Caitlyn Jenner still has a long way to go before being a true Friend of Dorothy

Jones, Arnold WayneWhen Bruce Jenner came out officially as transgender, and eventually as “Caitlyn,” I was extremely happy for her, and for what it meant to the wider culture. For people like me, Bruce Jenner was an iconic sportsman — think Michael Jordan or LeBron James, only bigger. He was a decathlete. Think about that: The best all-around athlete in the world. Better at doing 10 sports than most people are at one or two. For younger people, he was the spacey patriarch of the Kardashian clan — not, to my way thinking, a very reputable role, but one that put him into countless homes for years.

Coming out as trans meant that Jenner brought a lot of focus to issues of sexual orientation and identity. “Welcome to the party,” was my thought. Even when she claimed to be a conservative Republican, I said, “Now, now — let’s not ostracize her … yet. There are plenty of conservative (and racist, and ignorant) gays. Indeed, let her try to live as a trans woman in a GOP world. When she sees how slow John Boehner is to return her calls, maybe she’ll realize she was backing the wrong horse all the time.”

Some people objected when she won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN, but I didn’t. This did require courage, to be known as a specimen of male physical prowess and say, “Yes, but I was a woman all along.” That’s not courage on the field, perhaps, but it showed a degree of character. Remember: Arthur Ashe, for whom the award was named, was given that honor because of his dignity in the face of adversity after acquiring AIDS. (Previous recipients include the family of a coach who was murdered who lobbied for protective legislation, Billie Jean King and Michael Sam.) It’s not like there’s this magical list of “courageous people” that gets ranked by the AP. It was an internal decision.

Then a few weeks ago, a friend of mine was lamenting what he considered an anemic lineup of celebriguests at Dallas’ upcoming Black Tie Dinner. “You know who they should get? Caitlyn Jenner,” he suggested.

I said, “Absolutely not.”

Because it is totally different than every other honor we have bestowed upon her.

Caitlyn Jenner, showing her true colors with Ellen.

Yes, it took courage to come out. Yes, she is a hero for many in the trans community. Yes, she is a popular figure. But this is the difference: The Black Tie Dinner is a fundraiser for a political organization, the Human Rights Campaign, which fights for political rights for the LGBT community. Not some esoteric concept of “courage.” Not a trade group (sports, TV) recognizing a member for something significant. The people who attend Black Tie Dinner are doling out money (a lot of it) to support a political action committee that fought (and fights) diligently for marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination and the like. And as Caitlyn’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week manifested, she’s not worthy of being included in that group.

Think about it: Among the speakers at this year’s Black Tie Dinner will be Jim Obergefell, the name plaintiff in the SCOTUS decision that made marriage equality the law of the land. Here is a man who stood up for the dignity he required to honor his husband. What, exactly, would the conversation in the green room backstage at Black Tie be like? Cait: “Pleasure to meet you Mr. Obergefell … I’ve only been part of the LGBT community for a few months, but I hear you spent years struggling to have your marriage recognized … I guess since it’s the law, I’m OK with that, but I’m a traditionalist who thinks ‘marriage’ should be between one man and one woman … By the way, do you know my friend Nino Scalia? I hear you’ve met.”

I found Cait’s Ellen interview interesting, but I think she still has a long way to go — not as a trans woman, not as a member of the LGBT community, but as a person. She has courage, I’ll give her that. But that’s what only the Lion was looking for. She needs to embrace the rest of the desires of the friends of Dorothy. When she has a brain and a heart, then we can talk again.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Black Tie Dinner announces entertainment and awards

Black Tie Dinner held a reception at Park Place Motors on Aug. 6 attended by more than 1,000 people to announce the entertainment and award winners for its Nov. 14 dinner.

Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove will receive the Kuchling Award for service to the community. As ch-chair John Lawrimore said, everyday, Melissa saves lives in our community.

The Elizabeth Birch Award will be presented to The Trevor Project, the LGBT teen suicide hotline.

Comedian Dana Goldberg who entertained at last year’s dinner and helped with the live auction will serve as emcee for the evening.

The string quartet Well Strung, singer/songwriter Betty Who and country singer Ty Herndon will perform.

U.S. Supreme Court marriage-equality case winner Jim Obergefell will be back in Dallas as Black Tie Dinner Distinguished guest.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner 2015 Preview Party in Fort Worth

Posted on 27 Mar 2015 at 10:14am
Black Tie Dinner officials on Thursday announced the theme for the 2015 dinner, set for Nov. 14, and the 15 organizations chosen to share in proceeds from this year’s event. Dinner co-chairs Debra Davis and John Lawrimore made the announcements during a kickoff event held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The 2015 local beneficiaries are AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services of Dallas, Cathedral of Hope, Celebration Community Church, Congregation Beth El Binah, Equality Texas Foundation, Lambda Legal, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice of Texas, Northaven United Methodist Church, Resource Center, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and Uptown Players. The dinner’s national beneficiary is the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Check out the full story in this week's edition of the Dallas Voice.

2014 Black Tie Dinner: The Night in Photos

The Sheraton Dallas hotel was wall-to-wall Saturday night for the 33rd annual Black Tie Dinner, which raised funds for local beneficiaries and the Human Rights Campaign.

The event featured the presentation of the Kuchling Humanitarian Award to Mike Anglin, the Black Tie Media Award to Dale Hansen and the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award to attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, along with special appearances by NBA star Jason Collins and the Prop 8 plaintiffs.

Comedienne Dana Goldberg emcees the evening, which also featured entertainment by Alex Newell and Steve Grand.

Dallas Voice photographer Cassie Quinn captured the evening in photos:

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner recap: Hansen kills it

DSC_9058 cropsmSaturday’s Black Tie Dinner was noteworthy in part because, for the first time in a long time, there was no keynote speaker announced to anchor the night. There as a lineup of guest appearances, sure, but the biggie? Never happened. (Organizers had one in mind, but negotiations couldn’t be finalized at the last minute.)

But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a major speech. There was.

Although he was listed merely as making a “special appearance,” WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen ended up delivering what many present felt was one of the best addresses to a Black Tie audience in memory. He got at standing ovation. And he deserved it. (To the organizers’ shame, Hansen wasn’t even part of the exclusive Speakers’ Reception where VIPs could have their photos taken with celebrities. Now everyone who was there wish they had one to put on their Facebook page.)

Hansen, of course, caused a sensation earlier this year when, after Michael Sam came out as gay prior to the NFL, Hansen took to the airwaves to chastise those who questioned his decision. It was a spirited, slightly chiding argument in favor of being a straight ally from a tall, burly, older-male sports nut — exactly the kind of ally we need because, like Sam himself, it destroys stereotypes. Hansen touted his status as an old-school liberal in Red State Central, and voiced hope for the future — “perhaps not in your lifetimes, and almost certainly not mine,” he sighed … but eventually. Gay rights are inevitable. Equality is a necessity.

Hansen was introduced by another out athlete, Jason Collins (Sam was not present at the evening), in what got the dinner started off in the right direction.

The rest of the guests were excellent as well, from Alex Newell‘s searing vocals to Dana Goldberg‘s side-splitting comedy routine (and surprising deftness as the live auctioneer) to Ted Olson’s speech (oddly, David Boies was present at the reception but ducked out before the dinner — kinda not cool, Dave) and Steve Grand‘s … well, grandness.

The photo of Dale here is by Cassie Quinn. Check out more of her photos from the night here.

See video of the evening by Barry Phillips and Brenna Hemminger here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Black Tie names Anglin 2014 Kuchling Award recipient

Anglin 2

Mike Anglin


Attorney and activist Mike Anglin of Dallas is the recipient of the 2014 Kuchling Humanitarian Award, which will be presented at the 32nd annual Dallas Black Tie Dinner in November.

BTD officials made the announcement Thursday during the Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek event at Park Place Motorcars in Dallas.

Anglin is being honored for his long record of activism in the Dallas LGBT community, starting in the late 1970s with the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and threading through the community’s story, up to present day when he was a founding member of The Dallas Way history project.

For the complete story, read the Friday, July 25 issue of Dallas Voice, or find the story here on our website.

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner holds season’s inaugural event in Fort Worth

At its beneficiary and theme announcement party at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Thursday, Black Tie Dinner Co-chair Ken Morris said he thinks the group set a new record: More than 300 raffle tickets for a new Mercedes were sold, making this the earliest in the season so many tickets for the car had been sold.

Before the final drawing on the night of Black Tie Dinner, 20 tickets will be drawn and the winner will be selected from those finalists. The first ticket was drawn Thursday night from those first 300 tickets sold. Michael Robertson holds that ticket that was sold by Northaven United Methodist Church, one of the beneficiaries.

The car was donated by Park Place Motors.

Black Tie will participate in to raise additional funds.

“Donate gently used designer clothes, select Black Tie Dinner,” Co-chair Debra Davis explained, “They send a pre-paid shipping bag. When the item sells, Black Tie gets 55 percent of the proceeds and after five donations, you get a $40 Nordstrom gift card.”

Davis and Morris also announced Throwback Thursday. Post old Black Tie photos and videos to the group’s Facebook page. The best will be shown at the Nov. 15 dinner.

In addition to announcing the event’s theme — Forward — Morris and Davis introduced Greg Cave whose Turtle Creek Solutions donated $100,000 to become the presenting sponsor of this year’s Black Tie Dinner.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner says 2014 general tickets will increase to $400

Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black at the 2013 Black Tie Dinner

Black Tie Dinner announced Friday that ticket prices for 2014 will increase from $300 to $400 for general admission.

The organization, which begins its 33rd year, wrote in a press release that the price change will be implemented to ensure Black Tie beneficiaries receive as large a distribution as possible and to maintain low cost of fundraising.

“Undertaking new ticket pricing is always approached with careful consideration because we want to keep prices affordable while returning the most money possible to our beneficiaries,” said Black Tie Dinner co-chair Ken Morris.

According to the press release, the price of a general ticket to Black Tie hasn’t changed in 10 years.

“During that time, rather than change the ticket price to reflect rising unavoidable expenses, Black Tie Dinner has worked hard to reduce or eliminate negotiable expenses and sought additional sponsorships and underwriting to maintain consistent beneficiary distribution,” the press release states.

Black Tie officials also said the ticket price increased because fixed costs have risen 36 percent since 2004.

“After 10 years of avoiding changing the price, we undertook the change this year before increasing expenses adversely affected beneficiary distribution or the cost of fundraising,” Morris said. “We work in partnership with the North Texas LGBT community and its corporate and straight allies, and enjoy their generous support because they know we are careful guardians of their investments and interests.”

Black Tie Dinner supports a number of North Texas LGBT community organizations and its national beneficiary, Human Rights Campaign Fund. Officials say the new ticket price will address the past 10 years of increased expenses and allow for a number of years to pass before having to change ticket prices again.

—  Steve Ramos

Patti LaBelle to appear at Black Tie


R&B diva Patti LaBelle is coming to Dallas for Black Tie Dinner in November as this year’s entertainer, organizers announced late Tuesday night.

LaBelle, a longtime LGBT ally, also sings gospel music and has been outspoken on the church needing to accept gays. She’s also appeared at various Pride parades throughout her career.

Dallas Voice interviewed LaBelle in 2006 before a local performance.

The news comes a week after BTD organizers announced that Fran Drescher and ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson would receive the Media Award.

Black Tie is a Saturday, Nov. 2.

—  Dallasvoice

And the Black Tie theme is …

3_Black_Tie_2013_Theme_Annoucement_Copyright_2013_Patrick_Hoffman_All_Rights_Reserved  1130

“One Voice” will be the theme for the 32nd annual Black Tie Dinner, organizers announced Thursday night at a Launch Party at T & P Station in Fort Worth.

After BTD co-chairs Ken Morris and Mitzi Lemons delivered the announcement to a crowd of more than 200, a video was played which chronicled the social progress and political evolution of LGBT Americans over the last 40 years. At times it highlighted the darker side of the struggle, including images of Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard. However, most of the video was dedicated to strides made under the leadership of people like former Congressman Barney Frank and President Barack Obama, demonstrating how significant it is for the GLBT community to be speaking as one.

“By choosing ‘One Voice’ as our theme this year, we look forward to demonstrating how the GLBT community has evolved,” Lemons said in a statement. “Our movement started with one person who stood up for what they believed was fair.  Since then, we have fought long and hard against injustice, yet today we face new battles involving marriage equality and anti-discrimination.”

“Our dream is for everyone in the GLBT community — along with our allies and corporate and community sponsors — to speak as one voice for equality,” Morris added. “It all starts with One Voice singing in the darkness, followed by another voice, then another until everyone is speaking together in support of the same cause.”

The 32nd annual Black Tie Dinner will be held Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Dallas. More than 3,000 people attend the dinner, which raises funds for 17 local GLBT-supportive organizations and its national beneficiary, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

For more information about the Black Tie Dinner or this year’s event, visit or call 972-865-2239.

Watch the Black Tie theme video here. More photos from the Launch Party below.

—  Patrick Hoffman