WATCH: Hunx’s “Always Forever”

Seth Bogart, neé Hunx (of Hunx and His Punx) has released the video for his leadoff single “Always Forever” from his upcoming solo album Hairdresser Blues. Hunx gets cubed in the video with split screens and time-lapse photography. He even pays a bit of homage to Nirvana, replicating the Nevermind cover. Hairdresser Blues is set to be released Feb. 28.

It looks like Hunx will be coming to Texas in today’s announced tour dates. Three dates in Texas include Houston at Fitzgerald’s, April 17; Austin at Mohawk, April 18 and El Paso at M’s Lips, April 19. Sadly, no Dallas date.

Watch “Always Forever” after the jump along with a trailer of the entire album featuring major crotch shot action.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay man robbed, beaten, pummelled with rocks in hate crime outside El Paso bar

A gay man was beaten and robbed in an apparent hate crime Sunday night outside a bar in central El Paso. Emilio Moreno, 23, was leaving the Rumors bar when two attackers jumped him in an alley. Moreno’s brother, Gerardo Agguire, told KFOX Channel 14 that the suspects — who have not been caught — were hitting Moreno with rocks:

His brothers said the two men beat him up, took his wallet with six dollars in it, his class ring and even his jacket, before leaving him for dead.

“I  believe it was ahate crime because they were beating him up and calling him homosexual slurs,” said Gerardo.

Neighbors who live next to the alley heard the commotion and called an ambulance. As of Tuesday night, Emilio is at UMC, being treated for various facial injuries including a broken nose.

“He said to me he wishes he would have died, and I asked him why, and he said so justice can be served and police would take it seriously,” said Gerardo.

The El Paso Times reports that police are treating the incident as a hate crime, because of the assailants’ use of anti-gay slurs. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police at 915-832-4400 or Crime Stoppers of El Paso at 915-566-8477.

Last May, after a brutal hate crime outside another gay bar, LGBT advocates held a rally at the courthouse and said El Paso police hadn’t done enough to address violence in the area.

—  John Wright

The New York Times on El Paso benefits fight

Pastor Tom Brown

The New York Times on Sunday took a look at the battle over domestic partner benefits in El Paso. The one thing about the story that stood out to me — in addition to some of the extreme anti-gay rhetoric — was this passage:

While some groups have organized in support of the three officials, the city’s gay community has been noticeably quiet.

Tony Ramos, a retired Army sergeant who works on a statewide H.I.V. and AIDS prevention program, said the gay community was taking a wait-and-see attitude. “For most of us here,” Mr. Ramos said, “being gay is not an issue.”

But he predicted that gay El Pasoans would band together to fight for those who had supported them.

“People are tired and they are fed up,” Mr. Ramos said. “And they do not appreciate El Paso being painted as such a backwards type of city.”

Let’s hope Ramos is right, and the LGBT community in El Paso does stand up. Furthermore, let’s hope the LGBT community around the state and across the nation stands up behind it.

The story notes that of the 19 El Paso employees who signed up for DP benefits, only two are gay. But make no mistake — anti-gay hatred was behind the 2010 ballot measure that overturned DP benefits, just as it is behind the effort to recall the city officials who voted to reinstate them.

National LGBT groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force raise a lot of money out of Texas. This seems like one of those times when they need to put some back in.

—  John Wright

Southwest issues follow-up statement on Leisha Hailey incident

The Internet is out at the house (screw you, AT&T), so I’m attempting to post this from my phone (wish me luck). Below is a follow-up statement from Southwest Airlines regarding Monday’s incident involving Leisha Hailey. Note that the statement says the incident occurred in El Paso, as opposed to St. Louis, as previously reported. I can’t post the link here, but what is it about El Paso and same-sex kissing? Anyhow below is the statement. I’ll try to get more when I’m back on the grid in the a.m.

Updated Information Regarding Customers Removed from Flight 2274

Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin. Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft. We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft.

Our tenets of inclusion and celebration of diversity among our Customers and Employees—including those in the LGBT communities—anchor our Culture of mutual respect and following the Golden Rule. The more than 100 million people who fly Southwest each year reflect the great diversity of our country and our Company — and ALL are valued and welcome. In fact, we’ve been recognized as a leader in diversity throughout our 40 years of service.

Our Customer Advocacy Team reached out to extend goodwill and a full refund for an experience that fell short of the passengers’ expectation.

—  John Wright

El Paso Times now giving anti-gay priest Michael Rodriguez editorial space in addition to ads

The other day the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a press release praising The El Paso Times for publishing several pro-LGBT opinion pieces. GLAAD said it had reached out to the publisher of The EPT after the newspaper allowed those four recent anti-gay advertisements written by the Rev. Michael Rodriguez and paid for by an unidentified Plano couple.

The EPT publisher responded by inviting letters to the editor and opinion pieces, according to GLAAD, several of which the newspaper actually printed!!! Which is great and all, but if the EPT has truly had some sort of awakening on LGBT issues, we’re a little confused as to why the newspaper chose to run this story today about Rodriguez, saying he’s challenged three city leaders to a public forum.

Oh yeah? Really? Who gives a fuck? Can someone — perhaps someone at  GLAAD — explain why The EPT is now giving Rodriguez editorial space in addition to advertising?

—  John Wright

Anti-gay El Paso group plans big push to illegally gather signatures in churches this weekend

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, an anti-gay group in El Paso is gathering signatures in an effort to recall three city officials who voted earlier this year to restore domestic partner benefits for city employees.

The deadline for the group to submit the signatures is next week, and it remains unclear whether they’ll have enough to force elections later this year.

On Thursday night, Mayor John Cook, one of the targets of the recall effort, issued a statement saying he may sue to challenge the signatures because the group has been gathering them illegally in churches, in violation of the Texas Election Code.

Last month, the El Paso County district attorney announced an investigation into allegations that the group was illegally using churches to gather signatures, and a complaint has been filed with the IRS.

If the anti-gay group gathers enough signatures, the recall elections will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, of the 19 city employees who signed up for DP benefits, only two are gay.

A group called No Recall has formed to counter the recall effort.

—  John Wright

El Paso County votes down DP benefits

Unlike in Dallas County, commissioners were given a firm projected cost and actually took a vote. The El Paso Times reports:

County Judge Veronica Escobar brought up the issue of domestic partner benefits during a budget meeting on Tuesday.

After a discussion, Commissioners Dan Haggerty, Willie Gandara Jr. and Sergio Lewis voted against the measure, choosing not to look at providing health insurance benefits to unmarried couples of any gender. Escobar and commissioner Anna Perez supported the idea.

Escobar said it is in the best interest of the taxpayers to have as many people as possible covered with health insurance in the county. “The more people in our community who are uninsured, the more that it cost taxpayers to fund them,” she said.

Escobar said people with health insurance are more prone to receive preventive health care services than are uninsured people, who can’t afford to see a doctor and tend to use the emergency room at the University Medical Center. Taxpayers pay for services provided at the UMC emergency room, she said.

Analysts estimate it would cost the county almost $23,000 more a year to provide health insurance benefits to the partners of unmarried county workers.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Full-page ad in El Paso newspaper calls gays ‘putrid,’ ‘depraved’

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. An anti-gay Catholic priest took out a full-page ad (right) in the El Paso Times over the weekend calling gays “immoral,” “putrid” and “depraved.” The ad, taken out by Friar Michael Rodriguez of El Paso’s San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, has since been removed from the newspaper’s website, according to The Advocate, which contacted the newspaper about its advertising policy but didn’t hear back. It’s hardly surprising that the EPT ran this ad. In fact, it may represent an improvement since the newspaper used to give Rodriguez free space to spout his hatred. Just last year, the EPT published an op-ed piece in which Rodriguez compared homosexuality to rape and said those who don’t actively oppose gay rights are damned to hell.

2. Army Lt. Dan Choi’s federal trial continues today in Washington, D.C. Choi, who’s charged with disobeying police orders, was arrested for handcuffing himself to the White House fence last November during a protest of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He faces up to six months in jail. People arrested for protesting at the White House normally face local misdemeanor charges. But Choi’s attorneys claim he’s being treated differently because he’s a prominent gay-rights activist.

3. A 21-year-old cannibal in Russia is accused of using the Internet to lure a gay man to his home for sex, then stabbing the victim to death before cutting up his body and eating it, according to Ria Novosti, an English-language Russian news site: Investigators believe the killer became acquainted with his victim via the internet, and lured him in sexually. “According to preliminary information, one of them was seeking a sexual partner. The accused explained later that such people are not open, and they prefer to hide their contacts”, Murmansk Investigation Committee chief Fyodor Bludenov said. “The accused stabbed the man a few times, and after having assured himself that the man was dead, he cut up his body and ate him,” the Investigation committee said in a statement.

—  John Wright

DEATH: Paul David Tomko

Paul David Tomko, 41, of Dallas died on Aug. 19.

He was born in El Paso and graduated from Irvin High School and University of Texas in El Paso.

Tomko had lived in Dallas for the past 10 years. He worked as a senior IBM consultant, and previously had worked as a project manager at CPM, and before that worked at White Sands Missile Range.

Tomko was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Tomko.

He is survived by his father, Donald Tomko; brothers, Jackie Tomko, Donald Tomko Jr., DwayneTomko and Jammye Tomko; nieces, Megan Tomko and Samantha Tomko; and many aunts, uncles and friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. at North Dallas Funeral Home, 2710 Valley View Lane.

Tomko was a frequent donor to AIDS Inerfaith Network, Resource Center Dallas and Genesis Women’s Shelter and donations in his memory can be made to any of these organizations.

—  John Wright

El Paso DP benefits update: Hundreds attend ‘No Recall’ rally; DA investigates anti-gay petitioners

About 500 people attended a rally Sunday in support of three El Paso officials who may face recall elections because they voted earlier this year to reinstate domestic partner benefits for city employees.

Meanwhile, the El Paso County district attorney is investigating the anti-gay group that’s behind the recall petitions for allegedly using churches to gather signatures.

And opponents of the recall got some support last week from basketball legend Tim Hardaway. Hardaway, who played at UTEP, once famously said he hated gay people but now says those behind the recall need to “grow up.”

—  John Wright