PHOTOS: Creating Change 2014 in Houston

Nona Hendryx performs Sunday at Creating Change in Houston. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Nona Hendryx performs Sunday at Creating Change in Houston. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

 HOUSTON — Thousands of LGBT advocates departed from Houston Sunday as the 26th annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change came to a close.

The annual five-day conference set records for the amount of attendees and workshops in its first year in Houston. And the inspiration of the weekend was all around during the conference, from Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s welcome to trans actress Laverne Cox’s keynote speech and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey’s State of the Movement address. (If you missed any of the speeches, you can watch them here.)

And, like any celebration in the LGBT community, it ended with a bang as bisexual singer Nona Hendryx rocked out on stage on Sunday after brunch.

More photos below.

—  Dallasvoice

Octogenarian Paul Taylor, still at it

Paul Taylor photo by Maxine HicksLegendary choreographer Paul Taylor is still going strong. The bisexual dance maven is 82, and has two eponymous companies, one of which comes into the Eisemann Center this weekend for the first time in more than two years.

When his company was last in town in 2010, I spoke with Taylor. You can read that interview here. And you should try to see the performance on Saturday, just to experience the legend while you still can.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Music mogul Clive Davis comes out

Clive_DavisYou know Clive Davis by name, if not face: Half of all Grammy winners and American Idol finalists seem to mention him. Not surprising — the music mogul has been a force for almost 50 years, variously leading Arista, Sony and RCA music groups, and discovering or nurturing such groups as Santana, Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and countless more.

Yesterday, Davis came out as bisexual on The Katie Couric Show, while promoting his new autobiography. Now, no one in the music business who admits to dabbling with same-sex sex surprises me, even though Davis was married twice for nearly 30 years total. But I’m not sure “bisexual” is the correct word for it — in his book, he admits to having been in a relationship with a man since 2004 … and that follows a relationship with another man for 14 years before that. By my count, that’s the last 23 years of the 80-year-old’s life with guys. That’s longer than me.

Anyway, call it what you like, I say mazel tov! Your toaster oven is on the way, Clive.

You can watch a clip from the show here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Azealia Banks’ “Liquorice”

Bixexual hip-hopster Azealia Banks is some kinda hot in her latest video release “Liquorice,” from her EP 1991. I’m not sure anyone else has made a hot dog or bomb pop look more sexy. Her raps go a pretty fast so you may not catch everything, but for the record, there is some explicit language in case that’s not your kind of thing. But otherwise, she’s winning in this kick ass track.

Watch “Liquorice” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Astralwerks’ Pride download; Pet Shop Boys announce album; Mika’s new video

Monday comes loaded with a hefty edition of QMN along with some free tuneage. Today, music label Astralwerks announced their second annual sampler, Hey Boy, Hey Girl! – Pride 2012 just in time for National Pride. Including tracks by David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Air, the eight-track sampler is available as a free download. From Astralwerks:

In recent years Astralwerks has enjoyed numerous successful album campaigns with luminary artists such as Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, David Guetta, The B-52s and others. Working closely with lifestyle and media contacts in the LGBT community has been a big part of that success. Glenn Mendlinger, Astralwerks General Manager, notes…“we are grateful for the support and love that this community has shown to our artists. This is our way of saying thank you.”

Click here to download.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Vanessa Carlton’s “Hear the Bells”; CocoRosie’s “We Are On Fire”

Out bi singer Vanessa Carlton premiered the newest video today from her 2011 album Rabbits on the Run. In “Hear the Bells,” Carlton likens the story of the recluse in the video on the life Little Edie of Grey Gardens fame.

Carlton hit big with her singles “A Thousand Miles” and “Ordinary Day” back in 2002. Although she hasn’t achieved similar success since then, she’s been consistently releasing original work with Rabbits being her fourth. In 2010, she headlined Nashville Pride and came out during her performance proclaiming herself as a “proud bisexual woman.”

The sister duo of CocoRosie released their video today for their latest single “We Are On Fire.” It’s kinda creepy and kinda freaky and just what you should expect from the half-queer team. But the video is also some exquisite stuff.

Watch both videos after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas makes top 20 list for its sugar daddy population, but No. 1 for gay men

Earlier this week, I learned that Dallas ranks in the top 20 of cities with the most Sugar Daddies per capita. Number 16 to be exact. This news came from Brandon Wade, the founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com which touts itself as the largest sugar daddy dating site. On Wednesday, he released a statistical study based on five years of data from this website profiling where the generous rich men are. You can read the entire study after the jump.

While Dallas did make the top 20, number 16 really just didn’t come off as an impressive number, right? That is until I asked about stats on same-sex/bisexual breakdowns. That turned out to be quite interesting, at least for gay men. Public relations manager Jenn Gwynn told me that the site is open to same-sex arrangements and that there are active profiles on the site for those seeking from both sides of the equation.

Our site does cater to same sex relationships, both Sugar Daddy-(Male) Sugar Baby and Sugar Mommy-(Female) Sugar Baby. There are also many instances where profiles identify as “seeking” either sex.

On average, nationwide, his sugar preferences, 95.6% are heterosexual, 3.8% are homosexual, and 0.6% are bisexual. But in Dallas, it is: 94.1% heterosexual, 5.2% homosexual, 0.7% bisexual. So Dallas as a whole, has more gay sugar daddies than the average sugar daddy in America. There are 12.1 male sugar babies in Dallas for every 1 sugar daddy.

So it would appear Dallas is actually no. 1 — in our eyes. Wade added that “In the Dallas Metropolitan area, approximately 1.54 out of every 1000 adult men are Sugar Daddies.  A typical Dallas sugar daddy has an average income of $268,911, is worth about $5.5 million, and spends approximately $3,969 a month on his sugar addiction.”

Which really begs the question: Who needs MegaMillions?

—  Rich Lopez

Measure would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Houston

Charter amendment could also allow DP benefits for city workers

DANIEL WILLIAMS  |  Contributing Writer

HOUSTON — Long-brewing plans to place a city-wide non-discrimination policy before Houston voters became public this week.

Since December a coalition of organizations and leaders have been working to draft a city charter amendment that would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment or public accommodations on the basis of  “age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or physical characteristic.”

The amendment would also remove anti-LGBT language added to the Houston city charter in 1985 and 2001 — which could allow the City Council to vote to offer health benefits to the domestic partners of municipal employees.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who famously became the only out LGBT person elected mayor of a major American city in 2009, has declined to comment on the proposed charter amendment until the language is finalized. She told the Houston Chronicle: “I believe it’s important for the city of Houston to send a signal to the world that we welcome everybody and that we treat everybody equally, and depending on the elements of what was actually in it, I might or might not support it,”

According to Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman, the prospect of Houston voters approving the non-discrimination amendment has ramifications for efforts to pass similar measures in the state Legislature.

“Nondiscrimination in Houston builds a better case for us when we go for nondiscrimination in Austin,” said Coleman. “To be able to tell representatives that they represent areas that already support these efforts is very helpful.”

The cities of Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth all already have similar nondiscrimination ordinances and offer DP benefits to employees.

But Houston’s form of governance makes this effort unique. While the City Council is empowered to pass city ordinances covering issues of discrimination, they can be overturned by popular vote if those opposing the ordinance collect 20,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

That was the case in 1985 after Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire pushed through the council the city’s first protections for gay and lesbian Houstonians (no protections were provided for the bisexual or transgender communities).

A coalition of right-wing voters led by Louie Welch, then president of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, was able to place the issue on a city-wide ballot, claiming the policy “promoted the homosexual lifestyle.” The group also recruited a “straight slate” of candidates to run against City Council members who had favored the protections, with Welch running against Whitmire.

The public vote on nondiscrimination was held in June 1985 and Welch’s forces prevailed, but the city’s temperament had changed by the time of the City Council and mayoral races in November. A comment of Welch’s that the solution to the AIDS crisis was to “shoot the queers” was aired on local TV and few in Houston wished to be associated with him after that. The “straight slate” failed to capture a single City Council seat and Whitmire remained mayor, but the defeat of the city’s nondiscrimination policy remained.

By 1998 Houston had changed: Annise Parker was serving as the city’s first out lesbian city council member and Houston boasted the state’s first out gay judge, John Paul Barnich. Mayor Lee Brown, sensing the change, issued an executive order protecting LGBT city employees from employment discrimination. But the city had not changed that much. Councilman Rob Todd led efforts to fight the order in court, arguing that since voters rejected city-wide protections from discrimination in 1985, it was inappropriate for the mayor to institute them without voter approval. The city spent the next three years defending the policy in court, finally emerging victorious.

The joy of that 2001 victory would be shortlived, however. That year Houston’s voters approved another amendment to the city charter, this time prohibiting the city from providing domestic partner benefits for city employees. In a narrow defeat, just over 51 percent of voters decided that the city should not offer competitive benefits.

The current proposed non-discrimination amendment would remove the language added in 1985 and 2001. While it would provide non-discrimination protections it would not require the city to offer benefits of any kind to the spouses of LGBT city employees, leaving that question back in the hands of the City Council.

The organizers of the current effort are confident that this year is the year for victory.

Noel Freeman, the president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, which is spearheading the effort, explains that the previous votes occurred in “non-presidential years,”when voter turnout in general is low, and conservative voters make up a larger percentage of the electorate.

Additionally, polling by Equality Texas in 2010 showed that 80 percent of Houstonians support employment protections for gay and lesbian people.

In order to place the non-discrimination amendment on the November ballot the coalition supporting it will need to collect 20,000 signatures of registered Houston voters and submit them to the city clerk. Freeman says that the final charter amendment language is still under consideration and that once it is finalized the group will begin collecting signatures.

Even former Councilman Todd, who once fought the city’s policy of non-discrimination for LGBT employees, supports the current effort.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

“Gen Silent” explores challenges facing the elderly LGBT community

Gen Silent PosterThere are almost 38 million LGBT Americans over the age of 65. This number is expected to double by 2030. Yet in a Fenway Institute study fifty percent of nursing home workers said that their co-workers are intolerant of LGBT people. That collision of a rapidly aging queer population and a nursing home system ill-prepared to serve them is explored in Gen Silent, a documentary showing at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) on Thursday, January 26, at 6:30 pm.

Gen Silent, from award-winning director and documentary filmmaker Stu Maddux, follows six LGBT seniors as they struggle to make decisions about their twilight years. These seniors put a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors so afraid of discrimination in long-term health care that many go back into the closet.

Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now leaves many elders not just afraid but dangerously isolated and at risk on not receiving medical care. The film shows the wide range in quality of paid caregivers –from those who are specifically trained to make LGBT seniors feel safe, to the other end of the spectrum, where LGBT elders face discrimination, neglect or abuse, including shocking bed-side attempts by staff to persuade seniors to give up their “sinful” lifestyles.

This free screening will be followed by a call-to-action and panel discussion with some of Houston’s GLBT senior leaders.

View the trailer for Gen Silent after the break.

—  admin

WATCH: The Sounds at the Granada Theater

Maja Ivarsson was in fine form at The Sounds show Thursday night at the Granada. And by fine, I mean both energetic and hot. The bi singer likely turned the boys and the girls with those hot pants, but she proves here that she’s not to be underestimated as a dynamic front for the band.

The band killed when they performed “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” from their 2009 album Crossing the Rubicon, which you can see after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez