All I want for Christmas …

World peace, a new leather jacket and a healthy dose of resoluteness top this list of Christmas wishes

Hardy Haberman
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I received a most unusual early Christmas gift from a couple of dear friends. It is a Christmas ornament, and what makes it unusual is the subject matter: It features a very bearish traditional Santa bent down on one knee smiling broadly. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as ornaments go, except that he is holding a tiny baby Jesus in swaddling clothes.

Say what?

This strange, mixed-up ornament really is meant to hearken back to one Christmas Eve when we were driving around looking at lights and decorations in Highland Park. There on Beverly Drive was a full-blown nativity with shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph and — you guessed it — Santa Claus!

Theologically as well as historically, this just offended my sense of style. Talk about mixing your metaphors! But I guess I should expect it in the rich hole of the donut that is Dallas.

Santa, in the popular imagination, is that jolly fellow who brings you everything your heart desires, especially if you are well-heeled. According to a lot of folks who ascribe to the “prosperity gospel,” he’s a lot like Jesus: If you are good you succeed and if not, well you must have done something wrong to keep you off the “A” list.

It’s no wonder kids grow up confusing the two figures, and in fact, I suspect a lot of kids would much rather have a visit from the Jolly Old Elf than the Prince of Peace.

And that brings me to my point: As we bustle about helping to fuel our slow economic recovery, it’s a good time to take stock of what is really important in your lives.

I have a tradition in which I make a list of what I would ask for each Christmas if I could have anything in the world. Funny thing is, it sounds a lot like a Miss America acceptance speech.

“World peace” is always at the top of the list, followed by a lot of other altruistic wishes before I get down to me.

Now I say this not to claim any moral high ground, for I suspect my list would look a lot like most folks to a point. Oh, my list includes lots of things like a gym membership (that I will use), a new leather jacket to replace the one that has become worn and ratty. It also includes that one thing that doesn’t cost a penny: resoluteness.

I want to remain active and engaged and continue to have fixity of purpose. I want to remain somewhat altruistic when cynicism threatens to get the best of me, to be able to look at silly things and not take them too seriously.

I want to be able to listen to politicians and pundits and not lose faith that I can still make a difference, to be able to write this and not dismiss it as a load of sentimental tripe.
Seriously, what more could anyone ask than that?

It’s not a big deal, just some little purpose that keeps me going and fires my spirit. Now wouldn’t that would be a really nice gift to find under your tree?

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Up, up and away!

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SEE YOU NEXT TRIP | Brian Garrison voted and won. He plans to go to the Caribbean with his husband. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Voting in the Readers Voice Awards paid off for Brian Garrison — he won 2 tickets on American Airlines

Dallas Voice: Congratulations on winning the tickets! I’m jealous. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Garrison: Well, I work in IT, marketing and sales in various industries such as travel, investment banking and telecommunications. I’m a native-born Texan from Austin but raised in Luling, renowned for its barbecue and the Watermelon Thump Festival!

Where were you when you found out you won and how did you react? I was on the way to an early dinner and a movie. I was quite surprised because I thought it might be a solicitation call for donations.

Who is your dream travel companion? That would be my husband and partner, Cory Smith. Seriously!

Oh we believe you. That’s very sweet. Do you know where you’ll be going? I do extensive travel, domestic and international, for work and pleasure, but for this, we plan to go somewhere in the Caribbean, maybe the British Virgin Islands.

Why there? The sun, sand, sin.

You know that’s right. What prompted you to vote? Pardon the pun, but I really wanted my voice to be heard in our community.

What was your favorite category to vote in? Home and gift [Services and Shop].

Did you vote for any friends or yourself at all? No.

You might be our first unbiased voter. OK, so this is your acceptance speech…go! “It is thrilling! I’m so grateful to you all — my wonderful fans who made me a star! Mommie!” I’ve always wanted to say that in public.

And now you have. Have fun on your trip!

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Tom Leppert, Broadway Baptist Church, Chris Colfer at the Golden Globes

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert officially won’t seek re-election this year, and instead likely will run for Senate in 2012. No surprise there, but our biggest question remains unanswered: What does this mean for Leppert’s openly gay chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh? Will he go to work on Leppert’s Senate campaign? Will he find another job at City Hall? Will he go back into broadcast journalism? As of last week, Heinbaugh officially wasn’t saying.

2. Southern Baptists simply can’t seem to get over the fact that Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth treats gay members like human beings. Broadway Baptist has already been kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention and left the Baptist General Convention of Texas over the issue. Now, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is going after the church, albeit indirectly. The seminary wants the Tarrant Baptist Association to vacate an office building it has long occupied on the seminary’s campus, in part because Broadway Baptist is one of the TBA’s members. The seminary also wants the building for a welcome center, but apparently believes the anti-gay excuse sounds more Christ-like.

3. As Arnold Wayne Jones pointed out below, the Golden Globes were about as gay as could be last night. Above is video of Chris Colfer’s acceptance speech.

—  John Wright

Annise Parker tells youth, ‘It Gets Better’

Annise Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s staff has been encouraging her to do an “It Gets Better” video. She took the opportunity to do so during a presentation at the Houston Holocaust Museum on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

The museum presented her with a Guardian of the Human Spirit Award, a platform for acknowledging dedicated Houstonians who have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind.

On its website, the museum listed among the reasons she was given the award was her expansion of the city’s nondiscrimination policies:

One of her early official acts was to issue one of the most comprehensive non-discrimination orders in the nation. The order prohibits discrimination and/or retaliation on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity at every level of municipal government, including hiring, contracting and/or access to city facilities and programs/activities.

Her acceptance speech includes her thoughts on the recent rash of publicized suicides by teens who had been bullied. Her office noted the lighting that makes Parker look radioactive. Prior to her appearance, the content of the speech changed several times and it wasn’t until the last minute that Parker decided to include the “It Gets Better” piece and asked that it be recorded.

—  David Taffet