Best Bets • 02.24.12

Friday 02.24

Up close and personal
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien struck a chord with the LGBT community in her 2010 special Gay in America following up on her Latino and African-American coverage. She comes to Arlington giving a lecture on “Diversity in America.”

DEETS:
Texas Hall
701 S. Nedderman Drive (on UT Arlington campus).
7:30 p.m. Free.
UTA.edu/MaverickSpeakers.

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Saturday 02.25

Raise your glass
The Toast To Life Gala brings together culinary delights and luxury auctions together for a dazzling night of fundraising. The annual event celebrates 14 years with all proceeds from the night benefiting Resource Center Dallas. Who doesn’t like a night to dress up fancy like while raising a toast to the years of work the Center has done?

DEETS: Fashion Industry Gallery
1807 Ross Ave.
8 p.m.
$100–$150.
ToastToLife.org.

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Wednesday 02.29

Comic appeal
Bond over Marvel team-ups or Archie love triangles when Zeus Comics owner Richard Neal hosts The Return of the Mighty Zeus LGBT Mixer. The new Leap Year tradition features special guest Tim Fish, the out cartoonist behind such queer comic tomes like Cavalcade of Boys and Young Bottoms in Love. He’ll sign copies of his work, but at least buy him a thank you drink.

DEETS:
Dallas Eagle
5740 Maple Ave.
5:30 p.m.
ZeusComics.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Take a lesson from CNN’s Roland Martin and watch what you tweet

Webb-DavidIt’s about time for the highfliers of the world to start giving things a little more thought before they open their mouths and let everyone know about the ugliness festering in their minds — it could jeopardize their livelihood. The latest big voice to stick his tongue in the fire is CNN contributor Roland Martin, a one-time Dallasite who unfortunately tweeted what was on his mind while watching soccer star David Beckham’s Super Bowl underwear commercial. Martin tweeted that if a “dude” at a Super Bowl party gets “hyped” about the underwear ad someone should “smack the ish out of him.”

The inference in that statement is pretty clear. If a guy reveals he likes guys by showing appreciation for the nearly naked, muscular Beckham featured in the ad, then someone should punish him — with violence.

It’s unclear why Martin’s mind would react in such a fashion to the commercial, but it should come as no surprise to the commentator or any other high-profile person that perceived anti-gay remarks will result in an immediate, unpleasant reaction from GLAAD. And that’s exactly what has happened in the case of Martin, whom the media monitoring organization has accused of habitual verbal gay-bashing.

Earlier the same day, Martin, a Houston native who has worked at radio stations and newspapers in North Texas, reportedly posted on his Facebook page that someone featured at the game in a “head-to-toe pink suit” needed a “visit from teamwhipdatass.”  Everything considered, it clearly was not one of Martin’s better days image-wise.

For his part, Martin immediately began trying to explain away his statements as harmless and not at all what the people from GLAAD perceived it to be upon hearing they wanted CNN to fire him. He claimed it was intended as a “crack” against soccer fans and not intended to be homophobic at all.

After that failed to convince anyone that he didn’t really say what everyone knows full well he did say, Martin decided the following day to apologize, saying he could “certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one” he meant.

And that apparently turned out to be the case with CNN, which announced Martin’s suspension on Wednesday, Feb. 8 saying “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive” and, “Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”

In his defense, although it failed to spare him, Martin noted that he had spoken out on national television in the past against bullying by urging parents and schools to take an “active role in ending this epidemic that afflicts kids nationwide, gay or not.” GLAAD accepted Martin’s apology as a “start,” but it suggested that the commentator should take the extra step of meeting with the organization’s leaders and using his big voice in the future to speak out against homophobic violence as reparation for his offensive and potentially harmful remarks.

That wasn’t a bad idea at all because violence can be incited in impressionable people — especially the young — who view powerful people’s hateful words as justification for violence. Hate crime researchers have long warned that politicians, clergy people and celebrities carry a great responsibility in terms of how their rhetoric might influence others.

In Martin’s case it seems odd that someone who is an African-American TV news personality and familiar with the issues of discrimination and bias-related violence would wind up being chided for perceived anti-gay rhetoric, but that is reflective of the insidiousness of bias. Nasty thoughts sometimes lurk in nice people’s minds, surfacing only during extraordinary moments.

Often, the expression of those thoughts probably is as big of a surprise to the deliverer as it is to the audience, and the result can be harrowing. That in itself is a good reason for everyone to realize that bias against law-abiding groups is harmful to society, no matter whether it is race, religion, sex, age or whatever, and a constant vigilance to fight against it in one’s own head should be undertaken if it resides there.

That’s likely a bigger problem for people who harbor anti-gay bias because of the LGBT community’s relative youth in terms of a legitimate society of people. Anti-gay bias was considered not only acceptable, but preferable for too long for some people to change their thoughts on the subject swiftly.

In regard to gay rights, some people changed their minds long before the laws changed, but for other people the process has been delayed long after the repeal of the sodomy law and the passage of other affirmative measures. Those people continue to struggle to balance their thoughts with their speech. Usually, people accustomed to speaking in public can keep their inappropriate thoughts in check when they are talking or writing, but social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook are presenting new hazards in communication. The immediacy of the communication and its worldwide reach can create big headaches for people, as Martin has learned.

Every purposeless, derogatory statement issued about another person or group has the potential of reaching and offending someone.

Because of that, it might be a good idea for everyone to take a lesson from Martin’s disastrous faux pas and watch carefully what they post on social media. Once it is out there, it’s spreading furiously and it’s not so easy to explain away.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@hotmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: ‘Anderson Cooper 360’ puts the focus on bullying all week long

Anderson Cooper

Every night this week, Anderson Cooper 360 will focus on the root causes of bullying and what can be done to end it as part of a “special multi-platform effort”and in partnership with Facebook, CNN, The Cartoon Network and Time Inc. The week winds up Friday, Oct. 14, with a rebroadcast of “Bullying: It Stops Here,” a special town hall meeting, that first aired Sunday night, Oct. 9.

AC 360 commissioned a special study conducted last spring in which more than 700 students at The Wheatley School, a nationally top-ranked high school on Long Island, were given a 28-question survery on “aggressive behavior,” aka bullying, four separate times throughout the semester. And according to the sociologist who partnered with AC 360 to conduct the survey, the stereotype of “the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn’t reflect reality in schools.”

Instead, sociologist Robert Faris said, students are involved in a kind of “social combat” as they try to fight their way to the top of the school’s social hierarchy. The video below gives you a preview of the program  talking about the survey’s findings.

AC 360 explores the findings of this study in depth each night at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. CST on CNN.

—  admin

WATCH: Violent brawl between two transgender women caught on video in San Antonio

A violent brawl between two transgender women was caught on tape in the parking lot of a San Antonio convenience store early this morning. KENS Channel 5 reports:

San Antonio police had to use a taser on a transgender individual who had been involved in the heated fight in the 800 block of San Pedro early Monday morning.

Investigators said the suspect hurled a shoe at them after their conversation reached a boiling point. They said that individual now faces criminal charges.

The other person in the fight did not cooperate with investigators and left the scene.

The original argument between the two transgender individuals escalated into a fight at about 4 a.m. Monday. The source of the disagreement remains unclear. Witnesses gave several different explanations of what may have prompted the parking lot fight.

The two clashed just feet from a KENS 5 news truck, and most of the incident was caught on camera. Police initially said they would consider issuing citations for the fight.

Watch the video below.

—  John Wright

Starvoice • 08.26.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Phil McGraw turns 61 on Thursday. The former Wichita Falls resident has used his talk show Dr. Phil to address LGBT issues regarding youth and same-sex marriage. He recently spoke to CNN about the damages of ex-gay practices in the wake of Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

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THIS WEEK

Mercury in Leo stimulates creative thinking, but also a lot of self-promotional BS. While in Leo he’s agitating the Pluto-Uranus square, leading people to take their notions way too seriously, but those aspects can trigger bits of revolutionary genius. The trick there is to not challenge everyone around you, but to challenge yourself.

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VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
As naughty fantasies come inside your head, explore them safely there. Putting them into reality could be delicious, but be careful! However you explore them, you learn a lot about yourself.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Everyone wants an argument. Can’t they just be nice and agree with you? There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns. Shooting them off freely drives away people you care about.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You may feel hassled by an overbearing boss. Bite your tongue and take it all in as feedback to help you do your job better, no matter what the tone. There’s always room for improvement.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Your idea of playful banter can really upset some people. That could be a good thing when done in the right time and place. In any event, there will be a price to pay, so make sure it’s worth it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Capricornian brilliance at sex is one of the zodiac’s best-kept secrets. The more it stays that way, the better off you are. Keep that info on a need-to-know basis.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
If you can’t avoid debate, keep one eye inward to see how your arguments reflect your deepest fears and insecurities. Keep a friend nearby with whom you can have an honest talk about that.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Taking a cut in pay might be a necessary strategy for long-range benefits. Don’t get taken advantage of. If money gets tight, you have the creative resourcefulness to make it through.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Your idea of fun and good humor upsets some people. In the right time and place that could be a good thing, but think ahead about consequences and whom you can afford to piss off.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Arguments at home reflect and exacerbate your insecurities and doubts. Reflect on childhood patterns and how they affect you now. Probably best to do that on your own.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your mouth is getting even further ahead of your brain than usual, and your libido is somewhere inbetween. The brilliance of your ideas depends on how much you challenge yourself.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Hiding financial problems from your partner will make the situation worse. It may be time to renegotiate how you deal with bills and expenses. Explore ideas now, but don’t make decisions.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Others admire your brilliance nearly half as much as you do, but a good showman always leaves the audience wanting more. The ability to listen makes you more popular than the ability to talk.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WATCH: Randy Roberts Potts on Joy Behar

Randy Roberts Potts

Oral Roberts’ grandson Randy Roberts Potts, who lives in Dallas and spoke to Dallas Voice last summer, appeared on Joy Behar last night. He spoke to CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is also gay. The video is below.

Since speaking to Dallas Voice last year, Potts has been writing and has become a speaker appearing around the country, talking about coming out in an evangelical family. Last fall, he made an “It Gets Better” video that was included in the bestselling book of the same title.

In this interview, he said that when he visited his grandfather about six months before he died, he the evangelist apparently knew his grandson was gay and that meeting was his way of telling him that he loved him, “no matter what.”

When Lemon, 45, came out publicly earlier this year, he said that he’d been out to CNN colleagues for a long time.

—  David Taffet

Nyad forced to call off record swim attempt

Record-holding swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, was forced to call off her attempt to become the first person to swim nonstop from Havana, Cuba, to the Florida Keys without a shark cage early this morning, according to this report from CNN.com. (Read my more extensive post from Monday about the effort here.)

Rough seas, shoulder pain and asthma ended her swim early, after she’d made it about halfway through the 103-mile distance in 29 hours. This is the second time Nyad has attempted the swim. The first time was in 1978 when she was 29. She swam 76 miles in about 42 hours — that time inside a shark cage — but had to call it off when high winds and rough seas pushed her off course and kept banging her into the sides the tank.

I am sad that Nyad had to call off the swim. I was really rooting for her to make it. But at the same time, I am amazed and inspired that she even tried to make the swim, and when you think about how far she got and how quickly, it is even more amazing. So Diana Nyad is still one of my new heroes.

Watch CNN’s report below.

—  admin

The summer (not-so-)blockbuster Palin doc

Sara Palin

There’s a new documentary out about Sarah Palin. Who knew?

Well, apparently, some folks knew about the film — called The Undefeated — because the film’s distributor, ARC Entertainment, told CNN that the documentary averaged $5,000 per screen on Friday and Saturday nights of its opening weekend (July 15-16), and that screenings at several locations were sold out. ARC also suggested that the film will go into wider release sometime later this month.

(It opened in 10 cities last weekend. Perhaps if that hadn’t also been opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, more people would have gone to see the Palin doc. Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think the audiences for the two films have much overlap.)

The Hollywood Reporter says the film earned $60,000 to $75,000 in its opening weekend. Just in comparison Harry Potter raked in $168.5 million in its opening weekend.

—  admin

David Kunkle talks up Dallas’ gay community in CNN piece about TNT’s new version of ‘Dallas’

David Kunkle

Following TNT’s announcement last week that it has picked up the new version of Dallas, CNN posted a long story about how the original Dallas has shaped the city’s image — and how modern Dallas is nothing like the stereotypes created by the show. (The entire article is worth a read when you have time, although perhaps it was only interesting to me because I’m not from Dallas and I’ve never seen an episode of the original series). Anyhow, the CNN story mentions early on that Dallas has a lesbian sheriff, and then former police chief turned mayoral candidate David Kunkle puts an exclamation on the gay angle near the end. “We have one of the largest gay populations and one of the strongest gay communities of any city in the country,” Kunkle tells CNN. Thanks, chief. Who knows, maybe the new “Dallas” will add a gay storyline.

 

—  John Wright