Resource Center Dallas calls out Dwaine Caraway for anti-LGBT lyrics in latest anti-sagging song

Posted on 09 Jul 2012 at 5:34pm

Dwaine Caraway

Last week we told you that Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway had unveiled yet another rap song containing homophobic lyrics to promote his anti-sagging-pants campaign. In response to our post, Resource Center Dallas’ Cece Cox sent a letter to Caraway on Monday, calling for him and other city leaders to repudiate the song’s anti-LGBT message.

“It was with great dismay that I read a blog post last week from the Dallas Voice about your renewed campaign to discourage men from wearing saggy pants,” Cox writes. “For the second time in five years, the campaign is using a rap song featuring anti-LGBT lyrics to promote this campaign. According to the Voice, five years ago the lyrics to the song were modified to remove the anti-LGBT content, so I was highly surprised to see them return and be expanded on in the re-launched campaign.

“The Center shares common ground with you on the sagging pants issue; in fact, we agree that dressing without one’s underwear showing is a good idea,” Cox writes. “Our concern is the approach to the campaign and the lyrics to the song. Calling someone on the ‘down low,’ meaning men having sex with men (MSM) and stating it as a put-down, helps promote fear, shame and discrimination against men who are gay or bisexual or are perceived to be gay or bisexual.”

CC’d on Cox’s letter to Caraway are Mayor Mike Rawlings and all of the other council members. For the record, Caraway’s assistant, Sloan Anderson, hasn’t returned our phone calls seeking comment about the song. Cox’s full letter follows after the jump.

July 9, 2012

The Honorable Dwaine Caraway, Dallas City Council
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Street
Dallas, TX 75201
VIA FAX AND E-MAIL

Dear Councilman Caraway:

I am Cece Cox, the executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas. Since 1983, the Center has been a leader in North Texas and statewide advocating for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, and all people affected by HIV/AIDS.

It was with great dismay that I read a blog post last week from the Dallas Voice about your renewed campaign to discourage men from wearing saggy pants. For the second time in five years, the campaign is using a rap song featuring anti-LGBT lyrics to promote this campaign. According to the Voice, five years ago the lyrics to the song were modified to remove the anti-LGBT content, so I was highly surprised to see them return and be expanded on in the re-launched campaign.

The Center shares common ground with you on the sagging pants issue; in fact, we agree that dressing without one’s underwear showing is a good idea. Our concern is the approach to the campaign and the lyrics to the song. Calling someone on the “down low,” meaning men having sex with men (MSM) and stating it as a put-down, helps promote fear, shame and discrimination against men who are gay or bisexual or are perceived to be gay or bisexual.

Furthermore, stigmatizing MSM in the African-American community is counterproductive to efforts to combat a raging HIV infection rate. More than 50% of new HIV infections are taking place in the African- American community. As of 2010, the most recent numbers available, Dallas County leads the state of Texas in per capita numbers of HIV cases. We all must work together to improve the health of our community. The Center, through United Black Ellument and our community health programs, is specifically working to reduce the African-American MSM infection rate, not only in your council district but across all of Dallas County.

Dallas has moved beyond this sort of anti-LGBT rhetoric, and it should not be tolerated. We call on you to remove the song as part of the anti-sagging pants campaign, and call on you and other city leaders to repudiate the song’s anti-LGBT message. I would be glad to discuss this with you via telephone or in person at your convenience.

Best regards,

Cece Cox, J.D.
Executive Director and CEO, Resource Center Dallas 214-540-4425 direct

CC: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of the Dallas City Council

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