Equality Texas to honor allies

Adair Lion

Kaylee Anne Keith

Wrangle out that over-sized belt buckle, your 10-gallon hat and brush up on those two-stepping skills. Equality Texas, the LGBT advocacy group, will host its first-ever Texas-themed Ally Awards on Friday at the Vendome on Turtle Creek Boulevard. This year’s honoree recipients are: J.C. Penney for Business of the Year, rapper/singer/producer Adair Lion and Miss West Texas Kaylee Anne Keith for Individuals of the Year; and President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for Civic Leaders of the Year.

Dennis Coleman, executive director for Equality Texas, said the idea for an ally awards benefit was created after seeing the success of  Equality Utah and Equality Colorado’s Ally Awards banquets. The winners were chosen from an online poll earlier this year. “We cannot do this on our own word. We need our allies. They have been important for the fight for equality,” said Coleman. “We are hoping this becomes a catalyst for larger things to come, like our friends in Colorado.”

In May, J.C. Penney published an ad featuring a lesbian couple in their Mother’s Day circulation, and recently another ad featuring Dallas gay couple Cooper Smith and Todd Koch and their two children. J.C. Penney received a lot of backlash, specifically from the group One Million Moms, but has stood by its decision to represent diverse families.

—  admin

“Gay is Okay” rapper Adair Lion, beauty queen fiancee, to receive first Equality Texas Ally Award

Equality Texas just announced the honorees for its firs- ever Ally Awards. Earlier this month, I spoke with rapper Adair Lion about his viral song and video “Gay is Okay,” which garnered a whole lot of buzz. Now comes word he will receive the Equality Texas Ally Individual of the Year Award alongside his fiancee, Miss West Texas Kaylee Anne Keith, whose platform includes bullying prevention. Lion is in good company. JCPenney was named Business of the Year and the POTUS (and VPOTUS) were named Civic Leaders of the Year.

I called Lion for his response. He was both nervous and thrilled.

“I don’t know what to wear,” he said at first. But he finds himself rather amazed by the honor and his fellow winners.

“Isn’t that awesome? I feel ecstatic especially since this is the first time for the awards. I’m so honored and it’s really crazy,” he said.

It also meant a great deal to share it with his fiancee. He felt Keith may have crashed-and-burned with her LGBT-friendly platform at the Miss Texas pageant, but he’s more proud that she stayed true to her platform where others advised her not to.

“She really stuck out her neck in an area of Texas where this talk is still a bit taboo. To stand up for the community in West Texas, people would tell her not to push this platform. It could have been great or disastrous for her. It worked in Miss West Texas though, but not so much in Miss Texas. But I’m so proud of her and this award is like a validation of that. The dialogue needs to be open for everyone — rappers, beauty queens, artists — and this won’t be taboo anymore. When morality changes, that’s when the laws change. We’re seeing that now.”

The Ally Awards will take place June 22 at the Vendome. Read the full press release here.

—  Rich Lopez