Upstate NY newspaper runs trans-tastic series

A view of Downtown Albany from the Hudson River

My college town newspaper, the Albany Times Union, is running an awesome series of articles about the transgender community this week that I wanted to share.

When I was in school, the Times Union was the conservative newspaper and the now-gone Knickerbocker News was the liberal paper. But the surviving paper knows its audience and Albany is liberal. No, that should read LIBERAL.

This whole series is worth a read. But not only are the articles good, so are the comments. The biggest complaint is that the LGBT community is getting too much coverage. Imagine that in the local Dallas newspaper. I expect more negative comments right here in a Texas LGBT newspaper than an Upstate New York mainstream paper is getting.

Here’s an article filled with statistics. They claim more than 8 million LGBs in the U.S. and 700,000 transgenders. There’s no census count so I’m not sure where the numbers come from.

Here’s the main page — Transgender: A Special Report. The online version begins with 75+ photos.

People just know me as Pat

The long, difficult journey of how a man became a woman

Surgery, pain, humor and no turning back

Going from Kenny to Kym was no easy road

For Drew, nothing is written

‘I like my fluid identity’

A little about Albany

Albany is a small city of about 100,000 people. The capital of New York, it’s about 150 miles north of New York City, north of the Catskills, south of the Adirondacks and where the Mohawk River empties into the Hudson River. Where the northbound New York State Thruway makes a sharp left turn to head west to Buffalo — giving the city its nickname — the armpit of New York.

Oh, and Albany is a very liberal city. So it’s not surprising they’d run this series. I just don’t know when another mainstream daily has devoted this much space at one time to transgender issues.

Albany is home to the first LGBT community center ever created in the country. Located in a brownstone a few blocks the Capitol, it’s now called the Capital Pride Center. The building was purchased in 1974 by a professor at my school and a group of us helped renovate the building. That was the first time I ever helped build stairs. Hopefully they’ve been rebuilt since then.

And Sen. Gillibrand — who represented Albany before becoming senator — was a leader in getting rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and pushed for marriage equality along with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

—  David Taffet

Queer Bingo at GLBT Community Center

Tanya Hyde

The fabulous Ms. Tanya Hyde

The Houston GLBT Community Center hosts its Queer Bingo on the first Saturday of each month. Hosting this month’s festivities is self proclaimed living legend, and queen of all Montrose, drag performer Tanya Hyde. Queer Bingo benefits the Center’s John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund (that’s John Lawrence, of Lawrence v. Texas fame) and other center programs.

Doors open at 4 pm, with games kicking off at 4:30.  In addition to cash prizes for Bingo, the event features fabulous door prizes,  a raffle, and bar service courtesy of Capital Beverage.

“We invite all our community friends to join us for First Saturday Queer Bingo, have fun playing games with their friends, and support scholarships for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender scholars,” Center president Tim Brookover says.  “We have a great time every month as we benefit our scholarship fund and other Center programs.”

Queer Bingo takes place at the GLBT Community Center’s headquarters at the historic Dow School (1900 Kane).

—  admin

LifeWalk steps off Sunday in Lee Park

Nobles says that park will not be fenced this year but is worried about added cost and barrier affecting next year’s event

KICKING UP THEIR HEELS | The LifeWalk organizing committee gets ready for Sunday.

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

New requirements by the city of Dallas could affect proceed totals from this year’s AIDS Arms LifeWalk, and at least one more new requirement is expected to be added to the list next year, according to LifeWalk organizers.

The 21st annual LifeWalk steps off from Lee Park on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. for the 3.2-mile walk. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s event raised $401,000 and this year’s goal is $500,000.

Although thousands of people are expected for the event, Lee Park will remain unfenced this year, even though the city has said such gatherings will require fencing in the future.

Officials with the Dallas Tavern Guild, which stages the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and the Festival in Lee Park each year as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, decided to get ahead of the new requirement by fencing in Lee Park this year for the festival, although the city requirement had not yet gone into effect.

Tavern Guild officials also chose to charge a $5 admission fee to the festival this year to help offset expenses and raise extra funds that will be distributed to parade beneficiaries.

The admission fee raised the ire of some in the community, and attendance at the festival was down compared to last year. But Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said the drop was not significant, and noted that the admission fee brought in about $25,000 that will be divided among beneficiaries.

But AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said new city requirements have already had an impact on LifeWalk, and she is worried that the new fencing requirements could affect next year’s walk.

“There were a lot more expenses from the city this year,” she said. “It really hits the bottom line.”

The cost of fencing next year will add an additional, unwelcome expense. But Nobles said she isn’t going to worry about that until after this weekend’s event. Right now, her main concern is getting people out to participate in this year’s fundraiser.

“Anyone can participate in LifeWalk,” Nobles said. “You can walk alone or bring friends or join a team. We even have poop-out vans: In case you can’t walk the entire three-mile route, someone will pick you up and bring you back to the park to have a good time.”

She also invited people to just come to the park and cheer.

“We need cheerleaders at the start and finish and at the water stations,” Nobles said. “We have pompoms for anyone who wants to cheer the walkers on.”

Registration for LifeWalk is $40 for people and $10 for dogs participating in LifeBark. People get a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana to show their support for people with HIV.

AIDS Arms is the primary beneficiary of LifeWalk, but other organizations also receive funds from the event, including AIDS Services of Dallas, Legal Hospice of Texas, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus, Bryan’s House, Resource Center Dallas and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

Money raised goes toward programming rather than capital costs. The chorale uses funds for their HIV fund, including giving tickets to performances through the year to people with AIDS.

Nobles praised that effort, saying that socializing is an important holistic element in treating HIV.

The Women’s Chorus will present a program at AIDS Arms in March on National HIV Women’s Day. Those expenses, Nobles said, should be covered by the group’s LifeWalk proceeds.

Nobles said it would be tempting for AIDS Arms to use the money to finish paying off the agency’s new Trinity Health and Wellness Center in Oak Cliff. She said that the new facility cost more than $2 million, and AIDS Arms needs to raise just $35,000 more to pay off the facility.

Trinity Health and Wellness Center opened in September and will have its formal grand opening in two weeks.

But despite the temptation, AIDS Arms will instead use proceeds from LifeWalk to support programs for clients at Trinity as well as at AIDS Arms’ older clinic, Peabody Health Center in South Dallas.

AIDS Arms also uses the money to administer HIV tests to more than 3,500 people a year and for case management for more than 3,400 people.

LifeWalk began in 1990 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency closed, management of the event moved to AIDS Arms.

LifeWalk Co-chair Marvin Green noted that his Green Team will mark its 20th year of participation in LifeWalk. He said he put the team together for the first time in the second year of LifeWalk because he had already lost 20 friends to AIDS.

That first year, three team members raised $75. This year, the 32-member Green Team has collected about $22,000.

Co-chair Fred Harris said that there were quite a few new teams this year.

“We’re reaching out to new communities,” Harris said. “There’s new energy. We’re branching outside Oak Lawn.”

He said teams are using creative new ways to raise money and AIDS Arms has actively brought in new sponsors such as Chipotle.

“Stoli is coming with a first-ever LifeWalk drink,” Nobles said. Returning sponsor Caven Enterprises will serve beer and Ben E. Keith donated iced tea.

Harris said planning has gone well, and that “LifeWalk is a well-oiled machine.”

Harris said he has seen more use of social media this year than ever, reaching out to people outside the Metroplex.

“This year Facebook has become a very powerful tool,” he said, not just for fundraising but also for recruiting walkers.

Last year, about 3,500 people walked, and this year, “Registration is ahead of where we were this time last year,” Harris said.

Waterpalooza, another AIDS Arms event, was moved to Pride weekend this year, just two weeks prior to LifeWalk. Harris said they took advantage of that event to sign up teams and walkers and generate excitement for this weekend’s walk.

Among the new teams, Harris said, are the DFW Sisters.

“Their efforts have been tireless,” he said. “They raise the bar.”

Nobles said that WFAA Channel 8 morning anchor Ron Corning will serve as M.C. in Lee Park. Although he’s appeared at several events since arriving in Dallas, this is the first big public event the openly gay television host has emceed.

LifeWalk received the Human Rights Campaign family-friendly designation, and Nobles said there will be bounce houses, clowns and face-painting for children.

Harris said the event is pet-friendly as well, “because pets are our family.”

There will be games and puppy pools for dogs as well as doggie adoptions, Nobles said.

She said the day would be a lot of fun but asked people to participate because the need is greater than ever.

“With the growth in the number of newly-infected people in Dallas County who need help in this economy, we’re seeing people who never would ask but must,” she said.

Next year, Nobles said, she would like to see LifeWalk return to Oak Lawn, but new city regulations for events may change those plans. Among the events changing plans this year because of the city involved Lone Star Ride.

Last year, Lone Star Riders participated in LifeWalk on bike. This year, city regulations banned bikes from walks so LSR riders who participate will have to walk.

Green was thinking about bigger plans for future LifeWalks. Other cities that raise more money stage longer walks. He said he’d love to use the new Downtown Deck Park that should be completed next year and dreamed of seeing LifeWalkers crossing the new suspension bridge that should be open in March 2012.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Capital’ columnist calls out NOM push poll; 4 out of 5 NOM staffers unlikely to care

We’ve already shown you how the guy behind NOM’s supposedly trustworthy poll on Maryland marriage, Gary Lawrence, was deep in the pocket of the Prop 8 crowd, distributing a whole host of information that supported the ballot measure more on the basis of Lucifer than any sound constitutional law. Now, Erik Hartley from The Capital newspaper is looking at another aspect: The sheer bias in NOM’s lines of questioning. Here’s a snip and link to full:

Say you’re an interest group that wants to make it seem as if the public is on your side. Just commission a poll, ask the questions a certain way and voilà! You have the poll result you wanted.

That’s what an anti-gay-marriage group has just done.

After a recent Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies poll showed most Marylanders now support same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage decided it wanted a different result.

It complained that the Gonzales poll’s question (“Would you favor or oppose a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as tax exemptions, inheritance and pension coverage?”) was biased. A “strong, pro-gay marriage bias” was the exact wording.

So NOM asked it this way: “As far as you personally are concerned, should marriage be between a man and a woman, or should it also be available to same-sex couples?”

Hmm. Why the phrase “as far as you personally are concerned”? Perhaps to appeal to people’s visceral discomfort with gay people? Note that the question does not ask about the proposed law; it asks about values — “as far as you personally are concerned” — and how you think the world “should” be.

KEEP READING: If you want a different answer… [Annapolis Capital blog]

**EARLIER: Lawrence vs. Hexes: The eye-opening spiritual war behind NOM’s new Maryland poll [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Thousands Celebrate Gay Pride In Indian Capital

About 2,000 people marched in Delhi's gay pride parade today, the first such march since India legalised homosexuality in 2009.

 The Hindustan Times reports on the parade:

IndiaAccording to the organisers, the crowd at this time's parade was much larger than the previous two as it was the first one after the Delhi High Court's historic judgment decriminalising consensual homosexual relationships.

"Not only lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders participated, many other people also came out. The most heartening thing is that families of many members of LGBT community also came to support them. Slowly things are changing," said Mohnish Malhotra, one of the organisers.

However, he said the march was not just about celebration but a protest against discrimination faced by the LGBT community.

"We are protesting against discrimination faced by the LGBT community. The community is often subjugated to violence by police and thugs. They are blackmailed and forced into marriage by families, which leads to suicides," he said.

"It is a big celebration after the Delhi High Court judgement last year. It is the biggest turnout. By looking at it we know that things are changing. It's a great feeling to be yourself and not pretend to be someone else," said Mahashweta Das, one of the participants.

Also, Pepsi has produced a gay-themed television ad that is currently running in India. Watch that video (sorry I haven't been able to find an English translation), AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

David Cicilline: Capital D.C. already on his monogram — next his address line?

From the Victory Fund’s Gay Politics:

Cicilline Election NightProvidence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline has won the all-important Democratic primary in the race to represent Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, a key victory in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.



If he wins the general election in November, Cicilline will become just the third openly gay, non-incumbent candidate to win a congressional seat, and only the seventh openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Congress.


BREAKING: Cicilline wins Democratic primary for Congress [Gay Politics]

(Pic., L to R: Eric Hyers, campaign mgr.; DavidCicilline; Victory Fund’s Chuck Wolfe)

Cicilline will now face Republican state Rep. John Loughlin in the general. A man who recently said this:

A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, [Loughlin] said, he sees no reason to repeal the military’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy for gay servicemen because “service in the military is about defending our country … it is not necessarily about open sexuality of any kind.”

GOP Loughlin launches bid to unseat Kennedy [Pro Jo]

So basically, candidate Loughlin will now fight a metaphorical battle with a man who he doesn’t even think deserves the basic right to fight literal battles free from the fear that the merest of identity acknowledgements will derail his life and career. We’ll leave it at that for now.




Good As You

—  John Wright