More gay stuff at the Asian Film Festival

The Asian Film Festival continues throughout the week, and there’s even more gay content now that I’ve had a chance to review more of the films.

Each of the shorts blocks — 1, which plays Monday at 4:05 p.m.; 2, which plays Tuesday at 6:10 p.m.; and 3, which runs Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. — have films with gay storylines. In 1, it’s between one of the couples in the short Tu & Eu, about how couples relate to one another. In 2, a young woman flirts with a female yoga instructor in Savasana, though not all is what it seems. But the big gay short is A Woman Called Canyon Sam, a documentary about one of the first lesbian Asian activists in America. (I’m glad about the last one, because the director, Quentin Lee, was still looking for funding a few months ago, which we wrote about.)

The centerpiece of the gay content — aside from the experiemental film The Image Threads, which I wrote about last week — is I Am, a documentary about being gay in Indian culture. “Gay marriages are completely legal in India,” remarks the narrator, who interviews several families and how they deal with having gay and lesbian sons and daughters. It’s an unusual insight into how different cultures deal with issues of homosexuality.

I Am plays tonight at 7:30 at the Magnolia Theatre, where all films in fest screen.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

More on the anti-gay Baylor Health Care System

OK, so if anything I should be working on my Super Bowl centerpiece story for next week’s Voice right now, but I felt compelled to provide an update on the situation involving the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center given the comment thread below.

Today I spoke with Beverly Davis, a very sweet woman who’s in charge of the city of Dallas’ Fair Housing Office, which investigates complaints under the sexual orientation nondiscrimination ordinance.

Davis explained that her office did not, as alleged, advise Steven Johnson to withdraw his complaint against the Fitness Center last year because the Fitness Center is considered exempt from the ordinance as a “private club.”

Davis, whom I trust, said the city never got a chance to determine whether the ordinance applies to the Fitness Center, because Johnson withdrew the complaint voluntarily and on his own before the investigation began. (I have my suspicions as to why Johnson chose to withdraw the complaint, but I won’t get into that here.)

So, no determination has been made about whether the ordinance applies to the Fitness Center. And again, there is no specific mention in the ordinance of an exemption for “private clubs.” Furthermore, the exemption for religious organizations should not apply because despite any affiliations the Fitness Center is not engaged in religious activities.

Alan Rodriguez, another gay man who was discriminated against by the Fitness Center, says he plans to file a complaint on Monday.

Which, I think, is a good thing.

After all, what’s the point of having the ordinance if you’re not going to attempt to use it? Filing a complaint will force the city to investigate, and it will undoubtedly force Baylor to get its attorneys involved. And at some point, they may start to wonder whether all this is really worth it to defend some backward-ass policy that probably loses money for the Fitness Center.

The city may offer mediation to Baylor and a chance to change the policy. If Baylor refuses, the City Attorney’s Office will decide whether there is cause to prosecute. If they choose not to prosecute, it becomes a City Council issue. These cases shouldn’t be decided by the City Attorney’s Office; they should be decided by judges and juries. Again, in the nine years since the ordinance was passed, there have been more than 40 complaints filed, and not one has ever been prosecuted by the city.

Granted, even if the city were to prosecute a case successfully, it’s only a maximum $500 fine per violation. But that’s not the point.

—  John Wright

Black Pride Weekend: Second annual Masquerade Ball at The Warehouse

“Fierce” doesn’t begin to cover it

Dallas Southern Pride is bringing back its Masquerade Ball which looks to be the centerpiece party of the weekend.With special performances by Andre Misrahe, Back Rayne, Kage Khan, pictured, and JuJubee from RuPaul’s Drag U, the night doesn’t stop there. Prepare yourself for the ultimate sex siren battle on the dance floor and of course, the fab and fierce costumes and masks sure to be on hand. You’ll  have to see for yourself just what to expect. Just note the time of the event. It’s late, but that means more disco nap.

DEETS: The Warehouse, 1837 Corinth St. Doors at midnight. Ball begins at 3 a.m. $20–$25. DallasSouthernPride.com.

—  Rich Lopez