DEATHS: James ‘Kissey’ Olson, James Edward ‘Beaux’ Geer, Ray ‘Alpha Pup’ Witt

James “Kissey” Olson, 62, died at his home in Dallas on March 30 after recently being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Olson was native of Iron River, Mich. After graduating from high school, he served in the U.S. Air Force for six years. He went to work for AT&T, living in Phoeniz, Little Rock and finally Dallas, where he retired.

He had lived in the Dallas area for more than 24 years.

His home here was party central and was always open to his many friends who will miss his and his hospitality.

Olson is survived by his mother, Minnie, and sisters, Ruth and Doris, of Iron River; his brother, Ron, of Milwaukee; his ex-wife, Jo, of Yuma, Az.; his two children, Scott and Amy of Phoenix, and six grandchildren; and his beloved Chihuahua, Moose.

Olson was cremated and his ashes were buried at Iron River. A celebration of his life will be held on the patio at The Hidden Door, 5025 Bowser St., on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m.

 

James Edward “Beaux” Geer, 46, died April 13.

Geer worked as a hairdresser with Salon D for 23 years. He was also an artist who founded “Healing Texas through the Arts” to showcase new artists and make their works available to the public.

Geer was truly loved by friends and family, and he had an innocent sweetness of spirit and extraordinary talent that turned everything he touched into a thing of beauty. His paintings provided a view into his soul. He will be profoundly missed by those who knew him and will keep him forever in their hearts.

Geer is survived by his mother and stepfather, Bill and Millie Ritter of Plano; his father, Thomas Geer, Lafayette, La.; his brother Greg “Blackie” Geer, wife Kayce, daughter Typhane and grandson Thor, all of Austin; his best friend and brother-of-the heart, Dale Hall; and a host of other family and friends. Plans are pending for a celebration of life memorial gathering.

 

Ray “Alpha Pup” Witt, 59, died March 30 from an apparent stroke. Witt, loving boy and partner to Daddy Ron Hertz of Dallas and a member of the Dallas leather community, was a former member of Discipline Corps and NLA-Dallas. He held the first International Puppy title presented in 2001, thus becoming the “Alpha Pup.” His gift for storytelling and his warm heart endeared him to many in the community and his presence will be missed.Witt is survived by his partner of 9 ½ years, Ron Hertz of Dallas; his mother, Duluth Witt of Lexington, Ky.; and his canine friend “Mugsy.” A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

 

—  John Wright

Cherishing The Unclaimed Award Of A Loved Friend

A number of weeks ago I received an email from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD‘s) Nick Adams.

For the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2008, Christine Daniels was nominated for Outstanding Newspaper Columnist. She actually was the winner in that category that year, but she never claimed the award — GLAAD still had the award statue they would have presented to Christine on stage.

Nick asked me if I would like to have it — he wrote me that the award should be with someone who knew Christine and valued her friendship.

I wrote back to Nick that I would be very, very honored to hold onto the award in memory of my friend.

Yesterday (Friday, February 11, 2011), I came home from yet another dental appointment at the VA to find the expected package from GLAAD on my doorstep.

Image and image text: Christine Daniels, Los Angeles Times, Outstanding Columnist Award, 19th Annual GLAAD Media AwardIt was a surprisingly difficult box for me to open, in that it was a much more emotional moment than I expected it to be. When I held the award in my hands for the first time, it seemed every emotion I’ve felt at my friend’s death by suicide flooded through me one more time.

The award reads:

Christine Daniels

Los Angeles Times

Outstanding Newspaper Columnist

19th Annual

GLAAD Media Award

I sobbed when I read the inscription.

It dawned on me the moment I first held the award statue that what I held in my hands was the only “brick-and-mortar” item that I have that’s specific to Christine — all I have besides the award are digital photographs and memories.

The second thought that dawned on me was the realization that Christine purged everything from her Los Angeles apartment that was referential herself as Christine when she detransitioned to Mike Penner a year before her passing. If she’d have accepted the GLAAD Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award in person, the award would in all likelihood be buried deep in a landfill. I’m so very glad — and so very honored — to have the award statue instead of a landfill having it. I’m going to cherish the award as much as I cherished Christine as a friend.

In part, I’ll hold the award as a reminder of the importance of treating others in trans community as I want to be treated. Christine wasn’t treated particularly well by many members within the transgender subcommunity of the LGBT community — she was considered by many not to be serious and weighty enough to be an effective spokesperson for trans community.

At the San Diego memoriam for the Transgender Day Of Remembrance this past November, Kelly Moyer made a poignant speech on the subject of how we treat each other within community — I believe it should be required reading for trans (and broader LGBT) community members regarding how to treat others within one’s own community.

I still miss Christine so very, very much. She was special, and I don’t believe she realized how special she was…and how loved she really was by so many of us.

I suppose it goes without saying that I’m still feeling the reverberations of Christine’s death by suicide almost a year-and-a-half after her passing; I’m still missing her something fierce.

To my peers and friends in trans community, our community is one where more than four in ten of us have attempted suicide at some point during our lives — a rate twenty-five times higher than that of broader society. If you feel suicidal, please remember you are not as alone as you might think you are — People you know are going to care deeply if you die by suicide; people you know are going to care even if you think they won’t care.

If you feel suicidal, please reach out for help — the Trevor Project is one place where you can find resources to help you — find access to people who will help you. Please take care of yourselves…it’s an incredibly important thing to do.

~~~~~

Related:

* Pam’s House Blend tag: Christine Daniels
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

The Westboro Baptist Church Needs A Sassy Gay Friend

OH SNAP — "My friend Hillary created a powerful poster to combat the venomous Westboro Baptist Church protesters in Washington D.C. Friday. Solution to bigotry? A 'Sassy Gay Friend' reference of course!" Like this one. [Hillary Wass via Buzzfeed]


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Queerty

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First flag by Betsy Ross was shirt for gay friend

From “the Onion,” of course. ;)

PHILADELPHIA—Historians at the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery this week of a personal diary from the late 18th century that reveals the first U.S. flag sewed by Betsy Ross was originally intended as a shirt for her flamboyant gay friend Nathaniel.

“This has completely upended the accepted narrative behind the first American flag,” said historian Kenneth Atwood, who led the team of scholars analyzing the long-forgotten journal of prominent Philadelphia homosexual Nathaniel Linsley. “Now we can say with certainty that our nation’s most enduring symbol of freedom, strength, and prosperity is actually just the result of Nathaniel’s desire for a sassy, tight-fitting top.”

“We’ve all been taught that the 13 stars and stripes of the first U.S. flag represented the original 13 colonies, but this is simply not the case,” Atwood added. “In fact, Nathaniel thought that stripes were slimming, and he just really, really liked stars.”

Sassy!




AMERICAblog Gay

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Hermilio Moralez Beat Teenage Friend Joshua Wilkerson To Death Over Alleged Sexual Advances

Texas authorities have arrested 19-year-old Hermilio Moralez on murder charges after allegedly beating to death his friend of five years Joshua Wilkerson, 18, and burning his body after Wilkerson supposedly made sexual advances toward the teen during a ride home from school.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

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Jodie Foster’s Best Friend Mel Gibson Cut From The Hangover 2

So much for Jodie Foster's asinine claim that Mel Gibson is "the most loved man in the film business": His not-at-all anticipated cameo in The Hangover 2 has been nixed, courtesy the cast and crew being all, "ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME?"


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Meek on Crist: No Friend to Gays

CHARLIE CRIST KENDRICK MEEK X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMAmid reports that Florida governor and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie
Crist is about to come out in support of gay rights legislation, his
Democratic opponent, Kendrick Meek, has said Crist is no friend to gays and
lesbians.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Saudi diplomat seeks political asylum from Obama administration for being gay and having a Jewish friend

Sounds like a two-fer. The gays and the Jews are involved. The Saudis want the man back, probably so they can hang him or cut off certain body parts. It will be interesting to see if the administration sides with the homophobes and the anti-Semites. From MSNBC:

The diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, has informed U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials that Saudi officials have refused to renew his diplomatic passport and effectively terminated his job after discovering he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Dr. Laura Has Black Friend, Gay Friend

DR LAURA SCHLESSINGER X390Dr. Laura said that she dined with a black friend and a gay friend who agreed that the controversy surrounding her use of the N word amounted to censorship.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

—  admin