Applause: Broadgay at Winspear

Lexus series adds queer event to upcoming season of musicals

What’s gay about ‘Jersey Boys’? The GLBT Broadway subscriber series at the Winspear will tell you.

The Lexus Broadway Series offers a muscular lineup of shows that feature classic stories and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. But they go one step further in the 2011-12 season with the stage equivalent of special edition DVDs, featuring enhanced performances and pre-show engagements for subscribers — including its gay patrons.

Dallas Voice Life+Style Editor Arnold Wayne Jones will host a conversation every second-week Tuesday about 45 minutes before each show. The series, called GLBT Broadway, will highlight the appeal for queer audiences for the shows in the series. The discussion will touch on issues of gender identity and sexuality in regards to the show and the teams behind them. Some — such as the season lead-off, Hair — might be easier to analyze from a gay perspective than, say, Jersey Boys, but that’s part of the fun of the series.

The season starts with Hair, which won the Tony in 2009 for best musical revival. Youth in 1960s America are all about peace, love and understanding — including nudity and homosexuality — in this iconic musical. Sept. 20–Oct. 2.

The epic Les Miserables follows with a new 25th anniversary production. Dec. 20–Jan. 1.

Best musical Tony winner In the Heights details the immigrant experience as characters find a new life in their new country. March 13–25.

Alt-rockers Green Day went Broadway with American Idiot, touted as a mashup of a rock concert and staged musical. May 8–20.

The season concludes with Jersey Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Classic hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” tell the tale of this well-accomplished music group from the ‘50s. June 12–July 15.

Other subscriber series include Broadway University, hosted by SMU theater professor Kevin Hofeditz which will explore themes of the show and its place in theater history (every second Saturday matinee) and Broadway Uncorked (every second-week Wednesday), where an expert sommelier will host a wine tasting based on the show. We wonder what American Idiot’s wine will be.

— Rich Lopez

For more information on the Lexus Broadway Series and its enhanced performances, visit ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s Brewing: With Perry about to enter race, Bachmann steps up her anti-gay game

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. With Texas Gov. Rick Perry about to enter the GOP presidential race, Michele Bachmann is stepping up her anti-gay game. Polls show that Perry and Bachmann are likely to compete for the critical evangelical vote. So, with Perry’s day of prayer happening Saturday in Houston, Bachmann released a list of 100 pastors who’ve endorsed her on Friday and set out to attend two evangelical church services on Sunday. And one of those services just so happened to be virulently anti-gay, with the pastor denouncing homosexuality as “immoral” and “unnatural” and playing a video featuring a man who claims to have prayed away the gay. Watch the hilarious video featuring the “ex-gay” man, Adam Hood, below.

2. The polls say Perry and Bachmann will compete for the evangelical vote, but Rick “frothy mix” Santorum isn’t about to throw in the towel, so to speak. CNN reports that on Monday, Santorum’s campaign launched a pre-emptive strike against Perry based on the news that the Texas governor will confirm his plans to run for president on Saturday in South Carolina. “If reports are true, then I want to be the first to welcome Governor Perry to the race — but it’s too bad he chose to ignore Iowa,” Santorum said in a statement. “I guess we’ll all see each other soon on the trail. I wonder which version of marriage he’ll be ‘fine’ with in South Carolina – obviously, not the same version he was ‘fine’ with in New York.”

3. Here’s something both Perry and Bachmann — but not Santorum — can include on their list of anti-gay credentials: Their home states, Texas and Minnesota, are both among the 18 where where sodomy laws remain on the books despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2003 declaring them unconstitutional. Equality Matters posted a detailed report about the sodomy laws on Monday saying that not only do they remain on the books, but in some cases they continue to be enforced. Scary.

—  John Wright

USU holds online study on LGBT Mormons

According to the Associated Press, Evan Clayson, a Houstonian, is participating in an online study on gay Mormons with nearly 1,000 others. It is believed to be the first study to focus specifically on the gay Mormon demographic, said Renee Galliher, who is leading the study.

Boyd K. Packer

Clayson came out as gay to his Mormon congregation from the pulpit in Houston earlier this year. Like many gay Mormons, Clayson wasn’t so keen on outing himself due to the church’s stance on homosexuality.

Like many faiths, Mormonism teaches not only that relationships outside of a traditional marriage are a sin, but that any homosexual feelings whatsoever are sins all on their own. Boyd K. Packer, next in line for the faith’s presidency, said he believed gays could change their orientation through prayer.

Researchers at Utah State University are hosting the online study, which is open to Mormons of the whole LGBT spectrum.

“You’ll see that we’re asking them to talk with us about a whole range of experiences both related to and unrelated to their religiosity,” said Galliher, who is neither gay nor Mormon.

They hope the data gathered will provide understanding and insight that can be beneficial to both Mormon church leaders and families. It also aims to separate the truth from the myth in the gay Mormon experience.

“We’ve tried to develop a survey that was framed neutrally enough that people would be able to tell their stories,” said Galliher, “whatever their story is.”

—  admin

March against LGBT-phobia set in Dallas

Daniel Cates

Event is part of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and will include candlelight vigil and speakers

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Activists will gather at the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas as part of the worldwide recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, known as IDAHO, on May 17.

The event began in 2004 but this is the first time Dallas will participate.

“It’s celebrated around the world and we’ve never had one here in Dallas,” said organizer Daniel Cates.

The May 17 date was chosen by the Paris-based IDAHO committee: Although U.S. groups like the American Psychological Association had already removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, the World Health Organization did so on May 17, 1990.

That was a major step for the LGBT community in many countries in gaining equality based on sexual orientation.

Cates said that the day is celebrated differently in different parts of the world.

“Some places it’s as simple as showing a film or having an art exhibit,” he said.

In countries where a Pride Day celebration is banned, a demonstration against homophobia might be permitted.

In Dallas, Cates said, “We’re doing a candlelight vigil, not a loud, screaming march. Chicago is doing a boisterous protest.”

Cates said the march through downtown would be on sidewalks with police escorts but would not close streets. The route is be short, about a half mile, Cates estimated.

He said the second Stonewall March set for June 25 will also be held downtown and will again close streets, as it did last year.

“The two events seem to be attracting two different groups,” Cates said.

He called the IDAHO event a more mature crowd.

“The march appeals to a younger crowd who wants to know, ‘Why the hell don’t I have my rights?’” he said.

Cates said the Dallas IDAHO vigil will concentrate on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Other cities have expanded their focus to include other groups also experiencing discrimination.

He cited Islamophobia as an issue that will be addressed in some places.

The march returns to the JFK Memoril where speakers will address the crowd, including Maeve O’Connor, a transgender member of the Resource Center Dallas board of directors. Her three-minute speech at Dallas County Commissioners Court is reportedly the story that convinced John Wiley Price to vote for the county nondiscrimination policy to gender identity and expression.

Elizabeth Jayne Webb, who is an event organizer as well as speaker, is an organizer of Walk for Choice.

She recently planned the Slut Walk to call for an end to blaming the victims in cases of in rape and violence.

Rainbow LULAC President Jesse Garcia will speak about building bridges between the Hispanic and LGBT communities. He hosts a morning talk show on KNON.

Other speakers will include Davlin Kerekes, an activist with the International Socialist Organization Dallas Branch, and Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor of religion at Brite Divinity School and theologian-in-residence at Cathedral of Hope. Sprinkle is also the author of Unfinished Lives, a book about LGBT hate crime victims.

Cates said the evening will also include songs and speakers will be followed by an open mic.

—  John Wright

Ugandan lawmakers hold hearings on anti-gay bill

Supporter says death penalty provision is ‘something we have moved away from,’ but measure expected to pass if it’s voted on this week

GODFREY OLUKYA | Associated Press

KAMPALA, Uganda — A Ugandan parliament committee on Monday held a second day of hearings on a controversial anti-gay bill that attracted international condemnation for its harsh penalties. Lawmakers indicated the bill could be voted on this week.

The bill was first proposed in 2009 but made little progress after a storm of criticism over a death penalty provision in the original bill. A committee meeting last Friday was its first public airing since its proposal 18 months ago.

The bill’s author, David Bahati, told The Associated Press last month that the death penalty provision in the bill was “something we have moved away from.” The bill is now undergoing debate and negotiations, so a new version would likely be presented before a final vote is held.

One of the bill’s backers, an anti-gay pastor named Martin Ssempa, told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Monday that he does not support the death penalty provision. He said instead that gays should face up to seven years in prison.

“The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society,” Ssempa told the committee.

Retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said the bill will not stop homosexuality but would instead turn Uganda into a police state and could increase the spread of HIV/AIDS because gay Ugandans would fear seeking treatment.

Senyonjo also disputed a common claim by backers of the anti-gay bill, who say school children are being recruited by gays.

“They naturally become so,” he said.

Homosexuality is highly unpopular in Uganda, and pastors in this Christian country speak out loudly against the practice. Bahati has said he thinks the bill would become law if voted on by legislators.

Gay activists say anti-gay sentiment in Uganda has increased since the bill’s introduction. More gays are being harassed because of media attention and because church leaders have been preaching for the bill’s passage.

Bahati’s original bill carried harsh provisions. The original bill would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. “Serial offenders” also would face capital punishment. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act would face life imprisonment.

Anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality” would face seven years in prison. Landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals also could get seven years.

Some, all or none of those provision could change during parliament’s negotiations.

The New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said in a statement last week that it was concerned that the “heinous” piece of legislation could become law.

“Governments, world religious and political leaders, and HIV prevention experts have all appealed to Ugandan parliamentarians to put their distaste and fear of LGBT people aside and use their better judgment,” said Cary Alan Johnson, the group’s executive director. LGBT stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.”

Johnson said the bill was being debated now to divert attention from recent political demonstrations in Uganda that have attracted police crackdowns. Human Rights Watch says security forces killed nine people in the recent marches.

Stephen Tashobya, the head of the parliament committee, said it is time legislators give the bill priority. He said a report on the bill would be ready by today and could be presented to parliament by the end of the week.

“Due to public demand the committee has decided to deal with bill,” Tashobya said. “The bill has generated a lot of interest from members of the public and members of parliament and that is why we spared some time deal with before this parliament ends.”

Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay rights group, said that if parliament takes up the bill he believes it will be passed. However, parliament’s session ends this week and it is not clear if there is enough time to deal with the legislation this session.

Bahati has said the bill can be dealt with next session if parliament runs out of time.

—  John Wright

Farley Granger dead at 85

Farley Granger, the 1940s matinee idol best known for two Hitchcock films — Strangers of a Train and Rope — died this week. He was 85.

Granger was openly bisexual, though only so after his film career had ended. In his 2007 autobiography Include Me Out, he was open about his personal life, saying he had affairs and/or relationships with Shelley Winters, Ava Gardner, Aurthur Laurents and Leonard Bernstein. Granger’s partner, Robert Calhoun, died in 2008.

Granger’s orientation is interesting in that the two films he is best known for contain obvious suggestions of homosexuality. In Rope, Granger and John Dall play characters inspired by Leopold and Loeb, who get a sexual thrill planning the murder of a friend. Because of the Hays Office at the time, they could not be explicit about the gay angle and it became subtext. In Strangers of a Train, an apparently gay man (Robert Walker) becomes obsessed with Granger and swaps (or thinks he does) murders with him.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

AUDIO: Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos on gay Democrats

Dan Ramos on Stonewall Democrats, homosexuality by gharman

Daniel Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, has been doing a great job keeping us posted on the Dan Ramos situation. If you’ll remember, Ramos is the chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party who recently compared gay Democrats to “termites” and the “fuckin’ Nazi Party.” Just today, the San Antonio Current posted some audio from the interview in which Ramos’ originally made his anti-gay comments — in response to Ramos’ allegations that the newspaper misrepresented what he said. Also, after the jump are several statements condemning Ramos forwarded by Graney over the last few days, including from state representatives, a Congressman, the San Antonio mayor and the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats.

—  John Wright

Asher Brown’s suicide inspires ‘Bring Your Gay Teen to Church’ event in Houston

LGBT-affirming churches in the Houston area are participating in “Bring Your Gay Teen to Church” on Sunday, which aims to counter negative messages gay youth often receive from religion. The Houston Chronicle reports:

“We think it’s important for families to know there’s a safe place to go to worship,” said Jim Bankston, senior minister at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. “Families who have gay members want to make sure they feel welcome in church and aren’t bashed in any way.”

Joanna Crawford, a seminary student at the Houston Graduate School of Theology, said the idea came up after the suicide last fall of Asher Brown, a Cypress-area eighth-grader who killed himself after what his parents said were years of bullying and taunts that he was gay.

It is a project of the Houston Clergy Council, formed last year to allow churches to work together on shared concerns.

“None of us knew Asher, but we felt if we could get families into our churches, where they have support, where they feel loved for who they are, not in spite of it, something good could come of that,” Crawford said.

Organized religion has had a complicated relationship with homosexuality.

To see a full list of churches participating and learn more about the event, go here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Anti-gay activist calling for boycott of Chili’s; Maryland marriage marathon

1. In response to the gay boycott of Chick-fil-A, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is calling for a boycott of Dallas-based Chili’s. LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, cites Chili’s support of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which he accuses of promoting polyamory: “If you want to take a small step to stand up for family and marriage, take your family out to Chick-fil-A — and drive right by when you see a Chili’s,” LaBarbera says.

2. A Maryland Senate committee heard more than seven hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. The president of the Senate puts the bill’s chances of passage at 60- 70 percent, and a vote could come next week. Maryland would be the sixth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage.

3.

—  John Wright

In 6 months, 1,300 same-sex marriages in Argentina

Casa Rosada, or Red House, is the presidential palace where the Argentine marriage law was signed six months ago

In the first six months since the same-sex marriage law was signed, almost 1,300 couples have registered through the registry office. And the wedding rate is rising, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarin.

Clarin reports that on Jan. 15, the Argentina Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (FALGBT) had recorded 1,283 marriages in all provinces, although the distribution is not proportional, since most occur in large urban centers.

Recording the most marriages was the province of Buenos Aires (490) and the city of Buenos Aires (465). Other regions reporting include Santa Fe with 90, Cordova with 85 and Mendoza with 47. They say “sexual diversity in the more conservative provinces takes more time.”

Of the couples married, 70 percent are males who have been together 12-15 years. Possible explanations from FALGBT are because their lives are already consolidated and for health reasons they need to take care of each other. Younger couples prefer to try living together before marriage.

“Today there is no rush, because it is a right and may be exercised at any time,” says the head of FALGBT.

He said the first to marry were militants who brought the issue to the public. But now that the law has been in effect for awhile, many more are taking advantage and the rate of couples marrying is increasing.

Now, after marrying, a growing number of couples are beginning the process of adoption.

How has life changed for those who have married? One married woman says it is symbolic that the state recognizes her relationship and protects her at work and reassures her that if something happens to her, her wife has the tools to protect her. Another says it has to do with dignity, respect and having a sense of equality as well as the civil rights she can access through the law.

—  David Taffet