Arlington full of hate, Abodo survey says

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The housing web site Abodo recently conducted a survey, as part of its “Best Places to Live” study, on what are the most and least hateful states/cities based ” language Americans use when tweeting about different races, ethnicities, genders, religions, and sexual orientations.”

Guess which state placed third on the most hateful list. Yep, it was Texas, with 929 per 100,000 tweets including derogatory — aka hateful — language. Louisiana was in first place, with 1,155 per 100,000 tweets with derogatory language. Nevada barely beat out Texas for the No. 2 spot with 929 per 100,000 tweets including hateful language. Rounding out the top 10 were, in order of hatefulness, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, California, Michigan, Georgia and Rhode Island.

(Rhode Island? Really?)

The survey also breaks down the hate, by state and by city, based on which particular slurs are used — anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-woman, anti-gay/lesbian and anti-transgender. The study also includes information on which states generated the most tweets with language that was derogatory toward the cognitively disabled and/or derogatory toward those who are overweight.

There are six charts included in the study that compare derogatory tweets on specific subjects by city — two on anti-woman tweets, one including “bitch” as a keyword, and one without — and at least one Texas city makes the top 10 on all six lists. And, here’s the interesting part, Arlington, Texas makes the top 10 on every list but the anti-trans list.

Let’s go subject by subject (each number is derogatory tweets per 100,000).

First of all, lets talk LGBT topics.

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Anti-gay/lesbian: Suprisingly enough, Buffalo, N.Y. claims the No. 1 spot on this list with 168 tweets per 100,000. And good ol’ Arlington is right up there at No. 2 with 161. The only other Texas city to make this list is Corpus Christi at No. 10 with 122. I admit, I was surprised to see that five California cities were on this list, including Riverside, Fontana, Bakersfield, Modesto and Oxnard. Round out the top 10 are Lincoln at No. 5 and New Orleans at No. 10.

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Anti-transgender: This one, quite frankly, really surprised me. The No. 1 city for anti-transgender tweets is Las Vegas, with 99 per 100,000. It also surprised me that not one Texas city — not even Arlington — is in the top 10. Instead, Florida and California cities dominate.  Following Las Vegas, from No. 2 through No. 10, are Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pittsburgh and — believe it or not — San Francisco.

San Francisco registered 15 anti-transgender tweets per 100,000. Maybe that doesn’t sound like many, but it was No. 10 on the list. San Francisco registered more anti-transgender tweets than any city in Texas!

Moving on.

Anti-black:Baltimore leads with 82. Arlington is No. 5 with 56, and Garland, Texas isNo. 9 with 51. Others in the top 10 are, Atlanta, New Orleans, Newark,Norfolk, Lincoln, Buffalo and Madison (Wisconsin).

Anti-Hispanic: Bakersfield, Calif., was No. 1, with 24. Garland is No. 6 on this list, with 14, and Arlington is right behind at No. 7, with 13.  San Antonio makes the list in the No. 10 spot. Six of the 10 are California cities — Chula Vista, Modesto, Fontana, Riverside and Morena Valley (Nos. 1-5 and No. 7). Rounding out the top 10 is Miami at No. 9.

Anti-woman, including “bitch”: New Orleans is No. 1, with 3,696. Houston is No. 4 with 2,353, and Arlington is No. 6 with 2,252. Also in the top 10 are Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark, Detroit and Norfolk.

Anti-woman, excluding “bitch”: Atlanta takes the top spot here, with 1,580, and Arlington — the only Texas city on this particular list — is No. 3 with 1,253. Also in the top 10 are Newark, New Orleans, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Oakland.

To read the entire study, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

Get your tickets for Gay Day at Six Flags

Six FlagsDallas Pride Weekend is just around the corner, which means you’ve gotta budget your time and wallet for how to spend the festivities. Well, here’s a shout-out to one of the best deals out there: Dallas Voice’s Gay Day at Six Flags. For years, we’ve sponsored this annual out-and-proud celebration, that gets you into the park for only $36.50 (plus tax) and includes parking. That saves you more than 50 bucks.  Don’t wait too long, though — you have to buy your tickets online beforehand — they won’t be available at the gate. Click here for the link, and enjoy rides, food and more. This has been a great year to be gay, let your rainbow colors fly.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Regional election round up: Arlington, Fort Worth, elsewhere

Betsy Price

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price was uncontested for re-election.

A majority of incumbents cruised to re-election in Arlington, Fort Worth and elsewhere across Tarrant County with only a few upsets:

Fort Worth:

Five members of the Fort Worth City Council were challenged in their re-election bids. Facing nominal opposition, Districts 5, 7 and 8 Council members Gyna Bivens, Kelly Gray and Dennis Shingleton won their re-election by double digits. Meanwhile District 4 Councilman Danny Scarth lost to challenger Cary Moon 2,266 to 1,520. District 2 Councilman Sal Espino squeaked by challenger Steve Thornton 1,171 to 1,144, a difference of 27 votes. Mayor Betsy Price and council members Ann Zadeh, Jungus Jordan and W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman faced no opposition.

Fort Worth ISD trustees Tobi Jackson, Judy Needham and Ann Sutherland all cruised to re-election over their opponents. District 5 Trustee Needham defeated perennial candidate Linda LaBeau in her re-election bid 3,528 to 765. District 2 Trustee Jackson bested two candidates by wide margins, 1,264 to first time candidates Rev. Sultan Cole’s 446 and Joel Aguilar’s 195. Cole, as reported Friday, was recorded making statement against the LGBT community. District 6 Trustee Sutherland defeated former district administrator Celia Speer 2,655 to 1,605. District 3 Trustee Christene Moss faced no opponent.

Arlington:

Jeff Williams upset longtime mayor Dr. Robert Cluck 15,499 to 10,461. Two other opponents divided the remaining 730 votes. Residents also resoundingly vote to ban red light cameras 15,885 to 10,808. Two incumbents, AISD Place 1 and 2 Trustees Gloria Pena and Peter Barron were narrowly defeated while Place 3 Trustee Aaron Reich narrowly eked out a win. All incumbent council members breezed to re-election.

Elsewhere:

Tarrant Regional Water District incumbents Jim Lane and Marty Leonard bested challengers Keith Annis, Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner by wide margins. TRWD races are at-large with voters picking two candidates.

Additionally, candidates backed by numerous conservative leaders and groups were resoundingly defeated in their bids for nonpartisan office across northeast Tarrant County, according to an analysis of various endorsements.

A full round up of final votes can be found here.

—  James Russell

Final suspect in Arlington graffiti hate crime sentenced to 3 years probation

Daniel Sibley

Daniel Sibley

The last of five teen suspects was sentenced this morning for a graffiti spree in June 2012 in Arlington that included anti-gay slurs spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Daniel Damian Sibley, 19, was sentenced to three years probation for the state jail felony charge causing $1,500 to $20,000 in damage. Sibley is the last of the five teens to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty in March instead of taking his case to trial.

Sibley, who has a prior record, received the harshest sentence of the four adults involved. His sentence is not deferred adjudication, so his arrest and sentencing will remain on his record.

He was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service at AIDS Outreach Center or a similar organization, as well as an intensive outpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Sibley has a case pending for possession of marijuana.

—  Dallasvoice

BREAKING: Zedler withdraws LGBT resource center amendment

State Rep. Bill Zedler

State Rep. Bill Zedler

Arlington state Rep. Bill Zedler withdrew his amendment that would defund LGBT resource centers at state universities when it hit the House floor tonight amid cheers from the gallery.

Matthew Posey, Zedler’s legislative director, told Dallas Voice Thursday afternoon that it’d be “pulled down.” He declined to comment on the decision to remove the amendment.

News of the amendment that stated LGBT and gender centers caused high-risk behavior and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases created an uproar among LGBT advocates.

Petitions and letters opposing the amendment were sent to lawmakers this week.

Daniel Williams, field organizer with Equality Texas, said the organization had been preparing for the amendment for the past year after a similar one from the previous session was filed, which was withdrawn after pressure to stall the appropriations bill.

“Because of Equality Texas’ outreach, there was massive public outcry about the amendment,” he said. “Zedler was under tremendous pressure to remove it.”

Three other amendments that would have some impact on the LGBT community were considered.

An amendment filed by state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, was adopted and will allot grant money to school districts for suicide prevention, mental health and substance abuse programs.

State Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, withdrew his amendment that would collect data on the number of LGBT people under the age of 24 who seek mental health services.

An amendment by state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, was tabled. The measure would require school districts to make reports based on alleged discriminatory incidents based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and other categories.

Amendments are still being debated on the floor. Watch here.

—  Dallasvoice

Measure targets campus LGBT centers, says they lead to ‘high-risk’ behavior

State Rep. Bill Zedler

State Rep. Bill Zedler

An amendment to the Texas Legislature’s general appropriations bill, SB1, would defund gender and LGBT resource centers on the basis that they encourage risky sexual behavior.

State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, filed the amendment to cut state funding from universities that have “Gender and Sexuality Centers and Related Student Center[s].” The amendment argues that “to support, promote, or encourage any behavior that would lead to high risk behavior for AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis B, or any sexually transmitted disease.”

A representative from Zedler’s office did not return calls seeking comment.

An amendment to defund and prevent universities from housing LGBT resource centers on campus last session was filed by former state Rep. Wayne Christian. He eventually withdrew the amendment after Democrats threatened to derail the bill it was attached to.

Daniel Williams, field organizer for Equality Texas, said that while the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and the University of Houston have dedicated offices for their LGBT resources centers, the amendment could also affect the LGBT program at the University of Texas at Arlington, as well as women’s centers at several universities.

In related news, the Texas A&M Student Senate may vote this week on a measure that would allow students to opt out of funding the GLBT Resource Center with their activity fees if they have religious objections.

Williams said Zedler’s reasoning for filing amendment on the grounds that centers would encourage unsafe sexual behavior is unfounded and hopes the LGBT community contacts representatives to stop the amendment from moving forward. (CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE)

“If the community mobilizes and lets the 150 members of the Texas House know that this amendment is hurtful and represents antiquated stereotypes that belong in a bygone era, we can beat it,” he said.

The amendment could be voted on as early as Thursday.

Equality Texas has endorsed eight budget amendments from lawmakers that would collect data on LGBT bullying and suicide risk, as well as reinstate Planned Parenthood in the Women’s Heath Program and study the cost of litigation the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has spent defending laws that include anti-gay bias.

See the amendments below.

—  Dallasvoice

2 teens sentenced to 3 years probation in Arlington anti-gay graffiti case

Morgen Aubuchon and Seth Hatcher

Two teens were sentenced in Fort Worth on Friday for their involvement in an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included in anti-gay slurs spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Morgen Rae Aubuchon, 18, and Seth Stephen Hatcher, 19, pleaded guilty to the state jail felony charge causing $1,500 to $20,000 in damage and were sentenced to three years deferred adjudication with 120 hours of community service at Samaritan House, AIDS Outreach Center or another organization approved by the court.

They must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service a month. They are also jointly responsible for $6,441 in restitution to the owners of the damaged property.

David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer who attended the sentencing, said 371th District Court Judge Mollee Westfall informed the teens that if they violate their probation, they face six months to two years in jail.

If the teens complete their probation without any violations, they won’t have a conviction on their records, but an arrest record will remain unless expunged.

—  Dallasvoice

Dwight McKissic: The anti-Christ is gay; Obama’s support for marriage equality worse than Katrina

Dwight McKissic

At its annual meeting in New Orleans, the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday passed a resolution opposing same-sex marriage and declaring that marriage equality is not a civil rights issue. According to the Associated Press, the resolution was co-authored by the Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

“It’s important to sound the alarm again, because the culture is changing,” McKissic said of the resolution, adding that it’s “an unfair comparison” for gays to equate marriage equality with civil rights.

“They’re equating their sin with my skin,” McKissic told the AP.

The AP story goes on to suggest that while opposing marriage equality, with acceptance of gays growing in America, the SBC at the same time wants to distance itself from more hateful anti-gay rhetoric. For example, the SBC has long since ended its boycott of Disney over Gay Days, and the resolution approved Wednesday includes a statement that the SBC stands against “any form or gay-bashing, whether disrespectful attitudes, hateful rhetoric, or hate-incited actions.”

But if the SBC is truly trying to temper its anti-gay teachings, it has chosen the wrong spokesperson in McKissic. That’s because McKissic statement rhyming “sin” and “skin” — which is not new but will undoubtedly be repeated by anti-gay SBC pastors all over the country — pales in comparison to some of his other recent anti-gay rhetoric.

—  John Wright

Arlington PD says Grand Prairie penis grafitti not linked to its case that included anti-gay slurs

After reviewing the evidence of two vandalism sprees this week in Arlington and Grand Prairie, police don’t believe they are related.

The first spree occurred early Sunday morning with 10 residences in the 1100 block of Crowley Road defaced with hateful words and crude images, Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said. The words “faggot” and “queers” were also spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s car. While Richard said it “looks like a hate crime,” police aren’t calling it a hate crime yet until they complete their investigation and identify a motive.

Then on Tuesday, Grand Prairie received 10 reports from residents in the 900 block of Furlong Drive and 2700 block of Triple Crown Lane. Many of the images were penises, GD detective Lyle Gensler said. Because the Arlington incidents had just occurred and penises were used in both cases, he said police thought they could be linked and would compare the images.

Richard told Instant Tea Friday that “based on the evidence, it does not appear that these cases are connected.”

Gensler said it was most likely teenagers who committed the Grand Prairie vandalism, but Arlington PD hasn’t elaborated on the leads it is pursuing.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.

—  Dallasvoice

Penis paintings link vandalism in Grand Prairie to spree in Arlington that included anti-gay slurs

Grand Prairie police are working with Arlington police to determine whether the same vandals are responsible for spray-painted penises that appeared on homes and cars in both of the cities recently.

Detective Lyle Gensler with Grand Prairie police said 10 residences had defaced homes and cars featuring vulgar images spray-painted between 2-6 a.m. Tuesday in the 900 block of Furlong Drive and 2700 block of Triple Crown Lane.

Gensler said several of the images were penises, which were also used in defacing 10 residences in the 1100 block of Crowley Road in Arlington over the weekend, during which anti-gay slurs were also spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Gensler said no biased words targeting race, religion or sexual orientation were used in the Grand Prairie incidents.

Investigators have been in contact with Arlington police and are looking into the same leads, he said.

“We actually are going to compare the two based on the way they were drawn,” he said.

As for the culprits, Gensler said it is most likely teenagers that are responsible for the vandalism.

Arlington police spokesman Tiara Richard said Tuesday morning that although the incident involving the lesbian couple “looks like a hate crime,” it’s too soon to say that definitively.

It’s up to the district attorney’s office to decide whether to prosecute cases as hate crimes in Texas. However, law enforcement agencies do classify cases as hate crimes for the purpose of reporting them to the FBI each year.

But Richard said the determination about whether to report the incident as a hate crime to the FBI won’t be made until the investigation is complete. She took issue with a headline on Instant Tea from Monday which indicated police weren’t “investigating” the incident as a hate crime. Rather, Richard said, Arlington police simply aren’t calling it a hate crime — at least not yet. The headline has since been changed.

“When it comes to criminal investigations, we let the investigation tell us what something is,” Richard said. “We don’t make determinations on the front end of what something is.

“It looks like a hate crime,” Richard added. “It looks like this couple was targeted because of their sexual orientation, and that’s a big element of the investigative process, and that’s part of what we’ll look into. However, until an investigation is complete … they’re not going to call it something that we may in the investigation find that it’s not.”

—  Dallasvoice