5 questions with Latisha McDaniel
Latisha McDaniel, 31, is co-chair of the Million Gay March of Texas, an event planned for June 28 in Dallas to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. McDaniel is also a member of United Community Against Gay Hate, Queer Liberaction and DFW BiNet. A native of Louisiana, McDaniel works as a research technician at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She’s lived in Dallas since 2001 and in Oak Lawn since 2005.
How did you get involved with United Community Against Gay Hate?
I found out from a neighbor that someone was starting a neighborhood watch group to make Oak Lawn safer. I’ve lived in the area since 2005, and I didn’t feel safe and was afraid to leave my apartment at night. I was tired of living in fear and wanted to be a part of a group that was going to do something about it. I also met Jimmy Dean, who was brutally beaten last year behind the strip, and I knew I had to do something to help.
In your mind, what can be be done to make the gay entertainment district safer?
Police presence is a plus, but they can only do so much. It’s up to us to look out for each other. Whether it’s collaborating with the Merchants Association, Caven Enterprises or the Tavern Guild, we need to work together. Patrons need to be more aware of their surroundings and report incidents to the police. The city bases crime statistics on reported crimes. I would also consider camera surveillance and courtesy escorts to cars.
How did you get involved with the Million Gay March?
I was online and came across the Web site for Grassroots Equality Network, which is presenting the Million Gay March. I went to the site to see who was planning the march for Texas and saw it was open. So I signed up the next day. The other co-chair, Daniel Cates, also signed up, and Grassroots facilitated our correspondence. The rest is history.
What would you like to see the Million Gay March accomplish?
My ultimate dream is that it’s a catalyst for activism. The march and speeches will provide motivation, but the LGBT booths will provide an outlet. I would like it to be an annual event to not only celebrate our history but also increase our coalition for equality.
Which is harder working in the LGBT community, being African-American or being bisexual?
Being bisexual is much harder. Some members of the LGBT community have preconceived notions about bisexuality. I’ve been called promiscuous, indecisive, confused, and just plain greedy. I’ve been told that marriage equality is not really my fight because I can marry a man and live in heterosexual bliss for the rest of my life. This saddens me because I do feel like I’m a part of this community. It also makes me mad that a community that demands that heterosexuals accept their sexuality and their love does not respect or accept my sexuality.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 5, 2009.