Baylor’s student Senate removes ‘homosexual acts’ from conduct code

UniversityprofilesBaylorBearsMembers of Baylor University’s student Senate voted Thursday night to change discriminatory language in the university’s Sexual Misconduct Code.

The current code states that sexuality is a gift from God and “misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include but not limit to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts.”

The Sexual Misconduct Code Non-Discrimination Act removed “homosexual acts” from the code and replaced it with the phrase “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse.” Further action is required by the Baylor University Board of Regents before the change can be made.

While the code also states that sexuality is  “achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage,” students who supported the act said it was intended to remove discriminatory language and make gays feel more welcome on campus, the university’s student paper, Baylor Lariat, reports.

As a Christian university, Baylor’s doctrine has always and still states that homosexuality is wrong for Biblical reasons, and the bill wouldn’t change the formal views of the administration. Baylor has made Princeton Review’s “most gay-unfriendly” list for years.

But senior Kimani Mitchell told the student paper that the change in wording wouldn’t target gays anymore.

“We are simply clarifying language here,” Mitchell said. “In our world we don’t always take words semantically. They are taken with a pragmatic view, which is the connotation associated with the view. This word is discriminating. Discrimination contextually and culturally is a bad thing.”

Senior Grant Senter said the change would show acceptance by the school’s student body, even if mindsets haven’t changed.

“This is not just about a technical change,” Senter said. “This is about the entire picture of the university and what it means to be a homosexual on campus. Are you protected? Do we care for you? Do we reach out to you with Christ’s love? At this point no. What I think this bill does is take a step towards a more caring, Jesus loving community.”

Earlier this year, Baylor senior Susan Duty helped the city of Waco, where Baylor is located, add sexual orientation and gender identity to its Equal Employment Opportunity policy for city employees.

—  Anna Waugh

New poll shows majority of Americans oppose Boy Scouts’ ban on gays

BoyScouts_Blog

In a new Washington Post and ABC News poll, a majority of respondents favor the Boy Scouts’ proposed resolution to admit gay Scouts but not leaders.

Meanwhile, of the 1,008 adults surveyed from May 1 to 5, 63 percent support admitting gay Scouts while 56 percent of respondents oppose continuing to ban gay Scout leaders.

The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality founder, said the results are encouraging and the group will work with supporters over the next two weeks before 1,400 members of the BSA’s national council vote on the compromise.

“Today’s Washington Post/ABC News poll demonstrates that there is overwhelming support in this country for the Boy Scouts of America’s effort to end discrimination within its organization. 63 percent of adults agree with Scouts for Equality that it is time that all scouts be treated as equal,” Wahls said in a statement. “This is why over the next two weeks leading up to the historic vote on May 23rd, we will work with our partners and over 11,000 members to do everything we can to make this a reality. The poll also demonstrates that the majority of Americans agree that while is this is a critical step, this fight cannot and will not end until every scout, scout leader and parent are welcome making BSA the strongest it has ever been.”

The poll also found 68 percent of people support NBA star Jason Collins’ decision to come out. And 55 percent support allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

—  Anna Waugh

REVIEW: Joan Rivers at the Winspear

AWJ Joan HLR

“It’s great to put a face to a voice,” Joan Rivers told me when I met her after her show last night at the Winspear (I’m pictured, from left, with her her and Voice contributor Howard Lewis Russell). “Phone interviews are hard, but you were a good one.”

Even if she hadn’t paid me a compliment, it would have been easy to say nice things about Joan’s 65-minute act, where she stays in constant motion and talks even faster. (After the set was over, Howard and I were exhausted from laughing; only then did we realize Joan never so much as took a sip of water the entire time.) At 79, she’s an unstoppable force, going to far as to do a sight gag involving climbing on top of a piano — what septuagenarians do you know that still do physical comedy?!?!

But that’s Rivers, who famously never slows down — not in her career, and not onstage. The jokes were more rapid-fire than a sub-machine gun: Some induced groans from audience members uncomfortable with jokes about pedophilia (read: Michael Jackson) and how Chaz Bono needed liposuction more than a new penis. But, as Joan says, if you don’t get some walkouts, you’re not doing your job right.

Of course, she embraced “my gays” — her shout-out to them (“Where are you?”) resulted in a roar and nearly the entire front two rows standing up and hollering. “I love my gays — my one great disappointment is my grandson is not gay,” she joked. “Who else is going to say to me, ‘Really, you knew Judy Garland?!’” Still, she said, gays don’t like two kinds of jokes: Those that poke fun at Princess Di and at Barbra Streisand. She did jokes about both.

And she was right: The gays were out in force. The line at the men’s room before the show looped around the lobby. “Why is the line here longer than at the ladies’ room?” wondered one man aloud. “Because,” I said, “Joan Rivers has turned the Winspear into Dallas’ largest floating gay bar.” “Oh, right,” he agreed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

E. Texas woman arrested for tricking friend into crazy lesbian relationship

Angela Buchanan

An East Texas woman made national headlines this week in the wake of her arrest last Monday for online impersonation after she pretended to be her doctor and advised her friend to have sex with her.

The story originally reported by The Lufkin News is convoluted and confusing, and contains an editor’s note that it “contains language that could offend some readers.”

Here’s the gist: Angela Buchanan, 30, is believed to have posed as a gynecologist and messaged her 51-year-old friend online under the name “Doc.” Under the online persona, Buchanan advised the friend that she had a pre-cancerous mass that could be delayed or cured by hormone production from sexual activity.

The women had been friends for seven years, and the friend told police she had been lesbian since she was 13 but “no longer identified with the lesbian community because she now feels it is morally wrong.”

—  Anna Waugh

Person in media I hate most today: Piers Morgan

By now you’ve certainly heard the comments made by irrelevant-former-sitcom-star-cum-bad-all-around-Jesus-freak-actor Kirk Cameron about gays. That he was even given a forum on a national show kinda surprises me — what could Cameron have to say about anything at this late date that could be of even passing intellectual/entertainment/political relevance? They might as well book Squiggy.

But what I really find distasteful is Piers Morgan defending Cameron for being “brave” in saying what he thinks.

Hmmm. Now, Piers: I know you’re not an American. I know you think a gossip peddler like Rupert Murdoch defines good journalism (which, in England, it probably does). I know with a name like Piers Morgan, you probably have some Frenchman in ya, and thus are unaffiliated with what bravery really is. But please, spouting off ignorant bigotry doesn’t make you brave; instead, it makes you — what’s the term? — oh, yeah: An ignorant bigot. I wonder if you would describe James Earl Ray for being brave for assassinating a man he really didn’t agree with. Or Orville Faubus for being brave for bullying black teenagers and defying the U.S. Supreme Court for wanting to end segregation. Or how about those kids in Wyoming who beat Matthew Shepard to death because they sincerely felt it was inappropriate for him to hit on them. We, sir, have different definitions of bravery.

For instance, I don’t consider you brave in defending Cameron. I consider you a moron. I guess it’s brave for a moron to go on TV every night and hope people don’t see through his ignorance. But I prefer to save to term brave for my grandfather, who ran up the beaches of Normandy on June 3, 1944 to stave off the exact kind of hatred and misinformation that, 70 years later, Cameron and his ilk seem to still believe. You disgust me, Piers Morgan, if you think spouting off homophobia is anything other than pathetic and misinformed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Defining Homes • How Swede it is

Gay agent Fredrik Eklund is a shark above the rest in Bravo’s new ‘Million Dollar Listing: New York’

By Rich Lopez

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With European charm and no-holds-barred ambition, Eklund swoops in on competitors’ clients and cleverly negotiates the right price for his own in the cutthroat market of New York City.

Turning its eye to the high-rise luxury space of the Big Apple, the Bravo network premieres its latest entry into reality programming with Million Dollar Listing: New York. Three hungry young agents navigate through myriad clients looking to unload jaw-dropping apartments with three floors, major closet space and automatic toilets, and buyers willing to throw down millions for them.

But Fredrik Eklund might just be the show’s breakout star with his good looks, major ambition and a slightly checkered past he has no shame about. Really, he’s a softie at heart with fond nostalgia for the TV show Dallas.

“I was so obsessed with that show when I was growing up in Sweden,” he laughs (and hums the theme music). “But I’ve never worn a cowboy hat. Do they wear those in Dallas?”

He talks with a sincere and almost childlike interest, but he’s anything but when it comes to competing in the intense market of New York City. In MDL: NY, he’s one of three young bucks with one thing on their minds: closing the deal. And Eklund is quick to boast his billion dollars in sales to impress potential clients and make his mark.

“You just have to work harder at [real estate]. Even after eight years of doing this, I am still obsessive about it. I eat and breathe it,” he says.

We see his handiwork when he slyly negotiates offers to his clients’ advantage and will even take a cut in his commission to get it done.

But with commissions running in to the tens of thousands of dollars, he’s hardly missing out. While the money is nice, Eklund says this isn’t what drives him to be the best.

“This fits my brain really well and there’s always something new,” he says. “The number one thing I want to put my mark on is new developments here in New York. Any agent can put up a website and wait for the phone to ring, but with new buildings, I can create a brand for that. That is something I’m very proud of for the future.”

On paper, Eklund has had a privileged life. A successful father provided a blueprint for the success he wanted and ultimately achieved. He studied economics in Stockholm, owned an Internet company by the age of 23, he managed a cadre of music producers to churn out Billboard charting songs in Singapore and Latin America.

Now, at 34, he’s the youngest managing director for Prudential Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company on the East Coast. Even with his golden career in his hands, the decision to add the show into a busy life was only a positive one — as well as advantageous.

“I knew it was going to be a lot of fun and I have some vanity, but to go so deep into your own life, it does become comical,” he laughs. “But the more serious answer is the international outreach is so important. Everyone wants to own something in New York and so the power of TV is unparalleled. For me, this is an opportunity to showcase my business.”

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The new kids on the Bravo block include, left to right, Ryan Serhant, Michael Lorber and Eklund.

A priceless moment in the pilot comes out of nowhere when cast mate Ryan Serhant outs Eklund’s work in gay porn to a client over lunch.

Without batting an eye, Eklund owns it and swoops in on Serhant’s guest to deliver his card. Eklund is an open book without faulting any past decisions or experiences.

“I’ve always been open about it, but it has never affected my business,” he says. “When people hear me talk about it, I hope they can see in my eyes that it’s nothing. It was a short period of my life, but it’s helped make me who I am and I’m proud of who I am.”

Fortunately for local Realtors, he doesn’t have his sights set on conquering Dallas anytime soon, but if he did …

“I would do what I did in New York and walk around open houses, scan all the top brokers,” he says. “I used to pretend to be a buyer to note who the big brokers are. Every top broker has something that makes you want to really work with that person.”

But his plans right now only include taking over New York, celebrating his engagement to his partner he met during the season and making time to enjoy his whole new life in front of the camera.

“The world s very big and our lives are pretty short. Before we know it, it’s over,” he says. “I want to do so many things and even though I’m calmer about things, I still have that urge.”

Million Dollar Listing: New York premieres March 7 on Bravo. For more information, visit BravoTV.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

GIVEAWAY: Tix to The Wanted at the Prophet Bar

If you’re needing a boy band fix, look no further than Tuesday night. Composed of British and Irish boyos, The Wanted may be picking up where N’Sync left off and where New Kids and Backstreet Boys won’t seem to let go of. Embarking on their first North American tour, the group comes to Dallas bringing its twinkish ways and pop music vibes.

And it looks like they really like their gays. Although they hit up Deep Ellum here, part of their tour consists specifically of playing gay clubs. They’ve already performed at Roscoe’s in Chicago and Saloon in Minneapolis; next week, they hit Krave in Vegas and Cherry Pop in WeHo. They got the right idea, because if you make it with the gays, then it’s all clover from there.

Curious? OK. We have five pairs of tickets to give away for tomorrow night’s show, thanks to promoters Tactics Productions. What do you gotta do? It’s a new band, so I won’t give ya tough trivia. Just email me here with “Boi power” in the subject line and your full name in your email. Winners will be selected by random at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Congrats to the winners. Enjoy the show!  In the meantime, check their sound out in the video “Warzone,” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Season 2 of “Big Rich Texas” premieres Feb. 19

The Style Network’s Big Rich Texas was one of, I think, 24,604 reality TV shows set in or around North Texas in 2011 (that’s just an estimate), and despite trafficking in cliches about Texas hair and such, it turned out to be a pretty big hit. So of course, Season 2 is back. It will begin airing on Style Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m., following the premiere of Jerseylicious.(That’s quite a one-two punch of States on parade.) The Big Rich Texans on the show turned out to be pretty good friends of the gay community and didn’t really embarrass the gays the way some shows have.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kathy Griffin at Verizon Theatre

Anything for a laugh

We wonder if famous D-lister Kathy Griffin will comment on those boys and gal from The A-List Dallas. We know she’ll snark on lots of other things when she returns to town. And yes, she’ll give appropriate shout outs to the Big D gays.

DEETS: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m. $35–$60. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens