“Head Figure Head” more about journalism than about Gov. Rick Perry’s sex life

Head Figure Head, the new e-book from Glen Maxey, details the author’s arduous and frustrating six-month effort to investigate rumors of Gov. Rick Perry’s gay sex life. Maxey served as executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (now Equality Texas) during Perry’s tenure as a state representative, later serving for 12 years as a state representative, spanning Perry’s time as agricultural commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor. Of all the people who’ve attempted to look into the rumors of Perry’s trysts with men, Maxey is perhaps best positioned to get to the truth, and takes great pains to ensure we are aware of that fact.

The book is the narrative of Maxey’s research, assisted by a journalist from a national media outlet. Like almost every character in the book other than Maxey and Perry himself, “the Journalist” is referred to only as a pseudonym. Maxey and the Journalist begin their search for proof in June 2011 as rumors of Perry’s impending presidential bid are widely circulating. Immediately the pair find that almost every gay man in Austin has a friend who has a friend who claims to have slept with Perry. For the next three months they track those leads and come excruciatingly close to breaking the story.

—  admin

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

Ever wonder why gay or lesbian teens kill themselves at higher rates?

So much for the myth constantly being paraded by the right that gay and lesbian teens kill themselves at a higher rate because they are innately unhappy with their supposed choice of being gay or lesbian. A new study from Yale’s “The Office Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics” proves society punishes them simply for being who they are.

Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment.

The study, is a welcomed one, when there has been such a focus on why gay teens tend to commit suicide at higher rates:

The study brings punishment differences for gay teens into focus at a time when public concern about torment and bullying is heightened. In September, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off a bridge to his death after his gay sexual encounter was allegedly filmed by a roommate on a webcam and announced on Twitter.

Andrew Barnett, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, in Washington, says it best:

“This is a symptom of school administrators, teachers, court officials, police officers – anyone who works with youth – not necessarily being equipped to handle the challenges” faced by the teens in their care, he said. “It’s much easier to punish the youth than to work with them and figure out why they may keep getting in fights and what is leading to this behavior.”

My answer why gay and lesbian kids get picked on more than straight kids? Because they can. Therefore, the adults in the LGBT community, who know all too well how this behavior plays out for LGBT teens need to be their advocates every chance we get. We are their only hope, and in the words of Harvey Milk, “We’ve got to give them hope.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Gay Students Report Higher Discrimination on College Campuses

Peacesignvassar

Many LGBT people see higher education as a place to come out, to spread their proverbial wings and explore a wide world without fear.

Unfortunately for many, that's not the case, for a new study from the non-profit Campus Pride shows that 23% of LGBT students, faculty and staff from colleges and universities have reported anti-gay harassment.

Just as worrisome: 33% of LGBT staff, faculty and students have almost left their institution over harassment or a "challenging climate," the survey reports, and "all GLBT students rated their campus environment less positively than did “straight” students." Many Americans, however, won't see this as a matter for national concern.

It is….

The President and his administration have made multiple attempts to highlight the nation's flailing academic status amongst the international community. "For years, we’ve recognized that education is a prerequisite for prosperity," said the President at the National Urban League Conference this summer.

"And yet, we’ve tolerated a status quo where America lags behind other nations. Just last week, we learned that in a single generation, America went from number one to 12th in college completion rates for young adults. Used to be number one, now we’re number 12." Why isn't the general public clamoring for more education reform?

Though the general American may not be impressed by news that 43% of transgender students and 13% of all LGBT fear for their safety on their respective campuses, if our nation's school systems can't accommodate LGBT communities, an ever-growing, ever-important demographic, then those schools are doing our nation a disfavor: a country can't thrive when such a large proportion of the population feels alienated from the education system.

The survey isn't all doom and gloom, however: Campus Pride also pointed to benefits of coming out on campus: "The 'more out' GLBT students reported more active and collaborative learning than their 'straight' and 'less out' peers."

The lesson here: honesty truly is the best policy, even under trying circumstances.

Read the rest of this study at Campus Pride.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

It’s suicide prevention week and LGBT youth are at higher risk

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and today is The Trevor Project Day and World Suicide Prevention Day. Below is a video from the We Give a Damn series that reminds us that, while LGBTQ youth are nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide, it isn’t because they’re gay, bisexual or transgender, but because they feel alone and without a safe, accepting place to turn.

We all have a part to play in making sure no one feels alone because of their sexual orientation or identity, and our leaders need to continue to push for legislation that no longer makes LGBT people feel isolated and inferior.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright