Bob Harper comes out as gay to help a contestant on ‘The Biggest Loser’

Unknown-1Bob Harper, from the reality weight loss competition show The Biggest Loser, came out to help a contestant who was struggling with his own sexuality. The Huffington Post reported 48-year-old Harper came out Tuesday.

Contestant Bobby Saleem Saleem came out as gay on the show, but struggled to break the news of his sexuality to his father. To help encourage Saleem to come out to his dad, Harper decided to share his own story.

“I haven’t talked about my sexuality on this show ever,” Harper said. “And now, meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time. I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame.”

So, Harper sat down with Saleem on camera and publicly came out for the first time.

“I’m gay. I knew I very long time ago that I was gay,” the Tennessee native said. “When I came out — when I was 17 years old — it was one of those things where I realized that there was going to be so many obstacles, but being gay doesn’t mean being weak. And being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.”

—  Steve Ramos

Sandra Day O’Connor officiates gay wedding at Supreme Court

Sandra Day O'Connor

Sandra Day O’Connor

WASHINGTON — For the second time since June, a gay couple married at the United States Supreme Court. Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated at the wedding of Jeffrey Trammell and Stuart Serkin of Washington on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

In June, the Supreme Court justices stopped short of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide but struck down a federal law barring benefits for spouses in same-sex marriages.

On. Aug. 31, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at a same-sex wedding at the Supreme Court. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington, D.C., since 2010.

O’Connor presided over the private ceremony in the court’s lawyers’ lounge, AP said.

—  Steve Ramos

Couple released after marriage sit-in arrest

LGBT protesters gather outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center on Thursday evening.

Beau Chandler, left, and Mark "Major" Jiminez apply for a marriage license at the clerk's office.

After about four hours in custody, Mark Jiminez and Beau Chandler were released from jail after being charged with criminal trespass, a class-B misdemeanor. The couple refused to leave the County Clerk’s office on Thursday when they applied for and were denied their marriage license.

“The arresting officers were very quiet in the police cars,” Jiminez said. “But we told them we weren’t trying to be assholes.”

When they got to the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, they were processed and put in holding, where there are three TVs. A story about their arrests had just appeared on Channel 8 when they got there.

The others being held turned to them and said, “Hey! I know you!”

“We had a discussion with a community I never thought I would have this discussion with,” Jiminez said. They talked to the others in the holding cell about marriage equality.

Someone Jiminez described as a “friendly cop” escorted them to the 7th floor.

“Just please don’t kiss or hold hands,” the detention officer told them. As they were being escorted,  other officers asked if they could help. But the “friendly” officer told them, “No, I got this.”

Bail was set at $500 each. The couple withdrew the money from the ATM outside the courtroom inside the jail.

As they left Lew Sterrett, they were figuring out how to get back to their cars, which were parked near the Records Building a few blocks away.

On the corner they saw some protesters.

“We thought Westboro Baptist had come down to protest us,” Jiminez said.

But he said they saw members of the DFW Sisters and other friends and supporters.

“They told us they were prepared to stand there all night until we got out,” he said.

When they got home, they had 400 emails. Jiminez said that by the time he answered 150 of them, there were 200 more.

The couple has a court date at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 2. They both have the same date and time, but will appear in different courtrooms.

A class-B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a maximum $2,000 fine.

Jiminez said they are looking for an attorney and plan to plead not guilty. If convicted, they plan to appeal.

“We took this step and we’re not gonna let it stop,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Nearly 100 attend Dallas vigil for teen lesbian couple shot in South Texas (photos, video)

More than 75 people gathered at the Legacy of Love Monument at Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue at sunset on Saturday, June 30 to remember the teenage lesbian couple shot last week in Portland, Texas. Many brought candles and flowers they left on the monument.

The rally was organized by Daniel Cates, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL.

Norma Gan, congregational care minister at Cathedral of Hope, began the rally with a prayer for Mollie Olgin, 18, who was killed, and Kristene Chapa, 19, who remains hospitalized.

The first speaker, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman, said attacks on the LGBT community are increasing.

“I wish I could tell you these horrific attacks were a diversion from the norm, but I can’t,” he said.

He listed a number of recent incidents in Texas including a teen suicide that was the result of bullying.

“People are gathering at vigils like this one and saying ‘enough,’” Coleman said. “Demanding children — all children — be safe. This is a dark day for our community.”

—  David Taffet

LGBT groups praise Supreme Court’s health care decision — except for Log Cabin Republicans

The Supreme Court’s decision Thursday upholding the Affordable Care Act will affect access to healthcare across the LGBT community. People will not lose their health insurance because of HIV status or other pre-existing conditions, and transgender people cannot be denied coverage.

In its decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty for not buying insurance under the “individual mandate” is a tax and is therefore constitutional.

While the ACA makes insurance coverage more widely available to the LGBT community, the ruling allows states like Texas to refuse federal money to expand Medicaid to cover more people unable to afford private health insurance.

Insurance should be more accessible once statewide insurance exchanges are created, but Texas has done little to begin creating those exchanges, banking on the ACA being declared unconstitutional. State exchanges will not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or sex.

Dallas’ AIDS Interfaith Network called the decision a “major step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In a press release, AIN wrote:

By upholding the Affordable Care Act, ensuring more individuals can obtain health insurance coverage, the Court removed a major roadblock to ending AIDS in America.

People living with HIV will have access to the reliable health coverage they need to seek and maintain continuous care, without unnecessary worrying about interrupts in care because of inadequate coverage or inability to pay.

National LGBT organizations, with the exception of Log Cabin Republicans, praised the decision.

—  David Taffet

Advocating for LGBT youth in foster care will be topic of CLE panel discussion Wednesday

Mark Niermann

Dallas CASA and the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Dallas are collaborating with Lambda Legal to present a program for continuing legal education credit. “Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Representation of Children in CPS Care Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning” offers 1.5 CLE credits.

GLFD co-founder and board member Mark Niermann said his group has maintained a strong relationship with Dallas CASA since raising more than $50,000 for the group that advocates for more than 2,000 abused and neglected children that live in foster care in Dallas on any given day. CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, works with many LGBT children who’ve survived abusive family environments.

“There’s little support for people advocating for gay kids,” Niermann said.

Among the topics covered at the forum will be a general discussion of the importance of understanding LGBTQ youth issues, an overview of relevant statutory and other legal authority, and of available resources for additional guidance. A panel will discuss attorney ethical responsibilities.

Panelists include:

• David Chard, Ph.D., Dean, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University
• Carolyn Hill, J.D., Private Law Practice
• Julie Johnson, J.D., CASA Supervisor, Dallas CASA
• Edward J. (Ted) Keating, J.D., Former Managing Attorney, TDFPS
• Cheri Whiteside, J.D., CASA Supervisor, Dallas CASA
• Ken Upton, J.D., Supervising Senior Staff Attorney, Lambda Legal, South Central Regional Office

The CLE takes place on Wednesday at the Rees-Jones Training Center for Dallas CASA, 2715 Swiss Ave. from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The program is $20 but free for GLFD members and for attorneys who have represented a party within the last 12 months in a suit affecting the parent‐child relationship filed by Child Protective Services. Non-attorneys may attend.

—  David Taffet

Gov. Rick Perry brought down the house at the Gridiron Dinner, so why are we not laughing?

Gov. Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sure is popular in Washington among reporters after his appearance at the annual Gridiron Dinner. In fact, the governor did so well that reporters are fawning all over him and talking about how he revived his career and made everything OK.

He did have some great one-liners.

In what was probably not a self-conscious reference to Glen Maxey’s book alleging Perry is a closeted homosexual, one of the governor’s one-liners was: “I like Mitt Romney as much as one really good looking man can like another really good looking man under Texas law.”

Arianna Huffington’s favorite Perry line was, in a reference to the governor’s major at Texas A&M, “Animal husbandry is what Santorum thinks happens after gay marriage.”

But are great one-liners a reason to elect Perry president or re-elect him governor? The Dallas Morning News seems to think so.

The DMN called the Perry performance “star caliber” and asked whether this 10-minute speech could be the silver bullet that turns his national image around.

That’s something I’d expect from out-of-state media that don’t really cover Perry. The best part of Perry’s speech was that he wasn’t at home doing damage. Ask the 130,000 women who are going to lose their healthcare next month because Perry doesn’t want Planned Parenthood to provide the gynecological exams and mammograms they could not otherwise afford. Glad he got some laughs, but I doubt many of these women are laughing.

And did we ever figure out how to fund Texas public schools? I know we didn’t tap the Rainy Day Fund and certainly no taxes were raised. Yup, lots of laughs, and Perry’s a hit. Unfortunately, Texas school children will have to suffer. Interesting that it’s the gay paper with nary a school child among us that has to point those things out.

—  David Taffet

Feedback • 03.02.12

Column on gay Catholics misguided

While I am not a member of Dignity, I am a gay Roman Catholic and felt Phyllis Guest’s article titled “Efforts to resurrect local gay Catholic group are misguided” was both unnecessary, and showed a lack of a broader understanding of the diversity of the LGBT community. I take this article as a blatant attempt to promote anti-Catholic bigotry in the name of gay rights. Hate for whatever reason is unacceptable. While I respect Guest’s right to her personal opinion, that opinion in my opinion is misguided and unhelpful.

LGBT people of faith have shown that change is indeed possible. For us Catholics who are LGBT we understand the tension that exists between our Catholic leadership and gay rights/marriage equality. We understand our journey will be a difficult one at times putting our own comfort on the line for moving the envelop of change within the church. Using Guest’s opinion as a guiding example would she say the same of Catholic women should they also throw out the baby with the water in terms of their faith?

I think Guest needs to educate herself about the Catholic faith, and more to the point the history and vision of Dignity. Apparently she seems to think that evolution played no part in those other churches who openly welcome LGBT people. I think Guest does a disservice to our community when she promotes division over unity. GLBT Catholics are as an important part of this community as any other group, and we owe none an apology for practicing our faith.

I would encourage any Catholics who are LGBT in Dallas and want to restart a Dignity chapter there to do so. While I belong to another national Catholic LGBT organization you should know you are not alone and, in my opinion you not only have our support, but the support of gay Catholics in Dallas. Especially during this season of Lent, I encourage you on your faith journey.

Joe Murray

Executive Director 
Rainbow Sash Movement

 

Attacks on Leppert are reprehensible

Not only are the attacks on Tom Leppert reprehensible and repugnant, the whole holier-than-thou attitudes of Cruz, James and Pittenger are disgusting. I could name several sins I’m sure that these men and woman have committed that would disqualifies them from their finger-pointing.

Personally I believe Thomas Purdy is a little late in his thinking that the Log Cabin Republicans will “…ensure the Party of Abraham Lincoln remains so and does not become the Party of Anita Bryant. …” The Republican Party is already worse than Anita Bryant’s “Party” ever thought of being. Also, Rob Schlein’s statement that he’s changing support from Cruz to Tom Leppert because of the attack on Leppert is assinine. Leppert has demonstrated he’s as big a hypocrite as the others. How any gay person truly interested in preserving the rights of “the community” can support a Republican candidate for anything is definitely open to question.  I seriously doubt there would be any candidate of the Republican Party at this point who would be willing to step up for LGBT causes. Frankly, gay Republicans have their heads in the sand and I don’t understand it.

Daniel Prado

 

Guest article borders on hate speech

It’s disturbing to find that the Dallas Voice would publish something like Phyllis Guest’s attack on Jim Davis’ attempt to rebuild Dignity Dallas, and the Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality.

All Mr. Davis seems to be doing is trying to build a community for like-minded people to be a part of.

As to the church, why single them out? It would be one thing if its views were unique among mainline Christian denominations. Unfortunately for the most part they are all the same. And though there are movements to make positive changes toward homosexuality in some, to the best of my knowledge no major church has been able to totally accomplish this goal.

She says she has nothing against the Roman Catholic Church. I’d suggest you couldn’t prove that from reading her column.

Attack speech like this boarders on hate speech, and I hope this is the last time I see anything like this appearing in the Voice.

Frank M. Stich
Dallas

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Tulsa man attacked in anti-gay hate crime

Cody Rogers

Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old Tulsa man, was attacked over the weekend at a party at a friend’s house because he’s gay, according to a report on Tulsa’s Fox 23.

Oklahoma doesn’t have a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation. Tulsa police are investigating the attack, during which Rogers lost consciousness, as an assault.

“It’s got to be extremely frustrating when you feel like you’ve been chosen, picked,” the Tulsa Police Department’s Jason Willingham told the TV station on Tuesday.

But changing hate crimes laws can only be done on a state level, Willinghman added.

Oklahoma is one of 19 states without such protections. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry signed a hate crimes bill that includes “sexual preference” into law his first year in office.

A Facebook page has been started to encourage Oklahoma to expand its hate crime law. Rogers said if that were to happen, that’s where his healing would begin.

The Fox 23 report follows after the jump:

—  David Taffet

Public input sought on non-discrimination amendment effort

Fairness Works Houston, a new organization formed to pass a proposed non-discrimination charter amendment in Houston, will hold a public meeting this Saturday, Feb. 25, to seek public input. As previously reported by Houstini, the proposed charter amendment, which is still being drafted, will remove discriminatory language added to the city charter in 1985 and 2001 and make it a crime to deny employment, housing or public accommodation to a person because of their “age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or physical characteristic.”

The meeting, scheduled for 1 pm at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) in rooms 112/113, looks to identify community resources that can be used both topass the amendment and to gather the 20,000 signatures that will be needed to place the amendment on the November ballot. Scheduled speakers include Noel Freeman, president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus and Jenifer Rene Poole who chairs the Caucus’ committee on the proposed amendment.

—  admin