WATCH: Occupy Dallas in 90 seconds

So Rich Lopez and I literally took a swing past the Occupy Dallas demonstration in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Pearl Street during the lunch hour, and below is what we saw.

It starts off kinda slow, with us sitting at a red light on the Woodall Rodgers service road, and a lone Ron Paul supporter shouting through a megaphone in our direction. (Talk about getting co-opted!!!)

But hang in there because things get pretty intense as we make the turn onto Pearl and a Dallas police officer, noticing Rich with the Flip camera in the passenger seat, yells, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

As you can see, there was a fairly solid line of demonstrators behind the barricades facing Pearl for an entire block, and when we complied with their demands to blow the horn, there was quite a response.

Consider Dallas occupied.

—  John Wright

Tax Day Demonstration at Main Post Office

Keeping the peace

Pro-Equality activists get together tonight at the Main Post Office for a peaceful demonstration to remind the city at large that  LGBTs pay the same taxes as everyone else but they just don’t get all of the rights. Sounds wortwhile and if you haven’t filed, well, finish that up and head down to the post office tonight to drop off and then demonstrate. You’re even encouraged to take sings and banners. Not only will you be performing a civic duty, you can also be creative.

DEETS: Main Post Office, 401 DFW Turnpike (I-30 at Sylvan). 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

—  Rich Lopez

GSA supporters to protest outside Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi on Friday

Nikki Peet

A pro-equality demonstration is planned Friday outside Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, where officials say they’ll eliminate all non-curricular clubs to avoid allowing a chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance.

Paul Rodriguez, president of the GSA at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said he’s expecting more than 300 people to attend the protest.

Rodriguez has been working with 17-year-old Flour Bluff student Nikki Peet since November to launch the GSA. After the Flour Bluff principal refused to allow the GSA, district officials announced they’ll bar all non-curricular clubs from meeting on campus — including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — to avoid running afowl of the federal Equal Access Act.

“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Rodriguez told Instant Tea. “I couldn’t believe that an administration of a public school would actually go to that length to show hatred, to show intolerance. It’s just appalling.”

Rodriguez said supporters of the GSA have contacted both Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are investigating. But the goal of the protest is to convince district officials to change their minds.

“As far as Nikki and her supporters go, they were very nervous about going to school today, because they don’t know what kind of hostility or bullying they’re going to face,” Rodriguez said. “They’re afraid they’re going to get blamed for all the non-curricular clubs not being allow to meet. We’re hoping to redirect that anger to where it really belongs. If we can get all those people on board and join us in this fight for equality, that would just be awesome.

“We want equality to rein at Flour Bluff,” he added. “We want them to open their eyes and realize that everyone is human, everyone can co-exist. You don’t have to like us, you don’t have to agree with us, but you do have to co-exist with us.”

For more information on the protest, go here.

—  John Wright

Lesbian couple turned away by Justin chapel to marry Friday at Cathedral of Hope

The Country Abbey in Justin

Earlier we noted that no Valentine’s Day marriage equality demonstration is planned for Dallas this year, so perhaps this is the next best thing.

PR guru and former Dallas Voice staffer Kris Martin sends along word that two local women who were turned away by a private wedding chapel last year for being lesbians plan to tie the knot on Friday in a ceremony at the Cathedral of Hope.

Tina Shaft and Tiffany Fenimore have been together for 10 years and made news in June when they were turned away by the Country Abbey in Justin as well as by other locations, according to Martin. Now, the Cathedral of Hope and community businesses are donating a chapel and services to make the couple’s dream wedding come true.

Christopher Thomas will officiate the wedding on behalf of the Cathedral, and the couple and their three children will sit for “No H8″ campaign photographs following the ceremony.

The ceremony is open to the media and will be at 3 p.m. Friday at the Cathedral’s Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Rally, vigil for Asher Brown


A rally and vigil were held Tuesday in honor of 13-year-old gay suicide victim Asher Brown outside the middle school he attended near Houston. From organizer Barry Ouellette of the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality:

“It was a great event, very touching. We had about 30 people for the demonstration and about 70 for the candlelight vigil where there were some touching stories and kind and inspiring words from many teenagers as well as concerned parents, clergy and Houstonians.”

However, KTRK-TV reports that other parents weren’t happy about the demonstrations and are defending the school against allegations that it failed to do anything about bullying complaints from Asher’s parents:

“I think it’s terrible because it has frightened all of our children too. For this reason, I am here to pick up my daughter today. Because it has scared my daughter,” said Shay Phillips.

“I don’t worry about bullying in this school or any other school. But I do worry about it in general,” said Sheila McGraw-Hall. “I think the school is being wrongfully blamed in this case. Or at least to the magnitude that it is being put out there right now in the media,” said another parent.

Below is a report from MyFoxHouston.com, and Channel 2 has a report here.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Houston LGBT equality group plans protest near Asher Brown’s school

An LGBT equality group is organizing a protest and vigil on Tuesday afternoon near Hamilton Middle School, where gay 13-year-old Asher Brown was “bullied to death.”

According to the Facebook page, the event is being organized by the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality, which is described on its own page as a “Houston social justice organization committed to equality for families headed by GLBTQ couples.”

From KTRK in Houston:

The demonstration is set to begin at 3pm across the street from Hamilton Middle School. That is the time that school lets out. Organizers of this event are calling it an anti-bully human rights demonstration and while it will highlight the case of Asher who was a student at Hamilton, the event will address the larger trend that we have seen across the country.

Sadly in September alone nine teens committed suicide across the U.S. because they say they were in some form or fashion bullied at school. Organizers and advocates say schools need programs in place and that states need to pass laws to protect kids like Asher and prevent further tragedy.

“Everybody was feeling really bad about this what has happened to Asher Brown and I think people were just kind of tired of it,” said rally organizer Barry Ouellette. “We wanted to get out and do something about it and make sure that action is taken.”

—  John Wright

70 Gay Rights Activists Arrested at Demonstration in Nepal

Kathmandu police detained 70 gay rights activists including openly gay MP Sunil Pant yesterday, during a demonstration in Nepal's capital over government identification for transgender people, ABC reports:

Pant "Nepali men and women who identify as transgender are seeking citizenship certificates with their gender marked as 'third sex' instead of male or female. Sunil Babu Pant, lawmaker and founder of the Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights group, says more than 70 people were detained near the prime minister's office and parliament. 'We are running out of patience and are demanding our rights,' Pant said from a detention centre. "Without the citizenship papers, the sexual minorities are unable to get a job, enrol in schools or colleges, seek treatment in hospitals and travel," he said. 'They cannot even inherit parental property.' … Kathmandu police chief Ramesh Kharel said the activists were detained for 'violating the norms' by gathering at a place where demonstrations were not allowed."

In related news, one initiative that Pant has also spearheaded to raise awareness about the plight of transgender people in the country is the Beauty and Brains Talent contest.

Watch a trailer for a documentary on it, AFTER THE JUMP

Beauty and Brains – 2 min trailer from Catherine Donaldson on Vimeo.

Write the filmmakers: "To be third-gender in Nepal means a choice of three careers; giving blessing at weddings, begging or prostitution. They are excluded from family and school, are prey to security forces, blackmail and sexual abuse. However, as Nepal attempts to write a new constitution there is a chance of change. In order to be heard above the clamour and civil unrest, the third-genders with Sunil Pant and the Blue Diamond Society embarked on the Beauty and Brains Talent Contest. This is the story of a community gaining the confidence to confront prejudice and tell society they are natural human beings."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

ENDA 4 get 6 months probation

The ENDA 4: Chastity Kirven is third from left
The ENDA 4: Chastity Kirven is third from left

The ENDA 4 received a sentence of 6 months probation. Chastity Kirven just contacted Dallas Voice with the news and forwarded the picture above taken after the hearing. During her probation, Kirven must stay away from the Capitol and related offices. Violation could result in serving the time in jail.

Get Equal’s release said, “The ENDA 4 have been sentenced to 6 months of staying out of Nancy Pelosi’s office.”

Two of the ENDA 4 were from Washington D.C. and also were given community service as part of their sentence. Kirven said she and one other did not because they were from out of state.

A rally in support of them and their goal of getting the Employment Non-discrimination Act out of committee and to the floor of the House for a vote will take place today at 3:30 outside the office of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The office is located in the hotels.com building on Central Expressway north of Meadow Road. Similar rallies will be held in Austin, Houston and San Antonio and in other cities across the country.

—  David Taffet

More info on Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas

If you’re interested in helping out with Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas but couldn’t make last night’s organizational meeting, there’s plenty of contact info and volunteer opportunities after the jump.

—  John Wright