SMU sends 18 to Midwest LGBT conference

Iowa State University is hosting the 2012 Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay Transgender Ally College Conference Feb. 10-12. One student from Texas Women’s University, 17 from Southern Methodist University’s LGBT group Spectrum and an SMU professor are attending, according to the Daily Campus. Spectrum Co-President Harvey Luna put the group together after attending last year’s conference, according to the SMU newspaper.

Karen Click at SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives called it a national conference for student leaders. She said this is the second year SMU has participated.

“They come back inspired to create change on campus,” she said.

Registration for the event is $80 per person and the group chartered a bus from Dallas.

“The SMU Student Senate paid for them to go,” Click said.

The MBLGTACC conference began in 1991 and takes place annually in the upper Midwest. The goal is to learn new strategies to face problems LGBT students face on campus daily.

Two weeks ago, Youth First Texas hosted a conference of North Texas gay-straight alliances.

—  David Taffet

Starvoice • 10.21.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Seth MacFarlane turns 38 on Wednesday. The creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show has also been a staunch gay ally. He outed Family Guy character Stewie as gay in a 2009 interview with Playboy. Recently, he’s gone in a different direction, putting his usual cartoon voice to song in his debut album Music is Better than Words released in September.

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THIS WEEK

Mars is in Leo, trine Eris and sextile Saturn, helping to focus the recent surge of strong competitive energies. Knowing that you are being watched should help you to apply yourself better and to be more gracious in competition.

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LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
The first step to solving financial worries is to stop tripping about the future. Deal with the present and discuss with someone who has a good grasp of larger issues.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You’re feeling chatty and friendly, but rude remarks slip out causing a lot of trouble. You won’t reach your goals without your teammates. Being ambitious can help draw love your way.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
What people say behind your back is good. It’s because they know you have a good sense of humor. Someone looking out for you will make herself known.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Needing to conquer the world isn’t unreasonable, but don’t overplay it. Sexual divertissements help you relax and be efficient. A deeper metaphysical context for your goals is also helpful.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Friends and family are eager to promote you. Your kindness and generosity will boost theirs. Focusing too much on your work can be tough on your partner. Save energy for your sweetheart.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Future opportunities look brighter. In the real world, making those advances take hard work and thoughtful partnership. Working hard and feeling accomplished helps you look sexy.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Know that you can excel at what you love. Focus your energy, wherever your passion is. That will sustain you through everything else.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Talk to your partner about domestic problems that have been bothering you. The next month can be all about clearing the air and building a stronger relationship. Single? Flirt like crazy.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Resolve whatever problems you have with colleagues. Remember you’re all on the same team. Being tactful is challenging at first, but it will get easier. Give a little and you’ll get a lot in return.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Push yourself to be as resourceful as a drag queen on welfare and encourage others to step back and take the long view. Don’t worry. You can do this.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
You are not your home, family or community. It can be a challenge to let others be themselves. The value of your milieu is that others have different perspectives that you can learn from.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Meditation calms that busy brain, but not your motor mouth. You need to share, but it’s way too much information. Find a good listener among your most caring friends.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Bill Maher gays it up (even more than usual) on HBO’s ‘Real Time’ this Friday

It’s no secret I think Bill Maher is a dangerous (in a good way) comedian, and love that he says what a lot of people feel uncomfortable giving words to (like on particular word he called Sarah Palin at the Winspear earlier this year). He’s proven over and over what a great gay ally he is, and he does so again this week with a roundtable lineup that includes openly gay newsfolk Rachel Maddow and Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, of course, is famously conservative, but he’s also intellectual honest and very pro-gay. Should be a good discussion.

The new episode airs live on Friday at 9 p.m. on HBO, with replays all week (including one at 10 p.m.).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

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Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Beat poet Christopher Carmona signs newest book at Cliff Notes

‘Beat’ of a different drum

Chicano beat poet Christopher Carmona signs copies of his new book Beat. He mentions how queer identity has manifested itself through beat poetry.

“I am an ally and I try to challenge preconceived notions of gender roles such as machoismo and women’s role. My book itself is mostly about being a beat poet, which as you might know is mostly comprised of queer folks — their works and their challenge of rigid sexuality has certainly influenced my work.”

Sounds like a must read.

DEETS: Cliff Notes, 1222 W. Davis St. 7 p.m. Free. Facebook.com/OakCliffNotes.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Ally Empowerment’ tour coming to Dallas

LGBT advocates have long said that the greatest weapon we have in our arsenal when it comes to the battle for LGBT equality is coming out, letting our friends, families and co-workers know that we are LGBT and thereby putting a familiar face on what for many people was a frightening unknown. We cannot win the battle by ourselves; we are in the minority and we need our non-LGBT allies on our side.

With that in mind, Out & Equal Dallas-Fort Worth is bringing the “Out & Equal National Tour on Ally Empowerment” to Dallas on Tuesday, June 21.

David Hall

The day-long session will be held in the South Campus Auditorium at Texas Instruments, 12500 TI Blvd.

According to a press release from Out & Equal DFW: “This multi-city tour features education of and for straight allies, helping to understand the experience, needs and roles that allies can play in our companies and our employee resource groups. This event is especially helpful for executive sponsors, human resource and diversity professionals and ERG members, both LGBT and non-LGBT alike.”

The day begins with Ally Empowerment Training, led by corporate diversity trainer and college instructor David Hall, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (fee for this portion is $30 per person), followed by a reception and afternoon program from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The reception and afternoon program are free and open to all.

To register online or to see a map of the location, go here.

For more information about Out&Equal and the Ally Empowerment tour, go here.

—  admin

Queer Music News: Gaga benefits GLSEN; remembering Kurt Cobain as a gay ally

The country-fied version of Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” has already buzzed around the Internet, but today she makes the song official. She released the song on iTunes today, but a portion of the money for every download will go toward the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which they thanked her for today, also.

Today marks the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. He and his band Nirvana pretty much changed the face of music with their second album Nevermind and introduced the world and radio to grunge music. Cobain was an ally to the community before it became the thing to do. He’s been quoted as identifying as gay in his high school years and speaking out on his disdain for homophobic fans.

In the liner notes of the band’s 1992 compilation release Incesticide, he included: At this point I have a request for our fans. If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us – leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.

He once told Spin magazine, “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they’re out there and it really bothers me.”

Perhaps his most famous gay quote was from the film Kurt Cobain: About a Son which was really audio of never-before-aired interviews placed to imagery that wasn’t of the band. He talked about identifying himself as gay in school and the consequences of it. It’s somewhat mindblowing still to hear him say these words. As the years went on, he discovered he was not gay, but often claimed to be bisexual it was often rumored that he was bisexual. Here’s video from About a Son where he discusses identifying as gay.

—  Rich Lopez

High Tech Happy Hour’s naughty FB friends

High Tech Happy Hour is a “a community service by the TI Pride Network, Texas Instruments’ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight ally (LGBTA) employee diversity group. These events are open to all and everyone is invited. Our informal monthly happy hours and other activities are intended to increase professional and social contacts between our groups and individuals, and to foster a greater sense of community.” When I jumped over to their Facebook page for info on their next event, which is March 11 at The Cedars Social, I couldn’t help but notice the latest posts on their wall.

Guess naughty girls need drinks too. And we needed our chuckle.

—  Rich Lopez

Angela Hunt isn’t running for mayor, and James Nowlin isn’t dropping out of the District 14 race

James Nowlin

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a staunch LGBT ally who represents the heavily gay District 14, tells Unfair Park that she’s opted not to run for mayor in 2011, and will instead seek re-election to her council seat.

But James Nowlin, the openly gay candidate who announced plans to run for Hunt’s District 14 seat when it looked like she’d run for mayor, says he doesn’t plan to withdraw from the race and will challenge her in May.

“Angela made every indication that she was running for mayor, and our campaign team moved forward, and as we were moving forward we received tremendous support from voters across the district,” Nowlin said Wednesday. “Her waiting put the district and the potential candidates in a very awkward position. I’m in to to win it and I’m moving forward to the May 14 election.”

Another potential candidate in District 14, Jim Rogers, has said he won’t run if Hunt seeks re-election. But Nowlin, who was appointed to the Police Review Board by Hunt, said the seat belongs to the voters and he wants to give them a choice.

“I’m not running against anybody,” Nowlin said. “I’m running for the district, and this is about putting the district first.”

The filing period for Dallas city elections begins next week.

—  John Wright

Swearing-In An Ally in Vermont

Last week I was in Montpelier, Vermont to see my friend Peter Shumlin sworn-in as Governor. He is an American hero to supporters of LGBT equality.

As Senate President in 2000, Peter Shumlin worked closely with then-Governor Howard Dean and shepherded through the nation’s first civil unions bill. In 2009, along with House Speaker Shap Smith, Shumlin led the successful legislative effort for his state’s marriage bill (overriding a Governor’s veto with not one vote to spare). Last week, he tapped the Director of Vermont Freedom to Marry, Beth Robinson, who successfully argued in favor of marriage equality before the Vermont Supreme Court, to be his General Counsel.

While those events alone were reason enough to fill me with pride as I sat next to Peter’s wife Deb as Peter took the oath of office, something else stirred my emotions more deeply.

I first got to know then-Minority Leader Shumlin, and Vermont, fifteen years ago. In 1996, the Clinton White House asked me to consider leaving my job in the Administration to run President Clinton’s re-election effort in the Green Mountain State. Peter and I became fast friends as we worked together across the state, to recruit fair-minded legislative candidates and help them get elected. Success that year led to Peter’s ascension to Senate President, and a majority that, several years later, would pass civil unions.

The aftermath of civil unions saw Vermont’s reputation as a friendly and caring state severely tested. Neighbors shunned neighbors, family members shunned their own, and campaign sign wars and a war of words escalated. During the election campaign of 2000, Governor Dean wore a bullet proof vest at public events. Election Day 2000, mere months after enactment of the civil unions law, was a defeat for fair-minded Vermont legislators. While Peter Shumlin held onto his majority in the Senate, and, with HRC’s staff support Howard Dean barely escaped his election needing to be decided by the legislature, House control changed hands.

It would take two election cycles of driving from Brattleboro to Burlington, from St. Albans to St. Johnsbury, recruiting and training candidates, to finally regain fair-minded control of the House.

When I was in the House Chamber in 2009 when Vermont passed the marriage bill, the biggest hugs I received were from those legislators who remembered the tough election after civil unions and were proud that the family of Vermont came back together and lived up to her state motto, “Freedom and Unity.”

And last week, some of the tears of Inaugural joy shed by legislators were by those same fighters for fairness.

Peter's wife Deb and daughters Olivia and Rebecca

Since 1996, I have gotten to know hundreds of Vermont families. I have stayed overnight in too many homes to recall. I have gotten to know Vermonters over breakfast in their kitchens, lunches on park benches and dinners on their lawns.

I have seen Peter Shumlin’s little girls who used to jump on my bed at six in the morning grow into articulate but still fun-loving and beautiful women. Vermont has taught me to cherish one’s connection to nature and neighbor more than the political connection.

Today, as we demand results quickly, as we are too quick to judge, as we chat more on Facebook and have fewer meaningful conversations looking into someone’s eyes, I, like the hundreds of people in the Vermont State House was brought to tears hearing the Vermont State Song sung by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Choir: “Home is where the heart is and these Green Mountains are my home.”

Peter Shumlin fought hard and sacrificed to become Governor of Vermont, but his victory is rightfully savored by so many because Vermonters know that progress takes time; equality does not have a button on a microwave. His parents, his family, his colleagues, former Governors, and even his political opponents recognize that Peter and hundreds of others have fought for years to make Vermont and our country live up to her ideals.

Vermont may be a small state, but it has done great things for our country. Under Peter’s leadership, watch Vermont continue to make us all sing, America, the Beautiful.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin