Queer locals: The North Texans who defined 2015

Posted on 11 Dec 2015 at 6:30am

We recognize — and remember — those in the North Texas LGBT community who helped define life here in 2015

The LGBT Texan of the Year may be the grand prize of recognition for achievement in a year, but the fact is, 2015 was an accumulation of people and experiences, especially in the Life+Style Section. The following queer locals (including some who ended up being standard-bearers for marriage equality — see sidebar) achieved things in fields like entertainment, sports and community involvement that made the year memorable.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



Kennedy Davenport, runway ruler

The Dallas drag diva went from the stages of North Texas to the final four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, building a slew of fans along the way.




Venny Etienne, sew talented

The local fashion student won an important award last spring that got him a scholarship to study in Paris, and even rocked a fashion show in Los Angeles this past fall. Dallas is full of fashionistas, but he’s really one to look out for.



Arad, model citizen

We knew when we put Arad, a Persian living in Dallas, on the cover of our inaugural swimsuit edition in 2014 that he had sex appeal, but who could have predicted how quickly his star would rise? He’s now the spokes-abs for Andrew Christian underwear, models for the PSA #ReadNaked and one of the most desirable men in the gay world. But we still get to call him a friend.




Casie Caldwell, fierce foodie

She’s opened more than half a dozen restaurants in her career, but the homey stand-alone restaurant Pink Magnolia, led by chef Blythe Beck, is her most ambitious, quickly becoming an Oak Cliff staple.




Sean Baugh, baton master

Following a few rocky years, Baugh stepped up in late 2014 as the new artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, but it was this year he let his vision — and his talent — be known.




Jitin Hingorani, movie maven

Seeing an underserved market in North Texas, Hingorani led the freshman South Asian Film Festival, focusing on filmmakers from the sub-continent, and met with unexpectedly welcome initial success.


Marriage equality icons


Two sets of Dallas comic book store owners — partners Richard Neal and Chris Williams of Zeus (left), and Gabriel Mendez and Kenneth Denson of Red Pegasus (top) — gained their 15 minutes for being among the first same-sex Texans to get married on June 26; actress Whitney Hennen and musician Sara Bollinger (bottom) gained notoriety of their own by becoming the first couple licensed in Denton County… after causing a public fuss about a resistant clerk.




Odessa Jenkins, gridiron guru

The Dallas Elite women’s football team went from total newcomers in 2014 to one touchdown shy of a national championship under the leadership of coach, owner and running back Odessa Jenkins — an O.J. we can all be proud of.




Terry Loftis (above) and Taylor Cleghorn (below), media impresarios

Two North Texans made their Broadway producing debuts with the Kander-Ebb musical The Visit … and netted Tony Award nominations for themselves along the way. They have since gone on to produce the TV show Let’s Go, DFW.

Donald Fowler (above right) Creep-y guy

Long a respected local actor, the first full-scale production of Creep, his musical about Jack the Ripper (he composed and wrote book and lyrics) debuted this fall with a flurry of excitement.





Jonathan Norton, the wright stuff

The young playwright impressed a lot of folks (including local critics) with his award-winning play Mississippi Goddam.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 11, 2015.

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