Piece of cake: Another close call for charity

Where I started, below, and where I ended up, above.

I’m sick of coming in second, especially for charity.

As we blogged about three weeks ago, Team Dallas Voice was first runner-up in a wind-power competition pitting journo-against-journo for a $2,500 cash donation to our favorite charity. Instead, we won $250 for Ranch Hand Rescue. (We fell to Colleen Coyle of Channel 8.) I was the star player on my team, of course — i.e., the only one capable of building a $0.15 pinwheel without adult supervision.*

So when I was invited to go solo for another journalist-only benefit competition — this time, $1,000 being donated in my name by Kroger to the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank — I relished the opportunity. Plus I didn’t have to go outside as with the wind game … always a plus.

This time, my creativity skills were being put to the test when I faced off against five other journalists at cake decorating. We each had 30 minutes, with the assistance of a Kroger bakery staffer, to turn pasty into a work of art. With the help of La Tricia, I set about it.

Decorating a cake is pretty hard. La Tricia made sure all my pastry bags were filled with butter cream frosting of various colors, and she showed me techniques (apply constant pressure! But not too much!) and walked me through. Being a gay pub, we settled on a rainbow theme, made variously of fruits, jelly beans and frosting.

You can tell I did most of the work myself. I have the penmanship of a serial killer, as Clairee might say, but I also hard heart — and a strong pitch. “You get three points for your presentation,” said Francie Cooper, one of the judges. I thought about a bribe too, but there were cameras on me.

In the end, I placed second after Jana from the Dallas Morning News — another Belo victory! I got no money donated in my name. Instead, I got to keep the cake. I’m feeding the working poor with it, i.e., my colleagues here at Dallas Voice. Ah, well, no reason why you can’t donate to the food banks — they need it. Summer is the hungriest time for kids. Why? Because school is out, so no access to hot lunches unless mom makes it. C’mon, give some money or drop off some cans. Kids should play in the summer, not worry about food.

*That’s pretty much all he did. — Teammates

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

AIDS funding pioneer Pallotta to speak Friday

No one disputes that Dan Pallotta was a pioneer in raising awareness about AIDS and HIV, organizing the California AIDSRide from 1992 to 2002, as well as North Texas’ AIDS ride from 1999 to 2001. It was around that time Pallotta started taking flak for not spending resources well; he was roundly criticized for spending $400,000 to raise $1 million, a ratio most contributors to charity found off-balance. But while Pallotta stopped fundraising for those organizations, he didn’t exactly take the criticism lying down. In 2010, he published Uncharitable, a book that argued there are two rules (those for charities, and those for businesses) and that non-profits should be more entrepreneurial in order to be more competitive … and, presumably, bring in more capital. In short, he says the question “What percentage of my contribution goes to charity?” is outmoded thinking. He’s speaking about this divisive issue at Dallas Social Venture Partners’ Social Innovation Luncheon Series, which will be held at the Tower Club inside Thanksgiving Tower on Friday, April 13. The lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased at DSVP.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Starbucks art auction to benefit homeless youth charity

There are times in life when the strangest ingredients can come together to make something wonderful: wasabi and chocolate, curry and cranberries, peanut butter and pickles… That’s the case with Montrose Grace Place, a charity serving homeless youth in the Montrose area. Take one part 90 year old Lutheran Church willing to help without preaching, add a desire to serve homeless youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, mix with a passel of volunteers of all religious backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and more than a few Atheists), let steep in a community desperate to help queer homeless youth and voilà, a vibrant charity that has provided food, clothing and, most importantly, interaction with adults who give a damn to dozens of kids over the last two years.

Of course all that doesn’t happen without expense. Despite Grace Lutheran Church donating space and volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor Grace Place still has some expenses. The employees of the River Oaks Starbucks (the one at 2050 West Gray, not the one at 2029 West Gray or the one at 2030 West Gray) wanted a way to pitch in so they organized an art auction tomorrow evening, January 1 starting at 6 pm. The auction features donated works by local artists as well as works by the Grace Place kids themselves. Stop by for a latte and some art to go.

—  admin

Our gay Texas

Readers Voice Awards’ ‘Gay Texas’ photo contest entries show great talent

RUNNERS-UP |  Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Don Klausmeyer (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

RUNNERS-UP | Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Stephen Masker (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

The Dallas Voice’s Readers Voice Awards are underway (you can vote online right now, at DFWReadersVoice.com), where you can vote on your favorite whatevers — criminal attorney, chef, boutique, dog walker or get-laid travel vacation. (Trust us, we’ve tried to think of everything.)

But what you also get to vote for — and stand a chance of winning — is the My Gay Texas photo contest. We had scores of submissions during the month of December, asking photographers professional and amateur to submit the pictures that defined, for them, what’s great or interesting or special or unique or beautiful or sexy or hilarious about queer Texas. The top nine are on the site, and you can vote for your favorite and be entered to win two round-trip tickets on American Airlines to the lower 48, Mexico, Caribbean and Canada. And by voting, you also get to benefit the photographer’s charity of choice to the tune of a thousand simoleons.

But the nine photos that made the cut only tell part of the story. Tons of photos were in serious contention but just didn’t hit the top tier. Here are some that really speak to the diversity and fascination of our gay community … and the talent of our readers. With these the runners-up, you know the competition was fierce.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Spirit of Giving: Pam’s Presents Toy Drive for Genesis Women’s Shelter

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

…………………

PamDaphyneLyle

Pam and Daphyne Lyle

In December 2008, Daphyne Lyle didn’t know what to expect when she organized the first Pam’s Presents event. But that didn’t matter, since Lyle merely wanted to continue the charity work her mother Pam Lyle did during the holidays with her partner Pat Wilson.

Fast forward three years as the Pam’s Presents Christmas Toy Drive holds its sixth event at TMC: The Mining Company on Dec. 11.

“She and Pat would have Christmas parties at their house for the employees and asked people to bring an item or toy,” Lyle said of her mother. “She would donate those items to The Family Place. After she passed, I wanted to keep that spirit alive and do our own drive.”

Pam Lyle lost her battle to cancer in the spring of 2008, but Daphyne Lyle opted not to dwell on any misery. Instead, she seemed to feel beholden to continuing the legacy of her mother.

“She was a nurse and had such a caring spirit about people.

The death of anyone is traumatic, but I wanted something positive out of it. It’s such a warm feeling to see people with handfuls of donations and to have it honor my mom and help people out — it’s overwhelming,” she said.

The beneficiary for the event is Genesis Women’s Shelter, the nonprofit that offers assistance to women and children escaping situations of domestic abuse.

This year’s event features an all-day lineup of local musicians who have donated their time to the event. Familiar names such as SuZanne Kimbrell, Kathy Corbin and Heather Knox are among those set to play.

Santa Claus appears at every Christmas event for photos and an art auction has been added to help increase monetary donations. Gift donations are particularly needed for teenage boys and girls and newborns and infants.

The holiday season starts early for Pam’s Presents, with the Christmas in July event which collects school supplies and also has an art auction.

As people began to learn about the events, it grew and TMC was both the perfect fit and a big help.

“We were at Woody’s for the summer event, but we needed something bigger where bands could play in and out,” Lyle said. “When the TMC manager offered the club, we were very excited. People have been so kind donating space and time.”

And so Pam Lyle lives on with the help of Wilson and Daphyne Lyle and through their collective generosity, Genesis clients can look forward to a merrier Christmas.

“The only thing I want everyone to know is thank you,” Lyle added.

Pam’s Presents will be held Sunday, Dec. 11, at TMC: The Mining Company, 3903 Cedar Springs Road. For more information, search “Pam’s Presents’’ at Facebook.com.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

DFW Sisters stuffing the turkeys for charity

Members of the DFW Sisters will be out in force on Cedar Springs Wednesday night, Nov. 23, making their rounds with their turkey banks to raise funds to benefit “DFW Sisters’ mission towards safe sex education, community fundraising and sharing some LOVE!”

They will be out between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., hitting all the bars along the Cedar Springs Strip before heading over to The Brick/Joe’s and Dallas Eagle. Then, if time permits, they’ll head back to the Strip.

So when keep your change handy and when you see a Sister on Wednesday night, stuff that turkey!

—  admin

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

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.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

DONATION

PURPLE PARTY PEOPLE  | The executive board and associate board of the Purple Party presented Don Maison and Mary Beth O’Connor, center, of AIDS Services of Dallas a check for $50,000 at Revlon House. The money was raised at the April 28-May 1 event and was donated in memory of Peter Brown, a long-time board member who died in July. Purple Party is one of the largest all-volunteer charity circuit parties in the country and has donated a total of more than $400,000, board members said. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

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

—  Michael Stephens

LOCAL BRIEFS: AIN poker tourney at the Brick; Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

AIN poker tourney set at the Brick

A charity poker tournament is set for Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Brick, 2525 Wycliff, to benefit AIDS Interfaith Network.

The Dallas Bears and the LGBT poker league Pocket Rockets will co-host the event with the Brick. Miller Lite is the sponsor and play begins at 3 p.m.

It’s free to play but AIN will benefit in a number of ways. The agency will receive a portion of the drink specials sold. Players may buy additional chips, and the Bears will hold a 50/50 raffle.

A cash prize pool of $500 will be awarded and all levels of players are welcome.

Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

Christopher H. Bates will speak at the Dallas Black LGBT Community Summit on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Dallas Marriott City Center Hotel. He is the director of Health and Human Service’s Office of HIV/AIDS Policy.

Bates will discuss the federal government’s response to the high infection rate among young gay African-American men. He has 20 years experience in public health policy and has been with OHAP for more than a decade.

Bates administers funds for the Minority AIDS Initiative and advises the Undersecretary of Health on education, prevention, testing, research, care and treatment strategies. Information is available at DFWPrideMovement.org.

Martin offers program for couples

Randy Martin, LPC, will facilitate an eight-session program for couples, Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. throughout September and October.

The program is based on the theory and practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). The first session focuses on the new science of love and what it teaches us. The next seven sessions focus on helping couples shape and use the seven conversations laid out in the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, the developer of EFT.

Couples interested in participating should contact Martin at 214-520-7575. The cost of the program is $500 per couple and includes a copy of the book Hold Me Tight and other necessary materials.

NGPA seeks donations

The National Gay Pilots Association recently awarded $22,000 in scholarships and is seeking donations for future awards to aspiring LGBT aviators.

Since its founding in 1998, the NGPA Education Fund has given 46 awards totaling $139,000. Donations can be made on the group’s website, NGPA.org.

—  John Wright

Miss Firecracker pageant tonight at the Eagle

Camping out

The 23rd Annual Miss Firecracker pageant returns just in time for July 4. Heavy on the camp and actual singing, the contest is also a benefit for TGRA and its charities. The winner goes on to compete for Miss Charity America. The lovely Victoria Weston will serve as one of the hosts.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 7 p.m. DallasEagle.com.

—  Rich Lopez