WATCH: Gay travel writers descend on Dallas for GLBT International Press Tour 2011

Former City Councilman Ed Oakley, from right, Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Councilwomen Linda Koop and Delia Jasso all attended the kickoff party.


CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE GLBT PRESS TOUR KICKOFF AT ILUME

San Juan Capistrano has its swallows, Copper River has its salmon, Mexico has its monarch butterflies. But Dallas has its own annual migration: Every spring, gay travel writers from around the world come to town give precious ink (or for the bloggers, electrons) to what makes gay Dallas a worthwhile travel destination. The process seems to have worked: Over the six years the Tavern Guild has been sponsoring this influx of journos — the group that arrived Thursday marks the seventh time — Dallas has popped up on the radar of many “best of” polls for gay cities. And all without a beach or clothing-optional guesthouses.

I’ve taken these tours myself as a writer (surprisingly, the Tavern Guild has never invited me to take the tour), and Dallas usually puts on a pretty good show. First, it’s a lengthy tour (running for most reporters until Monday). Second, it is organized with Teutonic efficiency, including a great variety of dining options (from high-end to down-home) and traversing the Trinity to include our Cowtown brethren. From the responses I heard, the show is a good one.

And another selling point is, our local celebrities turn out. At Wednesday night’s kick-off event at the ilume pool bar, the five journalists in attendance — from  Barcelona, London, Madrid, Los Angeles and Chicago — were welcomed by a slate of local dignitaries including Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Chief of Police David Brown, and three current members of the city council, as well as former councilman and mayoral candidate Ed Oakley and current mayor attache Chris Heinbaugh. After the meet-and-greet, the writers headed off for Nana for dinner, followed Thursday with a trip to Fort Worth.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fort Worth Police Department bans ‘bias-based policing’ against LGBT people, other groups

Chief Jeffrey Halstead

The Fort Worth Police Department has a new policy prohibiting “bias-based policing” — including bias against LGBT people — and officers who violate the policy are likely to be fired, according to FWPD officials who spoke to the Star-Telegram.

A police spokesman said the policy is not a response to any specific incident, but acknowledged that the department’s raid of the Rainbow Lounge gay bar in June 2009 was “on our mind.”

FWPD suspended three officers for a total of five days for their actions related to the raid, but determined that they didn’t use excessive force.

Jon Nelson, a founder of Fairness Fort Worth who once called the suspensions “absolutely inadequate,” praised Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead for the new policy.

“This policy would not exist but for the chief of police,” Nelson told the Star-Telegram. “He sets the tone and he made this decision and I think that this Police Department is significantly different because of his leadership.”

Halstead signed a special order enacting the new policy on Friday. It will be distributed to employees next week and takes effect immediately.

The policy specifically prohibits bias based on “race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, membership in a cultural group or other individual characteristics or distinctions.”

—  John Wright