If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

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Remembering John Lawrence, the man behind Lawrence v. Texas

Lawrence

John Lawrence and Tyrone Gardner

Metro Weekly reports that one-time Houstonian John Geddes Lawrence, the “Lawrence” in Lawrence v. Texas, passed away last month at the age of 68:

“In the facts underlying the Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested under Texas’s Homosexual Conduct Law after police entered Lawrence’s home on Sept. 17, 1998, and saw them “engaging in a sexual act.” The couple challenged the law as unconstitutional”

I was 22 and living in Dallas in 2003 when the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lawrence declaring Texas’ law against “homosexual conduct” unconstitutional. A group of over 100 people gathered in the parking lot of the Resource Center of Dallas as Dennis Coleman, then with Lambda Legal, read excerpts of the decision. I remember the exuberant electricity in the air, the crowd bubbling with joy and the relief of centuries of official oppression finally coming to an end. Similar get-togethers took place across the state, as an entire community breathing a collective sigh of relief.

That relief has turn to frustration over the years. Although the Supreme Court decision rendered Penal Code Section 21.06 unconstitutional, the law remains on the books, and efforts to remove it have met with significant resistance. During a hearing this spring on finally removing the unconstitutional law, Rep. Jose Aliseda, R – Pleasanton, lamented that repeal of the law would entail removing portions of the Health Code requiring that HIV education efforts include information that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.”

Before Lawrence several attempts were made to remove the law against “homosexual conduct.” The Texas legislature voted to remove it from the penal code as part of a complete rewrite of the code in 1971, but the measure was vetoed by Gov. Preston Smith. In 1973 the Legislature again undertook a rewrite of the code, keeping “homosexual conduct” a crime but making it a class C misdemeanor. In 1981 a U.S. District Court ruled in Baker v. Wade that the law was unconstitutional, but as that case was winding its way through an unusually torturous appeals process the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that a similar law in Georgia was constitutional, making the questions in Baker moot. Similarly, in the 90′s there was hope that Texas v. Morales might finally prevail in defeating the “homosexual conduct” prohibition, but the Texas Supreme Court decided that since, in their opinion, the law was rarely enforced, there was no reason for them to rule in the matter.

Lawrence’s legacy lives on in a scholarship named after him and Garner administered by the Houston GLBT Community Center. The scholarship “recognizes outstanding leadership shown by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Texas high school seniors and college
students by contributing to the cost of their continuing education. Selection is based upon character and need.” Tim Brookover, president of the community center, expressed sorrow at Lawrence’s passing “John was a hero, the community owes a great debt of gratitude to John and Tyrone for taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Brookover. “They could have easily allowed it to slip away, but they decided to stay and fight and that makes them heroes and role models.”

The application deadline for the John Lawrence/Tyrone Gardner Scholarship is March 2, 2012.

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Mr. Spock is gay… sort of (Zachary Quinto comes out)

I pride myself on pretty good gaydar, so I was slightly surprised today when I heard Zachary Quinto — who played Syler on the cult TV show Heroes (which I didn’t like) and was cast as Mr. Spock in the Star Trek reboot last year — has officially come out as gay.

I know quite a few gay men who will be excited by this news.

Quinto’s next onscreen roll is the lead in Margin Call, a drama about the economic meltdown, due out Friday. Good timing.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Nyad forced to call off record swim attempt

Record-holding swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, was forced to call off her attempt to become the first person to swim nonstop from Havana, Cuba, to the Florida Keys without a shark cage early this morning, according to this report from CNN.com. (Read my more extensive post from Monday about the effort here.)

Rough seas, shoulder pain and asthma ended her swim early, after she’d made it about halfway through the 103-mile distance in 29 hours. This is the second time Nyad has attempted the swim. The first time was in 1978 when she was 29. She swam 76 miles in about 42 hours — that time inside a shark cage — but had to call it off when high winds and rough seas pushed her off course and kept banging her into the sides the tank.

I am sad that Nyad had to call off the swim. I was really rooting for her to make it. But at the same time, I am amazed and inspired that she even tried to make the swim, and when you think about how far she got and how quickly, it is even more amazing. So Diana Nyad is still one of my new heroes.

Watch CNN’s report below.

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Lesbian couple’s heroic actions saved 40 teens during Norway massacre. Has the media ignored them because they’re lesbians?

Unless you have been hiding under a big ol’ rock somewhere since July 22, you probably know who Anders Behring Breivik is. He is the Norwegian right-wing extremist who bombed a Norwegian government building in Oslo, killing eight people, and then that same day headed over to Utoya where he massacred 69 people — mostly teens — attending the Norwegian Labor Party’s Workers Youth League camp there.

Toril Hansen and Hege Dalen

Breivik has since described the attacks as a necessary tactic in a war against a Muslim invasion of Europe.

You’ve probably heard of him. But have you heard of Toril Hansen and Hege Dalen? They are the married lesbian couple who were camping across the lake from Utoyan, eating their dinner, when Breivik opened fire on the young people there. When the women heard the gunshots and saw the screaming teenagers running into the lake to escape, they jumped into their boat and motored straight into the line of fire to try and rescue the young people. It was a small boat, so the couple made four trips into the danger zone, to pull the fleeing teenagers from the water or pick them up from the shore.

Other people camping in that same area, also rushed to their boats to help rescue the teens. European news site The Independent — which by the way reported on Hansen and Dalen, referring to them simply as a couple, including the information that they are a lesbian couple but not making any big deal about it — pointed out that the campers rescued a total of about 150 teenagers fleeing the shooter that day.

Hansen and Dalen rescued 40 teenagers during the shooting, even though Breivik was shooting at them and their boat, too, actually hitting the boat several times.

Hansen and Dalen are heroes, but you may not have heard anything about them, because most of the press hasn’t been reporting on their story. And some media outlets in Europe are wondering if that’s because they are, first of all, women, and secondly, lesbians.

(The Huffington Post and several U.S. LGBT blogs and news sites have been reporting on the couple, by the way.)

Pink News, an LGBT news site in the United Kingdom ran this story that briefly outlines the couple’s actions and then talks about the lack of media coverage. Mail Online, another U.K. news site, ran this similar report. The articles on both sites garnered plenty of comments along the lines, “These women are heroes, but why do you have to focus on their sexual orientation?”

The International Business Times also ran a report about Hansen and Dalen that questioned the lack of media coverage of their heroism. The first — and at the time I write this, only — commenter there pointed out that the women are responsible for rescuing about 10 percent of the 423 survivors, asking how such an “amazing” story has been overlooked by the media.

But this report in The Guardian, yet another U.K.-based news site, asks the questions most pointedly. Why have we hardly heard of Hansen and Dalen, the Guardian asks, then offers three possible — probable? — reasons:

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And then there was one: ‘Top Chef’ recap

Tre Wilcox

OK, gay Dallas foodies — our heroes are falling fast. Last night on Top Chef: All-Stars, Dallas chef Tre Wilcox was told to pack his knives and go after preparing an al dente, mushy risotto in an Italian cuisine challenge. (By the way, Tre, they were right: Risotto needs to cascade like creamy polenta, not plop like over-cooked grits.) That means there are no gays and only one Texan — last season’s fan favorite Tiffany Derry — remaining in the mix. And I have a feeling about her …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Gay intern Daniel Hernandez, who saved Gabrielle Giffords’ life, on CNN

On Sunday morning Instant Tea broke the news that Daniel Hernandez Jr., the intern credited with saving the life of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after Saturday’s shooting, is gay.

Unfortunately, just a few hours after we posted this exclusive story, our website went down for maintenance. Talk about bad timing!

Anyhow, we thought we’d follow up on our little scoop by sharing Hernandez’s interview with CNN, in which he refuses to take credit for saving Giffords’ life.

“People have been referring to me as a hero. I don’t think that’s something that I am,” Hernandez tells CNN. “I think the people who are heroes are the people like Gabby who are public servants and who have dedicated their lives to public service. So it just makes me happy that I was able to help her in any way that I could.”

Spoken like a true gay Latino hero.

—  John Wright

I’m getting tired of Republicans being the heroes on DADT

I hate it even more when they’re right.

From the Washington Post:

In a meeting with gay activists two weeks ago, Obama said he remains committed to ending the military ban this year, and Cooper said he urged the president and his aides to more actively seek out GOP lawmakers willing to vote for repeal.

“If they’re serious about repeal, they’ll start picking up the phone,” Cooper said. “They may be surprised to find how many votes might be out there.”

Remember, when McCain was filibustering DADT in September, the President didn’t pick up the phone to lobby a single Senator.  He did, however, find time to calls the WNBA champs that same day.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin