Skateboarding god Brian Anderson has come out as gay

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Skateboarding legend Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson, a 40-year-old professional skateboarder based in Queens, N.Y., has recently come out publicly as gay. From the looks of this video, it makes not a bit if difference to his colleagues.

What the nearly 27 minute video below to hear Anderson discuss coming out and his colleagues in the world of skateboarding talk about Anderson, the “burly,” “manliest,” most “bad-ass” skater they know.

—  Tammye Nash

CoH marks one-year anniversary of marriage equality

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The Turtle Creek Chorale performs at Cathedral of Hope to mark the one-year anniversary of marriage equality.

Cathedral of Hope marked the one-year anniversary of marriage equality with a program that included music, speakers, cake and lots of champagne on Sunday, June 25. The Turtle Creek Chorale performed at the beginning and end of the event.

The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas said more than 300 marriages have been performed at the church since the Obergefell decision brought marriage equality to Texas a year ago.

“And they’re still together,” he said. “We didn’t tear apart the sanctity of marriage.”

He said it never get tiring saying the words, “By the power invested in me by the United Church of Christ, the state of Texas and the U.S. Constitution” when performing a wedding.

He noted LGBT opponents have tried to create wedge issues between segments of the community.

“We will not let that happen because we are stronger together,” Cazares-Thomas said.

On the issue of gun control, which Human Rights Campaign has taken on, he said, “Gays know how to get shit done.”

Judge Tonya Parker spoke about marriage equality day at the Allen Courts Building. She had been trying to conduct a normal day of business in her court, but Judge Eric Moye interrupted that as he walked into her courtroom while she was speaking to opposing attorneys at the bench. Moye just approached the Parker, walked around the bench and up to her and gave her a hug. He told her he wanted to be the first to celebrate with her.

All of the other judges in the building circulated an email and decided she would be the first to perform a wedding. When a couple arrived for her to marry, all of the other judges, dressed in their robes, sat in the jury box in solidarity to watch her officiate.

The message, Parker said, was that same-sex couples are welcome in Dallas County and that they don’t have to seek out the one judge who will perform their wedding. They’re welcome in any court. All will do weddings, name changes and adoptions, just as they would do for any couple.

Parker said she talks to couples before the ceremony and was asking them what term they prefer. She said she heard repeatedly couples were saying, “Partner is fine.” That frustrated her and when she hears that now, she tells them, “You know, today you can get an upgrade.”

County Judge Clay Jenkins told the crowd that he watched the marriage equality decision read on TV with his daughter Madeleine. Her reaction was, “Every child’s parents should be able to get married.”

“Kids get it,” Jenkins said.

He called the marriage-equality decision a victory for all children whose families would now be treated equally.

Texas marriage equality plaintiffs Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes called marriage equality day a year ago and their wedding day in November two of the happiest days of their lives. When the decision was announced, Phariss said, the couple was at Love Field waiting for a flight to Austin to speak at the Capitol.

When the decision was announced, Phariss said he began crying. As he blubbered, he was rushed through the security line. He was escorted onto the plane as he continued crying and was given what he described as extra special service as he continued crying uncontrollably during the flight. He said everyone must have thought he was going to a funeral, rather than a celebration.

Cece Cox called marriage equality decision day “my favorite day.”

She said the work isn’t done yet and called on the Dallas City Council to ban reparative therapy in the city of Dallas.

She called out Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for his “hate and lies.” On the morning of the Orlando massacre, Patrick tweeted out that people “reap what they sow.” Although he removed the tweet because of severe criticism, he never apologized for blaming the victims. Instead he blamed an aide for posting it.

Jennifer Campisi is the mother of a 9-year-old trans boy. She said when she was pregnant, she read all the parenting books. None of them, she noted, had even a paragraph on raising a trans child.

Equality Texas prepared a video that included marriage equality as well as the Oak Lawn attacks. Board President Steve Rudner said Texas Competes now has 1,000 businesses on board including 34 Fortune 500 companies with operations in Texas.

Chris Chism, the Cathedral’s choir and others performed as well. Cake and lots of champagne followed the program.

—  David Taffet

Defining moments

Leo-CusimanoIt was 1992 and I had just moved to Dallas from a small college town in Florida. HIV/AIDS was a growing issue in my experience, but it had already taken many people in Dallas, including leaders in our LGBT community. I was too young to understand the power of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, so my personal experience with HIV/AIDS was my first defining moment to get involved in the community.

The mind-set in our community was different then. We had lost so many, and ACT-UP was in the streets and angry. Our community was under attack.

I remember making signs for protests and joining the board of DGLA. Lesbians fought to help save the lives of their gay brothers and in the process galvanized our community. Drag queens and transgender people were at the heart of many community actions. The sense of LGBT community was very strong.

Today, HIV/AIDS is still a devastating diagnosis for anyone, but is viewed by some in our younger community to be a manageable illness. These millennials have not experienced the struggles and death at the same scale. Our sense of community has waned over the years.

But then ….

It’s 2 in the morning in Los Angeles, where I have traveled for work, and the phone rings. Fifty people lay dead in a Florida gay bar, and more than 50 others are injured.

This is the start of another heart-wrenching, defining moment that unfortunately will make history and play out as Pride celebrations prepare to march.

The morning stretches on and I find myself sitting in a hotel room in West Hollywood preparing for LA Pride. I feel sick as the stress rises in my body, watching the reports from Florida, then the vibration of my cell phone makes me jump. A text message about an arrest near L.A. that has foiled another attempted attack on our community illuminates the room. My heart drops.

What is next?

We have come so far as a community, and each positive or negative defining moment presents an opportunity for us to come together in a way that makes our community stronger.

My husband Tony and I had been living in Dallas for several years when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws with the Lawrence vs. Texas ruling in 2003. This was a positive defining moment for us that provided hope for our community and empowered our movement.

We experienced a setback in 2008 when California passed Prop 8, but our commitment to stand up and fight just made us stronger. Last year, the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling legalized our marriages, and as a community we have seen growing acceptance as Love Wins.

But now, once again our community is under attack. We are devastated by this senseless act of violence. As we mourn the victims in Florida, we also march on in solidarity and in honor of those we lost.

This is another defining moment for me. I feel like our community has a renewed fight. Once again, arm-in-arm we march. We stick together and support each other. My hope is that we find renewed strength in this tragedy and we once again become galvanized and strengthened as the LGBT community.

Our life experiences and defining moments influence our choices and how we choose to show up in the world. What is your defining moment? How will you make a difference?

Leo Cusimano is co-owner and publisher of Dallas Voice and Voice Publishing Co

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

BREAKING NEWS: At least 20 dead in shooting at Florida gay club

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Screen capture from video posted on CNN.com

In what Orlando police are calling “an act of terrorism,” a man walked into an Orlando gay club around 2 a.m. and started shooting. Authorities are saying at least 20 people are dead and at least 42 people were taken to area hospitals.

Police shot and killed the gunman. They said the man was not from Orlando, but have not publicly identified. He was carrying an assault-type rifle, a handgun and may have had an explosive device with him.

We will update this story throughout the day.

—  Tammye Nash

CNN series ‘The Eighties’ takes on the AIDS epidemic

Larry Kramer

LGBT and AIDS activist Larry Kramer was one of the loudest voices in the fight against AIDS and its stigma in the 1980s.

How old were you when the AIDS epidemic first hit?

How old were you when the New York Times printed that first story about gay men dying of some mysterious cancer? When they called it GRID — Gay-Related Immune Deficiency? When they realized it wasn’t just gay men getting sick and started calling it AIDS — Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome? When they finally discovered the human immunodeficiency virus — HIV — that causes AIDS?

How old were you when the men of our community were dying every day?

Truth is, a lot of people reading this weren’t even born yet back then. A lot more were just wee tots with no idea what was happening. For some, the 1980s are ancient history, not personal history, with no relevance to their day-to-day lives.

That lack of historical perspective may be why HIV infection rates are so high among young people.

Now CNN offers a chance to maybe fill in some of the historical gaps for the younger generation with a new episode of the cable channel’s original series The Eighties, “The Fight Against AIDS,” airing tomorrow (Thursday, June 2, 8 p.m. CST). The program “focuses on the pandemic that created a movement and defined a decade.”

According to a press release, this “mysterious and lethal illness developed into a pandemic with enormous political and cultural consequences. What started as a medical detective story grew into a societal nightmare as first dozens and eventually thousands of people all over the world contracted the lethal virus that came to be known as AIDS. It’s a story of ignorance and heartbreak, but also one of compassion, courage and dedication.”

Award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, in association with HBO producer Mark Herzog, present the series, The Eighties, which “explores the individuals and events that shaped a decade of exceptionalism and excess.” The program combines rarely-seen archival footage and interviews with journalists, historians, musicians and television artists to tell the story of the decade. Future episides will focus on the age of Reagan, the end of the Cold War, Wall Street corruption, the tech boom and the expansion of television and the evolving music scene.

—  Tammye Nash

New community center opens on Saturday

IMG_8224This is the picture I wanted to use for this week’s cover: Cece jumping for joy over the completion of the new community center.

We chose a different picture because either we lost her jumping or we lost the building. The picture is oblong and the paper is more square. And Cece didn’t want her stomach showing on thousands of copies of the paper distributed across the area.

One thing I didn’t get into the story is the donation wall, just inside the front door. Everyone who contributes to help pay off the remaining $344,000 will get their names on the donation wall. Cox said that they thought of cutting off the list at $100 or $250 or more, but this is a community center, built by the community and every donation is important. So she decided every name of every person (or company or foundation) that contributes belongs there.

Open house is Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stonewall Democrats holds a fundraiser and open house on Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m. Community groups are encouraged to use the facility. Contact the community center (the number’s the same: 214-528-0144) to reserve space.

Here are some more pictures of the new center:

—  David Taffet

Fanning confirmed as Army Secretary

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Army Secretary Eric Fanning

The U.S. Senate HAS confirmed Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army. He becomes the first openly gay head of a branch of the U.S. military.

The appointment comes five years after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Fanning served two years as undersecretary of the Air Force and a half year as acting secretary of the Air Force.

President Barack Obama nominated Fanning to be Army Secretary eight months ago, but Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) has held up confirmation over a dispute with the administration over transferring Guantanamo prisoners to Leavenworth, Kansas.

The Army is the largest branch of the U.S. military with about 470,000 active troops.

—  David Taffet

Looking for Mr. Right? Company casting for gay dating show

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 11.38.28 AMThe Casting Firm is looking for gay men who are “charismatic, handsome and genuinely looking for love” for a new gay dating show to be produced by Brian Graden Media and “set to air on a major cable network.” The show will feature a “modern dating format” and “fabulous single gay men.”

All applicants must be at least 21 years old and a legal resident of the U.S.

To suggest an eligible gay man or to nominate yourself for the show, visit theCastingFirm.com/GayDatingShow. For information email CastMe@theCastingFirm.com.

—  Tammye Nash

The Gay Pride Dildo is really, really gay. And a dildo

You know the philosophy that you don’t know you want something until someone invents it? Well that’s how I feel about the Pride Dildo. Sure, we’re gay, so we all have a huge collection of realistic, skin-toned dildos. But those are for pussies. (Well, they can be.) How does a pinkish or brown dildo really let your sex partner know you’re absolutely, unabashedly gay, and not just some fly-by-night (gulp!) “bi-curious” wannabe? A Pride Dildo, that’s how!

Offered in both Long Dong and Thick Rick styles (both on sale for under $50), these rainbow-striped silicon penis replicas say, “I’m here, I’m queer, get lubed to it!” Best of all? … this is not an April Fool’s joke.  Order it here. If you dare.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Couples needed for wedding apparel fashion show

920x920Dallas Voice is looking for LGBT couples to model wedding attire at our upcoming Wedding Party and Expo. The event, the second that Dallas Voice has hosted since the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision last June 26, will be held March 20.

Mark Stinson-Stokes, the Voice’s conference and events director, said he is looking for “a diverse group of couples/models” to “represent the beauty of the DFW LGBT community.” “Couples” are not required to actually be in a relationship to model as a couple in the fashion show. There is no compensation, other than paid parking and the chance to be a wedding fashion model.

Couples will be interviewed Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Dallas Voice offices, 1825 Market Center Blvd., Ste. 240 (that’s in the Chase Bank building at the corner of Market Center and Turtle Creek Boulevard, in the Design District.). No reservations or booking are required.

A small panel of people will participate in the interviews to choose four lesbian couples and four gay couples for the Wedding Party and Expo, set for noon-4 p.m. on March 20 at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.

Those who are chosen to participate as models will be notified within 48 hours.

Anyone with question can contact Stinson by email at expo@dallasvoice.com.

—  Tammye Nash