Israeli man denies being ex-governor’s boy toy

By Ramit Pluhshrick-Masti – Associated Press

Former high-level state employee defends reputation as McGreevey stumps for his tell-all, newly-released book



Golan Cipel

JERUSALEM An Israeli man who served as homeland security adviser to James McGreevey said Monday that he never had a gay relationship with the former New Jersey governor, whom he accused of sexually assaulting him.

Saying that McGreevey lied about their relationship in his new book, Golan Cipel told The Associated Press that the governor sexually assaulted him on two occasions and sexually harassed him on a third.

McGreevey resigned as governor in August 2004, announcing that he was gay. McGreevey aides said at the time that the governor was forced to leave of-fice because Cipel, whom McGreevey says was his lover, was trying to extort money from the governor on false sexual assault allegations.

Cipel said McGreevey’s attorney offered him at least $2 million in a negotiation with his attorney to try to keep the sexual assault allegations out of court. In the end, McGreevey’s attorney decided against a settlement, fearing the story would leak to the media in any case, Cipel said.

Cipel said he was speaking out now because he felt McGreevey’s book distorted the truth,

“People told me, “‘Leave it alone. Move on with your life,’” he said in a telephone interview. “But now when I read McGreevey’s book and I see that he is twisting every incident that I accused him of, I will no longer remain quiet … I am not afraid of him anymore.”

Cipel spoke at length to the AP, but declined to give full details of the three incidents. He sent an eight-page e-mail he had written describing them.

In the statement, Cipel said that though McGreevey had made inappropriate advances toward him twice, it was the third incident that finally forced him to leave his post.

That incident occurred when he was accompanying McGreevey in a van on a trip to Washington D.C., he said. Three state troopers rode in the front seat, the governor lay on a mattress in the middle of the van and Cipel was sitting in the back seat when suddenly McGreevey grabbed his leg and began masturbating, Cipel said.

After a struggle, Cipel pulled his leg back and was poised to kick McGreevey in the throat when the governor let go and retreated into a corner of the van, Cipel wrote.

“The scene appeared surreal,” he wrote.

Cipel said that when they arrived in Washington, he was shocked to find himself booked into the same suite as McGreevey. He locked himself in the bathroom and spent a fitful night trying to sleep on a towel spread on the floor.

McGreevey does not mention the incident in his book, “The Confession.”

“He couldn’t because I’m convinced it didn’t take place,” McGreevey’s lawyer, William Lawler, told The Associated Press on Monday.

Lawler said that when Cipel’s lawyer first mentioned the incident two years ago, “there was no mention of masturbation. It was alleged to be a sexual act in which Golan participated.”

Lawler said the troopers failed to substantiate Cipel’s claims in interviews. “Jim denies that it happened and so do the troopers,” Lawler said.

Cipel said the van incident was preceded by two others. In the first, McGreevey assaulted him after getting drunk, Cipel wrote in his statement. In the second, McGreevey, lying in bed recovering from a broken leg, masturbated in front of him, Cipel said.

In the book, McGreevey said he and Cipel had a months-long affair that began in December 2001 when his wife was in the hospital after delivering their daughter. McGreevey describes the first kiss in his life that meant something and lovemaking that was “a boastful, passionate, whispering, masculine kind of love.”

In the interview with AP, Cipel said he was not gay and never had a relationship with McGreevey. He said he was not particularly close with the governor, who had surrounded himself with a group of younger male aides whom he liked to joke around with.

“He talked a lot about sex, like what you did with your girlfriend and who you had sex with. He would go with these guys to the gym, and exercise and shower with them. But it all seemed very regular … not anything gay,” he said.

Cipel said he had several girlfriends while living in New Jersey, one of whom he introduced to the governor.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Eastman to headline Greater Dallas MCC Homecoming weekend

By Staff Reports

Denomination’s vice moderator will lead training session for church board members, speak at Sunday service



The Rev. Don Eastman

The Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas marks 36 years of Metropolitan Community Churches in Dallas on Sunday with its Homecoming Celebration, featuring the Rev. Elder Don Eastman, former pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas. Services begin at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church, Two Metro Square Building C, 2735 Villa Creek Dr, Ste 290.

The weekend-long celebration gets underway Friday with a reception for Eastman at 6:30 p.m. at the church.

Eastman will also lead a development training session for the church’s board members and potential board members, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Members of Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Harvest Metropolitan Community Church in Denton, Promise Metropolitan Community Church in Oak Cliff and Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church are also participating.

Sunday’s worship services will also include the Rev. Colleen Darraugh, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas; the Rev. Steven Pace, executive director of AIDS Interfaith Network and another former pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas; the Rev. Kaye Lee; and the church’s music director, Steven Couch.

A luncheon in honor of Eastman will follow the worship service.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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No smooching allowed

By David Webb Staff Writer

Gay couple admonished for kissing, snuggling on American Airlines flight, pilot threatens to divert plane

Don’t even think about smooching the next time you and your beloved fly anywhere it could get you diverted.

The Sept. 25 issue of The New Yorker included a report about a couple who flew home from Paris to New York on American Airlines Flight 45 in August. The couple that had been together for only four months described their trip abroad as being “like a honeymoon.”

After the plane took off, the couple took turns leaning their heads on each other’s shoulders and exchanging kisses, according to the magazine article. It sounded like a pretty harmless incident, and one you might expect to see on any long plane flight.

But this was a gay male couple, and they soon learned that they had offended someone on that plane. A flight attendant awakened the dozing television journalist and his writer boyfriend and told them to “stop the kissing and touching.”

The startled men complained about the admonishment, found brief support from another airline employee and finally were advised by the airplane’s captain that the plane would be diverted (and you know what that means) if they continued to argue with crewmembers about the incident. They were advised other passengers had complained about their behavior, prompting the flight attendant to scold them.

Even though three other passengers sitting near them were on their side, the two men, George Tsikhiseli and Stephan Varnier, quit complaining to the flight crew. One of the supportive passengers described the couple as reminding him of “lovebirds,” an innocent impression that apparently was not shared by some of the other passengers and crew.

As things tend to go no doubt much to the distress of airline executives the story attracted the attention of The New Yorker. The magazine in turn contacted American Airlines.

An American Airline spokesman was quoted in the article as saying the flight attendant’s actions were reasonable, and the matter would have been handled the same regardless of whether the couple was gay or straight. The spokesman said he understood that the “level of affection was more than a quick peck on the cheek.” I guess that’s the standard only a quick peck on the cheek is allowed.

The only problem I have with that explanation is that during 30 years of plane travel plenty of it on American Airlines I’ve seen romantic activity occur between straight couples. It never occurred to me that I could ask the flight attendant to make them quit kissing or ask them to sit up in their seats.

Even it had occurred to me, I wouldn’t have done that. I’ve learned the art of averting my eyes when I am witnessing intimate moments between couples. I really can’t imagine anyone asking a flight attendant to stop a couple from kissing or embracing.

The question nagging at me now despite the airline’s spokesman’s claims to the contrary was a double standard applied in this case? Would the flight attendants ask a straight couple to stop necking?

I turned to Tim Kincaid, manager of corporate communications for American Airlines for an answer. He is, by the way, gay and involved in a committed relationship.

“If a customer gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight finds another customer’s behavior inappropriate and intrusive, and also complains to the flight attendant, the crew member will evaluate the situation and take action based on the reasonableness of the complaint, the information available, possible safety and order implications and consideration to the safety, comfort and well-being of all involved,” Kincaid said. “That may or may not mean asking that the activity cease the complaint may be unreasonable. We have to rely on judgment and experience applied in a very even-handed way to make the flight experience safe foremost, and comfortable and relaxing for all.”

Kincaid said that in the case of Flight 45, the crew determined that the customers’ activities were inappropriate for a commercial airplane regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of those involved.

As Kincaid notes, American Airlines has over the years earned a solid reputation in the LGBT community for fairness and equality in the workplace and marketplace. It scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s recently-released 2006 Corporate Equality Index.

In all fairness to American Airlines, it needs to be conceded that the flying public probably just isn’t ready to grant the same privileges to gay and lesbian couples that it will to straight couples. What seemed outrageous for a gay couple might not even have attracted attention if it had involved a straight couple.

It remains to be seen whether a flight attendant would take such a complaint from a gay person against a straight couple seriously, but something tells me someone is going to give it a try. It won’t be me though. I think we’ve got more serious things to worry about these days when we fly.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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LifeWalk steps off on Oct. 1

By Staff and Wire Reports

Event to benefit AIDS Arms, other local AIDS service organizations

The 16th annual AIDS LifeWalk is set for Oct. 1 in Lee Park, 3400 Turtle Creek Blvd. Registration for the walk starts at noon, with the walk stepping off at 1 p.m.

The LifeWalk festival runs from noon to 6 p.m., and will include live music, food concessions, beer and wine, vendors, information booths, an SPCA Mobile Adoption van and a Jack FM “kids area” complete with a bounce house, balloon clown, face painters and dunking booths.

The LifeWalk raffle drawing, featuring a seven-night cruise and two round-trip tickets on American Airlines, will conclude the event.

Former Texas State Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt is honorary chair for LifeWalk 2006, and local radio and TV news personalities will also participate throughout the day.

Proceeds will benefit AIDS Arms, the organization that presents the event, along with the Greg Dollgener Memorial Fund, Dallas Legal Hospice and the Resource Center of Dallas.

AIDS LifeWalk has raised more than $6 million since 1991.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Local Briefs

Dallas resident Lash named to board of national LGBT media watchdog

Cordey Lash of Dallas, national account manager for GLBT Strategic Partnerships for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, has been named to the board of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Lash, who joined Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in 2002, has participated in a number of advisory corporate boards including the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advisory Council, Men of Essence’s board and the South-Central Region of Lambda Legal Leadership Council.

Jones Walker home furnishings store opening new location in Plano

Dallas-based home furnishings store Jones Walker will open a new location at Lakeside Market in Plano, according to a statement released by the president, Max Jones.

Jones-Walker specializes in custom-upholstered seating, unique accessories and original artwork. The company opened its doors in 2002 and in 2003 was named “Best Newcomer” by D Magazine. It’s Web site, www.joneswalkerfurniure.com, created by Squires and Company, won the “Outstanding Website Award” in 2004 by the Web Marketing Association.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Deaths

Richard G. Jones, 50, of Dallas, died of septic shock on Sept. 10 at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Jones was a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., and had resided in the Dallas area for the past 30 years. He was employed with EDS.

Jones is survived by his partner and friend, Frank O’Donnell, who said he is “thankful for the wonderful things Richard brought into my life and blessed to have had the opportunity to be there for him. I know that in his transition to another life, he has found his answers.”

Graveside services were held in Crystal Springs, Miss.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Soundout

By Tammye Nash Staff Writer

5 questions with Angela Amos



Angela Amos is co-chair of Dallas Southern Pride 2006, titled “Paparazzi: In Focus.” The annual black gay Pride celebration begins on Thursday. Most events take place at the Radisson Hotel Dallas Love Field, host hotel for the event.

How long does it take to plan Dallas Southern Pride each year?
I have been involved for the last three years. This is my second year as co-chair. Planning the Southern Pride events usually takes between eight and 12 months. I think we started meeting to plan this year’s Pride celebration back in March.

How is Dallas Southern Pride different from previous black gay Pride celebrations in Dallas?
We are a community-based and community-focused nonprofit organization that stresses Pride celebrations that are more than just parties. Our events are designed to empower and educate people as well as entertain them. We changed the name last year because we didn’t want to exclude anyone.

What other organizations are you involved with?
I am president and one of the founders of Women of Distinction, which has been around since 1996. We are a not-for-profit organization designed to educate and empower and entertain the GLBT community. We party for a purpose a portion of the proceeds from every event goes back to some organization, and our focus right now is one women and children. I also volunteer with an organization dealing with heart disease among African-Americans.

Do you have a partner?
My partner is Elizabeth Eastman-Stewart, who is the PR person for Dallas Southern Pride. We will celebrate our fourth anniversary on Nov. 8. We own a real estate company together, Alternative Housing Solutions, and we specialize in refurbishing homes for low-income families. Our passion is helping people in need. We balance one another, complement each other. We have the same passions and that helps keep our relationship strong

What do you think are your best qualities?
I am very passionate about everything I do, and I love giving back. Anytime you are in a position to bless someone, to help someone, you should do that. That’s what drives me in everything I do.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Query of the Week

By David Webb Staff Writer

Who do you plan to support for governor of Texas?

If Rick Perry is running, I’m not going to vote for him. I don’t know much about the others.

Delisa Beales
Medical coder

I’m undecided. I don’t know who, but not Rick Perry.

Jenni Malmquist
Railcar coordinator

I like Kinky Friedman myself.

Deanna Harris
Bartender

I feel conflicted because I’ve always been a Democrat at heart. But I don’t want Perry to win so I’m going to vote for one tough grandma, as Carole Keeton Strayhorn calls herself.

Mark-Brian Sonna
Actor

I was leaning toward Kinky Friedman, but now I’m thinking about Chris Bell I think because of all the signs in the parade.

Richard Henry
Accounting

Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask? E-mail it to staff writer David Webb at webb@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Pet of the Week


Foxy is a friendly 20-month-old, black-and-tan Australian shepherd mix. She weighs about 40 pounds and is good with other dogs. She’s an energetic dog who would love to live with someone with an active lifestyle. Foxy is spayed, vaccinated, microchipped and on heartworm preventive.

Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, 3201 Earhart Drive (near Keller Springs Road and Midway Road), Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Thursday) and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Cost to adopt is $110 for cats and kittens and $135 for dogs and puppies. The cost includes spay or neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations and other tests. Those 65 and above and those who adopt two pets at the same time get a $20 discount. For more information call 972-418-PAWS, or visit www.operationkindness.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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Celebrity Watch

Alanis romances lesbian doctor



Alanis Morrisette

You should know that Alanis Morissette is more than just an angsty singer; she’s an actress, to boot.

(Did you catch her zippy turn as God in Kevin Smith’s “Dogma”?)
Her latest thespian turn will be a lesbian one, as she pops up on FX’s “Nip/Tuck” for three episodes as a love interest for Liz, the show’s lesbian anesthesiologist, played by sexy Roma Maffia.

Morissette’s run on the popular cable drama which is currently boasting guest appearances by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Catherine Deneuve, Brooke Shields and Kathleen Turner, among others kicks off Oct. 31.

But sorry to disappoint those looking for lesbian plotlines from Morissette off-screen we hear she’s still happily entangled with abs-enhanced actor Ryan Reynolds.

Keener and Whitford commit “‘An American Crime’

The luminous Catherine Keener on something of a hot streak since “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Capote” will star in “An American Crime,” based on the true story of a suburban housewife who kidnapped a teenage girl and kept her locked up in a basement in 1960s Indiana.

Rising star Ellen Page (“X3,” “Hard Candy”) portrays the abductee, and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60″) will play a prosecuting attorney. James Franco (“Flyboys”) also stars for gay director Tommy O’Haver, whose credits include “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss” and “Ella Enchanted.”

And if it all sounds rather dark, just look to lesbian super-producer Christine Vachon’s attachment to the project. She’s good at getting that kind of stuff made.

Anticipate this twisted drama to surface in theaters sometime in 2007.

“‘Last Dance’ boogies toward Broadway

The name Paul Jabara might not mean much to you younger readers. But back in the 1970s, this gay songwriter was responsible for many of the great hits of disco, including “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” “The Main Event,” the gay anthem “It’s Raining Men” and the Oscar-winning “Last Dance.”

Of course, these days, you’re not a truly important songwriter until someone turns your work into a Broadway musical, so Jabara is getting his moment in the footlights: “Last Dance,” his very own “Mamma Mia!” if you will, is being developed under the direction of Philip McKinley, who guided Hugh Jackman to a Tony in the Peter Allen musical, “The Boy from Oz.”

“Last Dance” will premiere in summer 2007 at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, N.Y., with an eye toward Broadway.

Director Fox bursts “‘Bubble’

Director Eytan Fox (“Yossi and Jagger”) is no stranger to controversy, but he may not have been prepared for the international anger over his new film, “The Bubble.”

The film recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, but it’s already angering audiences worldwide.

For one thing, it’s a love story between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian refugee. And on top of that, they’re both gay.

But while people on both sides of the ongoing Middle East conflict may be griping about the movie often without having bothered to see it first gay critics have acclaimed the sexy love story, calling it both touching and timely.

American audiences will have their own opportunity to see for themselves when the movie opens in the U.S. next year.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.

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