Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Mayor Laura Miller meet travel writers to talk about Dallas’ gay friendly attitude
Journalists visiting Dallas for the GLBT Press Tour spent their first 24 hours tasting a little culture, cruising the nightclubs on Cedar Springs Road and meeting Sheriff Lupe Valdez for breakfast.
Robert Moore, publisher of the Dallas Voice hosted breakfast on Thursday morning for Valdez and the eight journalists touring Dallas. They met at the Market Diner of Harry Hines Boulevard. Moore said he took them to the popular hangout so the journalists could see a typical restaurant where gay people in Dallas enjoying going.
“When I travel I like to stay with friends and go to the places they enjoy,” Moore said. “I was taking my friends in the gay press to one of my favorite places.”
Valdez said she wanted to meet the journalists for breakfast to help show what all Dallas has to offer. The journalists saw a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale on Wednesday night and visited J.R.’s, Sue Ellen’s and several other nightclubs.
“It is important to show ourselves as we really are,” Valdez said. “We’re not putting on a show. We’re just showing who really are, and that it is quite comfortable for them to be here.”
Valdez said some people in other parts of the country have a misconception about Dallas and are unaware of how GLBT-friendly it is.
Fabrice Tasendo, a Los Angeles resident who is co-publisher of Hyperion Interactive Media’s Gay Web Monkey, said it was his first visit to Dallas.
“It’s been great very nice,” Tasendo said. “I thought I would like it because everybody told me I would.”
Tasendo said he was also enjoying breakfast at the Market Diner, even though he had to ask for advice on how to eat biscuits and gravy.
Aefa Mulholland, a freelance writer for Planet Out/LPI Media who lives in Vancouver, said she also was making her first trip to Dallas.
“It’s been lovely,” Mulholland said. “Everybody has been so hospitable and so kind.”
Mulholland said several people she talked to before the trip wondered why a lesbian would be interested in visiting Dallas. She told them Dallas is so progressive it has elected a lesbian sheriff, she said. “Everybody is blown away by that,” Mulholland said.
Robbie Daw, managing director of Instinct Magazine in Los Angeles, visited Dallas last year on the first GLBT press tour. He said he was delighted to return because he got to meet Valdez on this trip.
Michael Doughman, executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild, said Dallas is overcoming the misconception that it is not gay-friendly. The results of last year’s GLBT press tour has helped to promote Dallas, he said.
“For the first time ever Dallas was finally listed in a publication as one of the top 10 up and coming GLBT destinations,” Doughman said. “We’ve never been on the list before.”
The journalists are meeting with Mayor Laura Miller for lunch, visiting museums, going to baseball and basketball games, touring the Dallas Voice offices and attending numerous receptions and dinners in their honor.
Marchers will travel down Main Street to West 9th Street. The march ends at the federal courthouse.
The march in Dallas, organized primarily by the Dallas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, starts at 1 p.m. at the Guadalupe Cathedral on Ross Street downtown and ends with a rally at Dallas City Hall.
Organizers said they are expecting a large number of people, and are encouraging participants to take DART buses downtown for the march. Buses will be available to take marchers from City Hall back to the cathedral at the end of the event.
Organizers also ask that participants wear white t-shirts as a sign of peace, and that each marcher bring water to drink during the event.
Immigration Equality, a national organization with local chapters in cities around the country, including Dallas, noted that U.S. immigration policies already prohibit GLBT citizens from sponsoring their foreign national partners for immigration benefits and prohibit immigration by HIV-positive people. The bill approved by the House also “jeopardizes the safety” of GLBT and HIV-positive people who face persecution in their home countries and are seeking asylum in the U.S., Immigration Equality said.
The measure’s expansion of employment verification requirements further erodes workers’ privacy and “creates particular dangers for transgender people, whose identity documents may not match their actual gender,” the organization said.
A group of 18 GLBT civil rights organizations, in California and nationally, released a statement Thursday opposing the House of Representatives’ immigration reform bill, calling it “the most draconian political measures targeting the immigrant community in 80 years.”
The statement said the nation’s most vulnerable had become a convenient target for politicians seek conservative voters favor.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 07, 2006.