Mayfield, who likened gays to prostitutes and drug users, attacks Fitzsimmons for being short

Ken Mayfield

Earlier we quoted openly gay Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons as saying that County Commissioner Ken Mayfield is “the most homophobic elected official in Dallas County.”

Now Mayfield, a Republican, has responded by attacking Fitzsimmons, a Democrat, for being short.

The Dallas Morning News picked up our report and sought a comment from Mayfield. According to the DMN, Mayfield responded by calling Fitzsimmons “a little man with a little mind.”

Mayfield also insisted he’s not anti-gay and challenged Fitzsimmons to give examples of his allleged homophobia. Well, allow us to share just one:

In 1995, Mayfield and two other commissioners wrote a letter to 43 local doctors urging them to support the county’s ban on distribution of condoms by the Health Department to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Here’s what Mayfield and the two other commissioners wrote, according to an article that appeared in The DMN on Friday, June 16, 1995.

“We don’t want anyone, especially anyone in authority, telling our children or future grandchildren that it’s an approved or acceptable lifestyle to be a homosexual, a prostitute or a drug user,” the three commissioners wrote. “And, we don’t intend to be the vehicle through which others are given this message.”

Mayfield continued to support the condom ban until last year, when he opposed a measure that successfully lifted it.

Mayfield’s Democratic opponent this year, Dr. Elba Garcia, helped push through two major pro-equality measures during her time on the Dallas City Council. The first was a citywide ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The second was benefits for the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees.

—  John Wright

Tom Sime’s ‘Bloodletters’ staged reading at Pocket

Staged reading delivers horrors and laughs

Blood is thicker than water in more ways than one in Bloodletters. Former DMN critic turned playwright Tom Sime combines horror and comedy when suspense author Grace brings her inspiration too close to home. With her dysfunctional family as inspiration, her story begins to parallel that of those closest to her — and that’s not good. But is it coincidence or is she making it happen?

A staged reading won’t make it any less scary. Or fun.

DEETS: Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 119. 7:15 p.m. Free. RSVP to LoneStarStudios@yahoo.com.

—  Rich Lopez

What does Chris Heinbaugh think about Mayor Leppert’s decision to endorse Rick Perry?

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert on Wednesday endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Perry for re-election.

The Dallas Morning News described it as a “rare display of public partisanship for Leppert,” and said it marked the first time he’s endorsed a candidate for major office. The DMN also noted that Leppert may run for U.S. Senate in 2012, when Perry presumably might return the favor.

Leppert has been generally supportive of the LGBT community and has an openly gay chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh. However, Leppert is also a member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, which is led by anti-gay Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress.

Perry, meanwhile, is virulently anti-gay and spearheaded Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Leppert says his decision to endorse Perry was based on their shared views about economic development and job creation.

Instant Tea asked Heinbaugh on Thursday what he thinks about the endorsement.

“I’m not going to comment on it,” Heinbaugh said. “It’s his business what he wants to do.”

—  John Wright

Rep. Coleman: Gov. Perry’s re-election would put lives of thousands of Texans with HIV in danger

Rep. Garnet Coleman

The Dallas Morning News reports today that the Texas HIV Medication Program, which supplies life-saving medication to people with HIV/AIDS who can’t afford it, will run out of money in the next two years.

You see, thanks to our fiscally conservative GOP leadership of the last decade, the state is facing a massive budget shortfall — of up to $21 billion — and state agencies are being asked to cut their budgets by 10 percent. But in order to sustain the HIV medication program, which helps about 13,700 people a year, the state will need to increase its contribution by about 50 percent — or more than $10 million.

According to Democratic State Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, a longtime LGBT ally, the chances aren’t good that our current leaders would be willing to fund the program as needed. Here’s what Coleman told The DMN:

“If [Rick] Perry’s still governor and there’s essentially the same team, then it could be very hard, especially if they’re emboldened by election results, instead of following what is humane for people,” Coleman said.

One of the obvious reasons behind Coleman’s concerns, which isn’t mentioned in the story, is that Perry and many other Republicans still view HIV/AIDS as a gay issue, and they believe homosexuality is immoral. Perry has himself said that if gays aren’t happy about the way they’re treated in Texas, they should move to another state. And after all, it’s right there in the state GOP platform: “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”

—  John Wright

The Dallas Morning News straight-washes a story about gay-rights activist Jesse Garcia

Suffice to say, Jesse Garcia has never tried to hide his sexual orientation and won’t be going back into the closet anytime soon.

After all, Garcia is the immediate past president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and the current president of the city’s gay LULAC chapter. So we’re pretty sure Garcia mentioned an LGBT issue or two — like maybe the fact that incumbent Rick Perry has a virulently anti-gay record — during his recent interview with The Dallas Morning News about the governor’s race.

But guess what? The DMN didn’t say a word in the story about Garcia’s sexual orientation or his status as a gay-rights activist. Seriously, this is akin to straight-washing Elton John.

Garcia was featured in a piece, shown below, about the Hispanic voting bloc, which is expected to heavily back Democrat Bill White. The focus is Hispanic — fair enough — but we’re sorry, you’ve gotta at least mention that Garcia has made a name for himself as a gay activist, and that the LGBT voting bloc is also expected to heavily back White.

Otherwise, it comes off looking like the newspaper gives less than a shit about gay issues. Either that or they just agree with Perry.

—  John Wright

Why is John Wiley Price trying to get rid of gay Parkland hospital board member Chris Luna?

Chris Luna

We’ve been trying to get in touch with openly gay former Dallas City Councilman Chris Luna, who’s reportedly being targeted by Commissioner John Wiley Price for ouster from Parkland hospital’s Board of Managers.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Price called an executive session this past Tuesday to discuss with other commissioners his proposal to oust Luna, who was appointed by openly gay County Judge Jim Foster late last year. Price has not said publicly why he wants Luna off the board:

Luna, a former Dallas City Council member, said Monday that he didn’t understand Price’s action.

“No one on the Commissioners Court has expressed any concern or dissatisfaction to me,” Luna said.

County Judge Jim Foster, who appointed Luna late last year, said Price didn’t talk to him before making a last-minute addition to the agenda of the regularly scheduled commissioners meeting.

“He has not shown me the common courtesy of picking up the phone and calling,” Foster said.

The DMN later reported that commissioners had met in executive session and opted to delay their decision about removing Luna from the board for a week, until next Tuesday.

When Luna was appointed to the board, he told Dallas Voice he was looking forward to the assignment and hoped to revive a proposal for Parkland to offer domestic partner benefits.

In response to our messages, Luna sent us an e-mail late Wednesday saying only that he would be at a professional conference Wednesday and Thursday.

We spoke Thursday morning with openly gay Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, a friend of Luna’s. Fitzsimmons noted that because Tuesday’s discussion was in a closed executive session, he doesn’t know what commissioners talked about.

“All I know is there had been some accusations made which are currently being investigated,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s a mystery.”

—  John Wright

What’s going on with Rod Dreher?

Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher, one-time resident bigot at The Dallas Morning News, now serves as director of publications for the conservative John Templeton Foundation — or at least he did the last time we checked.

Dreher is also editor of the foundation’s Big Questions Online website. But Instant Tea reader Kip Sherling points us to Dreher’s announcement Friday that he has stopped blogging (“I hope to be blogging again s0on,” Dreher writes) and halted all reader comments on BQO.

Here’s Sherling’s take, sent under the subject line, “Karma’s a bitch for master culture baiter Dreher”:

Rod Dreher, who earlier this year tried to wrap the lips of his anti-anything-not-Dreher blogging needs around the John Templeton Foundation’s bottomless nipple, appears to have been rudely weaned.

In the last several days, Templeton has deleted most of Dreher’s most politically and culturally contentious posts while suspending both Dreher’s personal blog as well as comments site-wide at his Big Questions Online.

The sulking tone with which Dreher announced this administrative punishment online underwrites what many suspect, that Dreher’s habitual just-about-anything-baiting style has put him close in line for promotion to becoming Templeton’s next ex-editor and the first failed editor of its online adventure BQO.

What mystifies many, though, is why a multi-million dollar tax exempt foundation, which depends for its tax-exempt status on at least the appearance of its political neutrality and tries to position itself as a salon of lofty, highly civilized ideas savored by the Nobel Committee and the Vatican alike, would not want as its very vocal public face a gutter gay-baiter from the Rupert Murdoch school of tainted meat journalism. Whatever happens, this final betrayal of what, to Dreher, must surely have seemed at first blush true institutional love forged in Heaven, may forever remain a mystery.

If Sherling is right, let’s just pray The DMN doesn’t take Dreher back. Any thoughts, Jack E. Jett?

—  John Wright

Steve Blow’s controversial blog post was also homophobic

In case you missed it, Dallas Morning News Metro columnist Steve Blow is under heavy fire for a blog item he posted yesterday about a Rowlett priest accused of inappropriately touching girls and women. Here’s what Blow’s original item said:

This is sad to say, but it’s almost refreshing to read about a priest accused of good, old-fashioned heterosexual perviness.

The dreadful stuff between priests and boys has been going on for so long that I almost forgot that some priests have more mainstream sexual hang-ups.

Again, I say, it’s time for a married priesthood.

In response to the ensuing outcry, the post was pulled from The DMN’s website, and Blow apologized. CBS 11 provides a recap of some of the criticism:

Bethany Anderson at D-Magazine’s FrontBurner blog responded by questioning his wording.

“I’m not so sure the women and girls molested by this priest find it refreshing,” she wrote. “Perhaps a better choice of words, friend?”

And at the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park, Andrea Grimes called the post a “rape joke.”

“A penchant for molesting women and girls who are members of your church is not a ‘sexual hangup.’ It’s a crime. They are not asking for it. They did not consent,” she wrote.

I don’t disagree with Anderson and Grimes, but one thing no one has mentioned is the fact that Blow’s post was also patently homophobic. In saying that it’s “refreshing to read about a priest accused of good, old-fashioned heterosexual perviness,” Blow implies that pedophilia is somehow worse when it involves an adult male and an underage boy. Blow’s post also serves to perpetuate the myth that pedophilia and homosexuality are somehow linked, which is simply not true.

For the record, here’s Blow’s apology:

“If you have to explain humor, it has failed. My attempt here at some sardonic humor has obviously failed with a number of readers. I apologize,” read his post. “No offense was intended — except toward pervy priests of any persuasion.”

—  John Wright