Google supports gays in Sochi … subtly

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For the non-LGBT-friendly, the opening page of Google today probably looks like a way to mark the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia: skiers, skaters, snowboarders in colorful boxes over the search engine’s name. But pay closer attention: There are six letters in Google, six boxes, and six colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple. Those are the six colors in the gay rainbow (there are seven colors in the true spectrum, purple being divided into indigo and violet). What’s the significance of Google placing its Olympians amid the gay flag? It’s pretty obvious. Corporate America has finally caught on, with Anheuser-Busch pulling its people out of Russia as well.

Here’s hoping at least one ice skater does a routine set to Pussy Riot — heck, we’d even take Clay Aiken.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Al Madrigal goes gay in the Deep South on ‘The Daily Show’

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.29.34 AMThe Daily Show is always on the cutting edge of progressive causes, including gay rights, but this segment, in which correspondent Al Madrigal goes to Alabama and Mississippi to find out which is more homophobic takes a brilliant, unexpected turn. Without diminishing the bigotry and violence gays face in some communities, it’s a heartwarming and eye-opening look at being gay in the South.

Check it out after the jump, or you can link directly to it here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: A funny — and moving — segment from ‘The Colbert Report’

Vicco mayorAnyone who watches The Colbert Report knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is pretending to be a reactionary right wing nutcase (a la Bill O’Reilly) while ironically promoting his own liberal politics. He’s done plenty of segments “attacking” the death of DOMA, or “advocating” DADT. But I can’t think of a segment on his show that has been as informative, funny and touching as this one about a gay mayor in small-town Kentucky that aired last night.

Watch until the very end. I bet you’ll be as choked up as I was.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Is boycott of Orson Card’s ‘Ender’s Game’ good policy or free publicity?

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It’s not that I’m sympathetic toward him, but Orson Scott Card can’t catch a break with the gay fanboys lately.

The Mormon sci-fi author and anti-gay activist wrote a book, Ender’s Game, in 1984 that was well-received among sci-fi folks. Then around 1990, he started speaking out against homosexuality. His vocal opposition to same-sex marriage drew more criticism — all of it, let’s say outright, completely justified. He’s even on the board (still) of the National Organization for Marriage.

Earlier this year, when DC Comics announced Card would be authoring the Superman Anthology, gay comic bookstore owners like Dallas’ Richard Neal drew a bright line, saying if the homophobic Card was allowed to write it, stores like Zeus would refuse to carry it. The artist hired to draw the serial pulled out as well.

Now Card is in the news again. Oscar nominees Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld have completed principal photography on the film version of Ender’s Game, due out in November from Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood. Readying for San Diego’s Comic-Con next week, the studio began rolling out the stars to promote the movie; Ford and co-star Asa Butterfield are even on an Entertainment Weekly cover.

And here stands the new controversy. Card is credited as author of the source material as well as serving as producer on the film, and so a boycott had been brewing, with organizers from New York-based Geeks Out asking folks to sign a pledge denying “support” to the film (which, we assume, means buying a ticket).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lambda Legal holds victory celebration tonight at Hotel Palomar

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Every year about this time, Lambda Legal’s Dallas office holds a summer kickoff party. But there’s rarely been a season worth partying it up more than this one. With the recent triumphs in the U.S. Supreme Court, the gay rights group has a lot to celebrate — no wonder the theme is “Victory!”

You can be part of the festivities at Hotel Palomar’s Central 214, where cocktails and bites will be served while you learn about the details of the upcoming Landmark Dinner. It’s all taking place starting at 5:30 p.m.; you can get more information on their Facebook page.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: RuPaul on DOMA, with ‘Love!’

America’s most famous drag queen, known for throwing her share of shade, gets serious for a minute, gathering the cast and crew of the upcoming Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race to make a statement about the repeal of DOMA. Everybody say “Love!”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Natalie Maines: The gay interview

Natalie2To quote a Dixie Chicks song, Natalie Maines has “been a longtime gone.” The fearless frontwoman for the female country band — which, before they hit it big, were frequent performers at Sue Ellen’s — has her first solo disc, seven years after Taking the Long Wayand its unapologetic single “Not Ready to Make Nice” in response to the singer’s political dig at then-President George W. Bush. Maines goes her own way for her new CD, Mother, which we reviewed here. Now our Chris Azzopardi follows that up with this interview, where Maines reveals why she went rock (country “seemed so fake”), how being disowned — and her new short hair — made her feel closer to the gay community and whether now — a decade after her Bush outburst — she’s ready to make nice.

Dallas Voice: You’re sporting that punkish ’do; before, with the Dixie Chicks, it was the long, blond locks.  Maines: I know. Well, with the Chicks, I definitely felt like I was playing dress up a bit — but I liked it!

Are you conscious of your look and how it represents the music?  With two kids, there’s not enough time in the day to spend on what I look like; this is a much easier look. And it fits my personality more. I had short hair growing up, and it always felt right for me.

Has the short hair scored you more lesbian cred?  [Laughs] I barely leave my house, [but] maybe. But the lesbians liked me already! Yeah, this is definitely a lesbianish haircut I’ve got going on. I don’t mind. I love Rachel Maddow. She would be my lesbian girl crush.

Why Rachel?  She’s hot! And she’s smart and beautiful … and I like her hair.

I could see it working out between you two.  Yeah, I think that would work. I don’t know if my husband or her girlfriend would think so.

You’ve always had a really loyal gay fan base, even before you publicly chastised George W. Bush. How do you explain your connection with gay fans?  We had some very costume-y, over-the-top looks that the gays do appreciate. [Laughs] But after the controversy, I feel like there was even more of a connection, and that’s just because we both know how it feels to be hated just for who we are — not for doing anything, bothering anyone, murdering anyone or being arrested. Just for being us. Apparently, that’s not good in some people’s eyes. But also, too, to just continue being and let other people get used to it — learning to be OK with yourself and just putting it out there, and people can either like you or not, but it’s really on them.

Were you noticing more support from the gay community at shows after the incident?  Yeah. And we would get lots of emails, and a lot of the community would come right up and say, “I love that you did this. I didn’t listen to your music before, but after this, I went and bought every record.” However it was that they showed their support, I definitely felt it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Only 1 El Paso mayoral candidate supports pro-LGBT Proposition 7

Steve Ortega

Steve Ortega

Only one of six candidates for El Paso mayor is strongly backing an initiative to include LGBT protections in the city’s nondiscrimination policy and maintain domestic partner benefits.

Councilman Steve Ortega said he strongly supports Proposition 7, which will be voted on May 11.

“To me, this is the civil rights issue of our time,” Ortega told the El Paso Times. “It’s non-negotiable for me. A community that doesn’t fight against discrimination tolerates it, and I never want El Paso to be in that category.”

The council approved DP benefits in 2009 but voters later voted to end them. Ortega was a proponent when the council added them again in 2011.

Proposition 7 would add sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status to the city’s nondiscrimination policy. Its passage would allow the city to continue to offer health benefits to employees’ opposite- and same-sex partners. Reversing the benefits would require another voter-approved charter amendment.

Conservative businessman Robert Cormell told the Times that he would repeal domestic partner benefits if he is elected mayor.

“It’s a financial decision,” he said. “It’s not a gay issue. It’s an unmarried issue.”

The other candidates —Leo Gus Haddad, Oscar Leeser, Hector H. Lopez and Jaime O. Perez — wouldn’t commit to a stance on the nondiscrimination policy or DP benefits but said they support equality.

—  Dallasvoice

Jack Antonoff of fun. — the gay interview

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Jack Antonoff, far right, has no problem endorsing gay rights even though he’s straight.

The breakout single that sent the New York-based band’s sophomore album, Some Nights, soaring — “We Are Young” — entered the pop-culture zeitgeist almost overnight with commercial spots and a Glee rendition — and on Sunday won the group Grammys for song of the year and best new artist. Their ubiquitous earworms gave them a platform for repeatedly coming out in  support of equal rights for gays.

In this interview with Chris Azzopardi prior to the Grammys, Jack Antonoff, fun.’s 28-year-old guitarist, talks about being drawn to the gay community’s “inspiring” ways of uniting in the face of oppression, the stigma of being a straight man who doesn’t care about the fight and how he loves Lena Dunham like a lesbian.

Dallas Voice: You’re one of the gay community’s biggest supporters, and you’ve been very outspoken about it. When and why did gay issues become so important to you?  Antonoff: I wish there was a great story or a poetic answer, but I just don’t know how anyone could not be outspoken and enraged with any violation of human rights. If the government decided tomorrow to strip Jews or African-Americans of certain rights, no one would say, “How did you get involved with Jews’ human rights, blah blah blah?” It would just be this universal violation that we would all be up in arms about. But the issue of gay, bisexual and trans rights, the discrimination is so ingrained in us that it’s this slow-moving process of people realizing how shameful it is, the way we treat our citizens. Anyone who is even remotely cognizant is speaking up and fighting for equal rights.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Rainbow Lounge’ documentary to screen at UNT film fest Saturday

It’s been nearly a year since North Texas filmmaker Robert L. Camina first screened his documentary feature Raid of the Rainbow Lounge for Texas audiences. The 103-minute documentary, narrated by out TV star Meredith Baxter, chronicles the raid by TABC and Fort Worth police on the newly opened gay club, which happened to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the raid of the Stonewall Inn, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement.

Along the way, the film has been back a few times to Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as 20 film festivals (some gay, some mainstream), winning awards in the process: Audience Choice awards in Fort Worth, Cincinnati and Indianapolis; Best GLBT Film from the Breckenridge Festival of Film, the Platinum Reel Award from the Nevada International Film Festival and a host of others. In addition, it has been shown at special screenings for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North District of Texas and at the request of the U.S. State Department.

Now, it’s latest local screening — and who knows, perhaps final — will be at UNT on the Square in Denton. Camina will be in attendance at the screening, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. on the campus of the university. You can get tickets at the festival’s website. ThinLineFilmFest.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones