Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to host annual conference: A World of Women for World Peace

Posted on 27 Apr 2017 at 2:27pm

Congresswoman Johnson will host her annual conference: A World of Women for World Peace to bring a greater visibility to women who are victims of war and aggression and women who promote peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities in their communities. This year’s conference will address the Israel-Palestine peace process and promote a discussion of new ideas for a lasting solution to the conflict. The event will be held at UNT Dallas College of Law on Saturday, April 29 at 9:30 a.m.

To attend, RSVP here. The registration deadline has been extended through Friday, April 28.

Speakers include:

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hamutal Gouri, Israeli Peace Activist, Women Wage Peace
Yousef Bashir, Palestinian Peacemaker
Imam Omar Suleiman, Muslim Community Leader
Rabbi Nancy Kasten
Reverend Vonciel Jones Hill

A World of Women for World Peace Conference info:

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. (Limited seating. Seating begins at 9 a.m.)

UNT Dallas College of Law (Atrium), 1901 Main St., Dallas 75201


Study finds LGBT youth and adults in Texas vulnerable to stigma and discrimination

Posted on 27 Apr 2017 at 2:00pm

Texas’s legal landscape and social climate contribute to an environment in which LGBT people are at risk of experiencing stigma and discrimination, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

State laws in Texas do not protect LGBT people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and local ordinances protect less than one-fifth of Texas’s residents from such discrimination,” said Christy Mallory, State & Local Policy Director and Anna M. Curren Fellow at the Williams Institute and co-author of the report.  “Additionally, Texas ranks in the bottom quarter of states in terms of social support for LGBT people, although support is increasing over time.”

Texas is home to an estimated 770,000 LGBT adults and 158,500 LGBT youth.  The study documents the prevalence and impact of several forms of stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals in the state, including harassment and discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; harassment and bullying in schools; and family rejection. 

Stigma and discrimination can negatively impact LGBT individuals’ health and wellbeing,” said Brad Sears, Executive Director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Policy at the Williams Institute and co-author of the report.  “Research shows that these experiences can lead to economic instability and poorer health for LGBT people.”

In terms of economic stability:

About one-quarter of LGBT adults in Texas report that they do not have enough money for food compared to about one-fifth of non-LGBT adults, according to Gallup data.  Similar proportions of LGBT and non-LGBT people report that they do not have enough money to meet their health care needs.

30 percent of Texas LGBT adults and 26 percent of non-LGBT adults report having a household income below $24,000, according to Gallup data.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 17 percent of respondents in Texas were unemployed, and 34 percent were living in poverty.

LGBT adults and youth in the state are also more likely to experience certain health outcomes that have been linked to experiences of stigma and discrimination:

LGBT adults in Texas are significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder and to report binge drinking than non-LGBT adults, according to data from the 2015 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.

LGB students in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, were about three times more likely to have seriously considered suicide than non-LGB students in the past year, according to data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

LGB students in Houston and Fort Worth were also more than twice as likely as non-LGB students to report smoking cigarettes in the past month, and were also more likely to report drinking and marijuana use, according to data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The study found that stigma and discrimination against LGBT people in Texas negatively affect the state, businesses, and the economy in a number of ways, including by:

Reducing employees’ productivity and employers’ ability to recruit and retain talented employees;

Increasing LGBT individuals’ reliance on public benefits;

Reducing lifetime achievement of LGBT youth; and

Increasing costs associated with higher incidence of major depressive disorder and binge drinking among the LGBT population.

The study called The Impact of Stigma and Discrimination Against LGBT People in Texas concluded that if Texas were able to move toward creating a more supportive environment for LGBT people, it would likely reduce economic instability and health disparities experienced by LGBT individuals, which, in turn, would benefit the state, employers, and the economy.


Heineken offers a whole new kind of beer ad — and it’s kind of amazing

Posted on 26 Apr 2017 at 12:30pm

Well, I don’t drink beer. But I definitely think that this ad proves a point: When we are open and honest about who we are, and when we are willing to talk without rancor we can change the world.

Thanks Heineken.



Posted on 26 Apr 2017 at 7:30am

Marina Costa-Jackson and Elza van der Heever in ‘Norma.’ Photo by Karen Almond

During intermission at the Dallas Opera‘s opening night of Norma, one of my seat-neighbors turned to me and said, “My only complain about this production is the title — ‘Norma’ just seems like a name out-of-place in the ancient world.” “Yeah,” I said. “How about The Real Housewives of Gaul.” She chuckled, not because she was being nice, but because it’s true. Norma (sung by soprano Elza van den Heever) is a Druid high priestess in Roman-occupied France who has been carrying on an affair with the Roman overlord Pollione (tenor Yonghoon Lee), though he pledges himself to the virginal Adalgisa (Marina Costa-Jackson). When the women compare notes, and both realize that Pollione is both father to Norma’s children and Adalgisa’s betrothed. You can hear the collective grumble in the audience as they expect one of the women to up-end a table and sing the newly-discovered aria “Oh no she betta don’t!” as Maury Povich reveals who, in fact, is the real baby daddy.

But, like Debbie and Liz, Norma and Adalgisa don’t take out the betrayal on each other, but on the man who done them wrong. Suddenly, it’s less Teresa Giudice and more Witches of Eastwick.

Norma isn’t a comedy, but it does has some stirring melodrama that feels as real and current as realiTV. It’s humanity is what anchors it. But its music is what makes it soar. Bellini’s gift for bel canto is that even the heels and low-register male voices, as well as the women, simply delight your ears with their powerful and lovely singing. They could be referring to the fishmonger’s wife cleaning out the toilet, and you’d roll your eyes in ecstasy.

The production is as gorgeous to look at as it is to listen to. John Conklin’s protean set, beautifully lit by Thomas C. Hace so that it literally transforms the locale and the mood without moving a stick of furniture, evokes all the passion of the story, as well as its danger, with enviable ease. There’s also a whiff of lesbian attraction between Norma and Adalgisa, which complicates and illuminates the plot and character development. It;s too bad the show wasn’t a sell-out on opening night — an opera this good deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

At the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. April 26, 29 and May 7.


Mayor proclaims April 26 as LGBT Youth Homelessness Awareness Day

Posted on 26 Apr 2017 at 6:00am

WHEREAS, up to 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT); and

WHEREAS, LGBT youth experience homelessness because of being forced to leave or running away from their homes due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression; and

WHEREAS, we must all agree that no youth should be homeless, no matter our individual differences in personal beliefs and ideologies; and

WHEREAS, there are youth in our communities who are experiencing homelessness due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression; and

WHEREAS, many cities in our nation are vowing to fight this injustice; and

WHEREAS, the LGBT rights movement has made great progress over the years though the fight for inclusion and equality is still alive today; and

WHEREAS, on this special occasion, we must bear in mind that while together we have overcome difficult obstacles, we must practice tolerance and continue to teach it our future generations; and

WHEREAS, those that have found authenticity living in their truth carry the responsibility to help others do the same.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MICHAEL S. RAWLINGS, mayor of the City of Dallas, and on behalf of the Dallas City Council, do hereby proclaim Wednesday April 26, as


in Dallas, Texas.


VIDEO: Murdered Paris policeman’s husband preaches love, tolerance

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 at 2:42pm

 Xavier Jugelé

Channel 4 News in London posted this video of Etienne Cardiles, husband of Paris policeman Xavier Jugelé, 37 — killed by an ISIL-backed terrorist in an attack last week on the Champs-Élysées — delivering the eulogy at Jugelé’s funeral.

Cardiles, despite his grief and loss, offered a message of love and tolerance: “I don’t feel hatred Xavier…because tolerance, dialogue and patience were your strongest weapons.”

This article by the New York Times describes Jugelé as a “defender of gay rights.”


Pulse owner to announce memorial details May 4

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 at 1:44pm

Pulse (Photo by David Taffet)

The Orlando Sentinel reports today (Tuesday, April 25) that Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, will announce a process for planning a permanent memorial at the club’s location on May 4. The club, at 1912 S. Orange Ave. in Orlando, has been closed since June 12, 2016, when a lone gunman murdered 49 people and injured more than 50 others in the worst mass shooting incident in modern U.S. history.

The Sentinel says that the process “is expected to include community input and, perhaps, a town hall meeting.”

The newspaper also notes that the city has announced plans for Orlando United day, a day of public events to commemorate the massacre, and that Poma has said the anniversary will include two events at the Pulse property — a midday ceremony with community speakers and a second gathering from 10 p.m.-midnight. A resolution has been introduced in the Florida Legislature designating June 12 as Pulse Remembrance Day in the state.

“The resolution, as sponsored by state Reps. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, and Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, specifically recognizes that gay nightclubs like Pulse ‘carry historical significance and are often recognized as safe havens for the LGBTQ+ community,’ and that the Pulse attack was a hate crime that had disproportionate impact on ‘communities of color,’” the Sentinel reports.

The memorial is a project of OnePULSE Foundation, which Poma established and of which she serves as executive director and CEO. The foundation as been raising money to support construction and maintenance of a memorial, provide community grants to care for the survivors and victims’ families, endow scholarships in memory of each of the 49 victims and, ultimately, create a museum featuring artifacts and stories from the shooting.

Poma said she will introduce the foundation’s board members and the memorial task force project members on May 4.

Poma has said she created Pulse nightclub 12 years ago in memory of her brother John, who died of HIV/AIDS. She told the Sentinel, “Pulse has always been a part of me, but after this tragedy which took 49 lives, it became a part of this community and the world. It’s important that we as a community be mindful and take great care to preserve, honor and help heal.”



BREAKING: WaterTower announces 2017-18 season

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 at 12:01pm

Today, WaterTower Theatre announced its first season under the direction of new artistic director Joanie Schultz, pictured. The five-show main season will include the following:

Pride and Prejudice (Oct. 13–Nov. 5). An adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, which Schultz will direct.

Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (Jan. 26–Feb. 18, 2018). A regional premiere from Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes, which looks at the effect of war on a Puerto Rican family.

Bread (April 13–May 6), a world premiere from native Dallasite Regina Taylor. It’s set in Oak Cliff.

The Last Five Years (June 8–July 1). A two-hander musical where a could work out where their relationship went wrong… in reverse. Directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi.

Hand to God (Aug. 3–26). A Tony favorite from a few years ago, this play tells the story of a young man who allows his Christian puppet to roil his suburban Texas community. Schultz will direct.

In addition, two non-season presentations will be offered. The Great Distance Home, a world premiere conceived and directed by Ervi, will be the theater’s holiday show, Dec. 1–17. Then the Out of the Loop Festival appears to give way to Detour: A Festival of New Work, which takes place March 1–4, 2018.


Victory Fund endorses 2 local candidates

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 at 10:21am

Dallas City Council candidate Omar Narvaez

The Victory Fund, a Washington-based organization that provides campaign, fundraising and communications support to LGBTQ candidates to increase the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials, endorsed two local candidates — Omar Narvaez and Johnny Boucher.

Narvaez is running for Dallas City Council. He’s in a crowded race for the District 6 seat currently held by Monica Alonzo, who is running for her fourth term. Six people are on that ballot in that race, including Linus Spiller who is also gay and has run for that seat in previous elections.

Narvaez is a former president of Dallas Stonewall Democrats, whose endorsement he received. Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance also endorsed Narvaez. He currently serves on the Dallas County School Board.

Boucher is a Dallas ISD teacher who is running for Grand Prairie ISD school board. Dallas Voice ran a profile of the candidate earlier this year.

Early voting began on Monday, April 24 and runs through May 2. Election Day is May 6. Runoffs in races where no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote will be held on June 10 with early voting from May 29 through June 5.


‘A Very Sordid Wedding’ adds more Dallas screenings (VIDEO)

Posted on 24 Apr 2017 at 10:37pm

As I wrote about last week, A Very Sordid Wedding had its Dallas debut Friday at the Texas Theatre, and added more screenings over the weekend, in addition to two more tomorrow. They have all be sell-outs, so the Texas Theatre has already added five more dates, through May 4. The dates/times are: Wednesday, April 26 at 9:15 p.m.; Sunday, April 30 at 6 p.m.; Tuesday May 2 at 6 p.m.; Wednesday, May 3 at 7 and 9:20 p.m.; and Thursday, May 4 at 6 p.m.

If you need even more reasons to see it, check out this clip from the film — a Dallas Voice exclusive.