LGBT advocates clash with City Council members over equality resolution

LGBT activists turn their backs and walk out a Dallas City Council meeting Wednesday during remarks from Councilman Dwaine caraway about the equality resolution. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

LGBT activists turn their backs and walk out of a Dallas City Council meeting Wednesday during remarks from Councilman Dwaine Caraway about the equality resolution. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

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Activist Cd Kirven yells at Councilman Dwaine Caraway before leaving the meeting. (Patrick Hoffman/Dallas Voice)

LGBT advocates expressed their frustration over the lack of support for an equality resolution Wednesday morning at a Dallas City Council meeting.

Mayor Mike Rawlings was absent during the meeting, though he was not considered absent while in South America last week, preventing Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano from using her power as acting mayor to place the equality resolution on the agenda.

The resolution supporting marriage equality and statewide LGBT-inclusive workplace protections, authored by Councilman Scott Griggs, was slated to be voted on Wednesday but never made the agenda after Councilmember Delia Jasso surprisingly withdrew her signature from a memo last month to require a vote. Jasso remained silent during the meeting. During the accusations from council members that the method of bringing the measure forward was misguided, Griggs also remained silent.

Tensions ran high after speakers addressed the council, resulting in several audience members walking out, turning their backs on Councilman Dwaine Caraway and even shouting at council members during the meeting.

Lesbian activist Cd Kirven said she expected more from council members and that they should support civil rights.

“You, as a municipal representative, should always represent those ideals and are a critical part of freedom’s foundation,” Kirven told council members. “Again the LGBT community is disappointed by officials who claim to be allies.”

—  Dallasvoice

Resource Center Dallas calls out Dwaine Caraway for anti-LGBT lyrics in latest anti-sagging song

Dwaine Caraway

Last week we told you that Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway had unveiled yet another rap song containing homophobic lyrics to promote his anti-sagging-pants campaign. In response to our post, Resource Center Dallas’ Cece Cox sent a letter to Caraway on Monday, calling for him and other city leaders to repudiate the song’s anti-LGBT message.

“It was with great dismay that I read a blog post last week from the Dallas Voice about your renewed campaign to discourage men from wearing saggy pants,” Cox writes. “For the second time in five years, the campaign is using a rap song featuring anti-LGBT lyrics to promote this campaign. According to the Voice, five years ago the lyrics to the song were modified to remove the anti-LGBT content, so I was highly surprised to see them return and be expanded on in the re-launched campaign.

“The Center shares common ground with you on the sagging pants issue; in fact, we agree that dressing without one’s underwear showing is a good idea,” Cox writes. “Our concern is the approach to the campaign and the lyrics to the song. Calling someone on the ‘down low,’ meaning men having sex with men (MSM) and stating it as a put-down, helps promote fear, shame and discrimination against men who are gay or bisexual or are perceived to be gay or bisexual.”

CC’d on Cox’s letter to Caraway are Mayor Mike Rawlings and all of the other council members. For the record, Caraway’s assistant, Sloan Anderson, hasn’t returned our phone calls seeking comment about the song. Cox’s full letter follows after the jump.

—  John Wright

Councilman Dwaine Caraway’s latest homophobic anti-sagging song targets skinny jeans, too

Dwaine Caraway

Five years ago, Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway got in some hot water with the LGBT community for using a rap song containing homophobic lyrics to promote his anti-sagging pants campaign. The original version of the song, “Pull Your Pants Up” by Duncanville’s Dooney Da’ Priest, contained the following lyrics:

“You walk the streets with your pants way down low/I don’t know/Looks to me like you’re on the down low. … I think it’s gay but some of ya’ll think it’s cool/Walking around showing your behind to other dudes.”

After complaints from LGBT groups, Caraway removed a link to “Pull Your Pants Up” from his city web page, and he said he asked Da Priest to remove the anti-gay lyrics from an edited version of the song — although it’s unclear whether this was actually done. Da Priest, meanwhile, apologized but added that he views homosexuality as an abomination. Caraway also suggested that the LGBT community should pocket the insult in exchange for the greater good of a society free from sagging pants. “All of our toes may get stepped on when we are at war,” Caraway told Dallas Voice at the time. “We are at war collectively against disrespect. So we must fight collectively together.”

Five years later, as you may have heard, Caraway has relaunched his war on sagging pants, with a summit being rescheduled for sometime later this year. And guess what? He’s again using a song by Da Priest to promote the crusade. And guess what? The new song, “Pull ‘Em Up,” also contains homophobic and otherwise offensive lyrics. This time, Da Priest is going after not only sagging pants, but also “skinny jeans” and men who wear “women’s jeans.” Here’s a sample verse from “Pull Em Up”:

“Man, those jeans are for girls, why’d you put ’em on?/Did she say when she took ’em off that you could put em on?/ I don’t know, bro/Like I said before, I don’t know, looks to me you’re on the down low/Makes you look suspect, makes you look real odd/Makes it difficult for you to get a real job.”

And here’s the chorus:

“These boys let their underwear show/Pull ‘em up, pull ’em up before your pants hit the floor/These boys got their pants on the ground/Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up, like a fool with your pants on the ground/These boys got skinny jeans on/Pull ’em up, pull ‘em up/These boys got women’s jeans on/Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up/These boys got pants too tight. Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up/Yeah …”

We’ve left a message with Caraway’s office to find out whether he is indeed expanding the anti-sagging campaign to include skinny jeans. We’d also like to know what the councilman’s official thoughts are on the so-called “down low.”

Of course we’d like to talk to Da Priest, too. We want to ask him precisely what degree of tightness he considers appropriate for our pants — and, how exactly does one go about “pulling up” skinny jeans?

We’ll let you know what we find out. In the meantime, listen to the song below.

—  John Wright

Caraway, Davis absent from gay Pride

Eleven of 15 councilmembers appeared on the city float.

Dallas City Councilmembers Carolyn Davis and Dwaine Caraway were absent from Sunday’s Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, despite having RSVP’d affirmatively for the gay Pride celebration.

Eleven of 15 councilmembers, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, rode in the parade, sources at City Hall confirmed this week.

“He enjoyed it and looks forward to next year,” said Paula Blackmon, chief of staff for Rawlings, who became the third mayor in Dallas history to ride in the parade.

Councilmembers Sandy Greyson and Vonciel Jones Hill were the only two who indicated in advance they wouldn’t make the parade — Hill due to religious objections and Greyson because of a scheduling conflict.

—  John Wright

Chris Heinbaugh leaving mayor’s office to join AT&T Performing Arts Center

Chris Heinbaugh

Chris Heinbaugh has been named external affairs director at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Heinbaugh, an openly gay former TV reporter, served as Mayor Tom Leppert’s chief of staff for three years and has remained in the mayor’s office under Dwaine Caraway.

Heinbaugh will start his new job June 9.

“I’m ready to do something different,” Heinbaugh told Instant Tea this afternoon. “I’m very excited about it. I wanted to stay in Dallas, I like the arts, I like that center.”

Here’s what Heinbaugh said in an email to members of the media:

Hey folks,

Today I notified Ms. Suhm and Mayor Caraway that I am leaving my position in the Mayor’s office. Effective June 9, I will assume the position of External Affairs Director for the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I’ll be handling government relations and institutional press and working with the new CEO, Mark Weinstein to create exciting and inclusive new programs for the many diverse communities in Dallas and its North Texas neighbors. As you probably know from my days as a reporter, I have been a lover of the arts and passionate about the ATT PAC and the Dallas Arts District. As chief of staff, I’ve been fortunate to able to be a cheerleader for the Center both here at home and during our travels across the country and overseas. I am very excited that I will now be joining this tremendous team and its new CEO to continue moving the Center and the city forward.

I look forward to maintain a personal and professional strong relationship with you as well. We’ll chat more before I go, but I wanted to be sure to let you know. Please feel free to share this with your colleagues.

All the best,

Chris

—  John Wright

Easter in the Park to go forward as scheduled despite rumors, but Pooch Parade still up in air

The Pooch Parade in Lee Park.

Despite rumors and after some behind-the-scenes negotiating, Easter in the Park will take place as usual on Easter Sunday, April 24.

The Turtle Creek Association, which has staged the event for years, decided to move some of the activities to the Sunday before Easter, April 17, for a family-friendly event. While some members of the LGBT community took that to mean gay-unfriendly, Keith Nix of TCA assured everyone that “family” means all families.

The April 17 event will include a DJ and an Easter egg roll for children.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will begin its season of free concerts in city parks with its Easter Sunday concert in Lee Park. According to Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy President and CEO John Williams, that event has not changed. Vendors will be at the park selling food and drinks, and he encouraged everyone to come with their blankets for the annual picnic.

What is still not resolved is the Pooch Parade. The Turtle Creek Association was planning to move the Pooch Parade to the week before Easter, April 17. After an outcry from the LGBT community, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association met with the Conservancy last Friday.

On Monday, all of the groups involved met with Chris Heinbaugh in Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway’s office, about funding. The expense involved includes a required number of Dallas police to close Turtle Creek Boulevard and provide security. Cleanup also must be provided professionally, not with volunteers, by city ordinance.

More on Easter in the Park and the fate of the Pooch Parade in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

What's Brewing: 5/14/10

1. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., suggested Wednesday that if gays are allowed to serve openly in the military, straight soldiers would simply let them die on the battlefield instead of fighting to protect them (the clip is above). In an interview with the American Family Association’s radio program, Inhofe said gays in the military would create “a third group to deal with,” in addition to men and women. He then said of why soldiers fight: “We’re not doing it for the flag or the country, we’re doing it for the guy in the next foxhole, and that [repealing DADT] would dramatically change that.” Needless to say, this isn’t the first time Inhofe has bashed gays. His remarks on the Senate floor about the 2006 Federal Marriage Amendment were particularly amusing, and he’s even been linked to the kill-gays legislation in Uganda. But here’s my thing, and stay with me on this one. First you have to go here, then go here, then come back for the punchline … Is it me, or does Inhofe not bear some resemblance to George Rekers, except without the mustache?

2. Speaking of Oklahoma and closeted homosexuals, Ted Haggard has opened a new church.

3. Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway , one-time promoter for rapper Dooney Da Priest and his homophobic rhymes, has been caught with his pants down. The Dallas Morning News reveals that Caraway has been inappropriately interfering with police business in an effort to protect his poker buddies. But Caraway’s defense is somewhat ironic given his much-publicized anti-sagging-pants campaign. Caraway says simply that police have better things to do: “Look at the crack houses. … People will be hanging out [in the night] doing all kinds of things we ought to be focused on.” Hey Dwaine, Pull Yo Pants Up!

—  John Wright