The 25 gayest cities in Texas

We’re still working to get in touch with demographer Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute, the guru of all things gay and Census, to go over those freshly released data on same-sex couples in Texas. Gates says via email that he’s been slammed with media calls all morning and will get back to us as soon as he can. In the meantime, he sent over another tidbit in the form of an Excel spreadsheet listing all cities in Texas ranked according to the rate of same-sex couples per 1,000 households. As we mentioned earlier, Dallas has the highest rate of same-sex couples in the state, followed by Galveston and Austin. The list, which we’ve posted below, contains some major surprises — with cities like Hutto and Jollyville appearing in the top 10, for example. And yes, this does go to show that we are everywhere, but also keep in mind that the cities are ranked according to rate per 1,000 households. So, while Houston has the highest total number of same-sex couples (8,290), it has a much larger population than Dallas and therefore a lower rate. Also, my headline is deliberately misleading because the Census doesn’t count single gays. And in case you’re wondering, the city with the lowest rate of same-sex couples in Texas is College Station, with 131 or 3.74 per 1,000 households. Stay tuned for more as soon as we’re able to talk to Gates.

Check out the top 25:

—  John Wright

Resource Center Dallas calls for investigation of city’s handling of gay discrimination complaints

Resource Center Dallas is calling on the city to investigate whether the intent of its ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination is being honored.

In a letter today to three city council members, Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell points to Dallas Voice reports saying that in the nine years since the ordinance was passed, more than 40 complaints have been filed, but none has ever been prosecuted.

McDonnell’s letter to Councilwomen Angela Hunt, Delia Jasso and Pauline Medrano was triggered by reports on this blog last week about anti-gay discrimination by the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center, which has repeatedly refused to sell family memberships to same-sex couples.

The city ordinance, passed in 2002, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. Gender identity is included in the definition of sexual orientation under the ordinance. Each violation of the ordinance is punishable by a maximum $500 fine.

A Dallas Voice investigation in 2008 concluded that at the time, 33 complaints had been filed under the ordinance. In 22 of those cases, the City Attorney’s Office determined that there was no cause to prosecute.

Of the other 11 cases, three were successfully resolved through mediation; three people withdrew their complaints after signing statements indicating that defendants had taken actions necessary to address their concerns; five complaints were found to be nonjurisdictional, meaning the incidents occurred outside city limits or defendants were exempt from the ordinance; and in one case the party filing the complaint couldn’t be located.

Here’s the full text of McDonnell’s letter:

Dear Councilmembers Jasso, Medrano and Hunt,

As you three know, Dallas is one of a handful of cities in Texas that includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy. Resource Center Dallas is proud to be in a city offering such protections. We assume that you, like us, are disturbed by last week’s stories on the Dallas Voice’s blog.

The Voice reported that a gay couple who recently moved to Dallas sought to join Baylor’s Tom Landry Center under the family membership program. The couple was advised that Baylor only offers family members to people who are married as defined by Texas law. There is no same-gender alternative, which, to us, is monetized discrimination.

The Voice’s blog also reported that since the ordinance became law in 2002, more than 40 complaints have been filed. Yet, shockingly, the City has not prosecuted one of those complaints. Is this correct? Are complaints being resolved through mediation, settlements, or are the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people filing these grievances walking away empty-handed?

We write to ask for your help. We would like for you to call for an investigation of whether or not the intention of the ordinance is being honored. As we know you will agree, enacting an ordinance is only the first step in addressing discriminatory practices. The critical second step is its enforcement. From the Voice’s reporting, it sounds like the ordinance we all worked so hard to put in place may not be as effective as we thought.

Sincerely,

Rafael McDonnell
Strategic Communications and Programs Manager, Resource Center Dallas

—  John Wright