OUT & EQUAL: Gala dinner is a highlight of the conference

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho entertained at the gala dinner at the Anatole Hotel on the final evening of the Out & Equal conference.

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns received an ovation talking about his experiences over the past year and encouraging people to get involved to help LGBT youth. Comedian Kate Clinton, who emceed the dinner, said that she attended Our Lady of Psychological Warfare.

Burns speech was appropriately followed by Northrup Grumman CEO Wes Bush in what was a highlight of the evening for everyone from Dallas attending the Workplace Summit. During his talk about protecting diversity, he presented Youth First Texas with a check for $20,000. The company’s commitment to diversity was demonstrated by their top level sponsorship of the conference and the large contingency they brought to Dallas including all elected officers of the company.

Clinton acted as auctioneer and brought in about $40,000 for Out & Equal student scholarships selling items such as a trip to Paris and Berlin and a $5,000 KitchenAid shopping spree. The printed program suggested this item for anyone who needs a new whisk.

The Turtle Creek Chorale began and ended the program, singing with Wilson Cruz, best known as Angel in Rent.

Cho brought the house down when she suggested her response to evangelical-types who tell her they object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. She said she looks at them, smiles sweetly and tells them, “My argument to this is FUCK YOU.”

The conference ends Friday afternoon.

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—  David Taffet

Celeb sightings

This year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit boasts a healthy amount of celebrities coming to town. From actors to comedians and more, Dallas prepares not only to host a slew of workshops on equality, but also rolls out the red carpet for these guests.

Meredith Baxter:  You’ll likely remember the actress as supermom Elyse Keaton on Family Ties. But she made a new impression by coming out last year. She speaks at Wednesday’s breakfast plenary session and follows up with a book signing at Nuvo, 3900 Cedar Springs Road, on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.

Andy Cohen:  The senior vice president at Bravo has almost singlehandedly changed the face of gays on television. That extends to these parts with the new show Most Eligible Dallas.
The Watch What Happens Live host will appear at Tuesday’s brunch plenary session.

Rick Welts:  The name may not be as familiar but Welts made front page news this year in the New York Times. The former Phoenix Suns president is the first higher-up of a men’s professional sports organization to come out.
He appears with Baxter at the Wednesday plenary.

Margaret Cho:  The comedian has long been an ally to the LGBT community and continues in appearances at such events as this. She is part of the lineup for Thursday’s gala dinner hosted by fellow comedian Kate Clinton.

Wilson Cruz:  The actor redefined the queer image on television with his work on My So Called Life. Through his acting on stage and screen, Cruz has also become an advocate for LGBT youth. He appears with Cho and Clinton at the gala dinner.

For more information on these and other guests appearing at the summit, visit OutAndEqual.org/2011-Speakers.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens