Gay Dallas officials address election challenges, shift in attitude toward gay candidates at forum

From left, Dallas police LGBT Liaison Laura Martin, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and former Dallas Councilman John Loza speak about being out officials at a Dallas Pride forum Wednesday, June 20. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

A couple of Dallas’ out officials discussed the challenges and benefits of running as an out candidate and serving as an open officeholder Wednesday at the third event in the city’s “Honor, Educate and Celebrate” Pride series.

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez, former Councilman John Loza and Dallas police LGBT Liaison Laura Martin, who stepped in last minute for the absent 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker, were panelists. A group of about 30 sat comfortably in couches in a casual setting at the United Black Ellument Cultural Center and asked questions about campaigns and the importance of out officials.

Valdez touched on the challenges of running as an openly gay candidate. In her first election in 2004, she worried constantly that she would be outed. When her opponent eventually outed her, she said she handled it with care and focused on her experience.

In a story about self-worth, Valdez explained that she received international calls when she first won. When a Collin County woman sitting next to her on a plane recognized her, she began to tell Valdez how she and her family including her gay son watched with pride when Valdez won on election night.

At the end of the flight, she told Valdez that she was her son’s hero and her election validated her son. Valdez said her position shouldn’t validate the LGBT community, but further instill in them a sense of confidence in being who they are.

“We do not need this kind of validation to be who we are,” she said. “We just need to be who we are.”

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas LGBT Task Force aims to expand diversity training to all city employees within 3 years

Sherry Durant, Dallas Fire-Rescue LGBT liaison, explains the goal of expanding LGBT training to all city employees at a city services event June 13. The event was the second in the city’s June Pride series. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Fire-Rescue plans to expand its LGBT training program to its veteran employees this summer and eventually to every city employee over the next three years, according to Sherry Durant, the department’s LGBT liaison.

Durant was among six city officials who spoke and answered questions during a panel discussion at the Oak Lawn library branch on Wednesday night. The event drew about 40 people and was the second in Dallas’ “Honor, Educate and Celebrate” June Pride Month series planned by Councilwoman Delia Jasso’s LGBT Task Force.

Task Force member Pam Gerber said the group has discussed expanding LGBT training to all Dallas city employees and will work with officials to achieve the goal in the future. The only city departments that currently conduct comprehensive LGBT diversity training are police and fire.

Durant, who’s served as LGBT liaison for DFR since 2008 and is a member of the Task Force, said 1,048 new recruits have undergone LGBT training since the training program began in 2004. She said she has been working with the Dallas County Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Resource Center Dallas to create a training program for veteran Fire-Rescue employees. The veteran employee training will begin in late July or early August, she said, estimating that it would take about 36 weeks for the 1,248 employees to complete the training.

After DFR finishes its veteran employee training, Durant said she wants to help the veteran police employees undergo the training and then move onto other city departments, so all city employees will have LGBT training within the next three years.

City Manager Mary Suhm, Assistant fire Chief Joseph Vasquez and Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison for Dallas police, joined Durant on the panel and shared what their departments offer the LGBT community. Executive Assistant City Attorney Melissa Miles and Chalisa Warren, senior public information representative with the Fair Housing Office, spoke about the city’s decade-old nondiscrimination ordinance.

Martin oversees the Police Department’s sensitivity training, which helps recruits understand how to handle interactions with members of the LGBT community. She said she will also teach the current officers over the next two years about the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. She said a lot of officers are not aware of how the law works because it is a federal law and affects how departments report hate crime statistics to the FBI.

Suhm said during her 35 years working for the city she has seen a lot of improvements for the LGBT community, from training in the police department in the early ’90s to later working with City Council to pass domestic partner benefits for city employees.

Miles said her section of the city attorney’s office handles the discrimination complaints after the Fair Housing Office investigates, working with the alleged violators to inform them about the ordinance and to help educate them even if the complaint is dismissed for no cause.

Questions about the reporting hate crimes and discrimination under the ordinance came up during the meeting, as several in the audience said people do not report incidents of hate or discrimination because they want it to remain confidential.

—  Dallasvoice

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.

—  admin

Out & Equal to honor Parker, Welts

Mayor Annise Parker

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates will honor Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts at its Leadership Celebration on March 14 in San Francisco.

In October, Out & Equal held its week-long Workplace Summit at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Because of rave reviews, the group plans to return in the next few years. Welts was among the speakers at the Dallas convention.

Now in its fifth year, the Leadership Celebration is a fundraising event that includes a hosted reception and dinner. Parker and Welts will be recognized as role models and inspirations in the movement to achieve equality in the workforce.

To attend the San Francisco event, register online.

The 2012 Workplace Summit will be in Baltimore on from Oct. 29-Nov 1.

—  David Taffet

World AIDS Day event planned in Plano

Roseann Rosetti opening a Quilt panel

In addition to co-sponsoring the World AIDS Day event at the new Main Street Garden in Dallas, C.U.R.E. will host a commemoration in Plano.

Billed as a ceremony of healing and hope, the Plano gathering will remember people lost to AIDS. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. It takes place at Community Unitarian Universalist Church at 2875 East Parker Road. Plano-based Health Services of North Texas is also sponsoring.

“Our ceremony will include the dedication of new panels created by family and friends of a loved one lost to AIDS,” said C.U.R.E. co-founder Roseann Rosetti. “The new panels will be presented to The Names Project Foundation to be included as part of the nationally acclaimed AIDS Memorial Quilt.”

Anyone with a new panel to present may attend the ceremony.

“If you would like to present a panel in honor of someone you know and love, C.U.R.E. will be honored have you dedicate and present your panel at our World AIDS Day ceremony,” Rosetti said.

The panels will be sent to the Names Project’s home in Atlanta to be sewn into blocks for exhibit.

—  David Taffet

Troy Sands Remembrance Party at Dallas Eagle with Tony Moran

And the beat goes on

Earlier this year, DJ Troy Sands passed away due to cancer. Through the years, he made both an impact and an impression with his music and DJ skills at The Brick in its former location on Maple. He grew his name by being one of the first DJs to headline parties and events outside of Dallas. DJs such as Blaine Soileau and Chris Cox have seen him as their inspiration for their musical perspectives. Before passing on, Sands deejay-ed at the Dallas Eagle. In honor of his life and his musical gifts to the club scene, the Eagle  hosts the DJ Troy Sands Remembrance Party which also benefits some of his favorite organizations. DJ Tony Moran steps in to headline the night, but this is truly Sands’ night.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 10 p.m. $10. DallasEagle.com.

—  Rich Lopez

MassResistance suggests ‘Globe’ shun; we suggest ‘Globe’ put that honor next to Pulitzers

MassResistance is a highly marginalized anti-LGBT group, known in the Bay State for antics like covertly filming people while they go to the restroom:

So one really has to laugh when one sees MR calling on all conservatives to boycott one of America’s major newspapers. Especially when the reasoning has to do with a supposed “attack” on one of MassResistance’s fellow SPLC “hate groups” listee:

What the Boston Globe (and Springfield Republican) did to Scott Lively is in our opinion only the beginning. They are clearly out to demonize and attack us, and twist our words into propaganda against us. They may have a broad First Amendment right to do these things, but we don’t have to help them. Thus, MassResistance is calling on the entire pro-family and conservative movement not to grant any interviews whatsoever with them or talk to their reporters.

MassResistance calls for pro-family ‘interview boycott’ of Boston Globe & Springfield Republican newspapers [MR]

Right, it’s Boston Globe reporters who are on the attack, not the man who called Uganda’s heinous anti-gay law a “step in the right direction or the group that’s turned staking out LGBT existences into a Saturday afternoon hobby. Good luck with working that line, MR. Even better luck with the grand plans to guide an entire movement’s communications outreach.

Though we do have to wonder: Under MR’s new rules, are conservative movement folks still allowed to secretly film Globe reporters en route to the pisser? Considering their odd organizational lines of acceptability, Brian and Amy might wanna clarify.

***

*Not to mention: Probably not the best time to draw more attention to Lively’s work: ANTI-GAY PASTOR SCOTT LIVELY HIRES SEX OFFENDER TO MANAGE COFFEE SHOP [Towle]




Good As You

—  admin

‘Can’t think of 2 men more deserving of gay rights honor,’ says activist of post-Apocalyptic world where only 3 men remain

The two men’s lack of support should make LCR mad.

The invitation in the face of this lack of support will undoubtedly make non-GOP (and even some GOP affilaited) gays mad.

The acceptance of said invitation will surely make social conservatives mad.

Man bites dog. The Log spins madly on:

Breaking new ground in the Republican Party’s relationship with the gay community, the leaders of the GOP’s two congressional campaign committees will be honored at a fundraising reception hosted by the Log Cabin Republicans on Wednesday evening.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, are this year’s recipients of the Barry Goldwater Award recognizing “leaders in the Republican Party who have served their nation with distinction in the model of the late Senator Barry Goldwater.”



Neither Texan has a particularly strong gay-rights record. Both oppose same-sex marriage and Cornyn, just on Tuesday, joined other Republicans in blocking consideration of an amendment to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But being honored at the Log Cabin event is both remarkable and historic, reflecting a small but important tectonic shift in GOP politics. Casey Pick, the programs officer at the Log Cabin Republicans confirmed that it is the “first time” that a single head of a Republican campaign committee has attended the dinner.


FULL: ‘Detente’: GOP Leadership To Make Historic Appearance Before Gay Rights Group [HuffPo]

(H/t: LOrion)

***

**For the record: Cornyn has as 0% HRC rating, sessions a whopping 6%: Congressional Scorecard [HRC]

***

*UPDATE from Jim Burroway: Pete Sessions To Duck LCR Dinner [BTB]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Family Abducts, Tortures Gay Relative in ‘Honor’ Kidnapping

Tamra

A family has been indicted in Israel for the torture and kidnapping of a gay relative, ynet reports:

"They kidnapped and threatened their family member over his sexual preferences. Angel's family, who kidnapped him from Tel Aviv in an outrage over his gay and cross-dressing lifestyle, was indicted Thursday in Tel Aviv District Court for a series of serious charges, including kidnapping and false imprisonment. The indictment states that the family viewed Angel's sexual orientation and his work as a drag queen in Tel Aviv's clubs as a violation of the family's honor, which, in their eyes, justifies killing him. Eight of his family members, including one minor, are charged with kidnapping him on a number of occasions, imprisoning him, and beating him."

The Jerusalem Post offers this version of events:

The first kidnapping attempt occurred in May. The accused told their victim that him mother is sick, and they should visit her in Tamra. When he refused, they dragged him into the car, and brought him to his parents' home, where they beat and slapped him, tied him up, and locked him in the room. The victim's brother released him, after the victim told a friend to call the police.

He was attacked again at a family wedding, during which he ran into the woods and did not come out until police came. Three weeks before the wedding, his mother called and warned him to remove the pictures in which the victim is in drag, saying "the family will come get you, and that'll be the end of you."

On August 23, the family members came to the victim's Tel Aviv apartment, sprayed pepper spray in his face, and pushed him into a car that was waiting for him outside. They tied his hands with belts, blindfolded him with scotch tape and threatened to stab him if he resists. Once they arrived in Tamra, the accused chained him to a window and locked him in a room.

Eight family members have been charged and a request has been filed to arrest seven of them until sentencing proceedings.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Glenn Beck And Sarah Palin Hold Rally To ‘Restore Honor’

Beck
What was the point of today’s Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rally in which tens of thousands of Tea Party supporters swarmed the Lincoln Memorial in DC? No one, including Palin or Beck, seemed to really know. There was lots of talk about “restoring honor” but what that means exactly is still unclear.

The New York Times reports on the event:

“For too long, this country has wandered in darkness,” Mr. Beck said Saturday. “This country has spent far too long worrying about scars and thinking about scars and concentrating on scars. Today, we are going to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished, and the things that we can do tomorrow.”

Mr. Beck was followed on stage by Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, who said she was asked, in keeping with the theme of the day, not to focus on politics but to speak as the mother of a soldier.

CBS News has a rundown of Palin’s speech at the rally.

Sp “You have the same steel spine and the moral courage of Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Palin added. She said it was “humbling” to be with the “patriots” who had gathered for the rally, people who understand “to never retreat.”

Palin said Americans will always be successful because they are guided by grace. “We will always come through, we will never give up and we shall endure,” the former Alaska governor said as a “U-S-A” chant broke out.

There’s been much commotion about Beck’s decision to hold the rally on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Beck seemingly tried to deflect some of that backlash by inviting King’s niece, Alveda King, to speak at the event. You may recall that she was also invited by NOM to speak at their Atlanta tour stop.

A clip of Beck at the rally and Palin’s full speech, AFTER THE JUMP.

 


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright