Resource Center and Fairness Fort Worth ask reps to protect LGBT elderly

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Cece Cox

Resource Center and Fairness Fort Worth reached out to Rep. Marc Veasey and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to add LGBT-specific protections to Medicaid’s Home and Community-Based Services programs for seniors. Veasey represents U.S. District House 33, and Johnson represents U.S. District House 30.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center issued a report in 2011 that found LGBT seniors often went back into the closet to protect themselves in healthcare facilities. Many endured verbal and phyical abuse by other residents and staff.

RC’s CEO Cece Cox and FFW’s President David Mack Henderson asked Veasey and Johnson to encourage HHS to amend its rules to protect LGBT seniors.

Their letter is below:

RC FFW

 

—  David Taffet

David Mack Henderson named president of Fairness Fort Worth

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David Mack Henderson

David Mack Henderson, who has been associated with Fairness Fort Worth since its inception, was named the group’s new president on Thursday. Former president Jon Nelson stepped down recently after moving to Dallas.

Also elected were Vice President James F. McAlister,  Secretary Robert C. Miller and Treasurer Denise Bennett.

Henderson is a tax accountant and realtor. He has a bachelor’s degree in music and business from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he founded the school’s first LGBT student organization in 1980. In Dallas he served as a board member of Dallas Gay Alliance in 1984 during the formation of the AIDS Resource Center, now known as Resource Center Dallas.

After the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, he helped form Fairness Fort Worth in July 2009 and served as its treasurer for three years. He’s been involved as an LGBT awareness facilitator for city of Fort Worth employees and FWISD counselors.

—  David Taffet

Fort Worth Council declares today ‘Jon Nelson Day’ in honor of FFW president

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Jon Nelson, center left, shakes Councilman Joel Burns’ hand during the Jon Nelson Day proclamation presentation at Fort Worth City Council. (Via Facebook)

The Fort Worth City Council issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring it “Jon Nelson Day” in the city to honor the local LGBT leader.

Nelson, who worked on the city’s Diversity Task Force after the Rainbow Lounge raid and later helped start the city’s LGBT advocacy group Fairness Fort Worth, moved to Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood earlier this month.

Nelson has lived in Fort Worth for 38 years and has been involved in numerous city organizations and commissions for at least 30 of those years. He said city leaders wanted to recognize his contributions to the city over that period.

“I’m honored,” Nelson said about the proclamation. “It was a surprise to me that I got that but I was honored to get it.”

—  Anna Waugh

Fairness Fort Worth holds 1st mixer

Jon Nelson

Jon Nelson

Fairness Fort Worth is holding its first mixer.

The FFW board will present an LGBT community update at Times Ten Cellar, 1100 Foch St., Fort Worth this evening.

FFW formed in the wake of the raid of the Rainbow Lounge in 2009 and was successful in updating nondiscrimination ordinances and adding benefits for Fort Worth LGBT employees.

“The purpose is to inform people about what Fairness Fort Worth is, what it’s done and what it plans to do in the future,” FFW President Jon Nelson said.

He said the group has several committees and wants to get people involved. He’ll talk about how they can help.

Free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar begin at 6 p.m. and Nelson will make his remarks at 7 p.m.

Nelson said this isn’t a fundraiser but just a way for people in the community to get together and meet others in Fort Worth who want to make a difference.

—  David Taffet

Celebration of life tonight for Fairness Fort Worth co-founder Pam Rogers

Pamela Rogers, left

Fairness Fort Worth co-founder Pam Rogers, 55, an activist and artist who designed the group’s T-shirts, banners and ads in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid, died Friday after a battle with cancer. According to an obituary in the Star-Telegram, Rogers died peacefully in the arms of her wife, Angi Brown. A celebration of Rogers’ life will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth. From Fairness Fort Worth:

With heavy heart, the Board of FFW must share with you the passing of one of our founding members, Pam Rogers, 55. Already skilled in the LGBT advocacy world, Pam stepped up to help our community organize after the Rainbow Lounge Raid, often helping guide discussions toward constructive policies and practices. When asked to help with projects the only answer we ever got was, “Sure!” She took the logo designed by Bernardo Vallarino and crafted most of our outreach from banners to shirts and print advertising, quickly branding FFW when we needed her professional touch. Pam was diagnosed with stage four colon and liver cancer in Jan/12, and, rather than succumb within a few weeks, she battled with an incredibly positive attitude and bought another year. Last December, adept at weathering storms, Pam (left) and her love, Angi Brown (right) married in NYC just hours before Hurricane Sandy hit. She also leaves five siblings, numerous nieces and nephews and an extraordinary selfless legacy of creating a better world for local LGBT people.

A Celebration of Life for FFW co-founder Pamela Jeanne Rogers will be held Sunday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, 901 Page Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76110.

—  John Wright

2 teens sentenced to 3 years probation in Arlington anti-gay graffiti case

Morgen Aubuchon and Seth Hatcher

Two teens were sentenced in Fort Worth on Friday for their involvement in an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included in anti-gay slurs spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Morgen Rae Aubuchon, 18, and Seth Stephen Hatcher, 19, pleaded guilty to the state jail felony charge causing $1,500 to $20,000 in damage and were sentenced to three years deferred adjudication with 120 hours of community service at Samaritan House, AIDS Outreach Center or another organization approved by the court.

They must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service a month. They are also jointly responsible for $6,441 in restitution to the owners of the damaged property.

David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer who attended the sentencing, said 371th District Court Judge Mollee Westfall informed the teens that if they violate their probation, they face six months to two years in jail.

If the teens complete their probation without any violations, they won’t have a conviction on their records, but an arrest record will remain unless expunged.

—  Anna Waugh

First of 5 teens sentenced to probation in anti-gay graffiti case in Arlington

ArlingtonHateCrime

Kim Lovering’s vehicle was spray-painted with ‘faggot’ and ‘queers.’

The first of the five teens charged with a state jail felony for an Arlington graffiti spree in June that included anti-gay slurs on a lesbian couples’ SUV was sentenced Wednesday.

The 16-year-old was the first teen to turn herself in and cooperated with Arlington police when surveillance video of the culprits was released by a neighbor. She was sentenced to a year of probation in juvenile court, along with 50 hours of community service that must be completed at either Samaritan House or AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth.

David Mack Henderson, Fairness Fort Worth treasurer, attended the trial and sentencing. He said the judge was stern with the teen, reminding her that her actions affected a whole neighborhood and not just the 16 victims whose property was damaged.

The juvenile is also responsible for one-fifth of the cost of the restitution, which currently totals $6,441 but can be amended by the DA later.

Fairness Fort Worth President Jon Nelson called the sentence fair and reasonable, considering the teen will have to complete community service. He said he thinks all of the teens should have to complete community service at an LGBT or HIV/AIDS organization.

“I think that these people need to understand our community and the only way for them to do that is working within that community,” Nelson said.

Kim Lovering, one of the victims of the anti-gay graffiti, said she was pleased with the sentencing because the teen didn’t have any previous convictions.

“I thought it was fair,” she said.

—  Anna Waugh

Army vet and FFW President Jon Nelson asks USAA to add LGBT protections

Fairness Fort Worth President Jon Nelson used this Veterans Day to impact change at United Services Automobile Association.

USAA is a Texas-based company that provides banking, investing and insurance serves to people and families of those who have served in the U.S. military.

Nelson is an Army veteran who served as a combat infantry officer in Vietnam. He is a policyholder with USAA, which doesn’t offer its employees or policyholders LGBT protections.

He wrote to CEO Gen. Josue Robles this week to encourage him as a gay veteran and policyholder to consider adding policies that covered everyone USAA employs and insures.

“When I was in the Army, I was taught to lead by example,” Nelson writes. “It’s time USAA did so by changing its policies and procedures to acknowledge, provide for and protect those LGBT policyholders and employees.  These changes that USAA, just like American Airlines and others, make will send a clear message.”

In related news, USAA received the worst possible score of zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which was released today.

Read Nelson’s full letter below.

—  Anna Waugh

After Anable’s death, Fairness Fort Worth names Jon Nelson president

Jon Nelson

In Anna Waugh’s story in Friday’s Dallas Voice about the death of Thomas Anable, she mentioned that the board of Fairness Fort Worth planned to select a new president “in the near future.” Turns out that future was indeed very near, as the group announced in a press release Friday afternoon that Jon Nelson has been named Anable’s successor. Nelson was one of the founding members of Fairness Fort Worth and has served as the group’s spokesman since it formed in response to the Rainbow Lounge raid.

“Tom’s tireless efforts for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community created a firm foundation upon which we are eager to build,” Nelson said in the release. “The next chapter in obtaining full equality for all of our citizens begins today. We’re encouraged by the growing empowerment within our community and by the eagerness of allies in government, business and civic engagement who walk with us.”

A memorial service for Anable will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Celebration Community Church, at 908 Pennsylvania Ave. in Fort Worth.

Read Fairness Fort Worth’s full press release below.

—  John Wright

Tom Anable’s family, Fort Worth police chief release statements on his death

The family of Fairness Fort Worth President Thomas Anable reacted to his loss in a statement Monday through family spokesman Paul Valdez.

The statement mentions the shock of Anable’s sudden death after he took his own life this weekend, but focuses on the advocacy work that he’d held so dear since becoming an “accidental activist” after the Rainbow Lounge led him to pursue LGBT equality in Tarrant County and beyond.

“As we mourn his tragic death, we must always remember and celebrate what he accomplished, not only for Fort Worth and Dallas, but on a national stage for both advocacy and empowerment. He taught us about moving forward and making a difference,” the statement reads.

“Tom was a beautiful soul, with a heart of gold, and we are devastated by his loss. Though we may never fully understand his death, our family has chosen to celebrate his life and the amazing legacy he leaves to us all.”

Anable’s death has been ruled suicide by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. He died from a gunshot wound to the head. He was 58.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead also released a statement Monday, saying he was “very saddened to hear the news about Tom.”

“Tom was a personal friend, a trusted colleague, and an inspiration. His advocacy for the LGBTQ community opened many eyes, including my own,” Halstead said. “Tom worked passionately to improve police department’s ‘hate crime’ policies and investigative protocols.”

Fairness Fort Worth, which Anable helped launch and has led since June 2010, played an integral role in mending the relationship between the police department and the LGBT community after the Rainbow Lounge raid.

“The Fort Worth Police Department is forever indebted to Tom for bridging the gap and strengthening our enduring commitment to work together for fairness and equality,” Halstead said in the statement.

A candlelight vigil honoring Anable will be held at the Rainbow Lounge at 7 p.m. Wednesday. A memorial service will then follow at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth.

Read the full statements below.

—  Anna Waugh