Happy Birthday, Hardy Haberman!


Hardy Haberman, the longtime local gay activist who writes the Flagging Left column for Dallas Voice’s Viewpoints page and maintains the Dungeon Diary blog, is celebrating his birthday today.

We haven’t asked Hardy how old he is, but we did request permission to honor him by sharing two successive Tweets he sent out last week.

The first one caught our attention only because while we inferred that DFW Bound is some sort of leather group, we weren’t familiar with the abbreviation CBT, which as it turns out stands for “cock and ball torture.”

Having learned that, the second Tweet made us slightly uneasy, and in between giggles, we’re still trying to imagine what exactly he was picking up.

Then again, this is why we love Hardy — because he’s an out-and-proud leatherman and kink expert — and Christian, BTW — who isn’t ashamed of his sexuality. So here goes:

—  John Wright

This JONAH has one whale of a story to tell

Jewish ‘ex-gay’ group is just another attempt to get money from conflicted gay men for ‘therapies’ that do nothing but let closeted gays get their jollies through others’ fears

Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

JonahWith all the hubbub of the Fred Phelps Cult making a visit here and the oil spill continuing in the Gulf, one story seems to have dropped through the cracks. Luckily, Wayne Besen at the blog Truth Wins Out (TruthWinsOut.org)  has been on it like a dog on a bone. It involves a group called JONAH.

Aside from the biblical acronym, the group’s full name is Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, and it is part of the ex-gay industry.

Now before anyone corrects me and notes that it should be called the “ex-gay movement,” let me explain.

Not only has the whole “ex-gay” or “reparative therapy” thing been debunked by the scientific community, no major scientific group actually approves “treatment” to change sexual orientation. No one, from the American Psychiatric Association to the American Psychological Association, even considers homosexuality something to be cured.

So what you have with the ex-gay industry is a bogus cure in search of a disease, and more to the point, several organizations who have found that the whole useless endeavor can generate a lot of cash.

So, far from being a grassroots movement, the ex-gay scam is a business, albeit “non-profit.”

Meanwhile, back to JONAH.

The group was co-founded by a fellow named Arthur Abba Goldberg. Seems he was known 20 years ago in the financial community as “Abba Cadabra” for his apparent wizardry with money. That wizardry turned out to be a scam, and Goldberg was convicted of federal mail and wire fraud as well as a conspiracy to sell worthless bonds.

The guy is a real peach, and now he has reinvented himself as the leader of an “ex-gay” therapy group.

One of his “life coaches,” Alan Downing, recently has been implicated in something a bit more touchy-feely than you would expect from an ex-gay. According to men who went to Downing, part of his treatment involves having clients strip naked in front of a mirror while touching parts of their bodies, including their genitals.

The activity is observed by the “therapist” while he encourages the subject to “internalize his masculinity.” If this sounds like a voyeurs’ delight, you haven’t heard anything yet.

Downing and Goldberg are part of another bunch called “People Can Change.” A big part of their “therapy” is participating in a retreat near Phoenix, called “Journey into Manhood.” According to a writer, Ted Cox, who secretly attended one of the sessions, for $650 a pop you get to participate in a group grope for the weekend.

Now if this sounds homoerotic, what goes on there seems even less like therapy and more like just plain sex. Participants make the journey to manhood by hugging, touching and lying on each other in a “cuddle room.” Manly stuff!

If this were a Body Electric retreat I could understand it, but for something that is supposed to “cure” homosexuality, it seems to be far off the mark.

My whole point is that the “ex-gay” industry is rife with scandal. From George Rekers, the anti- gay activist who hired a “rent boy” for a European vacation, to John Paulk, former chairman of Exodus International who was photographed coming out of a gay bar in Washington D.C., the ex-gays just can’t seem to keep their gay from coming out.

I fully expect to hear about even more surprises from the reparative therapy scam in the future. But I shouldn’t be surprised.

It all stems from the greed of folks who see in gay men a vulnerability, especially if those gay men have not fully accepted their own sexuality. It is the worst kind of deceit, to prey on the psychologically vulnerable and manipulate them for cash.

It is unfortunate that they hide behind pseudo-religious organizations that protect their questionable programs as “free speech.” Maybe as more and more of these groups are exposed and debunked, their victims will see the futility of trying to change and embrace their sexuality.

That will also take society to change as well, but luckily it is already happening. Public opinion surveys show more and more Americans affirm the idea of equal rights including marriage for LGBT people.

It is my hope that some day those unhappy people who turned to groups like JONAH will emerge like the biblical Jonah from the whale into the sunlight. Then they can work on frying the bigger fish, accepting their sexuality and enjoying their lives.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Critics give Texas GOP platform too much weight

Log Cabin Dallas president responds to critcism of Republican Party, state platform and gay GOP group’s effectiveness

ROB SCHLEIN | Guest columnist

I agree with Hardy Haberman (“A platform of ideas — bad ideas,” Dallas Voice, June 25) that when it comes to LGBT issues, the Texas GOP platform contains some vehement rhetoric.

Where I completely disagree is his inflated sense of the significance of the platform, his view that Log Cabin Republicans has done little to moderate the party and the impact of the Tea Party.

I could go on and on about the platform writing process, how it’s controlled by the extremists of our party, and how the old guard scheduled the Texas Republican Convention to make it difficult to have honest debate on the floor.

What is more important is to understand the real impact the platform has on Republican legislative priorities.

The fact is, Hardy Haberman is absolutely wrong in believing the platform is used as a litmus test for candidate recruitment and that it’s the basis for legislative decisions. Even those that participate on platform committees would admit to that. Their number one complaint is that legislators do not govern by the platform.

Legislators understand the platform is a way for a small minority of hard-liners to vent their beliefs. They recognize that it contains many planks, not just the ones on “homosexuals,” that aren’t consistent with the views of the general voting public and do not represent the views of rank and file Republican voters.

Additionally, those who recruit candidates and support them with the most funds to their campaigns are outside the Texas GOP structure, and they don’t have an interest in demonizing gays.
Haberman fails to see how the efforts of Log Cabin have had any effect on the Texas GOP. If he is so narrowly focused on the belief that the platform is the complete and almost biblical metric of success, then it would be hard to discern our achievement.

A better measure for our accomplishments, though, is the willingness of legislators to reach back to us when we reach out. Some that Dallas Voice labels as “anti-gay” attended important Log Cabin events: Texas State Rep. Dan Branch and Congressman Pete Sessions.

Others important to the Texas GOP that have visited Log Cabin include U.S. Senate candidate Michael Williams (former railroad Commissioner), Dallas County GOP Chairman Jonathan Neerman, Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey and candidate for governor Debra Medina, who now leads a large political group called “We Texans.”

Naturally, people like Haberman love to complain when others use language that is vehement. Yet he engages in similar language when he says that, “The politically astute will note that most of these changes seem to be a bow to the ‘tea baggers’ and are simply appeasements never to be written into law.”

The term “tea bagger” is no less offensive to me that than the word “faggot.”

Tea Partiers are natural allies to our community. They don’t have a dog in the fight when it comes to combating gays and their aspirations. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Their views on social issues lean libertarian — “live and let live,” “get government out of our lives and our bedrooms.” Their focus is on economic security (reducing the deficit) and keeping our country safe.

Ken Emanuelson, a board member of the Dallas Tea Party, spoke at Log Cabin’s Grand Ol’ Party. And just this week the Republican Liberty Caucus issued a press release condemning the anti-homosexual planks of our platform.

I wonder, too, how Hardy Haberman discerns between planks that appease when he complains that the same planks are the basis for a legislative agenda? Has he ever considered that the passages on “homosexuals” are appeasements never to be written into law?

Lastly, our party’s leadership has changed. Cathie Adams, one of the most strident anti-gay activists, was defeated by Steve Munisteri in a contested race for state party chair. I talked to Steve by phone early in his campaign, and he believes gays should be included in our party.

The defeat of Cathie Adams should have merited a large headline in the Dallas Voice.

And, although I lost my precinct chairman’s race by three votes out of 800 cast against Homer Adams (Cathie’s husband), it’s clear to me that activists of her ilk are on the decline.

Our acceptance and welcoming by Dallas Young Republicans confirms that on questions of gay rights, views are shifting.

Would we like our platform more to our liking? Certainly.

Does the platform in its present form mean Log Cabin isn’t making a difference? Does it mean we should bolt from our party when we agree with Republican principles of limited, smaller, lower cost and efficient government, and disagree with the many actions taken by the Obama administration that have exploded our deficits, placed new burdens on gay business owners and stunted job creation?

Do we abandon our party with which we agree on principles of strong national security and an unapologetic support of Israel for the Democrats who appease our enemies that murder men for just being gay?

Do we switch parties for the “hope” of gay rights as narrowly defined by people like Hardy Haberman? No!

Log Cabin Republicans is making an impact here at home, and nationally with our new executive director, a former Bush appointee and Iraq War veteran.

If Hardy Haberman doesn’t see the impact we are having, it means he isn’t looking.

Rob Schlein is the president of Log Cabin
Republicans of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Homelessness and LGBT youth

The figures are staggering. Between 1.6 million to 2.8 million homeless youth in our country! More staggering still is the data that shows up to 40 percent of those homeless are LGBT youth.

For some reason I never considered homelessness as an LGBT issue but the figures speak clearly, it is. The reasons for these kids ending up on the street are myriad, but they share some disturbing similarities.

A report from the Center for American Progress shows 58 percent of them are victims of sexual assault. This is much higher than their straight counterparts. Additionally, 62 percent suffer discrimination from their families because of their sexual orientation. I would imagine that is a big cause of the problem.

The report is eye-opening and worth your time to read. Beyond understanding the problem is doing something about it. That will take both our community and our local state and federal governments getting involved and working to change this.

— Hardy Haberman, Dungeon Diary

—  Dallasvoice

HRC calls on RNC’s Steele to repudiate anti-gay language in Texas GOP platform

Well the original story may not have been news, but the fact that it’s making such big news is arguably news, and the fact that people are trying to do something about it is definitely news. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese sent out an e-mail earlier today asking people to sign a petition calling on Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to repudiate anti-gay language in the Texas GOP platform. Here’s what the petition says:

Chairman Steele, I urge you to publicly reject the anti-LGBT language in the Texas Republican Party Platform. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our political discourse. Unless the RNC endorses the Texas GOP’s positions, it is up to you to repudiate them.

The other news here, of course, is that HRC sent out a mass e-mail that appears to be accurate.

Read DV columnist Hardy Haberman’s piece on the GOP platform from tomorrow’s paper by going here.

—  Dallasvoice

A platform of ideas — bad ideas

Even conservative LGBTs shouldn’t drink the Texas GOP Kool-Aid

Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

The Texas Republican Party just had their state convention here in Dallas, and it is worth noting that they passed a new platform as well. For LGBT citizens it is a very important document.

The GOP of Texas passed a platform that is more parody that politics. The vehement rhetoric contained in this document should send a clear message to the folks claiming to be LGBT Republicans that they are not listened to and not wanted in the GOP.

I am speaking of the Log Cabin crowd and the even stranger GOProud group. I ask point blank: How can you support a party who writes this into their platform?

“Homosexuality — Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should ‘family’ be redefined to include homosexual ‘couples.’

“We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

“Texas Sodomy Statutes — We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.”

For all the talk of changing the GOP from the inside that the Log Cabin Republicans use as their excuse for supporting that party, I fail to see how they have had any effect. This latest platform seems even worse than before. A giant step backwards — but I guess that is no surprise for the GOP.

As far as ENDA, well the Texas GOP made it pretty clear they don’t want any of them new-fangled equal rights laws: “ENDA — We oppose this act through which the federal government would coerce religious business owners and employees to violate their own beliefs and principles by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”

How about hate crimes? Well, the Texas Republicans have something to say about that as well and they wrap it in a paragraph cynically entitled “Equality of All Citizens”: “We urge immediate repeal of the Hate Crimes Law. Until the Hate Crimes Law is totally repealed, we urge the Legislature to immediately remove the education curriculum mandate and the sexual orientation category in said Law.”

Now lest you think this platform is damaging only to LGBT Texans, take heart. Anyone who works for a living is fair game as well. These two single-sentence planks made me shiver: “Workers’ Compensation — We urge the Legislature to resist making Workers’ Compensation mandatory for all Texas employers.”

And: “Minimum Wage — We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.”

Needless to say there are extensive planks about immigration and border security, and they include this little nugget, “The repeal of the birthright citizenship”: “Birthright Citizenship — We call on the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of these United States to clarify Section 1 of the 14th amendment to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States: with no exceptions.”

This platform has something for everyone, or should I say against everyone. The politically astute will note that most of these changes seem to be a bow to the “tea baggers” and are simply appeasements that were never intended to be written into law. I suppose those professing to be LGBT Republicans would take this approach to reading this hate-filled document, but I think it is far more serious than that.

Writing off the party platform as inconsequential might work if you live with the cognitive dissonance that some people do. But the platform is the basis of decisions that will be made by legislators who are elected and it will be held up as a litmus test for any GOP candidate during an election.

So what is this all about? Well it’s about waking up and looking at the reality of the GOP in Texas.

The party has swung so far right it looks more like a fringe group than the mainstream. It’s time LGBT voters stopped deceiving themselves and realize the Republican Party has anything but your best interests at heart.

You can be fiscally conservative and still not drink this Kool Aid.

In fairness, I am a Democrat, and though the Democratic leadership has been disappointing in its movement forward on all LGBT issues, at least there has been some movement. Yes it’s not as fast as I would like, and yes, I criticize both my party and my president. But at least they do not believe I am somehow tearing at the moral fabric of the country by my mere existence.

So to my LGBT Republican brothers and sisters, I have to paraphrase a question from everyone’s favorite moose hunter, Sarah Palin: “How’s that whole change from the inside thing going for you?”

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 25, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice

Monica Greene to return to Dallas

9-Monica-GreeneA year ago this week in our 25th Anniversary Issue, we listed transgender chef and restaurateur Monica Greene as one of our 25 Dallas Notables. Now comes word that Greene, who’s been living in Aspen, Colo., for the last few years, plans to return to Dallas in September to open a new restaurant called Distrito. “I’m very excited,” Greene told D Magazine’s Side Dish. “I can’t transmit how much through the phone line. I’ve been eating at new concepts all over Dallas and I am amazed by the savvy attitude and energy [of the restaurant business] in Dallas. It’s not dull like Denver.”

Welcome back, Monica. After the jump, read what our Hardy Haberman wrote about Greene last year.

—  John Wright

Comedian Shann Carr plans to perform tonight at Sue Ellen's — whether they know it or not

Thanks to Hardy Haberman, I hear that Shann Carr is heading to Dallas tonight to perform stand-up. According to the tour dates on her site, she’s set to play Dallas May 15, but according to Haberman’s Twitter feed, she’s showing up tonight at Sue Ellen’s in her pink RV. The thing is, she doesn’t seem to have an official gig lined up here.

Let’s play it out.

I read this Haberman tweet first – “Shann Carr is going to show up at Sue Ellens tonight as a SURPRISE! Be there, I predict fun & fireworks!In response, I asked Haberman and Caven’s Rick Espaillat what the deal was. Espaillat told me this was news to him unless she’s just going to partake in tonight’s karaoke at Sue Ellen’s. Haberman was kind enough to send me the note Carr had sent him. The e-mail mentioned, “I thought we had a gig at Sue Ellen’s but they bagged on us. So we’re taking our pink and blue rhinestone RV down there tonight to show ‘em what they’re missing. We’ll be there around 8. Anybody wanna meet us there? ”

And that’s all I got for now, folks. I put in a call to Carr this afternoon but have yet to hear back. However, her tour poster and postcards mention it as the filming of a comedy/reality series. See after the jump.

If anything, I’d stick close to Sue Ellen’s tonight for perhaps some guerrilla comedy going on. Just look for the big pink RV.

—  Rich Lopez