Under the Covers of Gay History: A talk with journalists/authors/ activists Tracy Baim and Mark Segal

On Thursday, Nov. 5, Dallas Voice had the great privilege of partnering with Cathedral of Hope’s Sources bookstore and with The Dallas Way to host a book-signing and discussion with authors/journalists/activists Tracy Baim and Mark Segal.

Baim, co-founder, publisher and executive editor of Chicago’s LGBT newspaper Windy City News, has recently published  Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer, a biography — complete with more than 200 photos — of LGBT pioneer activist Barbara Gittings. Mark Segal, founder, owner and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, whose life as a gay rights activist started on June 29, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn. He has recently published his memoir, And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality.

Below is a video, courtesy of David Story and Two Hats Publishing, of the two pioneers of LGBT journalism discussing their books, their work and their lives. The discussion was moderated by Dallas Voice senior news writer David Taffet, with Managing Editor Tammye Nash.

—  Tammye Nash

How to ‘butch up’ a little boy at Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means LGBTs everywhere are frantically trying to decide on the perfect Halloween costume.

But what about those youngsters, especially the little gay boys who may be a bit too flamboyant for their more conservative families? What happens to them.

This video from The Onion offers this glimpse into the hell they might have to endure.

—  Tammye Nash

HERO opponents air first ad, citing trans bathroom panic

Anti-HERO groups anti trans ad

A campaign image released by opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance reveals the group’s strategy for successful repeal.

Opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance aired their first radio ad yesterday, the first of what they promise to be a barrage of ads ahead of the Nov. 3 ballot referendum that will decide the ordinance’s fate.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Campaign for Houston‘s one-minute ad features a young woman concerned for her safety. She wants to get pregnant, she says, but is afraid because the ordinance “will allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.

“That is filthy, that is disgusting and that is unsafe,” she states.

The nondiscrimination ordinance, which passed city council last year and has been mired in legal battles initiated by opponents since, includes protections for LGBT people, as well as other federally protected classes including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, family, marital or military status. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.

Opponents, including conservative Christian leaders, immediately gathered signatures for a ballot referendum. The city ultimately threw the petitions out, but opponents scored a victory earlier this month when the Texas Supreme Court forced the council to either repeal the ordinance or put it before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot.

City council members voted to put it before the voters on 12-5 vote.

Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Houston Unites, which supports the ordinance, blasted the ad in a statement.

“The ad is grossly inaccurate. Nothing in the equal rights ordinance changes the fact that it is — and always will be — illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people. The ad leaves out the fact that the law protects tens of thousands of Houstonians from job discrimination based upon their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability,” he said.

Houston Unites also plans to also broadcast media in support of the ordinance. But the campaign has not made any media buys yet, he told the Chronicle.

—  James Russell

NPR’s ‘ATC’ gets gay co-host

arishapiroHe wasn’t supposed to start until September, so I was surprised yesterday when Ari Shapiro began as one of the three co-hosts of All Things Considered, the most-listened-to radio news program in the country, which airs on Dallas’ NPR affiliate, KERA 90.1 FM, from 4–7:30 p.m. daily. Shapiro replaced Melissa Block, who stepped down after 12 years alongside Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish.

The reason we care, other than being addicted to National Public Radio, is that Shapiro is openly gay — the first out host of the flagship program that we know of. It’s not like gays are rare on NPR, either nationally or locally, but this seems significant to us. Why? Well, if we didn’t believe that being a “gay journalist” was different than be a “journalist,” we wouldn’t work for a gay media company. And being out is important — it brings a perspective and challenges politicos and pundits to think about their words … or get caught up in what they say afterwards. We might bristle if someone says “the homosexual lifestyle” where even a progressive wouldn’t … and we might then hold their feet to the fire. (Compare, for instance, Diane Rehm, who routinely fails to invite openly gay journalists to her Friday News Roundup shows, even as she discusses gay issues … imagine if she had only men talking about women’s rights or only whites discussing race issues week after week.)

So I say “yea!” for Shapiro, who’s been a great London correspondent for years. He might put the “all” into All Things Considered.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: Boy Scouts one step closer to lifting ban on gay leaders

890px-Boy_Scouts_of_America_corporate_trademark.svgA spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America said today (Monday, July 13), said that the organization’s executive committee voted last Friday, July 10, to end the ban on gay leaders in scouting. The next step is a vote by the entire executive board to ratify the resolution, which is scheduled for July 27. If the executive board approves the move, the change will become effective immediately.

The change will not require councils or troops to allow openly gay leaders. It will simply lift the ban that has prohibited openly gay leaders. In the resolution, the Boy Scouts national organization specifically states that it will “defend and indemnify to the fullest extent allowed by law” any chartered group that is a religious group and is challenged in court for making a “good faith refusal to select a unit leader based upon the religious principles of the chartered organization.”

Today’s vote came after BSA President Robert Gates in May urged that the change be made. The executive committee vote was unanimous.


—  Tammye Nash

Pro wrestler ‘Money’ Matt Cage comes out

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Matt “Money Matt Cage” Hullum: Out and proud

“This one is gonna be kinda long and kinda personal and very real.”

That’s how pro wrestler “Money” Matt Cage started off a recent post, titled “Here goes nothing …” on his Facebook page.

The wrestler, whose real name in Matt Hullum, goes on to talk about how rejection has always been one of his biggest fears, but that he has grown older and matured “I have discovered I truly don’t care as much about rejection anymore.” And knowing that his family and friends will love him “flaws and all” and that his peers respect him for his work, Hullum said he was ready to put aside all deception and be honest about himself:

“That being said,” he wrote, “it makes it much easier to post here publicly that I’m gay.”

Hullum lives in La Salle, Ill., and makes a living traveling the indie pro wrestling circuit. He told Outsports that he chose to share his story in hopes that it would inspire and motivate others.

Hullum wrote on Facebook that for a long time he claimed to be bisexual, and while he still thinks women are beautiful, “I have no real intentions of pursuing females at this stage of my life. … I don’t think that’ll ever change. But I think that to continue to claim something that’s not true is just continuing a streak of dishonesty, and I don’t want that. Sorry, ladies. I’m officially pulling myself off the market. Don’t hate me too bad.”

Although he believes that “private matters should stay just that,” Hullum acknowledged that the “constant speculation and discussion” about his orientation was beginning to wear on him, causing him stress and prompting bouts of depression.

“I spent the majority of my life lying, hiding and depressed because I felt like I couldn’t truly be who I wanted to be and live freely as I saw fit,” Hullum wrote. “I had to act and that’s not me. I, nor anyone else, should have to do that.”

In the wrestling ring, Hullum said, he has always conducted himself in a professional manner and will continue to do so. He said he doesn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable and doesn’t believe he has done anything so far that would do that.

“Hopefully nothing changes, but if any relationships change from this post, I’ll know that I didn’t need those people in my life anyway,” he said. “I hope that the fans, the promoters and everyone else don’t change their opinions of me. I was the same person yesterday as I am right now, just now, I have a bit more weight lifted off of my shoulders.

“The stress, depression and worrying that has always come from this is something nobody should have to deal with. Depression is a very real thing, and some people don’t understand that. People often times cannot empathize. But know this: we are all human beings. We all have our own way, traits, personalities and things that make us our own person. Keep that in mind.”

Hullum ended by thanking his supporters and “those who have my back,” and by apologizing to “anyone I lied to or had to keep this secret from.”

He concluded, “To anyone who has ever been scared of just being real and telling the truth, you shouldn’t be. Yes, I was. But if the people you care about, or even those you don’t, are good people, it won’t matter … the way it SHOULD be.”

Outsports notes that response so far on Facebook, including from Hullum’s fellow wrestlers, has been positive and supportive.

—  Tammye Nash

A musical proposal

Braeden and RyanWhen Braeden Ayres and Ryan Aguirre met, back in October 2013, they say, they fell in love almost immediately. Since both men are music teachers in public schools, a musical proposal is an obvious choice.

So Braeden, a Texas native, wrote a song about why he wanted to marry Ryan and gave it to the Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus, for which Braeden is assistant conductor and with which both men perform, under an assumed name. So the chorus rehearsed the song, intending to include it in a concert that was part gay Pride celebration and part tribute to Harvey Milk, never knowing that it was Braeden’s love letter to Ryan, and that Braeden had concocted a plan for special proposal.

During rehearsal one night, Braeden asked Ryan to come sit down and listen as the chorus performed the song, “Request,” contributed to the chorus by “Serena Redbay.” Braeden explained that he was actually the one who had written the song and that he had written it for Ryan. Then, as the chorus sang, Braeden went down on one knee and asked Ryan to marry him.

Braeden posted a video of the proposal to YouTube on June 4 (see below), and on June 10, Huffington Post published this interview with the two.

Congratulations Braeden and Ryan. Here’s wishing you many happy years together.

—  Tammye Nash

Rachel Potter takes on the hypocrites with ‘Jesus and Jezebel’

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Rachel Potter

A lot of folks think that country-western music is still a stronghold of homophobia, and in some ways, it might be.

But not completely. I mean, way back in the 1990s, C&W superstar Garth Brooks was speaking out for LGBT folks in his song “We Shall Be Free.” He also appeared at the Equality Rocks held in conjunction with the 2000 LGBT march on Washington. In recent years, C&W stars Chely Wright and Ty Herndon have come out. And then there are queens of country, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, who have both been vocal in their support for LGBT equality.

And you can add an up-and-coming star to that list, too. Rachel Potter has just released a new song and video called “Jesus and Jezebel,” in which she explores not only her personal issues with her Southern Baptist upbringing, but calls out  church folk for their less-than-loving ways toward LGBT people.

Potter tells ETOnline: “”I think that country music listeners are becoming more and more open minded every day, as is the rest of the country. I think a lot of people may misconstrue the song to say I don’t believe in what the bible says or like, ‘gay sex for everybody’ but that’s not what I’m trying to say, and I’ll make that as clear as possible. All I’m trying to say is that I think Jesus loves us all the same.”

—  Tammye Nash

Really? People are surprised Barry Manilow is gay?

ManilowWhy the stupid headlines?

People: Surprise! Barry Manilow Has Married His Manager Garry Kief


And this from the story in the U.K.’s Daily Mail: Apparently, the star who has millions of female fans around the world, was worried that if they made their union official, word would leak out about his sexuality and that his fans wouldn’t approve of him being gay.

Yes, because a gay male star can’t have millions of female fans. Right Ricky Martin? Liberace? Elton John? Adam Lambert? Clay Aiken?

And those headlines — really?!


No, Barry Manilow, 71, never came out officially with a big public pronouncement. No one did that in the late ’60s, early ’70s. He never did the big Advocate coming out cover story interview.

He didn’t have to. He was gay. There was never any secret since his 1971 hit, “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDonalds.” Really. “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” is his, too.

But if anyone needed clues that the man who made the whole world sing was gay, he dropped a few along the way.

He wrote the Broadway musical Copacabana. Gee, I hate to stereotype, but name a straight Broadway composer — later than Oscar Hammerstein — off the top of your head.

Here’s another:

He got his start as Bette Midler’s piano player. At the Continental Baths. With gay men dressed only in towels watching him perform. Night after night. Especially every Saturday night. With the Divine Miss M. At the baths. The really sleazy Continental Baths.

Anyone who didn’t catch on with that clue wouldn’t have gotten the hint had he said, “Yep, I’m gay” on the cover of Time. With some people, it just doesn’t sink in.

And “secret gay wedding” as the Daily Mail claimed? They got married at their home with about 30 friends there. Just because they didn’t make a big announcement to the press doesn’t make it a secret wedding.

Maybe it just bothers some straight people that “The Greatest Love Songs of All Time” was by a gay man.

—  David Taffet

TEXAS MARRIAGE UPDATE: Equality Texas calls on DeBeauvoir to start issuing marriage licenses

Dana DeBeauvoir

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir

A day after a Travis County probate judge issued a ruling striking down Texas’ ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriages, Equality Texas today (Wednesday, Feb. 18) is calling on Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

But according to a spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, the county clerk will not issue those marriage licenses until she gets the go-ahead from the federal courts.

DeBeauvoir had previously said she was ready to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as soon as the courts would allow. After Judge Guy Herman issued his ruling Tuesday, DeBeauvoir said she needed to meet with Herman and county lawyers to “find out if there is anything I can do [in terms of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples]. Right now, I think it’s no, but we are checking.”


Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith

But Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said today that Herman’s ruling makes marriage equality the law in Travis County. “The law in Travis County now allows for marriage equality. Equality Texas calls upon the county clerk to stand with us — on the right side of history,” Smith said.

The written statement issued by Equality Texas also noted: “Just as the Supreme Court may issue a marriage ruling this summer that applies to all 50 states, and just as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals may issue a marriage ruling any day now that applies to the 5th Circuit, Judge Herman has issued a ruling that has the effect of law in Travis County.”

The spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, who identified herself as Angela Vallejo, said today that “nothing has changed” since the county clerk’s statement yesterday. “We have to wait for the federal courts” to settle the question, she said. “As soon as they approve it, I am sure we will begin issuing the licenses.”

Getting a license in Travis County

If — or rather, let’s say when — DeBeauvoir’s office begins issuing licenses to same-sex couples, here are a few rules you need to know:

• The Travis County Clerk’s Office is located at 5501 Airport Blvd. in Austin.

• The cost to get a marriage license is $81 if you pay cash, $84 if you pay with a credit card. Checks are not accepted.

• Both parties have to present a valid ID; both parties have to know their Social Security numbers, and both parties must be at least 18 years old. (Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them to give permission.)

• Marriage licenses expire 90 days after they are issued.

• Those obtaining marriage licenses have to wait 72 hours to get married, unless they have a waiver from the court.

The status of marriage equality in the courts

Herman’s ruling came as part of an estate fight in which Austin resident Sonemaly Phrasavath is seeking to have her eight-year relationship to Stella Powell designated as a common-law marriage. Powell died last summer of colon cancer, and after her death, her siblings attempted to step in to claim her estate.

According to the Equality Texas statement issued today, Herman’s ruling finds “that the restrictions on marriage in the Texas Family Code and in the Texas Constitution that restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman and prohibit marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional because the restrictions violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Contrary to [DeBeauvoir’s] position previously stated in the media, this ruling in fact allows her to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Travis County,” the statement declares.

“Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir previously stated she would be happy to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples once the law allows for it.” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said.

Herman’s ruling yesterday came a year, to the month, after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in federal court that the Texas same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Garcia declined plaintiffs’ request late last year to lift the stay on that order and allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on that case and two others — one from Louisiana and one from Mississippi — on Jan. 9, and could rule in that case any day. Plaintiffs in the Texas case last week asked the Fifth Circuit to lift the stay allow gay and lesbian couples to begin marrying in Texas right away.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in April, and to issue a ruling in June. The court is widely expected, as this time, to strike down all same-sex marriage bans in the U.S.



—  Tammye Nash