Transgender Day of Remembrance at Cathedral of Hope

Posted on 17 Nov 2014 at 12:04pm
The Transgender Education Network of Texas hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial service and vigil at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Cathedral of Hope. The event honored the lives of trans people who died from anti-trans violence in 2014, including Alex C. DeChiara, 18, of Euless. Alex committed suicide last May, following severe bullying for being transgender.

More tagging damage found and one political gadfly suspected

Political gadfly Richard Sheridan has emerged as a suspect in the tagging incidents that occurred in Oak Lawn and more graffiti was found.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said they found a “666″ painted on the Youth First building on Harry Hines Boulevard today. The marking has probably been there since the weekend like the others that were found on Sunday at Cathedral of Hope, the Legacy of Love Monument, on two Dallas Voice distribution boxes and in front of the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings.

McDonnell said the graffiti has already been removed.

Many people in the community, including D magazine, linked Sheridan to the crime because he is well known for his blatant homophobua. In his recent run for DISD board of trustees, Sheriden’s campaign printed a homophobic flier found stuffed in copies of Dallas Voice at several distribution sites.

Police have not confirmed that they have evidence linking Sheridan to the vandalism, but they are investigating the graffiti as a possibly bias-motivated crime.


—  David Taffet

UPDATE: ’666′ graffiti widespread in neighborhood

Legacy graffiti

Dallas Police Det. Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, said Monday morning that a detective has been assigned to investigate all cases related to graffiti “tagging” done at a number of locations in Oak Lawn early on Saturday morning. The number “666″ — a number linked to Satan through the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible where it is called “the mark of the Beast” — was spray-painted onto the base of the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road, onto the driveway at two different parking lot entrances at Cathedral of Hope UCC and at a building on Oak Lawn at Maple Avenue that houses, among other businesses, the Dallas Observer.

There have also been reports that the “mark of the Beast” was spray-painted onto the Cedar Springs Road bridge over the North Dallas Tollway, on buildings at a housing development on Lucas Street and onto at least two Dallas Voice magazine racks.

Martin said police are looking into the possibility the graffiti is part of a hate crime. Police are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. today regarding the incidents, so stay tuned for more information.

—  Tammye Nash

Defrocked Methodist minister Frank Schaefer reinstated


The Rev. Frank Schaefer

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked six years after officiating at his son’s wedding, was reinstated.

Schaefer refused to say he would never perform another same-sex wedding. While he performed a very private wedding for his son and son-in-law, he couldn’t promise to never do another wedding because he has two other gay children.

The church ruled in his appeal that Schaefer was on trial only for performing his son’s wedding and not for what he may or may not do in the future.

He can return to work at his church and will be given back benefits and pay.

Since being defrocked, Schaefer has been in Dallas twice and spoke at Cathedral of Hope and Northaven United Methodist Church. He appeared on Lambda Weekly and included footage shot at the radio station in an upcoming documentary about his trial.

—  David Taffet

Cathedral of Hope participates in Good Friday walk


The Rev. Jim Mitulski

On Friday starting at 10 a.m., the Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance (DACPA), a non-partisan alliance of grassroots Christians, clergy and theologians seeking to promote the teachings of Jesus, sponsors the 8th Annual Good Friday Walk through downtown Dallas.

The walk this year focuses attention on issues of economic justice, in particular the need for a living wage, the sin of greed and serving wealth, and the related issue of immigration (“welcoming the stranger”). As in 2013, the group will also acknowledge a major teaching of Jesus, his opposition to violence, by reciting the prayer of the mother of Ana Marquez Greene, a young girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in a stop in the park in front of the Federal Building.

The walk will begin near First Presbyterian Church, 1835 Young Street, the corner of Young at Harwood. The route then follows Main Street west to the Rosa Parks statue at the West End station, the northeast corner of Elm and Lamar, with a stop at Pegasus Plaza, Main at Akard streets. The walk will then proceed toward the last stop, Dallas City Hall Plaza, pausing on the way at Belo Park in front of the Federal Building to pray for an end to gun violence. The walk is scheduled to end around 11:45am.

Reflections will be provided by:

• Rev. Kerry Sumpter Smith, Pastor, Greenland Hills United Methodist Church

• Rev. Jim Mitulski, Interim Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ

• Rev. Gregg Alan Smith, Associate Pastor & Director of the Community Outreach Center, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church

• Rev. Jeff Hood, Southern Baptist Pastor, Prism Church in Denton

• Rev. Lisa Coleman

Reflective and inspirational music will be provided by Kristi Hassell, Music Minister, Greenland Hills United Methodist Church and the Gospel Choir from Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ.

—  David Taffet

Death: Keith Alan Hollis

HollisKeith Alan Hollis, 34, entered into eternal peace at his home in Dallas on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Taken too soon, Keith is survived by his mother, Nancy McDaniel; father, Roger Hollis; grandparents, Gordon and Juanita McDaniel; Uncle/Aunt Steve and Vickie McDaniel; cousins Allie and Megan; aunt Rebecca Brannon; cousins Haley and Joseph Nelson and Dustin Grieg. Numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins on his father’s side.

Keith, loving and always caring, also leaves behind a huge community of friends. He was special to many and had a way of endearing himself to everyone he met. Keith will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

A celebration of Keith’s life will be held at Cathedral of Hope in the Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, on April 3 at 4 p.m. Services will be conducted by Reverend Todd Scoggins.

God will link the broken chain,
As one by one we meet again.
In our hearts he will always stay,
Loved and remembered every day.

—  David Taffet

Schaefer documentary includes Dallas footage


The Rev. Frank Schaefer

The Rev. Frank Schaefer spoke at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas on Feb. 9. Filmmaker Scott Sheppard has been following Schaefer and is putting together a documentary about the minister who was defrocked by the Methodist Church for performing his gay son’s wedding.

A preview has been posted on a Kickstarter page and includes footage from the Cathedral of Hope service. A clip from his appearance on Lambda Weekly is also included in the video.

Schaefer will be back in Dallas speaking at Northaven United Methodist Church on June 8.

—  David Taffet

Cathedral of Hope honors military couple who challenged Texas policy

Butler-ChedvilleAlicia Butler and Judith Chedville were awarded Cathedral of Hope’s Ambassador of Justice Award by Interim Senior Pastor Jim Mitulski at the 11 a.m. service on Dec. 1.

On the first day of registration of same-sex partners by National Guard units nationwide, Texas refused to register Butler. Her wife, Chedville, services in the Texas National Guard.

Texas’ refusal to register same-sex partners of military personnel ended last week when the state, under threat of a lawsuit by Butler and the possibility of losing federal funding and equipment based in Texas, relented. Under the new system, which is exactly the same as the old system, couples will be registered by federal employees using a federal computer system at federal bases or National Guard bases statewide.

Registering as a military partner allows the spouse access to the base where they are offered discounted shopping, medical services and other benefits. Butler’s 5-month-old daughter wasn’t able to access the medical care that is available to all National Guard personnel and their dependents.

—  David Taffet

Remembering the victims of trans violence

Allyson Robinson

Keynote speaker Allyson Robinson

No one knows how many transgender people are assaulted and killed. Not all the violence is reported. Brazilian authorities, for example, reported 28 deaths last year, but no one is certain of the actual number.

This year, 238 transgender people have been reported killed worldwide. Since 2008, Transgender Europe has documented 1,374 murders of trans people in 60 countries worldwide. Of these, 108 victims have been under the age of 20.

Those victims were remembered Sunday during a service at Cathedral of Hope. Nov. 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance, was set aside to remember Rita Hester who was murdered in 1998, five days after Matthew Shepard was murdered.

Keynote speaker Allyson Robinson said Cathedral of Hope is special to her, even though she had never set foot in it before the services.

“I’ve never been here before,” she said, “but it means hope to people around the world.”

Robinson said that while ceremonies commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance are approached differently, taking place in venues that range from bars and businesses to churches and other public facilities, what they have in common is the reading of the names of those people who were killed for living their authentic lives.

Audrey Brown, a 20-year-old transgender student, echoed that theme.

“For other people to stop you from being who you are is tragic.” she said.

Blair High, who runs the Gender Education, Advocacy and Resources Program at Resource Center, talked about how far the Dallas trans community has come, but there is a desperate need for expanded services.

High is available at Resource Center on Wednesday nights, and she said people often come in who have recently lost their jobs, their families or their homes, and they’re thinking about suicide.

GEAR is awarding legal and health scholarships to people who are transitioning, and High said anyone who is interested can call her about the application process. Scholarship recipients are required to do some volunteer work with the organization.

Cd Kirven, a community activist, encouraged those attending the service to remember the victims by working to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“Go to your representative,” she said. “Tell them, “My family matters’, and tell them your story.”

Kirven said many people, including legislators, don’t think transgender people have value and aren’t concerned with those equality issues. In Denton County, Artegus Madden, a transgender woman, was found murdered in her home Sept. 1, but Carmarion Anderson, a minister, said officials aren’t investigating the murder.

There’s no update,” she said. “Nothing’s being done.

Sunday’s program included a video that showed the victims’ names, and one rose for each person killed was placed on an altar. The video is shown below.

Metropolitan Community Church has a video for TDOR, titled Pioneering Voices: Portraits of Transgender People. Through first-person accounts and positive images, the exhibit challenges damaging myths and stereotypes about transgender people.

MCC of Greater Dallas is at 1840 Hutton Drive No. 100, Carrollton. The exhibit runs through Dec. 8, Sundays 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Dallas Transgender Day of Remembrance from CoHTV on Vimeo.

—  David Taffet

Spirit Day remembers LGBT victims of bullying


Cathedral of Hope Spirit Day participants

Today is Spirit Day when people wear purple to show support for young LGBT victims of bullying.

“So … purple is an awesome color, but it carries added significance on Thursday because it’s the annual Spirit Day,” Cathedral of Hope’s Chris Kelley said. “A high school student started Spirit Day in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBT youth and as a way to prevent bullying.”

Despite anti-bullying laws passed by states and policies passed by school districts, the stats are as bad as ever. About eight out of every 10 LGBT students experience bullying in school. As many as 63 percent feel unsafe, according to GLAAD.

“At Cathedral of Hope many of our Youth Leaders and staff members have been sporting purple all week,” Kelley said. “Our students are active in their schools to get the word out that bullying and hatred are NOT okay.”

A case of bullying in Florida that resulted in suicide has been in the news this week. Although not an LGBT student, the victim experienced much of what LGBT students go through.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is taking this case more seriously than most have in the past. He understands bullying begins at home.

The sheriff is considering filing charges against the older of the bullies as an adult because she’s showing no remorse over the death. He’s investigating ways to arrest the parents who have gone beyond defending their daughter by denying the bullying ever happened. He’s also investigating school officials for not taking the threats seriously and doing something to stop the harassment at school.

—  David Taffet