DVtv: Video from Sunday’s Stonewall commemoration and, how The Dallas Morning News got it wrong — again

Apparently the Dallas Morning News attended a different rally last night than me. At the rally The DMN attended, all the LGBT community did was complain about Democrats. There was no mention of the Texas Republican platform. There was no mention of the hatred from religious extremists going on across the street. No mention of the success last week at the DART board meeting. No mention of the Rainbow Lounge Raid. No remembrance of Harvey Milk or other hate crime victims.

Nope. Just non-stop complaining about Democrats.

At the rally I attended, one banner read, “Dems: Keep your promises.”

One. That’s it.

But signs accused homophobes of murder and demanded equality now.

After savagely ridiculing the Republican platform and skewering the handful of protesters blaring hatred on bullhorns across the street, Daniel Cates did have a line for some Democrats who are bowing to right-wing pressure.

“The time has come to lead or get out of the way,” he said.

One line.

But from the Morning News article, the rally was a Democrat-bashfest.

What happened?

Several of the speakers asked me if I thought it was odd that the Morning News contacted them ahead of time. I answered that if a writer didn’t report regularly on LGBT issues, he was just doing his homework so he’d be up on the issues and concerns of the community when he got there. That’s just being prepared.

But that’s not what happened. The DMN article doesn’t quote what any speaker said during the rally. The article might quote what some of them said ahead of the rally. On the phone.

But not one quote FROM the rally. Not one chant from the parade route. Not one answer to the religious extremists.

So according to the Morning News, the rally was all about bashing the Democrats. Interesting, because it would have been hard to find a single Republican in the crowd. And if there were any Republicans there, other than the reporter whose piece could be used as a Republican Party press release and the counter-demonstrators across the street, it sure didn’t seem like they were very excited about the current Texas Republican Party with its platform calling for making criminals out of LGBTA people.

Read our coverage of the march and rally by going here.

—  David Taffet

DART guts transgender policy

Closed-door session leads to proposal that could take protections from gay and lesbian employees and offer none to transgender employees

By John Wright | Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

LGBT advocates expressed outrage this week after learning that Dallas Area Rapid Transit had effectively gutted a months-old proposal to add transgender protections to the agency’s employment nondiscrimination policy.

Following a 30-minute closed-door session to discuss the new policy on Tuesday, June 15, DART’s Board of Directors hastily approved an amendment stating that the agency won’t discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity “except to the extent permitted by federal and/or Texas law.”

Because there are no state or federal employment protections for LGBT people, the amendment could allow DART to discriminate against workers based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

LGBT legal experts said the amendment would not only nullify the addition to the policy of gender identity, but it would also rescind DART’s protections for sexual orientation, enacted in 1995.

Cece Cox, associate executive director at Resource Center Dallas, said she felt the LGBT community’s “trust has been shattered.”

“Without answers from DART, we are left to speculate that DART does not care about equity for LGBT people and even perhaps that this was deliberately sabotaged,” Cox said in a statement released Thursday. “We have not seen action like this since ExxonMobil rescinded employment protections at their merger in the most crass display of disregard for their LGBT employees in recent corporate history. A final vote has not taken place. DART has time to do the right thing. If it does not, DART should be prepared for outrage from the LGBTA community.”

The DART Board of Directors is scheduled to take a final vote on the new policy Tuesday, June 22. The proposal to add gender identity to the policy came about in response to allegations that the agency discriminated against a transgender bus driver.

RCD spokesman Rafael McDonnell said the nature of the LGBT community’s presence at next Tuesday’s meeting likely will depend on what happens in the meantime.

“The question is going to be, are they going to change the language?” McDonnell said Thursday. “Do they get that the language is bad? And if so, what are they doing about it? I think that will reflect the tone of what we do on Tuesday.”

By noon Thursday, DART officials gave no indication they planned to revisit the amendment, which was caught by Dallas Voice after the agency forwarded a draft of the policy to the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon.

In response to questions about the amendment, DART spokesman Morgan Lyons insisted that the agency’s intent is to add gender identity to the policy and become more inclusive.

But Lyons couldn’t explain the reason for the amendment, and he denied requests for an interview with the agency’s attorneys.

Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal in Dallas, said he felt the community had been “royally screwed” by DART.

“It’s exactly the opposite of what they promised they were doing,” Upton said. “After all the work that’s gone into this, if this is what comes out of it, then we got nothing. They can say that’s not what they intended, but that’s what it says.”

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

—  Dallasvoice