PHOTOS: Six Dallas LGBT leaders tell their stories at Outrageous Oral 5

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Six LGBT community members told their stories as part of The Dallas Way’s Outrageous Oral 5 on Thursday.

Candy Marcum began the evening with the story of how Oak Lawn Community Services came into being. She partnered with counselor Howie Daire to begin a counseling service for gay people. Without the Internet, they promoted their business by talking to bartenders who made many referrals.

Marcum said she ended up with many male clients because it would have been unethical for Daire to work with anyone professionally whom he had sex with.

Darryl Baker spoke about being prevented from entering the gay clubs without four forms of identification and Nell Gaither’s piece was about her work for the transgender community today.

Steve Atkinson mostly talked about his work to pass local and state legislation. But he told about death threats he got while doing that work and said it was the first time he told the story in public. The police took those threats seriously but were not able to trace the call in an era before caller ID.

Hardy Haberman told about how he became part of the leather community and Cordell Adams wrapped all of the stories together before telling his own story of growing up in East Texas and moving “across the tracks.”

The Dallas Way taped the presentation, which will be available on its YouTube channel. The organization is working with University of North Texas to preserve Dallas LGBT history.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

Dallas hospital tells trans woman it added LGBT policy, but did it really?

Green Oaks Hospital is establishing an LGBT policy after a transgender woman sent hospital administration a complaint about her time there.

Green Oaks, a mental health and addiction services facility in Dallas, recently received a complaint from Shawna Brooks after her experience in the hospital. The complaint led to a new trans policy, but the hospital has refused to provide any documentation of this policy or comment on its creation.

Brooks’ partner committed suicide in July. She then stayed with family to grieve. She returned to the apartment the couple shared in mid-August. Her family feared she, too, was suicidal because of the loss of her partner, so she was committed to Green Oaks, at 7808 Clodus Fields Drive.

During Brooks’ eight-day stay, she was denied a counselor to speak to about her loss and was offered only group therapy. She also requested a bed but was told they were for men only. Brooks was given a bed when she finally told a nurse other women were occupying beds, she told Instant Tea.

She also highlighted inadequate accommodations for transgender patients after a nurse rudely commented on medical needs specific to trans patients and denied her a private room, according to her complaint. Brooks had the nurse contact her doctor and was then granted privacy.

Brooks sent a letter about her experience to patient advocate Stephanie Haynes, who responded with a letter (see below) that stated “as a result of your feedback, our facility will implement a policy to better serve the transgender community.”

—  Dallasvoice

Building that houses Legal Hospice of Texas, Stonewall Behavioral Health closed after fire

Roger Wedell

The Oak Lawn office building at 3626 N. Hall St. that houses Legal Hospice of Texas was closed Monday after a fire on the floor above the agency. Stonewall Behavioral Health, which specializes in counseling services for the LGBT community, is also housed in the building.

LHT Executive Director Roger Wedell said tenants were told they would be able to return Tuesday or today, but damage to the utility core was more extensive than originally thought.

The agency has relocated temporarily to the building next door at 3303 Lee Parkway #210, and Weddell said they would be able to receive clients next Monday. Anyone with an appointment for this week has already been rescheduled, Weddell said. He said clients with appointments should call to confirm before coming to the new office next week. The phones are being answered.

“There was no damage to our office,” Wedell said. “No injuries. It’s a cleaning issue.”

Candy Marcum of Stonewall Behavioral Health couldn’t immediately be reached.

—  David Taffet

Planning, preparation can make the holidays much more jolly for all

LGBTs often deal with stress, depression during the holiday season due to family issues

Candy Marcum

Candy Marcum

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Many people have such high expectations for the holidays that they get depressed when those expectations aren’t met. And in the LGBT community, dealing with family issues is often painful.

Counselor Candy Marcum said that holiday depression is the gap between how you think your life should work and how it is working.

“If you think Christmas should be family and love and laughter and you’re having trouble paying the rent and your family rejects you, then work to lessen the gap,” Marcum said.
She suggested changing the idea of how the holiday should be.

Marcum said that many people come out to family during the holidays because that’s when families get together.

And coming out in person is usually better than over the phone.

But, Marcum said, making a big announcement at the dinner table might not be the best way to do it.
Counselor Randy Martin said that anyone intending to come out to family over the holiday needs to plan and prepare beforehand.

“Find someone to bounce it off of,” such as a friend or sibling, he said. “Like a dry run.”

But when to spring the news? Each family is different, Martin said.

In some families, it’s best to talk about big news in pairs.

In others, groups are fine.

If a family has an expectation of how holiday dinner should be, interrupting it with this sort of news might not be the best idea. But in some families it could be the perfect setting, Martin suggested said.

Going home for the holidays and introducing a new partner is another stressful situation. Even the fully accepting family may react awkwardly to the new situation.

Randy-Martin-photo

Randy Martin

Marcum suggests staying in a nearby hotel might be the answer to avoiding family conflict. That avoids the embarrassing question of sleeping arrangements.

Or talk to family ahead of time. Staying with a sibling or other relative might work also.

Martin agreed that a hotel stay could be a perfect alternative for a couple during a holiday visit: “Maybe Grandpa smokes and one of you can’t tolerate it, or your family gets up much earlier than you do,” he said.

He added that any number of situations could make it simpler all the way around not to stay with one’s parents.

Marcum said another uncomfortable situation is visiting family after a breakup. While you might have moved on, everyone else could be feeling the loss for the first time, she said.

“Now you’ve got a new one [partner],” Marcum said. “That’s awkward at best.”

Martin agreed. “The family already has a pattern down. Do what you can to let everyone else catch up,” he said.

Loneliness is another common problem many people in the LGBT community face during the holidays.

Happy childhood memories of the holidays can bring on a bout of depression when those expectations will not be met because of family rejection, Marcum said.

Others are alone for the holidays simply because of distance, cost of travel or having to work.

Martin suggested doing some extra preparation for the holidays, especially if that time of year tends to be difficult. While many people spend quite a bit of time going to parties and shopping for everyone else, he suggested spending time making plans for yourself.

“Loneliness is real,” Martin said. “We’re hard-wired to be connected. Make plans.”

And he said make back-up plans in case other plans fall through. Think of whom to contact if you’re alone — maybe someone to go with to a movie.
Marcum agreed, adding, “Be good to yourself.”

“Make a plan that pleases you,” she said. “Whatever gives you joy.”

She suggested going to church, volunteering in a soup kitchen or having friends or neighbors over.

“Buy yourself something,” she suggested. “Wrap it up and put it under the tree.”

She said that when sadness around the holiday is a result bad family relations, keep the door open.

“Take the high road with your family,” Marcum said. “Continue to reach out.”

That includes inviting them to visit, and calling or sending cards and emails to keep in touch.

Martin’s general advice is to stay connected. He said that if exercise is part of your regular routine, make time to get in a workout. He said to not let all the parties and shopping and pressure from the holiday become overwhelming.

And Marcum gives a word of warning about drinking during the holiday “Watch your alcohol intake,” she said. “Alcohol is a depressant.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Allies on Council deserve our support

Openly LGBT candidates are great, but the community shouldn’t turn its back on the allies who have been there for us all along

DAVID WEBB  |  The Rare Reporter

I was surprised to learn this year that an openly gay candidate had decided to challenge Angela Hunt for the District 14 City Council seat in the Dallas municipal election on May 14.

The benefits of openly gay people serving in elected office are enormous to the LGBT community, but that goal should never cause us to abandon straight political allies who have served us well. And for her three terms on the City Council, Hunt has been a strong advocate for the LGBT community.

Like her predecessor, former Councilwoman Veletta Forsythe Lil, Hunt has been as much of a part of our community and its events as the rest of us.

With no openly gay people having served on the City Council since Ed Oakley left office to make his unsuccessful run for the mayor’s job, we would have been lost without strong advocates such as Hunt and District 2 incumbent Pauline Medrano.

I’m sure Hunt’s openly gay challenger, James Nowlin, is an admirable candidate. Otherwise, he would not have received the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats, an action that Hunt admitted “disappointed” her. An “intense” debate reportedly preceded the decision to endorse Nowlin over Hunt.

Later, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance threw its support behind Hunt and mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky, another strong LGBT advocate on the City Council, marking a striking split in the LGBT voting community. Stonewall Democrats endorsed former Dallas Chief of Police David Kunkle.

The DGLA’s decision to back Hunt makes more sense to me because of the importance of remaining loyal to good political friends and also for its practicality. Hunt probably can’t be beat in District 14 by any challenger.

If an openly gay challenger could have beat Hunt it would have happened when she ran for the seat the first time six years ago, when lesbian powerhouse Candy Marcum, through her reputation as a prominent psychologist and social stalwart, sought the office.

Marcum had enormous support in the community, but it could not propel her to victory.

It’s more of a toss-up when it comes to whether the community should vote for Kunkle or Natinsky. They both have been good friends to the LGBT community.

In the District 7 council seat race, lesbian Casie Pierce is challenging incumbent Carolyn Davis, who to the best of my knowledge has not been an LGBT advocate.

It’s true that Davis has a larger black constituency in her district to occupy her time, but that never stopped her predecessor, Leo Chaney, from giving us much of his time and consideration.

There are large numbers of LGBT people and their allies living in District 7 in the Parkdale and Pleasant Grove areas who would welcome a resident of their communities sitting on the council.

In addition to being a member of our community, Pierce has strong credentials and enjoys respect from many quarters. She has been involved for years in community work in neighborhood clean-up, public park improvements, economic development and work with at-risk teens.

Our best shot at getting an openly gay candidate on the City Council this year is Pierce, so I hope that the whole community will support her in every way possible so we can achieve that goal again.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

—  John Wright

‘Lambda Weekly’ moves to drive time

After more than 27 years on the 89.3 KNON-FM schedule as a Sunday show, Lambda Weekly moves to drive time this week. The oldest LGBT radio show in the nation will broadcast Wednesdays at 7 a.m.

From left: David Taffet, Lerone Landis, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Patti Fink

Patti Fink and Lerone Landis host the show with me (David Taffet). Alex Hanselka is the show’s intern and tech guru. John Wright, online editor for Dallas Voice, will be our first drive-time guest this week.

The station features a variety of talk shows during morning drive time including The Jesse Garcia Show on Thursdays at 7 a.m. At 8 a.m., the nationally syndicated Democracy Now with Amy Goodman runs Monday through Thursday and NPR’s Tavis Smiley airs Fridays.

Fink, who is president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, is excited about the move because of the potential for a much larger audience. Landis has a work conflict but will be in the studio to open the show before running downtown to work and will continue to contribute the entertainment report.

The show is one the the station’s original programs and began broadcasting in August 1983.

Guests on the show include authors, politicians and other people of interest to the LGBT community. Mayor Annise Parker of Houston was a guest last year when she appeared in Dallas for the Pride parade. Counselor Candy Marcum appears regularly to give relationship and other advice. Her next scheduled appearance is in May and coincides with her 25th anniversary. Instead of giving the relationship advice, she’ll be getting some from the crew.

Other guests have included Chaz Bono first on-air appearance as an out lesbian, Charo, Elizabeth Birch, E. Lynn Harris as well as LGBT community leaders from throughout North Texas.

The show features a segment called “Those Darn Heterosexuals,” highlighting stupid things straight people do and heterosexual parent of the week awards for examples of really bad parenting.

This week’s first drive time show with Wright will be a news round-up. They’ll discuss current events including the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending Defense of Marriage, the progress of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and what was Dave Chaos, station manager of KNON, really thinking when he put us in drive time.

The final Sunday guest was also from Dallas Voice. Life+Styles editor Arnold Wayne Jones appeared this past Sunday for the annual Oscar predictions show. That show can be heard here.

Lambda Weekly, Wednesdays at 7 a.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM

—  David Taffet