaration that separate is inherently unequal.”



Gay Pulitzer Prize-winner detained in McAllen

Posted on 15 Jul 2014 at 3:12pm

joseantoniovargasJose Antonio Vargas, whom we interviewed last fall, is a gay journalist with a Pulitzer Prize, but he gained his greatest fame when he “came out” … not as gay, but as an undocumented alien, which he did in an op/ed piece in the New York Times Magazine three years ago.

Now Vargas finds himself on the receiving side of the I.N.S. Earlier today, Vargas flew to McAllen, Texas, to raise awareness for the plight of minor-aged illegals. After completing his visit, he prepared to fly back to Los Angeles, but was detained by border control for not having proper documentation.


Fort Worth chef Tim Love, on his new reality show

Posted on 15 Jul 2014 at 1:47pm

Tim Love and Joe Bastianich

Restaurant Startup, a new reality series airing its second episode tonight on CNBC, is kind of a culinary version of Shark Tank, where two famed restaurateurs decide whether to invest their own money in a particular concept. But rather than featuring Dallas’ Mark Cuban, this show stars Fort Worth chef Tim Love, alongside Joe Bastianich. Each episode begins with two teams pitch their ideas and possibly launching a pop-up  version of their concept.

Tim and Joe sat down for a joint interview, and here’s some of what they had to say.

Question: You guys can be pretty rough sometimes. What was it about the premise of the show that appealed to you, made you want to be involved? Did CNBC basically come to you and pitch the show to you similar to the way the wanna-be restaurants did and if so did you make the people at CNBC cry or stammer during the negotiations?

Joe Bastianich: I think it’s an opportunity to take an inside look at a very unique business that not many people understand it and combine a lot of things that people are very passionate about: great hospitality, food, money in the restaurant business, what it takes to be successful in the hospitality industry [and] show the inner workings.

Tim Love: The show itself is really a completely different look at a food show, which is really what interested me. I have a big passion for the business side of the food and wine world and I spoke with Joe about doing the show and he has the same kind of outlook. There’s a lot of shows out there that talk about the drama of whether or not you can make a blah-blah. But really, this show is about whether or not you can build an actual restaurant and the inner workings of how that even happens.

So we feel like this show is going to really expose a new material to people and understanding of really the start to finish of how you might operate a restaurant and how that comes to fruition because, quite frankly, these days it’s almost impossible to have a restaurant without getting an investor, and this gives us an opportunity to show people that not only works but also gives Joe and I an opportunity to maybe invest in something we feel like can be really great.