Sessions: Pulse wasn’t a gay nightclub

Posted on 15 Jun 2016 at 11:18am
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hijacked identity: Man says he didn’t send threatening message to Krystal Summers

Posted on 14 Jun 2016 at 5:35pm
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The man who said his online dating site profile was hacked to send a threatening message to a Dallas transgender woman received this text on Tuesday after Dallas Voice blogged about the dating site threat.

A man who asked that his name be withheld for his safety has contacted Dallas Voice to say that he has received threatening text messages after someone using his online dating profile and his photos sent threatening messages to high-profile Dallas performer Krystal Summers, as detailed here on InstanTEA.

The man — let’s call him Mr. X, just for the sake of clarity — contacted Dallas Voice by phone around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. He said that he only recently moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and that he hasn’t used the online dating service in at least six months.

Mr. X said that since the original post appeared on Dallas Voice’s InstanTEA blog, he has received a vicious text that has left him feeling threatened and unsafe, just as the dating site message made Krystal feel threatened and unsafe.

Mr. X has said he will — and we have heartily encouraged him to — contact the online dating site to let them know that his profile has been hacked. He also said he will be reporting the threatening text to police, and again, we strongly encouraged him to do so.

We posted the blog about the dating site message to Krystal in the first place because she was threatened. Especially in light of what happened early Sunday morning in Orlando, we won’t let such threats go unchecked! We “put him on blast,” so to speak, because we wanted people in our community to know that they should steer clear of him.

BUT, the thing is, we told people to steer clear of him. We DID NOT SAY hunt him down and threaten him. Especially if someone else hacked his account and used it to send nasty, threatening messages. And since we didn’t include his name or his phone number — we didn’t even KNOW his name and phone number — someone went out and actively hunted down that information so they could send threatening messages to him.

And you know what, even there was no hacking and even if he actually were the one who sent the messages, we don’t condone threatening him. Seriously. That is illegal. Don’t do it. Just stay away from him.

Here are a couple of things we do know: The original post about the threatening message to Krystal has been read and shared thousands of times. Thousands. The profile from which the message was sent was taken offline — by whom? don’t know — within just a few hours of the blog being posted. We got messages late Monday night via Facebook that other women had “been having problems” with the same person that sent the message to Krystal.

And this afternoon, Mr. X called to say he is being threatened and that he is not the one using his profile to send messages to or harass anyone. Mr. X has promised to send us screen caps of the threatening texts he has received; we’ll add those images to this post as soon as we receive them.

 

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Please, not again

Posted on 14 Jun 2016 at 3:16pm

Lesliex McMurrayI’ve only been to Orlando once. It was a work trip when I was the program director for WKLS-FM in Atlanta. We were, at the time, the flagship station for the Atlanta Braves radio network and I went down for a week during spring training. The Braves worked out in Orlando and played spring training at Cracker Jack Stadium.

We stayed at the Disney complex, in the Animal Kingdom. We played tourist at night and took care of work stuff during the day. It was a fun week. Orlando struck me as a clean, well-planned and overall very friendly city.

Sunday morning, June 12, when I woke to the news of the horrific attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, my first thought was, “Please no; not again.”

But it had happened again.

As I learned more about the events of the early morning hours of June 12, my thoughts were of what had to be confusion mixed with absolute terror as those inside Pulse realized what was happening. Someone with guns and a boatload of hatred was killing people he didn’t know for a reason I will never understand.

My next thought was of my partner Katie: What if we were in a club with friends, having a good time and something like this happened? And what if we were separated and couldn’t find one another?

That’s when the tears came, as I thought of those who lived that awful reality.

Later in the day, I wanted to connect with friends on Facebook, but I had to navigate an obstacle course of opportunism and more hate.

There was a tweet of a bible verse from a Texas state official (his office took it down and claimed it was pre-scheduled). Some took to social media to push gun control, or wall building or anti-Muslim sentiments.

Politics in all its ugly glory was on display.

Meanwhile, police in Orlando were calling moms and dads and brothers and sisters to tell them news that would change their lives forever — that their son or daughter or brother or sister had died in a hail of bullets in a nightclub, possibly because some sick, twisted people in Iraq or Syria hate gay people.

I don’t understand it. I really don’t. Why can’t we just love each other?

I know, it sounds so idealistic and naive but it’s also possible. It costs nothing — and it just might work.

Now isn’t the time to turn our backs on our Muslim brothers and sisters. From what I know of their religion, they no more condone this kind of extremism than do most Christians. Fear begets fear. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate.

An eye for an eye, and the whole world is blind.

I weep for the victims. They were just out having a good time with friends or partners. They did nothing to deserve this. Their families will be shattered forever, lives changed in an instant.

The survivors will never forget where they were when this lunatic opened fire. The pain they must be feeling is unimaginable.

What is so frustrating to me is the feeling of impotence. I can’t seem to find anything productive to do about it. Katie and I went to the vigil Sunday night in Dallas, mostly to give and receive the moral support we and others so desperately needed.

I just can’t figure out why anyone would want to kill us because we love each other. I want to do something — anything — that is meaningful, helpful. Something that will keep this from ever happening again.

But I got nothin’.

The enemy isn’t guns. The enemy isn’t a religion. The enemy isn’t even a person.

It’s an ideology. How do you fight that? You can’t shoot an ideology. You can’t outlaw it. You can’t build a wall and keep it out.

If our response to this involves gunfire, then we are no better than the deranged person who committed this horrible act. I’m fine with police shooting the individual — but retribution against people we think might share his belief? What if we’re wrong?

Life is so precious. No religion disputes that. Oh, how I wish we could also realize how fragile it is and just love each other. As brothers and sisters. As fellow travelers, each worthy of respect and love.

Over the next few days will come the funerals — lots of them. One question will be asked again and again: Why?

There is no why. No good reason. Just hate.

Maybe we can use it as a wake-up call to reach out and love each other. Maybe we can start during our morning commute, or in the grocery store, or at work. I wish we’d see some love in Austin and Washington, D.C.

Maybe I’m a dreamer? So be it.

But please — Not. One. More. I just don’t think I can take it.

Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com

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Dallas prayer services, Tyler memorial gathering set

Posted on 14 Jun 2016 at 2:24pm

ORLANDO-STRONG

AT SMU

SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and the SMU Office of the Chaplain and Religious life will host A Midday Service of Lament and Prayer in Response to the Tragedy in Orlando, at noon Wednesday, June 15, in Perkins Chapel, 5901 Bishop Blvd.

Dr. Mark Stamm, professor of Worship at Perkins, and SMU Chaplain Steven Rankin will lead the service, which is free and open to the public.

AT RESTLAND

Restland Funeral Home will host an Interfaith Hour of Prayer on Thursday, June 16, beginning at 7 p.m., to give those grieving over the Sunday morning shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando an opportunity to pray for the victims and their families.

Those of all faiths are invited to come light a candle and say a prayer for the victims and their families. There will be a guest register available for attendees to sign, and that book will be sent to Orlando to be shared with the survivors and the families of all the victims.

The service will be held at Restland Memorial Chapel, 130005 Greenville Ave. For information call 972-238-7111.

IN TYLER

Also on Thursday, TAG (Tyler Area Gays, East Texas PFLAG, Pineywoods Voice/Tyler Transgender Support Group, East Texas Islamic Society and Life Covenant Church will join forces to hold a peaceful event, pledging non-violence, to remember and honor the Orlando victims. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Bergfeld Park in Tyler.

The groups “welcome all to stand in a united front against hate, intolerance and senseless violence here and across all borders.” The event will include the reading of the names of all 49 people killed in the attack, following by a moment of silence.

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Grief, anger, vows to overcome at Fort Worth vigil for Orlando

Posted on 13 Jun 2016 at 11:53pm

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A standing-room-only crowd of 500-plus people packed into the sanctuary of Fort Worth’s Celebration Community Church Monday evening, June 13, for a vigil in memory of the victims killed and injured in the Sunday morning shooting at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

After the church’s choir opened the evening with the song “Orphans of God” — There are no strangers; there are no outcasts, there are no orphans of God. So many fallen, but hallelujah, there are no orphans of God — city leaders and pastors and leaders from LGBT and mainstream churches around Fort Worth offered comfort, encouragement and hope.

Mayor Betsy Price spoke of overcoming the kind of evil that lies at the root of the Orlando massacre, and Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald pledged that his department would make every effort to keep similar attacks from happening here. The chief asked the community to always contact his department with any concerns, and he introduced a member of FWPD’s Code Blue Training program who then spoke of her nephew who was killed in the Orlando shooting.

One pastor spoke of gay bars as being sacred places of refuge for LGBT people when there were no churches or other places that offered shelter and comfort. Another recalled the 1973 arson fire at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans in which 32 people were killed. Even as the community grieves for the victims of Orlando, he said, we must realize how far we have come since 1973, as the world grieves with us this time.

Another speaker described his anger, but pledged to put aside anger and instead respond with love. And one woman from a mainstream church apologized that she and many mainstream churches have not stepped up sooner to treat the LGBT community with love and respect.

Ministers read the names of the Orlando dead as a candle was lit for each one. Then Fort Worth District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh lit one candle in honor of all victims of violence, Fitzgerald lit one candle in honor of the first responders, and Price lit one candle in honor of the wounded in Orlando. The service ended with the “passing of the light,” as people moved through the building, using their candles to lit candles held by those standing near them.

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The hate is real … .

Posted on 13 Jun 2016 at 3:23pm

This is Krystal Summers.

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Krystal is a hair stylist and performer here in Dallas.. She is  quite beautiful. She is also a transgender woman.

Krystal has a profile on one of those online dating sites. On that profile, she is honest and upfront about who she is. She has a boyfriend now, and doesn’t use the site. But she logged in today (Monday, June 13), to check an alert saying she had a message. That’s when Krystal had this exchange with a man on the dating site:

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So, you really think that the kind of hatred that helped fuel the killing spree at Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning is an isolated thing? You think only “radical Islamists” espouse that kind of hatred and violence?

Yeah. Sure.

Think again. The hate is real. And it is as close as your keyboard.

 

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Equality Florida sets up GoFundMe Page for Orlando shooting victims

Posted on 13 Jun 2016 at 2:20pm

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Equality Florida, a statewide civil rights organization for Florida’s LGBT community, on Sunday, June 12, set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to support the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Florida.

There were 49 people murdered in the nightclub and another 53, at least, injured. The gunman was killed by police, bringing the death toll to 50.

The goal for the fundraising effort is $2.5 million. As of 2 p.m. Monday, June 13, the effort had already collected $2,094,435.

Equality Florida is working with the National Center for Victims of Crime, which deployed funds in both the Chattanooga and Aurora shootings, to distribute the contributions collected through the GoFundMe page. NCVC offers support to communities affected by mass casualty events in the form of the National Compassion Fund, and ensure that every penny donated will be correctly and quickly dispersed to the victims and families.

Victims of the Orlando shooting are asked to call VictimConnect Resource Center at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846) to begin the process of receiving funds.

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Texas Stonewall Dems issue statement on Orlando

Posted on 13 Jun 2016 at 1:56pm

Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus President Eli Olivarez issued the following statement:

“As our LGBTQ community and our allies celebrated Pride Month, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida was the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Too many souls were lost to hate, and too many are now injured. Our country is in mourning.

“Our nation will have to deal with this horrific tragedy of terrorism, hate crimes and mass shootings. Discrimination and hatred against LGBTQ community is clearly something we’ve lived with for decades, and even in these days of progress in equality for the LGBTQ community, we once again witness the brutality of bigotry.

“We must ask ourselves once again, who are we as a nation and what do we stand for? The answer is simple; we stand for freedom, equality, justice and liberty for all. The vigils across Texas and the Democrats who stood with the LGBTQ community show us that we will always come together and march forward. That is who we are, and that is what we do.

“Our hearts go out to the Orlando LGBTQ community, the lives lost, and their families. ”

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