Equality ordinance drew Facebook to Fort Worth

facebookBefore committing to opening a data center in Fort Worth, Facebook checked the city’s LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance. Passed in 2000, it was the first of its kind in the state.

According to an editorial in the Star Telegram:

City officials told the Star-Telegram Facebook executives studied the city’s ordinances before announcing a new $1 billion data center investment here last week.

Awareness of LGBT rights has jumped dramatically. Fort Worth can be proud that it helped lead the way.

The data center will be built on a 110-acre site near I-35W in North Fort Worth. It will open with 250,000 square feet of space and is expected to triple in size. Although Facebook is expected to be worth $21 million in new taxes to Fort Worth over 10 years, the facility will open with only 40 employees. Facebook said more may be added later.

—  David Taffet

Huckabee accuses trans women of being child molesters while supporting a child molester

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Video of Republican presidential candidate — and former Arkansas governor — Mike Huckabee once again describing transgender women as male pedophiles lurking in bathrooms to molest little girls has surfaced, less than two weeks after Huckabee posted on Facebook declaring his support for admitted child molester Joshua Duggar.

In the video, filmed at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in late February, Huckabee “joked” about how he wished he could have pretended to be transgender by saying he “felt like a woman” in high school “when it came time to take showers in PE,” BuzzFeed reports. Right-wing news site World Net Daily uploaded the video to YouTube over the weekend.

In the video, which you can watch below, Huckabee said: “For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize that the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your seven-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.”

Then he added: “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’ You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?”

He also claimed there is “something inherently wrong about forcing little children to be a part of this social experiment,” adding “I’m not against anybody. I’d just like for somebody to bring their brain to work some day and not leave it on the bedstand when they show up to govern.”

Of course, while he is more than happy to make up stories about men pretending to be women so they’ll have more chances to molest little girls, Huckabee apparently still stands steadfastly behind his Arkansas buddies, the Duggar family, and their son Joshua, who admitted he molested five younger girls when he was a teenager (and yes, four of those girls were his own sisters).

“Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family,” Huckabee wrote in a May 22 post on his Facebook page (Janet is his wife). He noted that Joshua Duggar called his actions in molesting little girls “inexcusable,” but adds that  inexcusable “doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’”

Huckabee wrote that Josh Duggar and his family “dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities” — without acknowledging that the family dealt with it by not saying anything for more than a year and stonewalling all efforts by authorities to investigate until after the statute of limitations had expired.

Huckabee downplayed Joshua Duggars crimes by saying “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” by saying that because Duggar was a teenager his “judgement [was] not mature,” and he confessed his sins and sought help.

(Joshua Duggar’s father got a police officer friend — since convicted and now serving time for possession of child pornography — to give Josh a stern talking to, and then sent him to live with a friend of the family for three months for “counseling,” which consisted of helping that family friend in his home building business.)

Huckabee concluded: “Janet and I love Jim Bob and Michelle [the Duggar family patriarch and matriarch] and their entire family. They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection. It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness.

“We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”

Hmm. Kind of makes you wonder whose bedstand Mike Huckabee left his brain on that day, doesn’t it.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Credence’ sci-fi film features LGBT family


On Friday, July 25, we at Dallas Voice will publish our 2014 Family Issue. To get ready for that, let me share with you this trailer for a new sci-fi film called Credence, from director Mike Buonaiuto.

Says TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com: “Ever wondered what it might look like if a science fiction film presented LGBT people the way it should be done? Credence will be the first sci-fi of its kind to challenge the way gay characters are portrayed in film.”

It is the story of the end of the earth, the last days, when ever-more-violent storms are making the survival of the human race impossible. Fortunately, new worlds have been discovered that will support the human race. Unfortunately, limited rocket capacity and the realities of the human life expectancy mean only children are being evacuated to these new worlds. And the cost means only the children of wealthy people are able to afford tickets to these new worlds.

Credence tells the story of a gay couple, fathers, who make the heart-rending decision to get their daughter on one of the rockets, giving up all their possessions to be able to afford the ticket, even though it means never seeing her again.

Buonaiuto has an Indiegogo account established to help fund the production of the film, in case you are interested. And by the way, thanks to my friend Misty Hillin who posted this on Facebook, where I saw it.

—  Tammye Nash

Did state Rep. Jonathan Stickland once support same-sex marriage?

jonathan-stickland_1

Jonathan Stickland

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, is being accused of supporting same-sex marriage by Andy Cargile, his opponent in the Republican Primary.

Cargile’s campaign is circulating Facebook comment from Stickland’s page that tout his support for same-sex marriage.

In an August 2011 post, Stickland comments, “I a pro-union rights, and I am pro-gay marriage.” Screenshots of the posts were sent to the Texas Tribune.

Family Values is  listed on Stickland’s campaign website under issues.

“The family is the foundation of every society and I believe it is under attack,” his website states. “I believe marriage is between a man, a woman and God.”

Stickland’s office did not immediately respond for requests for comment.

But Stickland spokesman Luke Macias told the Tribune via email: “HAHA. Gay marriage really????” He added that Stickland “is one of the biggest advocates for traditional marriage in Texas. Jonathan believes marriage is between a man and woman and has a voting record to back it up.”

Stickland scored a 14 on Equality Texas’ Legislative Scorecard last year.  He co-authored HB 1568, authored  by state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, aimed to cut state funding for school districts that offer domestic partner benefits after Pflugerville ISD announced it would offer DP benefits. The bill was left pending in committee.

Statewide advocacy group Equality Texas released a statement disputing the claims that Stickland has a voting record on marriage.

“The issue of marriage equality simply did not come up for a vote during Stickland’s single term in the Legislature,”  Equality Texas Legislative Specialist Daniel Williams said. “It’s bad enough to actually have an anti-marriage voting record, but to lie and claim to have one when none exists is truly bizarre.”

—  Dallasvoice

Moron alert: Dumbest Onion readers

OnionEvery so often, the media will report on some high-profile entity — a congressman of the Chinese government, say — who will repeat a story found at the online satirical “newspaper” The Onion as actual fact. Now, hoaxes in news are nothing new, and not that rare. But the thing is, The Onion can’t be characterized as a hoax site — they make no bones about being satirical, just like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report or even Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update.

So when people fall for links from this joke paper — which specializes in outrageous overstatement, such as this favorite of mine — it always puzzles me. And in the Facebook Age, that’s all the more common.

So I was laughing my ass off when I happened upon this recent story, which pulls together the 35 “best” times someone on Facebook fell for an Onion piece. (My favorite? No. 27.) What’s especially wondrous is how most of the “victims” suffer from confirmational bias — the tendency to find like-minded people affirm already held (and kooky) beliefs, such as the notion that Osama bin Laden is still alive (and a 500 foot monster — No. 5), the scourge of poor people (No. 8) and an abortion factory (Nos. 7 and 16). Some of these (obviously right wing) nuts even twist bizarre stories like the prevalence of wolf attacks (No. 2) as a platform for spouting propaganda about Obama (No. 24 may be the best), liberalism and the welfare state (apparently not knowing the Official Dance to the National Anthem is an embarrassment related to food stamps — No. 3).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dan Branch claims Facebook yanked campaign ad over anti-gay content

Rep. Dan Branch

Rep. Dan Branch

Texas attorney general candidate Dan Branch’s campaign is claiming Facebook pulled one of his ads because it includes anti-gay hate speech. That might be humorous if it were true, but a Facebook spokesperson says the decision to pull the ad was a mistake.

Branch, a Republican state representative who represents part of Dallas’ Oak Lawn gayborhood, is among those vying to replace AG Greg Abbott, who’s stepping down to run for governor in 2014. In the ad released last week, Branch vows to protect Texas’ right to trample on the rights of women and gays.

“I will fight for our state’s right to protect the unborn, and our right to define a marriage as between one man and woman, and if some in Washington want to deny us our freedom, as they said at the Battle of Gonzalez, we’ve got four words for them here in Texas: ‘Come and take it,'” Branch says in the ad.

Facebook pulled the ad last Thursday for violating “community standards,” according to The Texas Tribune. However, a day later the ad was restored, and the site apologized.

“As our team processes more than 1 million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake,” Facebook said in a statement. “We worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content, and we have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Additionally, we have removed any blocks on associated accounts.”

—  John Wright

Friends start Facebook page to support gay-friendly businesses in Denton

Kat Ralph

After an anti-gay encounter at a local bar where Kat Ralph and her friends often hang out, she turned to Facebook for support and launched a page as an online forum.

Ralph and about 10 friends were at Abbey Underground bar in Denton Saturday, Dec. 29, when a group of about 15 middle-aged adults started giving her and friends dirty looks, making them feel uncomfortable.

The looks went on for about an hour until one woman walked up to Ralph after she kissed her girlfriend. The woman put her hand in her mouth, gesturing as though she was going to vomit, and told Ralph she made her sick.

“She got in our faces and called us sick individuals,” she said.

Ralph’s friends approached management about intervening because they felt uncomfortable and wanted to have fun in the bar. Management refused to talk to the woman or the group she was with because it was a “he said, she said” situation, Ralph said, but they did offer to pay two of their tabs. So Ralph and her friends left.

“They [management] didn’t do anything,” she said, adding that she’d never had a bad experience there. “It was super disappointing.”

—  Dallasvoice

Facebook outs gay University of Texas students to their fundamentalist fathers

Taylor McCormick, a native of Blanco, Texas, is one of two gay UT students who were outed to their parents when they were added to the Queer Chorus’ discussion group. (Photo by Lance Rosenfield)

In case you missed it, and in what almost seemed like a sick nod to National Coming Out Day, The Wall Street Journal on Saturday published a harrowing tale about two University of Texas at Austin students who were outed as gay to their fundamentalist fathers as a result of a privacy loophole on Facebook.

Basically, both students had joined UT’s Queer Chorus, whose president added them to its Facebook discussion group, not knowing that it would bypass their individual privacy settings and share the information with their parents.

The disclosure prompted one of the student’s fathers to call her repeatedly, threatening to stop paying her car insurance and demanding that she go on Facebook and renounce both the chorus and homosexuality.

“To all you queers. Go back to your holes and wait for GOD,” the girl’s father wrote on his own Facebook page. “Hell awaits you pervert. Good luck singing there.”

The father of the other student, who’s from Blanco, Texas. didn’t talk to him for weeks. And his mother — although she already knew he was gay —  is worried about how the disclosure might affect her business selling insurance.

“Every kid in this town now knows,” the mother told The WSJ. “I am sure that I have lost clients, but they are not going to tell you why. That is living in a small town.”

Granted, these dads are douche bags, they were gonna find out eventually anyway, and the students were incredibly naive to trust Facebook with their private information.

But still, let’s face it, Facebook really sucks.

—  John Wright

Is Dallas Maverick Dominique Jones a raging homophobe?

There isn’t a lot of weight to this recent post by Good as You as they acknowledge themselves, but this video of screen shots makes it look like NBA player Dominique Jones went on an anti-gay tirade on his Facebook. I scoured Facebook only to find pages for Jones, but no personal profiles. Interestingly, Back2Stonewall mentioned in their post that “a search of Jones Facebook page now finds these comments missing.”

“We are aware of it and trying to determine exactly what happened,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an email response.

Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Percussions Lounge closed until further notice

We’re sorry to hear that Fort Worth club Percussions Lounge closed its doors last Wednesday. This was posted on the club’s Facebook page. However, owner Randy Norman says that it really was just a matter of location.

“People didn’t really want to walk that far out and it never has really taken off,” Norman said.

Instead, Norman is focusing on his two more popular spots — Rainbow Lounge and Best Friends. That was part of the deal when he took over most of the gay bar scene in Fort Worth.

“I wanna get those built up, but we are also looking for another location for Percussions and we’re trying to see what we can find, but yeah, the focus now will be on Rainbow and Best Friends.”

—  Rich Lopez