Deaths

Marion A. Weger, 61, died at his Dallas residence on March 7.

Born Nov. 28, 1949, Weger was a native of Paradise, Texas, and had lived in the Dallas area for the last 20 years. He co-owned Gratitude Vintage Clothing store with his late partner, Don Dent, for 19 years, and was very proud of the fact that the Oak Lawn shop was named top vintage clothing store in Dallas by Dallas Observer in 2010.

Weger and Dent had been a couple for more than 20 years when Dent died last June. They were both loved and will be deeply missed by family and their many friends.

Services for Weger were held Wednesday, March 16 at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Memorial donations in his name can be made to that church or to the American Cancer Society.

—  John Wright

Reporter asks players if they’d go gay in exchange for Super Bowl ring at Media Day

In today’s Dallas Voice we have a Super Bowl-related story about homophobia in the NFL (image above). And while we didn’t make it to Super Bowl Media Day at Cowboys Stadium on Tuesday, it sounds like a reporter from 105.3 The Fan had the gay angle covered. According to Time magazine, the unidentified reporter from the Dallas radio station was going around asking players if they’d go gay in exchange for a Super Bowl ring:

But in a new media day low, a reporter from Dallas-area sports radio station, 105.3 The FAN, asked one Packer if he would turn gay if that would guarantee a Super Bowl victory for the team.

To confirm I heard this line of questioning correctly, I watched this reporter interview a Steelers player during Pittsburgh’s media session. First inquiry: “Who has the biggest wiener on the team?” She asked the player who his favorite celebrity was. When he told her it was Denzel Washington, she asked if he would “hook up” with Denzel in exchange for a Super Bowl ring.

It continued. She asked if he would “French kiss” his father for a million dollars, and implored him to “describe a vagina.”

And here’s a gay reaction to Time‘s report from Cyd Ziegler Jr. at OutSports.com: “I’m not sure why asking someone if they would have gay sex for a Super Bowl ring is so “low.” Heck, I’d have sex with Denzel Washington in exchange for a Super Bowl ring any day!”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Gay UT students make out in front of anti-gay preacher Jed Smock

Anti-gay preacher Jed Smock is apparently on a tour of universities in Texas, and we can only hope he’s headed to the Dallas area soon. The first video shows two gay University of Texas students locking lips in front of an outraged Smock, and the second one features Smock’s rendition of his infamous “It’s Not OK To Be Gay” song at Texas A&M. This guy is really a lot of fun.

—  John Wright

Razzle Dazzle Dallas now has a website

Razzle Dazzle Dallas, the LGBT event held annually for 26 years through 2003, is returning after an eight-year absence the first week of June.

This week organizers launched a website, RazzleDazzleDallas.org, and announced sponsors and beneficiaries.

The presenting sponsor for the event is Bud Light. Other sponsors include ilume, the Warwick Melrose Hotel and Dallas Voice.

Razzle Dazzle was always a fundraising event, and organizers have named eight beneficiaries this year — Youth First Texas, Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association Beautification Fund, Legacy Counseling/Founders Cottage, Lone Star Ride and Legal Hospice of Texas.

Rather than just a one-night party, Razzle Dazzle will be a five-day event beginning June 1 with a wine and dog walk sponsored by the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

On Thursday, June 2, a “Pub Crawl” will travel by shuttle buses to participating Dallas-area nightclubs.

MetroBall at Station 4 on Friday, June 3 will be an evening of dancing, raffles and fundraising, as well as entertainment.

During the day of Saturday, June 4 the Cedar Springs Merchants Association will host a street fair and sale.  The main event, the Razzle Dazzle Dallas street party, will fill Cedar Springs that night.

Razzle Dazzle wraps up on Sunday, June 5 with closing parties at participating Oak Lawn nightclubs.

For updates, follow Razzle Dazzle Dallas on Facebook and Twitter.

—  David Taffet

Deaths

Robert  Allan Turnipseed, 62, formerly of Dallas, was murdered in his home at Riberas del Pilar in Jalisco, Mexico, on Jan. 6 (See related news story in this issue.)

Turnipseed immigrated to the United States from Calgary, Alberta in Canada as a child and grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was active in the Stonewall Business and Professional Association in Dallas, a precursor to the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. He and his partner fulfilled their dream of moving to Mexico in 2004 when they bought a home in the Lake Chapala area.

Turnipseed is survived by his partner of 40 years, Bob Tennison.

Mark A. Bieson, 48, died Jan. 10 at Parkland Hospital in Dallas following a prolonged illness.

Born in Indiana, Biesen had lived in the Dallas area for the past 16-plus years and had worked as a demo specialist at Whole Foods Market in Highland Park. Friends remember him as a very kind and gentle person with an amazing spirit. Guests to and his coworkers at Whole Foods Market loved him very much and will remember him always for his sense of humor and good-natured spirit.

Biesen is survived by one sister and two brothers, all of Indiana.

A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

Financial planner offers special advice for special circumstances

Wells Fargo financial planner helps same-sex couples navigate complicated situations that come with not being federally recognized

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

After recognizing the need for certified financial planners specializing in same-sex couples, officials with Wells Fargo approached the College for Financial Planning. In 2010, the designation was established and for now Wells Fargo Advisors has an exclusive on planners who are accredited domestic partner advisors.

Terry Thompkins is one of just six accredited domestic partner advisors in the Dallas area.

“It’s no coincidence the bank’s based in San Francisco,” Thompkins said.

Thompkins first recognized the need when he was working with two widows who chose not to remarry, primarily for pension reasons.

“I quickly realized that here’s a community that’s horribly underserved,” he said.

On Feb. 1, Thompkins is offering a financial planning seminar for same-sex couples. He said he had nothing to sell but is looking for couples that would benefit from working with him.

“I’m looking to establish long-term relationships,” Thompkins said, adding that he is as interested in younger couples beginning to build their wealth as in established couples with multi-million dollar portfolios.

“Anyone who is not recognized by the federal government creates challenges, and nightmare scenarios can develop,” Thompkins said.

That creates tax issues but can also present tax opportunities, he said. Having accounts structured properly as well as having legal paperwork in place can prevent families from challenging wills and estates after a partner dies.

“That’s so important when someone is also dealing with their grief,” Thompkins said.

He said a common problem he faces with couples is when one is an aggressive investor and the other is conservative. In that case, Thompkins must form an investment strategy that allows that two portfolios to work together.

Thompkins said clients do not come to him because they need a stockbroker. He said he has a wide range of investment vehicles from traditional banking products to commodities and futures. “I have a huge pallet available to me,” he said.

He said that for a couple with a small business, he can talk to the bank’s commercial lending group and the small business group.

When those don’t work, he can access tools like collateralizing existing assets.

But he said that shouldn’t scare off couples with fewer assets. He not only wants to help couples make a strong plan stronger. Young couples should get on the right track and build huge wealth down the road.

Financial Planning Seminar at Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. 972-728-3110. Reservations required.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

HRC releases list of best places to work

The Human Rights Campaign released a new list this week of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.

The Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality distinction is awarded to businesses that scored 100 percent on HRC Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index. The list is larger this year than ever, although companies like Target and Best Buy that were on the list last year were removed because of political donations to anti-LGBT organizations.

The list includes a several DFW-based companies including American Airlines, Brinker International, JC Penney and Texas Instruments.

The list includes more obvious categories in service sectors like airlines, retail and hospitality but also includes several industries not seen as being in the forefront of equal rights. Waste Management Inc. of Houston is among those rated as a best place to work, as is mining and metals company Alcoa.

A new project was launched to get more Houston-based Fortune 500 companies to participate in the CEI Index. Only nine of 29 Houston-based Fortune 500 companies participate.

—  David Taffet

Death • 12.17.10

Sharla Diane Rippetoe, 60, died of cancer at her home in Dallas on Dec. 12.

Rippetoe was born April 2, 1950, in Texas and had lived in the Dallas area for the past 40 years. She graduated from Richardson High School, and was a business owner, author and artist as well as a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She was the owner of Grammy Sits pet-sitting service and a former delivery driver for Dallas Voice.

Rippetoe is survived by her wife, Maryann Ramirez of Dallas; her parents, Charles David Forest and Clara Jackson; her siblings, Belinda and Charlie; her daughters, Patricia, Veronica and Stephanie; her sons, David and Kevin; her grandchildren, Ean, Tasha, Degan, Helen, Thomas, Jonathan and Ashley; and her great-grandchildren, Eden, Avery, Aspen and Aiden.

A celebration of her life is being planned for a future date. The family asks that memorial donations in her name be made to SPCA of Dallas or to Community Hospice of Texas (CHOT.org).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Exploring spirituality, in Radical Faerie style

Pan-pagan group started as a gay-men-only movement, but has grown more inclusive with time

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer mmadjarian@gmail.com

Dallas area Radical Faeries
IN THEIR OSTARA BONNETS | Members of the Dallas area Radical Faeries get in on the Easter Bonnet Parade fun with their own version of festive headgear celebrating Ostara, or the vernal equinox. (Photo courtesy Radical Faeries).

“Mainstream gays have always regard[ed] the euphemism, ‘faerie’ [as stigmatic]” says Paul Singleton. “Many men find it countermand[s] their ideas of masculinity, which is far from actual reality.”

Singleton is a member of the Radical Faeries, an alternative gay men’s movement started in 1979 by pioneer gay activist Harry Hay and dedicated to the spiritual exploration of gay culture and identity. He is one of about 15 locally based faeries, a few of whom gather together every Saturday for “coffee, tea and communion.”

“We are the Nature People, the lavender tribe of the Rainbow Family, in harmony with the principles of peace, justice, freedom, sustainable culture and the sacredness of the Earth. We love ceremonies, focusing on group spirit, and oneness… And we like to be pretty!” says Steven Hanes, another member of the DFW Radical Faerie community.

Hay, who died in 2002, originally patterned the Radical Faeries after the women’s separatist groups of the 1970s and limited membership to men. But in more than 30 years of existence, the Radical Faeries have evolved — albeit gradually and with difficulty — towards embracing a more sexually diverse membership.

Some Radical Faerie groups accept people of all genders and orientations with the idea that anyone who identifies as a faerie is one. However, many older members still require gatherings to be male-only and the issue of inclusion continues to be controversial.

“As an oppressed people, gay men [have] had to overcome their own prejudices against women, bi, trans [and] intersex people,” notes Singleton, who at 28, is part of the younger generation of faeries.

The movement, which began in the U.S. but now has followers worldwide, has been described as pagan in spiritual orientation. While it does borrow elements of its basic philosophy from paganism, it also borrows from other faiths as well.

As such, it reflects the eclectic religious backgrounds of its members, who are anything from Catholic to Buddhist, agnostic to atheist.

Two other elements unify the Radical Faeries. One is that member relationships are based on the giving and receiving of mutual respect and empathy.

“We are on equal footing — there is no dominance of subject over object,” says Singleton.

This notion derives from Hay’s idea that homosexual relationships, unlike heterosexual ones, were based on longings for a companion that was identical — and therefore equal — to the self in all ways.

The second element is internal operation based on consensus rather than majority rule — a feature that Townley attributes to “Hay’s communistic roots.”

Dallas area Radical Faeries
FAERIE FASHION | Members of the Radical Faeries celebrate spring. (Photo courtesy Radical Faeries)

“[This] can present certain challenges in efficiency,” Townley admits. “If anyone chooses to block consensus, we will ‘talk the issue to death.’ … When we are through, there are fewer bad feelings — except perhaps exhaustion — but we all understand many differing points of view.”

The group’s emphasis on equality can also be seen in one practice — borrowed from Native American spiritual traditions — in which almost all faeries participate: the Heart Circle. As a ritual, the Heart Circle is an exercise in both speaking and listening, designed to foster greater emotional self-awareness and interpersonal empathy.

“We form a circle, pass a token/speaking stick/talisman and only the person holding the token may speak,” Townley explains. “We agree as a group that we will speak from the heart when holding the talisman and the rest of the circle will speak from the heart. … The token goes around until all have had their say.”

While not the most visible of groups in the Dallas spiritual landscape, the highly individualistic Radical Faeries do participate in festivals and celebrations — such as Witch’s Night Out and Winter SolstiCelebraton — sponsored by pan-pagan organizations.

And though not a service organization, the DFW Radical Faeries does have membership ties to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group dedicated to AIDS education and activism.

As a movement, the Radical Faeries exist to raise consciousness, especially — but not exclusively — within the LGBT community. By identifying themselves as “faeries,” members reclaim a word that has been used pejoratively against gays. And while not radicals in the sense of being extremists, they get the root of things, in this case, who they are as gay people.

“Spirituality is having a renaissance,” Singleton observes.  “People are sick of ‘fanclubs’ and are looking within to find themselves.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

LSR Journal: It’s a lot more than just pedaling

Suzy Smith Team Sabre Flyers
Suzy Smith Team Sabre Flyers

In March of 2008, a friend asked me to join her in riding Tour Dallas, a 30-mile bike rally in and around the Dallas area.

It was my first time on a bike since I owned a pristine pink Huffy as a child, and I was more than just a little intimidated that chilly morning as we headed out of the AAC parking lot with thousands of other riders.

Crazy, maybe, but I convinced myself that riding a bike was just like … well, riding a bike.

Ask anyone that knows me for a description, and a sort of theme always seems to appear.

I am stubborn, determined, and “a little” competitive, and it shows in my work and hobbies.

I began marathon training simply by putting one foot in front of the other, and ran countless miles and several marathons.

Although I’d never been particularly athletic, I found strength in running, seeing the sun and my shadow, and training to reach a goal.

By the time I’d pedaled to the end of the Tour Dallas route, I’d not only fallen in love with cycling, but established a new challenge for myself — I would train for the Hotter than Hell 100, held in Wichita Falls at the end of every scorching Texas summer.

With that goal in mind, I clipped into the pedals of my Trek, started pedaling, and never stopped.

On the best days, cycling is my meditation. With the familiar sound of “clipping in,”  I find mental clarity in pushing my body. I know every inch of the concrete and asphalt around White Rock Lake and delight in the summer heat and breeze coming off the water.

On the worst days, when my legs feel like jelly and even kids with training wheels pass me by, I believe that Beyonce and Lady Gaga on the iPod can be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

In just more than two years of riding, cycling has become such a part of my life that even my vacations include a bike rack and a route map.

I own more bike shorts than jeans, have tan lines that never fade and my friends all roll their eyes at my persistent Facebook posts about cycling.

This year, I will be participating in my third Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, riding two days and 180 miles across the Metroplex with the singular goal of improving the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Lone Star Ride stands out among all the cycling events in which I participate, and I find it the most motivating and meaningful.

The route of the two-day course is as challenging as any you’ll find in North Texas, but the ample support of crew members — whether directing traffic from motorcycles, refilling Gatorade or providing a much needed laugh — truly makes the LSR experience unique.

When I roll out this September with two hundred plus riders and as many crew members, it will be to make a difference as an athlete, an activist and an educator.

I ride for those who cannot, for those who the AIDS Outreach Center, Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Services Dallas provide much needed support, and to reduce discrimination directed towards people with HIV and AIDS.

I ride for a future of the Lone Star Ride in which, not hundreds, but thousands of cyclists work together to raise awareness and funds.

For two days this fall, I ride because “riding a bike” is a far greater event than just pedaling. Won’t you join me?

Suzy Smith is a member of Team Sabre Flyers. Donate to her online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens