Bigot of the Day: Texas Rep. Mike Conaway

Rep. Mike Conaway

Despite a Pentagon study that recommends just the opposite, Texas Republican Congressman Mike Conaway continues to spew right-wing propaganda by suggesting that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” will force the military to build separate living facilities for gay and lesbian troops. Conaway also says he thinks DADT is currently working “unless you intend to make sexuality your No. 1 issue when you wake up in the morning.” Which, of course, is precisely what Conaway is doing. From the San Angelo Standard Times:

“You’re going to accommodate folks’ preferences as to whether or not they want to be in the same sleeping arrangements or bathroom facilities, all those kinds of things,” Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican from Midland, said Monday. …

“Apparently their housing arrangements are not set up in that direction,” Conaway said. “And if you have to segment them further from what they are just between men and women, then you’re going to have to provide additional facilities that weren’t provided before. …

“I think my final conclusion was it’s a policy that’s currently working unless you intend to make sexuality your No. 1 issue when you wake up in the morning,” he said.

We’re not sure why the Standard Times is even bothering to publish this crap at this point, but at least the story goes on to note that Conaway is dead wrong:

The Pentagon study released Nov. 30 on the effect of a repeal recommended that “the Department of Defense expressly prohibit berthing or billeting assignments or the designation of bathroom facilities based on sexual orientation.”

Commanders would retain authority to alter those assignments or accommodate concerns about privacy on a case-by-case basis, the study said.

“Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype,” the study said.

The study also indicated 70 percent of military members surveyed believed doing away with the policy would have mixed, positive or no effect.

—  John Wright

Dish it, can’t take it: FRC pissed that people are calling them on their crap

As predicted, the Family Research Council is lashing out against the respected Southern Poverty Law Center for adding the anti-LGBT group to their latest hate groups list. Just as predictably: FRC is completely overlooking the clearly documented findings that landed them on the list, instead attacking the monolithic “left,” their “sexual preferences,” and their “radical” “slander”:

Family Research Council has, for nearly 30 years, advanced faith, family, and freedom in public discourse. We do so with civility and compassion. We hold to the indisputable fact that the family – a Dad, a Mom, and children – is the best building block of a good society, which is why we oppose efforts to transform it based on personal sexual preference.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing.

“This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC. The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It’s a sad day in America when we can not, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling.

“The Left’s smear campaigns of conservatives is also being driven by the clear evidence that the American public is losing patience with their radical policy agenda as seen in the recent election and in the fact that every state, currently more than thirty, that has had the opportunity to defend the natural definition of marriage has done so. Earlier this month, voters in Iowa sent a powerful message when they removed three Supreme Court justices who imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Would the SPLC also smear the good people of Iowa?

“Family Research Council will continue to champion marriage and family as the foundation of our society and will not acquiesce to those seeking to silence the Judeo-Christian views held by millions of Americans. We call on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.” [SOURCE]

It’s the height of shooting the messenger, since the message is too karmically damning. Here are the unacknowledged points that SPLC writer Evelyn Schlatter highlighted about FRC in her writeup:

Headed today by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries (see above for both), along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia (see related story, p. 31): Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.”

More recently, in March 2008, Sprigg, responding to a question about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.” He later apologized, but then went on, last February, to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied. At around the same time, Sprigg claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

Perkins has his own unusual history. In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican State Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins of Louisiana, Perkins paid ,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined ,000 (reduced from ,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide the link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation. In 1999, in fact, GOP chairman Jim Nicholson urged Republicans to quit the group over its “racist views.” A short time later, after an Intelligence Report exposé but before Perkins’ 2001 speech, Republican House Speaker Trent Lott was embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group.

And to that, we could also add:

- Tony Perkins routinely says his opposition (including but not limited to gays) is “held captive by the enemy

- FRC has issued a same-sex marriage pamphlet that compares gay unions to those that might theoretically exist between a man and his horse (complete with a horse’s picture on its front page)

- Peter Sprigg on how to handle sexually active gay men: “The CDC spokesman is cited as saying, ‘There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men.’ This is plainly false. There is, for example, a single and simple solution for smoking-related illnesses, and we have all heard it—’If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit.’ It’s long past time for public health authorities to say the same about men having sex with men.

- Perkins saying that gay teens try suicide because they know homosexuality is “abnormal.”

- Sprigg has emphatically stated that the idea that homosexuality is present in infants at birth “has been disproven scientifically.

- FRC’s Tom McClusky voicing support Sen. Jim DeMint’s belief that gay teachers should be fired.

- Perkins saying those who criticized or even simply questioned a bakery for refusing to make rainbow cupcakes of engaging in “economic terrorism.”

- FRC has given multiple platforms to the beyond-incendiary Bryan Fischer. Most prominently, at this past September’s Values Voters Summit.

- FRC uses grim reaper photos to illustrate what non-discrimination will supposedly do to America.

Etc, etc. We’ll stop there, because we could seriously be here all day. That’s not even a joke. We have six years of archives on FRC: Feel free to use your own Black Friday pulling their organizational thread of offense, should mall shopping be a bore.

The bottom line: FRC can try all they want to attack those who simply use their eyes and ears and digital recording devices to capture what comes forth from their Washington D.C. stable. Those who look at the record and side with FRC are people who were never going to side with pro-LGBT peace in the first place. For the rest of the reality-based community, the message is finally starting to hit home. Thankfully.




Good As You

—  admin

Rex Reed introduces you to Ira Gershwin tonight at the Eisemann Center

Famous for his bitchy film criticism, Fort Worth-born Rex Reed  turns his eye (and his ear) to music with Ira Gershwin revue

Watching too many movies can be a bad thing. After years of deconstructing films and either ripping them apart or praising their genius, Rex Reed has finally had enough. For now at least.

“You have no idea of the crap I sit through. Movies today are ghastly,” Reed says. “I gotta get out of this rut. Everybody has to do something in life that’s a little bit of fun and I love this a million times more than reviewing.“

“This” refers to The Man that Got Away: Ira without George — The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, a show Reed created to celebrate the work of the lesser-known songwriting brother. The production makes its first stop outside of New York in North Texas Nov. 12 at the Eisemann Center.

“This show is a celebration of his genius,” he says. “I feel this kind of music is our culture; it’s America’s greatest gift to this world and it’s in danger of disappearing.”

Along for the ride with Reed are performers Tom Wopat, Marilyn Maye and Susan Mays, who sing songs from Gershwin’s catalog. They help Reed do his part in preserving a part of American culture, in which he gave preferential treatment to his favorite lyricist. He created this show to bring Ira from under his brother’s shadow, despite Ira having the longer career. But with George’s huge signature pieces, Reed still has to remind people that they aren’t going to get what they think they came for. Either that, or they don’t know the difference between the two siblings.

“George has always had his share of fame and praise even though he rarely made a move without his brother,” he says. “It was time he got his fair share. This is not about George. We’re not gonna have Rhapsody in Blue or Porgy and Bess. This is all Ira on his own.”

DEETS: The Man that Got Away: Ira without George — The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. 8 p.m. $39–$72. EisemannCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Letters • 07.02.10

Working tirelessly isn’t ‘too pretty’

I feel that I must respond to the article “Have we made the face of AIDS too pretty?” by David Webb in the June 11 issue of Dallas Voice.

Twenty-two years ago, my partner and I started a variety troupe for no other reason than because we sat many days and nights with friends in our bowling community as they were dying of this dreadful disease, making a difference by changing their briefs, bathing them or cleaning them up after a sick episode. Later, we would cry our eyes out, wishing we were able to help them more.

We started our group to help raise money in any way we could so those friends could have some chance at a quality life amid all the “toil and trouble.”

To say that in doing benefit shows we are glamorizing the face of AIDS, quite honestly, is crap. We, along with many of our friends, have seen the angry head of the “face of AIDS” rise up and take down far too soon so many of those whom we loved and cared for.

Did you know that 90 percent of money raised in our community is raised by men and women who donate their time and talents to entertain in some shape, form or fashion just to try and make a difference? Heaven knows, the government cares very little about the population that is faced with this dreaded disease every single day.

There have been many weekends I wanted to just stay home and watch movies with my partner and spend time with my animals. But my partner and I both believe we have a job to do. You may call it glamorizing the face of AIDS, but we do this with a heartfelt passion that should give hope to many that we are trying to make a difference in their lives somehow, someway, now.

So the next time you hear that someone has gone to get food from the food pantry, or that someone has gotten assistance with their rent so they didn’t have to live on the streets, or that someone who is at a critical stage in their disease and wants to visit their family one last time and they got the plane ticket they needed; remember it is because of all the many wonderful men and women of our community who spend their free time trying to help those in need.

Let me finish by challenging you to come watch us as we tirelessly work our butts off every weekend trying to raise money, one dollar at a time, for those brothers and sisters in need.

If you think what we do “glamorizes” AIDS, then get up off your sofa or bar stool and do your part by working as hard as we do.

I pray to God that the men and women who work so hard and care so much will always stand together, because, heaven knows, if it wasn’t for us, it wouldn’t get done.

Just know there are many organizations that stand with us and know what goes into the things we do, and why we do them.

Home for The Holidays Texas Inc., Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, Cedar Creek Lake Meals on Wheels, Fort Worth AIDS Food Pantry and AIDS LifeWalk are but a few.

Glamour is about guts — remember that!

Linze Serell, aka Bill Lindsey
Miss Charity America 2010


Hardy, don’t get so worked up

Re: “A platform of ideas — bad ideas” by Hardy Haberman (Dallas Voice, June 25)

Every convention cycle, the apparatchiks within the Texas GOP outdo themselves by passing increasingly bizarre, and unfortunately offensive, party platforms. Why get worked up over these manifestos, which are ground out by a roomful of tools, who are accountable to no one?

It’s an election year, so this is the time to talk to candidates and officeholders who are running under both party labels about the virtue of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and not give credibility to these documents which under our system of government maintain the same force of law as the most recent issue of Tiger Beat magazine.

Steve Labinski
Austin

TO SEND A LETTER  |  We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters and those addressing a single issue are more likely to be printed. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include  your home address and a daytime telephone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (nash@dallasvoice.com). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or sent via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). All letters become the property of Dallas Voice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas