#IAmDone stages rally against pastor’s hate speech in Fort Worth


About 50 people organized by #IAmDone, a new direct action group created in the wake of the June 12 murders at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, staged a peaceful protest across the street from Steadfast Baptist Church in Sansom City on Sunday morning, June 26, speaking out against hateful comments made by the pastor of the church.

The main goal of Sunday’s protest, said organizer Karen McCronklin, was “to make a peaceful response to a hateful statement.”

On Thursday, June 16 — just five days after a gunman armed with an assault rifle murdered 49 men and women at Pulse, and injured more than 50 others — Steadfast Baptist Pastor Donnie Romero posted a video on YouTube, in which he defended hate speech by another homophobic preacher, Roger Jimenez of Sacramento, Calif., and said that the men and women killed in Orlando deserved to die.
“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles,” Romero sad in his video. “They’re the scum of the earth and the earth is a better place now and I’ll take it a step further. … I’ll pray to God like I did this morning, and I will again tonight, that God will finish the job that that man started.”

That kind of hatefulness, said McCrocklin and others at the rally, cannot go unchallenged anymore.”When this kind of hate speech happens, we’re going to take a stand against it,” organizer Steve Atkinson said.

After #IAmDone first announced plans to protest outside Romero’s church, the pastor said publicly that he and others in his congregations carry guns and would not hesitate to use them to defend their church. That put the #IAmDone organizers, already on high alert for violence in the wake of Orlando, in an even more protective stance, and even more determined to meet Romero’s hate with peace.

Protest organizers worked with police in Fort Worth and Sansom Park to make sure the protest was as peaceful and safe as possible. The group then gathered in a parking lot about a block away from the church and marched with a police escort to a spot just across the Jacksoboro highway from the church.

Protestors sang “Jesus Loves Me” as they waved a rainbow flag and a transgender Pride flag, along with posters bearing messages of pride and love.

One poster bore photos of iconic Dallas couple Jack Evans and George Harris, and the words “This is what love looks like.” Evans and Harris were together more than 50s years, and were the first same-sex couple legally married in Dallas County last year. Evans died Friday after a lengthy illness.

In addition to chants and singing, McCrocklin read aloud the names of those killed in Orlando and the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle with Brite Divinity School at TCU led the group in prayer.

Among those attending the protest were Dale Blackwood and Clint Nelson, Sansom Park residents who have been together 17 years. The owners of the dry cleaners they use — Morenos — brought a flat of water for protestors, as did the owners of River Oaks Café. Alan Small, another Sansom Park resident, brought his three children to join the protest.

Another man, who identified himself as a former Baptist minister who is now an atheist, said he hadn’t known about the planned protest when he decided to come and protest Romero’s remarks. “I was really surprised to see all these people here,” he said. “I expected to be here by myself. But I am glad everyone came out.”

#IAmDone was created to be able to organize quickly to answer hate with peaceful direct action. Organizers said they expect to stay busy once the Texas Legislature convenes in January. Most of those involved — McCrocklin and her partner, Marla Custard, Atkinson and his husband, Ted Kincaid, spouses Patti Fink and Erin Moore, and others — are longtime activists in the LGBT community.

Check the #IAmDone Facebook page for information.

See photos of the rally below.

—  Tammye Nash

Obama marks IDAHOT with statement


The DFW Sisters at IDAHOT in 2011

Today (May 17) is IDAHOT, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The last IDAHOT event in Dallas took place in 2011 at the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas. This year, no events are planned in the U.S., according to the organization’s website, however events are planned around the world and President Barack Obama issued a statement:

Statement by the President on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

“On May 17, Americans and people around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity.

“Our nation is committed to the principle that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. Advancing this goal has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and I am proud that my administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world. I am also proud of the great strides that our nation has made at home in recent years, including that we now have marriage equality as a result of last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision.

“At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad.‎ In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination and violence. All nations and all communities can, and must, do better. Fortunately, human rights champions and good citizens around the world continue to strive towards this goal every day by lifting up the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights. The United States honors their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for human dignity.”

—  David Taffet

North Carolina’s new homophobic travel ad

Screen shot 2016-03-25 at 2.49.00 PMEarlier this week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law one of the most oppressive anti-LGBT bills we’ve seen. The new law tells people where to pee and invalidates any of those pesky equality ordinances the state’s municipalities might dare to pass. (This means the ordinance recently passed in Charlotte is gone.)

Now the state, I think it’s the state, well maybe not … released a new homo-free tourism commercial.

—  David Taffet

A victory for freedom: Pacquiao is free to gay-bash… and Nike is free to declare a Pacman-free zone

mannypacquiaoYou may have heard yesterday that boxer Manny Pacquiao, when asked about his stance on gay marriage, made some, shall we say… inelegant comments. OK, they were homophobic … OK, Pacman was a total douche bag.

“If we approve male on male, female on female [relationships], then man is worse than animals,” he said during an interview.

Those comments took him from “bad-boy” to “Bad, boy!”

Ironically enough, as is often the case with men so uncomfortable with their own sexuality that they feel threatened at the thought women do not find them desirable while other men might (I’m looking at the corpse of Nino Scalia, natch), Pacquiao nonetheless used the animal kingdom to justify his homophobia. “Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female?” he croaked out inarticulately.

Thing is, he has a right to say what he thinks. Truth is, I wonder why anyone would give a flying ef what some punch-drunk boxer — himself barely above the lower primates by profession — would think about the issues of the day. No one could possibly believe his policies are relevant to our daily lives. So, let him be a homophobe … though he should know what the price of his free speech is. (Hint: Turns out, it ain’t “free.”)

Earlier today, Nike, with whom Pacquiao has had an endorsement deal since 2006, exercised its own First Amendment right — the right to association with those it chooses. “We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent” Nike said in a statement. (Memo to Manny: “Abhorrent” means “bad.”) “Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. … We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”

Manny tried to back-peddle, saying he apologized to “homosexuals” if he “hurt” them, though not really backing off his same-sex marriage position. (P.S. Manny: Nike used the term LGBT community; we like that more than “homosexuals.” The same way you prefer “boxer” to “brain damaged punching bag.”)

Honestly, this is nothing new, so I wonder why Nike didn’t sever its deal with Pacman in 2012, when he also opposed gay marriage publicly. At the time, his opponent Floyd Mayweather came out in support of same-sex marriage. “I’m an American citizen and I believe people should live their life the way they want,” Mayweather said then; yesterday, he again reiterated his support for gay rights.

Manny really should be more judicious about whom he attacks. Anyone who makes a living standing half-naked in silk shorts while grunting and sweating with another adult man really has no room to criticize. Bye, Felicia.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Six stabbed at Jerusalem Pride

Yishai Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel today, left, and in 2005 from Israeli TV via Twitter

At least six people were stabbed today at Jerusalem’s Pride parade. One woman is in critical condition.

The person accused is a heredi, or Orthodox, man who staged a similar attack at Jerusalem Pride in 2005. He was recently released from prison.

While Pride in secular Tel Aviv in June attracts about 200,000 people annually, Pride in more religious Jerusalem remains controversial. But thousands of people participated in this year’s march that had heavy police protection.

Police quickly wrestled the man down, according to a report in HaAretz.

The attacker was identified as Yishai Schlissel. His original sentence was for 12 years, but was reduced to 10 years on appeal.

In response to the stabbing of six people at the Jerusalem Pride Parade earlier today, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

We are horrified and saddened by the stabbing of six people at today’s Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. Even more chilling is the news that the assailant was previously convicted of committing the same crime a decade ago. Participants in the Gay Pride Parade, a celebration of love and liberty, should never need to worry about being victims of a hate crime. Our sympathies and prayers are with those attacked, and we stand in solidarity with all in the Israeli LGBT community.  We call on Israeli law enforcement to ensure the perpetrator is never again allowed to cause harm and on policymakers to combat the troubling persistence of hate crimes.

—  David Taffet

U Dallas grad condemns commencement address, calls on school president to apologize for speaker

Brent bozell

Brent Bozell

A cum laude graduate at the University of Dallas‘ 2015 spring graduation ceremonies is calling of UD President Thomas W. Keefe to apologize for a bigoted rant of a commencement address delivered at the school’s recent spring 2015 graduation ceremony, or let LGBT students know they aren’t welcome at the school in the first place.

University of Dallas, a private Catholic liberal arts university in Irving, was included on The Princeton Review’s 2013 list of the “most gay-unfriendly” schools in the country. But Maxwell Frazier, who just received a degree in science, said he heard a speech by Keefe four years ago that convinced him to attend the school, despite it’s reputation as homophobic and conservative. Frazier said that Keefe had pledged, “Everyone, regardless of background or creed, was to be made welcome and at liberty to share their thoughts.”

But after the school invited right-wing activist/writer Brent Bozell to deliver the spring commencement address, Frazier said called on Keefe to apologize and establish a gay-straight alliance at the school, or “make a clear statement that we are not wanted and will not be accommodated for at UD. To be anywhere in between is to fail your entire student body. You cannot deceive and mislead people into thinking an environment is healthy for them if you are not dedicated to fulfilling that promise.”

Bozell, who has founded a number of right-wing “media” organizations, has had articles published in a number of newspapers and magazines and is a regular on Fox News’ Hannity. But last year, former employees of his Media Research Center claimed that Bozwell pays a ghostwriter to write his columns and books, at least one newspaper dropped his regular column.

Bozwell is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, during a Fox News broadcast, he said President Obama looks like “a skinny ghetto crackhead.”

Frazier said Bozell turned “what should have been a celebratory speech into an aggressive and politically charged tirade. … He obliged our student body to willingly break anti-discrimination laws and be proud to face criminal charges for discriminating against homosexuals. He very clearly made me out to be the enemy of my entire graduating class. He lamented a mediocre reality show being canned by its network for its patriarch’s homophobic commentary, and a moment later called for us to stand against South Park for portraying the pope the way it portrays everyone, satirically ridiculous. The hypocrisy and textbook homophobia were prevalent.”

Frazier’s “open letter” to Keefe is available online at Change.org as a petition. View it here. In a comment on the Change.org website, one U Dallas graduate said he was ashamed by the school’s intolerance and noted when he attended, former U.S. senator and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was invited to speak at a commencement ceremony.

—  Tammye Nash

Lesbian news briefs: Homophobic principal; homophobic pediatrician; homophobic day care

Louisiana school board president questions principal’s anti-lesbian ruling

Screen shot 2015-04-06 at 3.51.28 PM

Claudetteia Love

Monroe City School Board President Rodney McFarland said he has called a meeting with School Superintendent Brent Vidrine after Carroll High School Principal Patrick Taylor warned an openly lesbian student she would not be allowed to wear a tux to her prom.

According to the News Star, Carroll High School senior Claudetteia Love was going to boycott her prom after Taylor told her she could not wear a tuxedo to the event.

Love’s mother, Geraldine Jackson, said she Taylor told her that members of the faculty “working the prom told him they weren’t going to work the prom if [girls] were going to wear tuxes. That’s his exact words: ‘Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.”

Taylor reportedly said his decision was based upon the dress code and had nothing to do with Love’s sexuality. But McFarland wasn’t so sure.

“As school board president, I don’t agree with Carroll banning her from her prom just because of what she wants to wear. Tthat’s discrimination,” McFarland said. “As far as I know, there is no Monroe City School Board policy saying what someone has to wear to attend the prom. You can’t just go making up policies.”

Love is an honors student who will attend Jackson State University next year on a full academic scholarship. She said she was upset by the controversy, especially because the school had previously held her up as a shining example to the student body.

Love said she is concerned for girls “in lower grades than me, … I don’t want them to feel like they are less of a person because people don’t accept them.”


Pediatrician refuses to treat infant with lesbian parents

Michigan pediatrician Dr. Vesna Roi, despite having initially agreed to treat the infant daughter of Krista and Jami Contreras, backed out at the last minute because the child’s parents are lesbians, according to Inquisitor.com.

The couple said that Roi, a doctor with Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, Mich., had been highly recommended by their midwife, and they had met with her before their daughter, Bay, was born. They said Roi didn’t express any doubts or misgivings then, they said.

But when they took their daughter in for her first appointment, another doctor greeted them, telling them that “Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for [your daughter],’”Jami Contreras told The Washington Post. “Dr. Karam told us she didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”

The two women said they were upset, hurt, embarrassed and humiliated. Jami Contreras said, “As far as we know Bay doesn’t have a sexual orientation yet so I’m not really sure what that matters. We’re not your patient — she’s your patient. And the fact is that your job is to keep babies healthy and you can’t keep a baby healthy that has gay parents?”

The Contreras continued with that first appointment but immediately began searching for another pediatric office, making sure that everyone they subsequently spoke to  knew up front that they were lesbians and would have no problems with that.

Several months after their appointment, Dr. Roi sent the couple a letter explaining, “After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients.

“I felt that it was an exciting time for the two of you and I felt that if I came in and shared my decision it would take away much of the excitement. That was my mistake. I should not have made that assumption and I apologize for that.

“We do not keep prenatal information once we have our meetings so I had no way to contact you. I should have spoken with you directly that day…please know that I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice.”

According to CBS Detroit, there are currently no laws that protect LGBT families from discrimination.


Manitoba day care denies service to lesbian couple

Manitoba Attorney General James Allum says he is outraged by allegations a lesbian couple was denied a Winnipeg daycare spot for their baby girl because of their sexual orientation, according to The Canadian Press.

Allum said no one in this day and age should be denied service on that grounds. “That’s simply outrageous. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Agata Durkalec and her partner, Kate Taylor, say they are filing a human rights complaint after they say they were denied a Winnipeg daycare spot for their baby girl because of their sexual orientation.

The couple moved to Winnipeg from Ontario recently and began looking for a daycare for their 10-month-old daughter.

They thought they were in luck when they found an opening at a home daycare, but allege the daycare operator withdrew the offer in writing when she found out they are lesbians.

“My heart goes out to both of you but I know where my families stand on the subject, therefore it would not be a good fit,” the woman allegedly wrote to Durkalec. “I hope everything works out for you and your family.”

The couple, saying they were stunned by the response, picked up papers from the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and will be filing a complaint, Durkalec said.

Although they are no longer interested in putting their daughter in the home daycare, Durkalec said it should be made clear that any discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong.

Allum said the allegations would be best handled by the human rights commission.

—  Tammye Nash

Prestonwood church, which has a history of sex abuse, is opposing Plano ordinance


Prestonwood Baptist Church, competing with First Baptist Church of Dallas for the title of area’s most homophobic

Prestonwood Baptist Church has become the center of activity when it comes to collecting signatures to repeal the new Plano nondiscrimination ordinance and capture the title of most homophobic church in the Metroplex from First Baptist Church of Dallas.

That defender of religious freedom may also be remembered as the church where a pastor had to resign in 2008 because he was caught soliciting sex from a minor.

Sr. Pastor Jack Graham, who is spearheading the signature collection effort for the Plano recall, accepted the resignation of Pastor Joe Barron after a 2008 sex sting.

“Barron was charged … with online solicitation of a minor,” according to an AP story from the time. “Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old minister for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.”

After connecting with “her” online, the Prestonwood minister drove 200 miles to meet her in Bryan. He was arrested and released on $7,000 bail.

In 2009, he was sentenced to seven years in prison after reaching a plea deal. He had to serve a quarter of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole and then had to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

While that was the most famous case of child abuse, there have been other allegations.

In the late 1980s, minister John Langworthy was dismissed after charges of child abuse. Langworthy moved to Clinton, Miss. where he served at Morrison Heights Southern Baptist for two decades

“There, he recently received a 50-year suspended sentence for molesting multiple boys as young as 6,” according to Baptist News Global. “But Langworthy avoided prison time because, in the plea bargain process, prosecutors were concerned about the statute of limitations.”

A Facebook group has formed called People Against Prestonwood’s Silence on Allegations of Sexual Abuse.

In December, referring to Langworthy, they posted:

“It still seems unbelievable that Jack Graham was a 2-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention and has been given a complete pass (so far) for his role in allowing a predator to go on a multi-decade rampage raping children across Mississippi. Truly jaw dropping when you think about it.”

—  David Taffet

When Gov. Perry makes homophobic comments, it’s not news


Gov. Rick Perry has oral sex with a corny dog

I’ve had a number of people send me copies of articles about Gov. Rick Perry making homophobic comments in San Francisco this week. They wondered: Did I miss it?

Nope. Didn’t miss it. Just didn’t think Perry making stupid comments rated as news anymore.

We’ve covered Perry’s self-hating homophobia. Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, who served in the Texas House of Representatives with Perry, even wrote a book about Perry’s closet. For anyone interested, the book’s still available on Amazon.

So when Perry equates homosexuality to alcoholism, we have to wonder. He was in San Francisco. Was he once again that tempted? Overwhelmed? Unable to control either his drinking or his libido?

But is Perry’s stupidity news? No. But we are excited about another Rick Perry run for president. Please run. Please. It’ll be so much fun. Even if you don’t run, could you please, please at least have a debate with Hillary?


Gov. Rick Perry’s Brokeback Mountain ad from his last presidential bid

—  David Taffet

Don’t worry, Dale — we think you’re a hunk


Dale Hansen shown here as a young hunk.

As long as Dale Hansen brought up the subject, we’ll say it. Dale, at Dallas Voice, we voted that you still got it. You are officially one red-hot piece of beefcake.

When Michael Sam came out in February, Hansen said the NFL was ready for a gay player. Apparently, he was the only sportscaster in the country who said anything like that because the commentary got noticed nationally and landed him on Ellen.

Once Sam was drafted, Hansen weighed in again. His commentary is below. Hansen said he can’t believe there are 248 college players better than Sam. He also mentioned he’s worked with lots of gay guys at Channel 8 over the years, and he’s never gotten hit on by any of them. He wonders if it’s just because gay men tend to be professional at work or if he’s just not that attractive.

So, Dale, we want to assure you it’s just how professional your colleagues have been. You are one hot hunk, and we love you. Why, we’re even nominating you to be grand marshal of this year’s Pride parade in September.

I bet when Hansen meets Sam, if Sam gives him a hug and thanks him for being the only sports reporter in the country to fully support him from the beginning, Hansen is just secure enough to take it as nothing more than a sincere thank you.

And a note to Sam’s new team: He’s not going to hit on you. He already has a pretty great boyfriend.

—  David Taffet