Voting underway for Dallas Pride grand marshals

DallasPride1-260Six people have been nominated for grand marshal of Dallas Pride, and you can vote for your two favorites at

All of them deserve to win.

In alphabetical order, the nominees are Oliver Blumer, Carter Brown, Wayne Davis, Patti Fink, Jeffrey Payne and Evilu “Pridge” Pridgeon.

Blumer is chair of the Transgender Education Network of Texas. He has been Dallas/Fort Worth co-chair of diversity and inclusion for the Human Rights Campaign and served on the Dallas/Fort Worth HRC Steering Committee.

Brown is founder and president of Black Transmen, which offers a radical, holistic approach to empowering communities through outreach that provides resources, support and social advocacy. In just a few years, the Dallas-based organization has grown into a national presence.

Fink is the longest-serving president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and is known as The Late Patti Fink to listeners of Lambda Weekly on 89.3 KNON-FM. She has served on the HRC Board of Governors and co-chaired HRC’s National Coming Out Project.

Davis is known as coordinator for Texas Bear Round-Up and is Emperor 32 on the United Court of the Lone Star Empire. He is treasurer of International LeatherSIR and board exchequer/treasurer of the Leather Knights and is Saint B. Tim Harder in DFW Sisters.

Pridge was one of the founders of AIDS/HIV healthcare in Dallas where she was director of the counseling program at Oaklawn Community Services. She is a founding board member and president of The Dallas Way.

Payne is known nationally in the leather community and founded and is a spokesman for the Sharon St. Cyr Foundation for Hearing Impaired. He is co-owner of the Dallas Eagle, CEO & president at InternationalSIR, Leatherboy & Community Bootblack.

Because of the work of Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, you may vote for any two nominees this year, regardless of gender. But you may submit only one ballot. Multiple votes from the same person will not be counted.

Voting continues through June 29. Vote here.


—  David Taffet

Police officer placed man in chokehold during Pride to protect fellow officer

Pride 2013What some people witnessed as an officer putting a man into a chokehold during the Pride parade on Sept. 15 was reported by another witness as an officer rescuing another officer from an attack.

During the Pride parade, a number of people reported seeing an officer on the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue dragging a man across the street in a chokehold. Witnesses said they didn’t see what precipitated the incident but what they saw looked like excessive force.

Richard Reeves called Dallas Voice and said he was surprised by the restraint used by the officer when the man in the chokehold was not arrested.

A second officer was on the corner near the Melrose Hotel. A drunk man came up to her and grabbed her with both arms, Reeves said. The man was trying to kiss her while forcing her to the ground.

When the second officer saw the attack, he ran from the middle of the street where he was directing traffic and pulled the man off the second officer, Reeves said. He dragged the man to the diagonal corner by The Centrum where he released him to friends.

According to Detective Sgt. Jeremy Liebbe, an official investigation would only have begun if the man in the chokehold filed a complaint. Liebbe asked witnesses to call him, however, to make sure nothing improper took place.

Reeve said the female officer got back to work directing traffic quickly after the attack.

“She did her best to maintain her professionalism,” he said. “I was impressed with both of them.”

His only recommendation was a couple of extra officers at that busy intersection during next year’s parade.

—  David Taffet

92 entries, 35,000 spectators expected for Pride parade


Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor

Dallas Pride Parade
COLORS OF PRIDE | Resource Center Dallas is one of the many community organizations that usually have a float in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Between 30,000 and 35,000 are expected to crowd into Oak Lawn on Sunday, Sept. 19, for the 27th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride parade that this year celebrates the theme, “One Heart, One World, One Pride.”

Michael Doughman, executive director of Dallas Tavern Guild which presents the parade each year, said this week the parade will include about 92 entries. It will travel the traditional route, with entries lining up along Wycliff Avenue and then moving down Cedar Springs Road to Turtle Creek Boulevard before turning left to wind up at Lee Park.
The Festival in Lee Park takes place at the conclusion of the parade.

Doughman said that members of Youth First Texas, once again the parade beneficiary, will lead the way, carrying the parade banner. They will be followed by a color guard consisting of former military servicemembers from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and then a mounted color guard provided by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.

Then comes the “VIP section,” which will include grand marshals Paul Lewis and Erin Moore, Houston Mayor Annise Parker as honorary grand marshal, and then local city and county officials, such as Police Chief David Brown, Fire Chief Eddie Burns Sr., members of the Dallas City Council and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

“We understand that Mayor Parker’s son will be riding in the parade with her, and I think by now everybody knows that [Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Bill White will be walking with the Stonewall Democrats in the parade,” Doughman said.

“I think most of the entries will probably follow our theme this year, which is really all about unity,” he added. “This theme matches the goal of our parade and our community, which is unifying our community and our people.”

Doughman said there is “nothing really new” about the way the parade will happen this year.

“We just work to make it run as smoothly as possible and take out any hiccups or delays. We just want to keep it moving as smoothly and steadily as possible down the road so that the spectators are entertained,” he said.

There will, however, be something new for the Festival in Lee Park. Food services during the festival this year will be handled exclusively by Brinker, the parent company for restaurant chains On The Border, Chili’s and Maggiano’s.

“We really liked the idea of having these recognizable brands out there for the food. We think it is a real step up,” he said. “We think they will do very well, and on top of that, they have agreed to give us a portion of their proceeds to give back to our beneficiary.”

This means there will be a “much larger” food and beer pavilion in the upper part of the park, giving those attending the festival better and quicker service, Doughman said.
Voice of Pride top finishers Mel Arizpe, Laura Carrizales and Juliana Jeffrey will perform during the festival, as will Anton Shaw and her band.

Derek Hartley of “The Derek and Romaine Show” on Sirius XM OutQ Radio will emcee the festival.

Thanks to the economic recession and the ever-increasing costs and requirements of staging the event, finances have created some problems for the parade in recent years. This year, though, things are looking up, Doughman said.

“I think we are OK this year. We had some real struggles in 2008, and last year was still pretty tight because of the economy. But we found some extra sponsors this year, and we did well in raising money during the Voice of Pride competition this year,” Doughman said. “Our main goal each year is to be able to give our beneficiary the amount we have committed to and still be able to pay for the parade and maintain the administrative costs of the Tavern Guild through the rest of the year.”

Doughman said the Tavern Guild doesn’t really generate any revenue until the later stages of VOP and then when the entry fees for the parade start rolling in each year. “So we have to balance everything out to have enough money to cover expenses through the rest of the year,” he said.

“Actually, we are paying a lot of the bills that are due this week, and we will be able to pay the balance of the expenses — things like the cost of added security, renting barricades, cleanup and sanitation costs — right after the parade,” he said.

Doughman noted that the city has recently increased the requirements applicants must meet to get a parade permit, but still the Tavern Guild shouldn’t be looking at any red ink when it is all said and done.

“We won’t be rolling in it by any means. But we did see enough light on the horizon this year to go ahead and invest in new flags and flag holders to put up along Cedar Springs. The old flags were so beat up and faded that we didn’t even put them up last year,” he said.

“We never have an excess of money after the parade because the costs of putting it on are so significant, but we should be OK this year,” Doughman said.

One way the Tavern Guild has cut costs, he added, is by not paying to bring in celebrity guests and performers.

“I think people enjoy the day, whether there are celebrities here or not. We just want to give the people a good parade and a good festival and let them have a great time. That’s why they come out in the first place.”

The 27th Annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Moore, Lewis named 2010 parade grand marshals

Doughman says Tavern Guild is in negotiations with Houston mayor to appear as honorary grand marshal

Tammye Nash | Senior Editor

Paul Lewis and Erin Moore

MIGHTY MIGHTY MARSHALS | Longtime Caven employee Paul Lewis and Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore will share grand marshal duties for the 2010 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman has announced that Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Erin Moore and longtime Caven Enterprises employee Paul Lewis have been chosen as grand marshals of the 2010 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

The parade, produced each year by the Tavern Guild, will be held Sept. 19 this year.

Doughman said that parade grand marshals are chosen each year by a vote of Tavern Guild members. This year’s honorees, he said, were both chosen in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the LGBT community.

“Erin has done so much good work in the past several years with Stonewall Democrats, with the Equality March last year. We just felt that her body of work, especially on the political front, deserved this recognition,” Doughman said.

He added that Tavern Guild members also had high praise for Moore’s partner, Patti Fink, and considered naming them both as female grand marshals.

“But we didn’t want to lump them together this year and ruin the chance of possibly honoring Patti for her contributions in years to come,” he said.

Moore said being chosen as grand marshal was an amazing honor — and a big surprise.

“It hasn’t really sunk in with me yet that anybody thinks I deserve something like this. I keep expecting them to call back and say they were just joking,” Moore said.

“It really means a lot to be chosen for this. I do the work I do because I feel like it needs to be done, and because I like doing it. Getting this honor is sort of like getting paid for doing something you love doing. It’s a recognition that I am a valued member of this community,” she said.

Lewis was “a unanimous choice, immediately,” Doughman said. “In fact, it really baffled everyone to realize that Paul had never been grand marshal.”

Lewis was “always been involved in planning the parade” and with other Tavern Guild projects during his years with Caven Enterprises, and even since his retirement, Doughman said.

“He still heads up the Holiday Gift Project, and he still goes down every parade day to the intersection at Wycliff and Cedar Springs to kick off the parade,” Doughman said. “He may not be as hands-on as he once was, but he is still involved. It was an easy decision to elect him as grand marshal.”

Lewis said this week being named grand marshal is “one of the best things that has happened to me. It is truly pleasing, truly an honor.”

Lewis said he moved to Dallas in 1969. He went to work for Caven Enterprises the following year, and stayed there 27 years.

He served on the board of Oak Lawn Counseling Services and the board of Dallas Tavern Guild. He was coordinator of the annual Pride parade and still serves as coordinator of the Tavern Guild’s PWA Holiday Gift Project. He also hosts Daire Center dinners and outings at his home.

Lewis has lived with Kenneth Jones for the last 20 years.

Moore said her first real involvement with Dallas’ LGBT community came in the early 1990s when she helped organize National Coming Out Day events. She also works with the Human Rights Campaign and has served on the organization’s national board of governors, helping establish HRC’s grassroots presence in Dallas.

In 2005, Moore said, she moved into the political realm through her work with Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Other parade plans

Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker

HOPEFUL | Dallas Tavern Guild officials are in negotiations to bring Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, to town to be honorary grand marshal of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Doughman said that other plans for the September parade are also moving forward, and that he hopes soon to be able to announce openly lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker as the parade’s honorary grand marshal.

“We are in negotiations right now to invite Annise Parker to be honorary grand marshal. It’s looking very positive, and she would be a terrific representative for our parade,” he said. “She has been very successful as mayor of Houston and is highly popular there. Even the conservatives in Houston have conceded that she is doing a great job.”

Parker would bring “a high degree of interest” as grand marshal, and as a speaker at the VIP reception that weekend and as a speaker at the Festival in Lee Park afterward, he said.

Local government officials will also be featured, including new Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who will be appearing for the first time.

Doughman noted that the Tavern Guild is “still operating under a fairly constrained budget” in organizing the parade, due to the ongoing economic downtown.

“The costs of putting the parade on have not gone down, and sponsorships are still a little harder to come by than they were in years past,” he said. “So we are being very careful. We want to make sure at the end of the year we have enough to pay the bills, to give money to our beneficiary and to run the Tavern Guild throughout the year. The parade is the only real income the Tavern Guild has, and we have to make sure to set aside to keep it afloat.”

In 2009, a confluence of fortunate coincidences allowed the Tavern Guild to have longtime, high-profile activists Cleve Jones and Larry Kramer. There is the possibility that the Tavern Guild might be able to bring in a celebrity guest or two this year, as well. But celebrities, he said, are not what make the parade.

“And we don’t need to pay to bring in musicians or bands. We have outstanding musicians and bands already right here,” he added.
But there is one big announcement Doughman said he is ready to make: Food services during the Festival in Lee Park this year will be handled exclusively by Brinker, the parent company for restaurant chains On The Border, Chili’s and Maggiano’s.

“Brinker had a small booth at the park last year as a kind of test run, to see how it would work out. They really enjoyed the event, and they saw the potential for them in it. So they made us a proposal, saying they would like to handle all the food this year,” Doughman said.

“We really liked the idea of having these recognizable brands out there for the food. We think it is a real step up,” he said. “We think they will do very well, and on top of that, they have agreed to give us a portion of their proceeds to give back to our beneficiary.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas parade sticks to plan

DAVID WEBB The Rare Reporter

While Pride parades in other big cities can tend toward the wild side of things, Dallas keeps things milder and more ‘family-oriented’

Of all the sacred institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth LGBT culture, there is none more inviolate than the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in September, produced by the Dallas Tavern Guild.

Just the hint of anyone wanting to change the date, the time, the route or the structure of the parade is akin to sticking a finger in a wasp’s nest.

If that happens, stand back because a blitz of stinging barbs will soon be flying.

With the parade scheduled to kick off Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. for the 27th year in a row, organizers, sponsors and participants plan for it to go off just the way they want it. The staging of the city’s largest parade is a complicated, time-consuming process that usually starts as soon as everyone has recovered from the most recent one — in other words, almost immediately.

It’s big business, and a lot of money changes hands during the parade’s orchestration, promotion and production.

This year’s parade, themed “One Heart, One World, One Pride,” likely will flow pretty much to plan, thanks to the generosity of the corporate sponsors, Andrews beer distributing, Smirnoff, Heineken, Jagermeister and American Airlines.

Of course, every year there’s some kind of glitch, such as the year many of the members of one high-profile political contingency arrived drunk, creating chaos for parade organizers. Then there was the year an acrobatic group got carried away with its performance and wouldn’t move forward, prompting threats to ban the group from future parades.

But unforeseen technical difficulties aside, this is an acutely-organized, expensive event that is unique in comparison to other Pride parades seen across the country.

Its origins were similar to other gay rights parades, but the Dallas event has evolved over the years into a promotional vehicle that has greatly benefited the LGBT community in terms of gaining public acceptance.

The Dallas parade is tame, almost bland, in comparison to the ones staged in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Those parades, which generally occur during National Gay Pride Month in June, often trend toward the wild side of our culture, whereas in Dallas it’s more of a family-friendly atmosphere.

It’s the type of parade that straight public officials are comfortable taking part in because it’s mostly non-confrontational. It’s not offensive to anyone other than the evangelical Christian fanatics that like to hang out at the parade’s end in Lee Park, jeering at the participants, which for years have included the mayor, City Council members, the police chief and other city department heads.
It’s a celebration, not a protest.

That’s why the recent launch of the Facebook page “Take Back Dallas Pride” — an offshoot of a national movement — is unlikely to draw much support locally.

The organizers of the movement argue that the 40th anniversary of the first gay rights parades in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco in June 1970 should see a return to the roots of those first marches.

Those events were protests, complete with signs and angry voices demanding equality and an end to official and professional harassment.

Because of all of the major strides that we may be close to accomplishing, such as the long-worked for dissolution of the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the passage of a gay-inclusive federal nondiscrimination employment act, the organizers of the movement want the Pride events to become more militant this year.

That’s not the Dallas way these days. But it does make some sense to me.

It would be an accurate reflection of the past and a return to where we started.

Just like everywhere else in the country, the gay rights movement in Dallas began with people who were fed up with discrimination and harassment from police officers and prosecutors, who in the 1950s and 1960s were still raiding parties in private homes and arresting and prosecuting people for nothing more than same-sex dancing.

That first parade in downtown Dallas, decades ago, got the attention of a lot of people, and more importantly, it empowered a whole generation of local people to get involved in the gay rights movement.

What started off as a small group led by drag queens grew into several hundred marchers who were inspired to step off the sidewalk and join the march.

We wouldn’t be where we are today if it hadn’t taken place.

So I’m thinking maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to get a little more brazen this year — carry some protest signs and scream a little in demand of equal rights. When you get down to it, isn’t that what it’s all about?

David Webb is a former staff writer for the Dallas Voice who lives on Cedar Creek Lake now. He is the author of the blog He can be reached at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice