Deep in the heart of Texas lavender style

Posted on 24 May 2007 at 8:48pm
By John Wright Staff Writer

Gay mayoral candidate’s spot in runoff attracts national attention

He hasn’t won the mayor’s race yet, but openly gay Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley’s candidacy already has earned Dallas a place in the national media spotlight.

An article in the Monday, May 28 edition of Time Magazine focuses on Oakley’s candidacy in the context of the city’s changing political climate and thriving LGBT community.

The article, written by gay Time reporter John Cloud, is titled “The Lavender Heart of Texas.”

The edition already has hit many newsstands, and the article can be viewed on the magazine’s Web site.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Pete Webb, president of the Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance, the LGBT community’s chief political advocacy group. “We’ve progressed as a community, we’ve progressed as a city, and I think the article is one aspect of that progression.”

In the article, Cloud notes that Dallas already has several openly gay elected officials, including County Judge Jim Foster, Sheriff Lupe Valdez and District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons.

The print edition of the article includes photos from the Round-Up Saloon, J.R.’s and the Cathedral of Hope.

In his conclusion, Cloud writes that even if Oakley loses, “the culture war in Dallas is, arguably, over.”

“Cosmopolites of various stripes new-rich arrivistes, coastal transplants, the arts community control not only the city but much of the suburban county. To get a feel of old Dallas, the one I remember from the ’80s, you now have to leave Dallas entirely for the exurbs.”

Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said he was “very, very pleased” with the article.

In addition to boosting tourism, he said it could prompt LGBT CEOs and entrepreneurs the types of people who read Time to consider relocating their businesses to Dallas.

“I’m anticipating that this is going to have a very positive impact,” Doughman said.

But depending on the results of the June 16 runoff, he added, it could be just the beginning. Oakley would be the first openly gay mayor to represent any of the nation’s 10 largest cities.

“If Ed gets elected, it’s going to be on CNN and all the major newswires,” Doughman said.

To view the article, go to www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1622593,00.html. There is also a Wall Street Journal Weblog about it at http://blogs.wsj.com/informedreader/2007/05/17/dallas-where-jrs-is-now-a-gay-bar/.

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 25, 2007.

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