LOCAL BRIEFS: AIN poker tourney at the Brick; Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

AIN poker tourney set at the Brick

A charity poker tournament is set for Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Brick, 2525 Wycliff, to benefit AIDS Interfaith Network.

The Dallas Bears and the LGBT poker league Pocket Rockets will co-host the event with the Brick. Miller Lite is the sponsor and play begins at 3 p.m.

It’s free to play but AIN will benefit in a number of ways. The agency will receive a portion of the drink specials sold. Players may buy additional chips, and the Bears will hold a 50/50 raffle.

A cash prize pool of $500 will be awarded and all levels of players are welcome.

Bates set for Dallas Black Pride

Christopher H. Bates will speak at the Dallas Black LGBT Community Summit on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Dallas Marriott City Center Hotel. He is the director of Health and Human Service’s Office of HIV/AIDS Policy.

Bates will discuss the federal government’s response to the high infection rate among young gay African-American men. He has 20 years experience in public health policy and has been with OHAP for more than a decade.

Bates administers funds for the Minority AIDS Initiative and advises the Undersecretary of Health on education, prevention, testing, research, care and treatment strategies. Information is available at DFWPrideMovement.org.

Martin offers program for couples

Randy Martin, LPC, will facilitate an eight-session program for couples, Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. throughout September and October.

The program is based on the theory and practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). The first session focuses on the new science of love and what it teaches us. The next seven sessions focus on helping couples shape and use the seven conversations laid out in the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, the developer of EFT.

Couples interested in participating should contact Martin at 214-520-7575. The cost of the program is $500 per couple and includes a copy of the book Hold Me Tight and other necessary materials.

NGPA seeks donations

The National Gay Pilots Association recently awarded $22,000 in scholarships and is seeking donations for future awards to aspiring LGBT aviators.

Since its founding in 1998, the NGPA Education Fund has given 46 awards totaling $139,000. Donations can be made on the group’s website, NGPA.org.

—  John Wright

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 06.17.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Meredith Baxter turns 64 on Tuesday. For most of the ’80s, Baxter played Elyse Keaton on Family Ties. She’s mostly been seen in TV films and guest-starring roles. In an interview with Matt Lauer on Today back in 2009, she came out of the closet as lesbian. Her memoir Untied was released this past March.

THIS WEEK

For the next few months we get a taste of the Uranus-Pluto square that will dominate the next five years. Recent political turmoil has just been the set-up for major crises and changes ahead. Astrologically it looks a lot like 1848, 1939 and the ‘60s. Buckle your seatbelts; it’s gonna get bumpy.

………………….

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
As dystopian as the future looks, you’ll find a way to thrive. Trust your instincts and reconsider the most important lessons you learned from your mother. Talking with siblings can clarify that.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Frustrations in love and career are too big to solve by yourself. Fortunately you have some very wise and resourceful friends. As odd as their ideas may seem, they will likely help.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
It’s easy to worry yourself sick. Arguments make it worse. Focus on your career. Working through sexual issues is healing. Quiet time alone gives you space to think about what you need to do.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Sharing your innermost thoughts will open up ideas for creative fun. On the way, you open up some difficult childhood memories. Resolving an ugly past can clear the way for a better future.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Your home and partnership are heading for big changes. Be generous and comforting in bed. Family commitments need to change. Be clear on what those are. Be adaptive at work.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Obsessing on details leads to accidents and misunderstandings. Don’t neglect the important details; just keep it all in perspective. Your partner’s advice and practical support will prove helpful.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Now’s the time to find a job you enjoy. Channeling your sexual charisma into the job search is helpful, but if you already like your work that charisma can go back to what it does best.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Trying to manage your family or community will backfire. Focus on having fun. If you’re looking for love, play at being moody, broody and intense; but remember, you’re playing.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Conversations open up deep psychological insights. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your family, no matter how odd. Releasing old tensions could have surprising health benefits.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Reality is challenging your values and your plans, but that’s life. Adaptability and a sense of humor will help you stay true to your core while everything else goes crazy.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Be very sure that your career is in line with your ambitions. Being unhappy on your job track will get you derailed. Contempt for authority is well-deserved but pick your battles strategically.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
“Bad religion” is a subjective experience. Focus on your own personal beliefs; know where you find clarity, support and reassurance. Respect others’ paths while finding your own.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WARNING: Anti-Gay States May Be Hazardous To Your Health

A new study proves what common sense has been telling us all these years. Lisa Keen reports:

Same-sex couples with adopted children living in states with anti-gay adoption laws and attitudes had more mental health issues in their first year of parenthood than couples with adopted children living in more accepting states, a new study has found. In addition, same-sex couples with adopted children who perceived higher support from their family and workplace and lived in more gay-friendly neighborhoods reported better mental health than those who did not.

Dr. Goldberg obviously knows what she is talking about:

Dr. Abbie Goldberg, assistant professor of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, co-authored the work with JuliAnna Smith at the Center for Research on Families of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Their report appears in the in February 2011 issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Psychological Association.

Bigoted legislators need to stop hurting our children.

While studies show that many people, including straight ones, show an increase in depressive or anxious symptoms in early parenthood, Goldberg explained, most recover later. But, she added, higher levels of depression or anxiety “could have negative effects beyond the individual,” including among their children, especially if the factors causing them—unsupportive workplaces, families, neighborhoods, or laws—don’t change.

I recommend reading the entire article to arm yourself with the facts the next time some Neanderthal conservative claims that they are “doing this for the children.” Although the point can always be made, “When have facts stopped conservatives from passing bad or injurious legislation?”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Bigots accidentally strip health benefits from retired cops & firemen in El Paso

Oops.

A group of conservative Christians set out to block El Paso, Texas, from granting health-care benefits to same-sex partners of city-government employees. But the ballot measure they helped pass in November may also end up stripping benefits from others, including retired policemen and firefighters.

The measure was aimed at gay workers and their partners. The wording of the proposal, however, was vague, asking El Paso residents to endorse “traditional family values” by limiting benefits to “city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children.”

So when 55% of the voters approved the measure on Election Day, they eliminated coverage for some 200 people who don’t fit that description—among them elected officials, who aren’t technically city employees, and many former city workers, the city says.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Christmas Eve video break and open thread: health update, DADT…and doggies

We wish you all a good (and safe) holiday weekend. What’s on the menu?

***

It’s a chilly Christmas eve in Durham, NC, but it was warm enough this afternoon to video an update on my recovery from surgery and talk about travel and thoughts about the good news re: DADT repeal.

We spent some time outside with the dogs and recorded a holiday video for relatives that got a little wild…

See the short video with cameos by Casey and Chloe below the fold.
A holiday greeting for our peeps that got a little out of control because of the doggies. :)

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Dan Choi Checking Himself Into Mental Health Care Facility After ‘Breakdown’

Dan Choi, the lieutenant and Iraq veteran, has checked himself into a veteran's hospital facility for mental health treatment. He writes in an open letter: "I did not initially want to publicize this but I now realize it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens, Activists share similar burdens, no activist should be portrayed as super human, and the failures of government and national lobbying carry consequences far beyond the careers and reputations of corporate leaders, elected officials, High powered lobbyists, or political elites. They ruin lives. My breakdown was a result of a cumulative array of stressors but there is no doubt that the composite betrayals felt on Thursday, by elected leaders and gay organizations as well as many who have exploited my name for their marketing purposes have added to the result. I am certain my experience is not an isolated incident within the gay veteran community."


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VIRGINIA: Judicial Activist Rules Parts Of Health Care Reform Unconstitutional

A Virginia federal district court judge appointed by Dubya has ruled that parts of President Obama’s health care reform plan are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions. The judge wrote that his survey of case law “yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.”

Two other district court judges have previously upheld the law and some expect the issue to reach the Supreme Court before the end of Obama’s term. Dozens of similar lawsuits are still working their way through the system.

RELATED: As in the case with the judicial overturn of DADT, the Obama administration has the option of appealing this ruling.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Study: positive family attitudes have major health and well-being implications for LGBT kids

For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between accepting family attitudes and behaviors towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children and significantly decreased risk and better overall health in adulthood.  The study shows that specific parental and caregiver behaviors — such as advocating for their children when they are mistreated because of their LGBT identity or supporting their gender expression — protect against depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in early adulthood. In addition, LGBT youth with highly accepting families have significantly higher levels of self-esteem and social support in young adulthood.

This may seem obvious to we LGBT folk, but as we know it is not necessarily obvious to parents, friends and other family members.  For example, watch members of a California family describe their individual paths to understanding these truths in this amazing video.

Major research findings include:

* Family accepting behaviors towards LGBT youth during adolescence protect against suicide, depression and substance abuse.

* LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family acceptance during adolescence had significantly higher levels of self-esteem, social support and general health, compared to peers with low levels of family acceptance.

* LGBT young adults who reported low levels of family acceptance during adolescence were over three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to report suicide attempts, compared to those with high levels of family acceptance.

* High religious involvement in families was strongly associated with low acceptance of LGBT children.

Results of the research are being translated into practical tools for parents by the study’s author Dr. Caitlin Ryan and her team at the Family Acceptance Project in collaboration with Child and Adolescent Services at the University of California, San Francisco, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  They use a behavioral approach to help ethnically and religiously diverse families decrease rejection and increase support for their LGBT children to reduce risk for suicide, depression, substance abuse, and HIV, to promote well-being and to prevent homelessness and placement in custodial care. This approach helps communities and providers to engage diverse families as allies in decreasing their LGBT children’s risk and increasing their well-being while respecting the family’s deeply held values. This work is being conducted in English, Spanish and Chinese with families from all ethnic backgrounds, including immigrant and very low income families, and those whose children are out-of-home in foster care and juvenile justice facilities.

The study is published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, a journal of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses, in a peer-reviewed article titled “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults.”
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Latest health vlog: post-surgery doc visit, Hystersisters, and a fashion update

All right, all right. Don’t laugh at your blogmistress for her fashion update. After all, how fashionable can she be with a sore swollen abdomen and legs pokey from edema? Well I don’t have to be runway ready since I’m housebound much of the time — I’m only 11 days out from surgery and I cannot drive yet.

But tonight Kate took me out to dinner, so I “dressed up” in the outfit you see in the pic and in this vlog. The oh-so-fashionable sweater w/matching scarf is courtesy of a Macy’s fire sale rack plus a 25% off coupon discount = . Smart blogmistresses are cheeeep.

Oh, by the way, OT — Macy’s has a scam going on if you surf its web site. This same sweater is on there for an outrageous , but if you go into the store it was .99. Poor schmoes who dropped for this sweater. Beware of buying anything on its web site without checking your local store first.

Back to my health update. So in this vlog I discuss the doctor visit yesterday, where I learned that 1) my incisions are healing OK; the troublesome one is not infected; 2) the pathology report on my now-former uterus and cervix said it was cancer-free (YAY!); 3) I do need to watch the pain management. I tried toughing it out on ibuprofen alone over the weekend and boy that was a FAIL. I still need to take the oxycontin at bedtime since I need restorative sleep, and I was having insomnia on the ibuprofen. I don’t need the hardcore stuff during the day anymore.

The only other time I plan use it is if I overdo something and the pain ratchets up. I’ve been mostly sleeping (anyone notice I overslept and didn’t launch the DADT hearing liveblog until 10 min after 9AM today, LOLOL), or resting. Not exactly active. I haven’t been hungry, so keeping my blood glucose on track hasn’t been hard.

My challenge will be next week. I am going to attempt to drive. This was not going to happen had I not received my Hystersisters Abdominal Support Binder, which I show you in the video. Basically, gravity isn’t your friend post-op. I cannot lie on my side because it feels like my insides are going to fall out, which is actually pressure on the internal stitches. The binder, worn under your clothes and under or on top of your underwear, holds you in and feels wonderful because it is lightly padded and protects your incisions. I still use a bed pillow between me and the seatbelt when a passenger, so I will have to test whether driving with just the binder is workable yet.

So the fashion discussion in the vlog is the limitations of what I can comfortably wear – jeans will be out for some time. My doc said many women say after surgery that wearing jeans, which are thicker than other pants and have less give, even with Lycra, really cause a weird sensation in their abdomen, so that’s usually the last addition back into one’s wardrobe.

What am I wearing? Well since I’m home, it’s drab cotton nightgowns and a fleece robe (I have chills quite often; that’s caused by my ovaries and hormone fluctuations from the impact of surgery). As I say in the video, it’s going to be mostly loose dresses with long sleeve shirts/mock turtlenecks, and tunics with leggings, which are comfortable in my case. I also have a supply of the infamous knee-high socks (from my ill-fated Macy’s trip last week when I hurt myself) to go with the dresses. I’m not ready for tights yet. So I will be fashionably uncool but there’s nothing new there. Except for the knee-high argyles. :)

See the rest of my health vlog series.
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