Death: Burleigh John ‘B.J.’ Smith

Burleigh John “B.J.”  Smith, 62, of Dallas died March 29 from complications due to liver cancer.

Born in Shreveport to the late Bernard Cyril and Gwendolyn Smith, B.J.Smith worked 20 years for Cinemark Theaters as a film buyer before retiring in early 2010. He had a very outgoing and uplifting personality and he never met a stranger. His hobbies and interests included singing with the Turtle Creek Chorale for 11 years, movies, traveling, cooking and enjoying food and wine with friends.

He is survived by his partner of 31 years, Dennis Bellotto,; his sister Lynn Norton and family of Flower Mound; his brother Barney Smith and family of San Antonio; and his cherished cat Lance.

In lieu of flowers, Smith requested that memorial donations be made to AMFAR www.amfar.org or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society www.lls.org. No formal memorial service is planned at this time.

—  John Wright

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Up, up and away!

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SEE YOU NEXT TRIP | Brian Garrison voted and won. He plans to go to the Caribbean with his husband. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Voting in the Readers Voice Awards paid off for Brian Garrison — he won 2 tickets on American Airlines

Dallas Voice: Congratulations on winning the tickets! I’m jealous. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Garrison: Well, I work in IT, marketing and sales in various industries such as travel, investment banking and telecommunications. I’m a native-born Texan from Austin but raised in Luling, renowned for its barbecue and the Watermelon Thump Festival!

Where were you when you found out you won and how did you react? I was on the way to an early dinner and a movie. I was quite surprised because I thought it might be a solicitation call for donations.

Who is your dream travel companion? That would be my husband and partner, Cory Smith. Seriously!

Oh we believe you. That’s very sweet. Do you know where you’ll be going? I do extensive travel, domestic and international, for work and pleasure, but for this, we plan to go somewhere in the Caribbean, maybe the British Virgin Islands.

Why there? The sun, sand, sin.

You know that’s right. What prompted you to vote? Pardon the pun, but I really wanted my voice to be heard in our community.

What was your favorite category to vote in? Home and gift [Services and Shop].

Did you vote for any friends or yourself at all? No.

You might be our first unbiased voter. OK, so this is your acceptance speech…go! “It is thrilling! I’m so grateful to you all — my wonderful fans who made me a star! Mommie!” I’ve always wanted to say that in public.

And now you have. Have fun on your trip!

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Point Foundation honors Tyler Clementi with scholarship named after him

The Point Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships for LGBT students, this week announced the creation of a new scholarship named after Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old gay Rutgers University student who committed suicide last fall after his roommate and another student secretly videotaped him having sex with another man and posted the video online.

Tyler Clementi

Clementi’s death, on Sept. 22, was one of a string of gay teen suicides that sparked a national conversation over anti-LGBT bullying and prompted a number of highly-visible campaigns against bullying.

According to a press release from The Point Foundation, the foundation created the scholarship “with the cooperation of Clementi’s parents, Joe and Jane, to honor his memory and to further the efforts to end the bullying that many LGBT youth face within education environments.” A statement attributed to Joe and Jane Clementi said: “Our son Tyler was a kind and gentle young man who enjoyed helping people. This scholarship will help college students and it will raise awareness of young people who are subject to abuse through malicious bullying — and so it will help people in Tyler’s memory.”

The Point Foundation has already set aside funds for the Tyler Clementi Scholarship, and will accept donations in his name from the public and current Point Foundation supporters. Donations can be made online at PointFoundation.org or by phone at 866-33-POINT.

—  admin

What’s (also) Brewing: Lady Gaga nixes Target deal

Metro Weekly has reported that Lady Gaga has ended her new relationship with Target. Gaga was in talks with the retailer to release an exclusive edition of her upcoming album as well as negotiating their stance on donations to anti-gay politicians, but apparently that has dissolved. The report says no further details were available.

—  Rich Lopez

Target changes giving policy that led to boycott

Target has changed its corporate donation policy more than six months after LGBT groups criticized the company for donating $150,000 to Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who said he thought someone who said it was OK to kill gay people was a nice guy.

The new policy involves a committee of senior executives overseeing donations to parties and candidates.

Since the donation was made, Human Rights Campaign tried to negotiate a comparable donation to LGBT groups, but the company broke off talks. Many members of the LGBT community stopped shopping at Target and HRC deducted 15 points from Target’s Corporate Equality Index score.

The LGBT Creating Change conference was held just blocks from Target’s Minneapolis headquarters this month. Creating Change organizers approached Target about sponsoring the conference, but the company declined. However, employees from Target corporate headquarters volunteered at the conference.

Best Buy, which is also based in Minneapolis and also made a large donation to the PAC supporting Emmer, the anti-gay Republican running for Minnesota governor, was a sponsor of Creating Change.

Target says its has supported Twin Cities Pride in the past and plans to continue doing so. The company also says it will contribute to gay Pride celebrations in San Francisco and Chicago.

Ironically, the political donation may have backfired for the candidate as well.  The money Target gave to Emmer may have energized enough people in the LGBT community to vote for Mark Dayton, the Democrat who won the election by a slim margin.

—  David Taffet

HRC Learns Precious 7-Year-Old Boy Can Drum Up Emotional Donations

Remember Malcolm, the adorable seven-year-old boy whose parents gave him $ 140 to donate to charities of his choice, and he decided to split the cash between the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the Human Rights Campaign? Over 1,000 of you shared our post on your Facebook walls, so it certainly resonated. Earlier this month the Center shot out an e-blast alerting members to Malcolm's story (including cute photo) and calling on its supporters to do as Malcolm did and throw some cash to a good cause. I can't be sure, but I'd wager a guess the Center collected a decent amount of cash from the campaign. HRC, the other organization Malcolm donated to, appeared to sit on this opportunity, but we knew it was coming: Two days ago HRC chief Joe Solmonese signed his name to an email asking, "Will you match Malcolm's commitment to equality by donating $ 70 as well?" For some reason, when the Center does it, it seems charming; when HRC does it, it seems exploitative. But maybe that's just because HRC is exploitative.


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

INDIANA: Chick-Fil-A Booted From College Campus Over Anti-Gay Donations

Indiana University’s campus in South Bend has removed Chik-Fil-A as a food vendor over reports that the company backs anti-gay hate groups. Chick-Fil-A did not have a physical on-campus South Bend store and only sold meals one day a week.

News of the ban spread quickly, prompting Chick-fil-A’s president to release an online statement defending his company. “Providing food to these events or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance or motives of this or any other organization,” said Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. “Any suggestion otherwise is just inaccurate.” Some IU South Bend students don’t see things the same way. “Providing food is equal to donating money,” said IU South Bend junior Erin Rempala. “So you must believe in the cause to donate the food.”

Dan Cathy is, of course, lying, as has been extensively documented by Jeremy Hooper at Good As You. Chick-Fil-A still has two full restaurants operating on IU campuses in Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Goofy-looking bigot Randel Everett steps down from Baptist General Convention of Texas

Randel Everett

Randel Everett, who oversaw the Baptist General Convention of Texas during a period when two churches were forced to leave because of their acceptance of gays, is stepping down as executive director. The Dallas Morning News reports that Everett will become pastor at First Baptist Church in Midland, which frankly sounds like a better fit for him than Dallas. The story talks about how Everett had to “grapple with the recession and with the general decline of denominations. Under him, the BGCT continued to trim staff and cut its budget due to decline in giving from affiliate churches.”

Well, it seems kinda hard to complain about this stuff when you’re actively driving churches out of the convention because of your homophobia. Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth left the convention voluntarily in September, and Royal Lane Baptist Church was kicked out in May.

When Royal Lane was kicked out, Everett called the decision “painful.” Everett said BGCT churches should “welcome homosexuals,” but Royal Lane’s decision to allow “practicing homosexuals” as deacons meant that it was going against the group’s view that homosexuality is sinful.

If the convention were smart and wanted to stop the bleeding, they’d find someone to replace Everett who’s a little more open-minded. Trouble is, these folks don’t appear to be very smart.

—  John Wright

TCC board member will match $500 donations with every song dedication at ‘O Holy Night’ show

The Turtle Creek Chorale just sent over the below notice in which board member Brian Rogers talks up family and tradition. It’s sweet. In it, he proposes a pretty original idea — sponsoring a carol as a sort of glorified dedication. For a $500 donation to the chorale, you can dedicate “Silent Night” to your parents, partner, children, etc. Kinda cool, right? Well, if you have that kinda change, definitely. To sweeten the pot though, Rogers is matching every single donation until Nov. 30. Your dedication will appear in the program, and you’ll get a framed version of it.

This can be tough, though. My favorite carol changes every year, and so far, I haven’t hunkered down with my Christmas music yet. Does Weezer’s “Holiday” count? The Turtle Creek Chorale performs its annual holiday show, O Holy Night, Dec. 15, 20 and 22 at the Meyerson. For tickets, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

PIC: HRC’s Texas Families PAC contributes $4K to Democrat Bill White’s campaign for governor

John Cramer, Kaylee Harrington, Molly Hanchey and Natalie Amberson

John Cramer and Natalie Amberson from the Human Rights Campaign Texas Families PAC presented a check for $4,000 to the Bill White campaign on Monday, Oct. 25. Kaylee Harrington, a campaign volunteer, and Molly Hanchey, a campaign staff member, accepted the money on behalf of White.

Throughout Texas, the PAC has raised more than $10,000 for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee. Cramer said although HRC endorses in federal races, it is extremely rare for the organization to endorse a candidate in a statewide election. HRC endorsed White in March.

Cramer said they raised the money hosting wine and cheese parties and through donations made online.

In this week’s paper, White answered several questions from Dallas Voice, calling the LGBT vote “absolutely critical” to his chances of defeating incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

—  David Taffet