Beaumont holds first Pride parade

Maxey BeaumontFormer Texas state Rep. Glen Maxey was grand marshal of Beaumont’s first Pride parade.

Here’s what Maxey posted on his Facebook page about the event:

I spent an amazing day in Beaumont for their inaugural Pride Parade. See me splendidly perched on the back of a convertible (I was honored to the the Grand Marshall and cut the ribbon at the festival entrance! Thanks Jennifer Daniel and the Pride committee for the invite and honor! All successful Pride events have: a person with a large snake, very cute young men who organized this thing, and well appointed drag queens (from Sulphur Louisiana). Thanks southeast Texas!!! btw, they had a huge group in this parade (and not a single protestor, Klan siting, or Bible thumper (take that Houston, Austin and Dallas)!

Maxey Beau

—  David Taffet

Texas Senate hears testimony on bill to ban anti-LGBT job discrimination

Leticia Van de Putte

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

For the first time in history, Texas senators considered a bill this morning that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the Lone Star State.

The Senate Economic Development Committee heard testimony on SB 237, filed by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said he and six other people testified about the personal impact and and positive effect on economic development the bill would have. Among the speakers were gay former state Rep. Glen Maxey and retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who was the first Purple Heart recipient in the Iraq War.

Smith said Alva gave a “very compelling testimony” that spoke about his experience and support for the bill.

In addition, Craig Briscoe, vice president of human resources for Dell Inc., sent in a written testimony in support of the bill (read it here).

Jonathan Saenz with anti-gay Texas Values and three business organizations submitted written opposition but did not testify in person, Smith said.

Smith said overall he was impressed with the hearing and thought it went well. Concerns about an increase in lawsuits were brought up, but Smith said the bill doesn’t change the procedure for discrimination complaints. Instead, it adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s list of protected categories and complaints would be investigated like those based on race or religion.

Smith said Equality Texas and other advocates for the bill will work with lawmakers to dispel myths that businesses would be at a higher risk for lawsuits if the legislation is passed. He hopes to have enough votes to get the bill out of committee.

The committee’s seven members are: Chairman Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, Vice Chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

Watch today’s committee hearing here.

—  Anna Waugh

State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez visits Stonewall Dems in Dallas, Fort Worth

Mary Gonzalez speaks at the Round-Up on Monday night.

State Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez was the keynote speaker at a Stonewall Democrats of Dallas fundraiser Monday night at the Round-Up Saloon. She will appear at a fundraiser for Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats tonight at a private residence in Fort Worth.

Gonzalez won her El Paso primary election and faces no opposition in November. She will be the youngest member of the Legislature and the first LGBT woman to serve. Gonzalez made national news a second time when she came out as pansexual in an interview with Dallas Voice.

On Monday night, she said she hopes to develop a warm working relationship with Stonewall Democrats.

Although she hasn’t yet entered the House, it seems Gonzalez may already have her sites set on the Senate. She pointed out that only six women serve in the 31-member state Senate.

While she hopes to break down stereotypes among her colleagues once she enters the House, Gonzalez said she ran to help people in her district. Large areas of her far West Texas district are without electricity, running water and plumbing. She said she hopes to represent the area better than her predecessors, one of whom was indicted on drug trafficking charges.

The evening was a fundraiser for County Commission District 1 candidate Theresa Daniel and Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Commissioner Elba Garcia attended, although she is not up for reelection. Several other candidates including Judge Don Adams also attended. Former state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt was there to greet the newest queer member of the Legislature.

Gonzalez is scheduled to appear tonight at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats with Hon. Tonya Parker and former Rep. Glen Maxey.

More photos from Monday’s event below.

—  David Taffet

Texas LGBT leaders keynote Tarrant County Stonewall fall fundraiser

Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats is kicking off its fall fundraising efforts with a “Building on Legacies” event next Tuesday.

Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, state Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez and Dallas County 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker are scheduled speak at the event.

Felipe Gutierrez, Stonewall president, said the event symbolizes the work in the past with Maxey, Parker’s current work and Gonzalez’s future work in the Texas House.

“Our goal was talking about the past, the work in the present and in the future and how we come together to work on issues,” he said.

The event is at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the home of. Scott W. Green and Garrett Warren, at 3905 Summercrest Drive in Fort Worth.

General admission is $75. Sponsorships are also available for $250 (for two tickets, $500 for four tickets and $1,000 for six tickets. All sponsorships include donor recognition and an invitation to private donor cocktail party.

For tickets, contact Scott Green at sgreen6@sbcglobal.net. Deadline to RSVP is today or ASAP. For more info, go here.

—  Anna Waugh

Gonzalez profiled as ‘new face’ of El Paso politics

More like the new gay face of Texas politics.

In a profile about the future House District 75 Rep. Mary Gonzalez on the front page of Monday’s El Paso Times (shown at right), the 28-year-old is modeled as a “new face” for the district.

Gonzalez won her Democratic primary and will replace retiring state Rep. Chente Quintillia. She is unopposed in the general election.

Aside from being the first openly gay woman elected to the Texas Legislature, Gonzalez is also the first woman to represent the El Paso district. But Gonzalez “doesn’t dwell on those labels,” according to the article.

Instead, the eldest of 11 siblings will focus on how to improve the lives of families who face hardships from education to clean drinking water, remembering the time her house burned down and the community reached out to help her family.

Gonzalez recently told Dallas Voice after she won the primary that her passion lies with the impoverished unincorporated areas of her district and she wanted to bring better living conditions to the citizens there.

But her historic election has not gone unnoticed as she heads to Austin in January to serve as the second openly gay representative, after Glen Maxey, who served from 1991 to 2003. Her race – and election – drew a swarm of media attention. She told the El Paso Times the coverage was around 3,500 articles.

Read an in-depth interview with Gonzalez in an upcoming edition of Dallas Voice.

From the El Paso Times:

She added that there were times during her campaign that she questioned whether her gender, age or sexuality would work against her.

She focused on the issues, she said, and remembered her mother telling her that what she was facing was no harder than living in the colonias without basic infrastructure. That’s one of the key issues she hopes to address, Gonzalez said. “I am, of course, aware I’ve created this ‘history,’ but I always ran this race on issues,” she said. “I wanted people of El Paso to understand what legislators do and what they can do for them.”

“Do I think it’s important for people to see diversity in the Legislature? Yes, certainly,” Gonzalez continued. “But this campaign was not about me or the boxes people could put me into. It was about issues and having the qualifications to address them.”

What lies ahead, Gonzalez said, is more than mere politics.

“I think my whole life I’ve subscribed to the leadership style of inspiring and empowering groups and communities,” Gonzalez said. “If I can do that as a state legislator then I will have succeeded.”

—  Anna Waugh

PHOTO: 6 who’ve led Texas’ statewide gay-rights group gather at service for Bettie Naylor

The executive directors are, from left, Randall Ellis, Paul Scott, Laurie Eiserloh, Dianne Hardy Garcia, Glen Maxey and Dennis Coleman.

All of the former executive directors of Equality Texas, originally known as the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby, as well as its current leader gathered in Austin on May 5 for a memorial service for Bettie Naylor.

Among those attending the service to honor the group’s founder were current Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman and the group’s first director, Glen Maxey. Maxey left the organization to run for the Texas House of Representatives. He remains the only out person to have served in the Legislature. The other executive directors are Randall Ellis, Paul Scott, Laurie Eiserloh, Dianne Hardy Garcia

After coming out in her 50s, Naylor began lobbying the Texas legislature on gay and lesbian issues. Her efforts evolved into what is now Equality Texas.

Naylor, 84, died April 18. She was also a founder of Annie’s List and Human Rights Campaign. Before coming out, she lobbied the Texas Legislature about women’s issues since the 1960s.

—  David Taffet

R.I.P. Leslie, Austin’s cross-dressing icon

Openly gay former State Rep. Glen Maxey just posted the above photo on Facebook. And sure enough, Leslie has died. From Statesman.com:

An Austin icon is dead, and Austin just got a lot less weird.

Leslie Cochran — the city’s flesh-flashing, cross-dressing, attention-loving, frequently homeless mascot, unofficial ambassador and sometimes mayoral candidate — died at 1 a.m. at Christopher House, an inpatient hospice, according to his friend and power of attorney Valerie Romness. He was 60.

Cochran had been admitted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center last month after being found unconscious in a South Austin parking lot. The cause of death was believed to be complications from a brain injury, according to Romness.

Cochran died “peacefully and comfortably” in the company of family and friends, Romness said.

Read the full story here.

—  John Wright

FEEDBACK: Why treat gossip as news?

Why is the Voice treating gossip as news?

Let’s take a page from an eighth-grade government textbook: In the United States of America, our justice system operates on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Roughly speaking, it means the burden of proof rests on the accuser. Sadly, it seems more and more these days, that everyone is automatically assumed guilty absent of any required proof. This leaves the accuser free to say anything he wants, true or not, while rarely held accountable for the gossip and inaccuracies he perpetuates.  Enter the latest, but not so greatest, gossip monger/exploiter du jour, Glen Maxey (and indirectly, David Webb).

It seems, that after Mr. Maxey’s “thorough” investigation of our governor’s sexuality, the best result he, or anyone else, can produce is the same, old, tired, worthless: “My best friend knows a guy who dated a waiter who is the cousin of a pizza delivery guy who’s mom used to babysit for a guy whose brother in-law used to deliver the mail to this dude who lived next door to Rick Perry in 1992 and has it on good authority …” Bullshit.

Glen Maxey’s words and actions parallel those of another former politician by the name of Joseph McCarthy. Under McCarthy, hundreds of people were accused of being Communist with no proof. They were never given the right to confront their accusers, or see the so-called evidence compiled against them. Lives were ruined with no more than an accusation. Like McCarthy, all Mr. Maxey is doing is waging a smear campaign based on rumor and innuendo. And like McCarthy with his “list” of Communists who had infiltrated the deepest layers of U.S. government, Mr. Maxey claims his own “list” of witnesses and evidence, while he has an even longer list of excuses as to why he can never share it with anyone. Until Mr. Maxey puts his money where his mouth is and can prove what he claims is true, he’s nothing more than a slanderer and libeler. It’s the equivalent of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m NO fan of Rick Perry by any means, and the sooner that bastard leaves public office, the better.  However, there’s a much larger issue at play here than Rick Perry’s sex life. Think about it. Anyone with a grudge, or who simply doesn’t like you, can make up any story he wants about you without having to provide a shred of evidence. He can spread those stories around in public, post it online (or publish a book) and it’s all on YOU to prove he’s a liar! Even if successful in proving the accuser a fraud, the seeds of doubt and mistrust have been sowed among your friends, relatives, and associates. Am I the only one who recognizes how screwed up that is?

Anyone reading this knows damn good and well that if this were a situation where Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh was making similar accusations against any of our revered LGBT civic leaders (accusing Ellen DeGenes of being a pedophile, for example), the LGBT community would be raising hell. Yet, when Glen Maxey does it, everyone’s cool with it? Because we perceive our cause to be noble, we can rationalize being as despicable as the other guys? It just goes to show; red or blue, gay or straight, the excrement smells the same.

Jon Cooper, Dallas

—  John Wright

Glen Maxey to sign copies of Rick Perry book, appear on radio show in Dallas on Wednesday

If you haven’t read gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey’s memoir about his investigation of Gov. Rick Perry’s alleged homosexual escapades, you can hear the dirt on the Lambda Weekly Radio Show Wednesday morning, Dec. 28.

The radio show, which airs Wednesdays at 7 a.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM, will feature Maxey telling all about his tell-all, Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry. Maxey plans to stay over in Dallas for a few hours after the radio show for an afternoon book signing that will be announced during the show. He will be signing copies of the book at TapeLenders, 3926 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The book, which got its title from an offhand remark allegedly made by a hustler who claimed he serviced the governor, became available for reading about two weeks ago online through Amazon.com. Since then the paperback has become available, and interest seems to be running high in the LGBT community, which has long buzzed with rumors about Perry’s alleged sexual trysts with other men.

Maxey said a book signing he attended in Austin Dec. 23 at Progress Coffee on San Marcos Street grossed him about $1,600 in sales for the $19.99 book. That computes to the sale of about 80 books.

Since the publication of the book, Maxey said he has received several phone and e-mail messages from others who claim they have more information to share about Perry’s alleged secret life. About a couple of dozen people now claim to have the goods on Perry, the author said.

Maxey said that while his book has attracted a lot of interest from bloggers nationwide and the LGBT community, it has also attracted the ire of conservatives who support Perry. The author said he moved from his Austin apartment to a temporary “safe house” as a result of threatening messages he received.

Maxey, who is the only openly gay politician to ever have served in the Texas Legislature, wrote his book after assisting a reporter for The Huffington Post in researching the story. Huffington Post publisher Arianna Huffington reportedly killed the story after the reporter finished writing it and his editors approved it, according to the author.

Maxey said he believes the story was killed to avoid a lawsuit by Perry. The governor’s campaign for president reportedly hired a prominent libel lawyer to send a letter to Huffington threatening to sue if the story ran, according to Politico.

Huffington said she thought the story failed to rise to the standard for publication, an assertion Maxey called a “double standard.” The former legislator, who is now a gay activist, said he believes the story would have been published if it involved heterosexual trysts.

Maxey said his frustration about the book not being published after all his work and his desire to expose Perry’s alleged hypocrisy prompted him to write the book.

Perry is the most virulently outspoken anti-gay governor Texas has ever seen. Rumors about his alleged homosexuality activity led him and his wife to take the unusual step of sitting down with an Austin American Statesman reporter six years ago to refute the allegations.

—  admin

Activist’s exposé on Perry hits the market

Former legislator Glen Maxey says he was motivated to write about governor’s alleged gay affairs by Perry’s hypocrisy; that he has moved to a ‘safe house’ following threats

TELLING THE TALE | After a story planned for the Huffington Post on Rick Perry’s alleged same-sex affairs was nixed, gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey decided to tell the story himself. (Associated Press)

David Webb  |  Contributing Writer
davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com

AUSTIN — Life is changing quickly for gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey since the publication last week of his memoir chronicling a five-month investigation of Gov. Rick Perry’s alleged homosexual liaisons with a subordinate, steady boyfriends, anonymous sex partners, a hustler and others.

Prior to the book’s debut Maxey, who returned to activism after leaving the Legislature, had stocked his Austin apartment with food and other supplies, anticipating a period of time when he might want to stay out of sight.

But after his exposé attracted national media attention and outrage from Perry’s conservative religious supporters, Maxey decided to go further underground.

“Got some death threats of the crank level, but have moved to a safe house until it calms down,” Maxey told Dallas Voice in a message via Facebook following a telephone interview over the weekend.

Maxey, who is the only openly gay politician to have ever served in the Texas Legislature, sent the message as he prepared for a Univision interview Monday morning, Dec. 19, and a KLBJ drive-time radio interview that afternoon.

Perry.Rick

Gov. Rick Perry

The “calm before the storm” that Maxey had talked about in the telephone interview apparently has now erupted into a major disturbance.

Head Figure Head – The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry is the product of Maxey’s work with a reporter from The Huffington Post and the frustration he felt when publisher Arianna Huffington killed what the former legislator claims was a completed story approved by editors and ready for publication.

When it became clear the story would never be published, Maxey started writing his book.

In his book Maxey does not name any of the sources he cites that claim knowledge of Perry’s alleged sexual escapades, nor does he
name the Huffington Post reporter, whom he refers to only as the national journalist.

The book was at first only available online, but now is available as a paperback through Amazon.com.

Maxey said other publications were interested in talking to him and his sources about the allegations of extramarital homosexual pursuits by Perry, but both he and the men who claimed to know the governor in the biblical sense were reluctant to start over with a new reporter.

“That was a mountain I couldn’t climb again, and the other folks had the same reaction,” Maxey said. “It’s difficult to get people to talk about sex in general, it’s more difficult to get them to tell their story to a reporter, and it’s an even bigger climb when it’s Rick Perry they are talking about.”

Maxey disputes Huffington’s claim to Politico that the story was never ready for publication, and that there was no real story. The activist claims the publisher killed the story after Perry’s campaign hired famed libel lawyer Lin Wood, and the lawyer wrote a letter to the Huffington Post threatening to sue if the story was published.

Huffington denied that the lawyer’s letter had anything to do with her decision.

But, Maxey said, “Arianna Huffington told a bald-faced lie.”

No response has been received to an e-mail sent by the Dallas Voice to Huffington Post’s media relations department seeking comment on Maxey’s claim.

Maxey concedes a high-priced call boy who claimed to have engaged in sex with Perry and another man for hire in hotel rooms several times never went on the record, even though celebrity attorney Gloria Allred reportedly was signed on to represent him when the story hit. An affidavit signed by the prostitute — whom

Maxey said was feeling “traumatized” by the prospect of going public with his allegations — might have convinced Huffington to go with the story. But the activist maintained there was already enough documentation to justify publication.

Maxey claimed Huffington exercised a “double standard” when she decided against publication of the Perry story, probably on the advice of AOL parent company corporate attorneys. If the story had involved extramarital heterosexual activities, the story would have run, he claimed.

In late August, the Huffington Post reporter, who made several trips to Austin and had contacted the Dallas Voice for information earlier in the investigation, wrote in an e-mail seeking clarification that he was putting finishing touches on the story before it ran.

Some political observers have speculated Perry’s drastic drop in the national opinion polls from frontrunner status might have contributed to Huffington’s decision to kill the story.

Another source familiar with the investigation said it appeared the publisher — for reasons only she knows — was never interested in outing Perry, and the story will never be published. The Huffington Post scribe reportedly indicated he had no problem with Maxey’s book, and that he thought Maxey needed to write it.

For his part, Maxey said that he is not worried about Gov. Perry filing a lawsuit against him, and he doubts anyone from Perry’s camp
will ever contact him. The former legislator also  doubts that he would lose a lawsuit if Perry filed one against him.

“Everything I said in this book is my opinion,” Maxey said. “I believe Rick Perry is homosexual or had relations with gay men. The evidence points to that conclusion.”

Maxey said it is unlikely Perry would file a lawsuit against him because if he did, the governor and his wife, Anita, would be forced to answer questions under oath about the widespread rumor that she caught Perry and another man having sex in the governor’s mansion six years ago.

At the time, a story was widely circulated that the governor’s wife had checked into the luxurious Driskill Hotel in Austin and hired a prominent divorce attorney.

The story became so widespread that Perry and his wife — who typically avoid one-on-one media interviews — sat down with an Austin American-Statesman reporter to refute the tale.

“If Perry was bold or stupid enough to file any action against me, my lawyers would welcome the opportunity,” Maxey said. “I don’t think Perry would take that risk.”

There has been no response to a telephone request by the Dallas Voice for comment from the  Perry campaign.

Maxey said that although he is gaining widespread attention for the book, his only motive in writing it was to expose the alleged hypocrisy of Gov. Perry, who is recognized as the most virulently outspoken anti-gay governor to ever hold office in Texas. The governor’s claim to conservative religious leaders after he announced for the presidency in August that there was nothing in his personal background to embarrass them rankled him, the Maxey said.

“How amazingly hypocritical he was, claiming there would be no scandal,” Maxey said. “It was astonishing to me. That was the impetus for writing the book.”

Maxey said at the time he wrote the book there were only a dozen men known who had claimed to have had sex with Perry. Now, there are twice that many, and new tips come in daily, he said.

“I went into publishing this with no real expectations,” Maxey said. “The story may get retold in a more comprehensive way, and people can make their own decisions about it. I think the rest of this will play out in the public discussion.”

Maxey said one thing is for certain: Perry will be a bigger enemy to the state’s LGBT community than he ever has before if his bid for the presidency continues on its failure track and he returns to Texas. The activist said he wouldn’t be surprised if Perry attempted to call the Texas Legislature into emergency session on an anti-LGBT initiative to pacify his conservative religious supporters.

“When you see a snake in the grass, you chop off its head,” Maxey said. “I believe this snake is coming back to Texas. He is going to be a meaner snake. He will have something to prove. He will take it out on gay people.”

And that threat is likely to keep Maxey, the author and the activist, busy on his anti-Perry campaign for a very long time.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas