PHOTOS: 2016 Black Tie Dinner (Part 4)

The 2016 Black Tie Dinner featured Kuchling Award Winner Dr. Steven Pounders, Olympian Greg Louganis, actresses Connie Britten and Debra Messing, comedienne Dana Goldberg, singers Todrick Hall and Deborah Cox and more. If you were there, here’s your chance to relive the evening in photos. If you weren’t there, you can see what you missed.

Watch for more slideshows to come!

All photos by Cassie Quinn of Hummingbird Blue Gallery.

—  Tammye Nash

PHOTOS: 2016 Black Tie Dinner (Part 3)

The 2016 Black Tie Dinner featured Kuchling Award Winner Dr. Steven Pounders, Olympian Greg Louganis, actresses Connie Britten and Debra Messing, comedienne Dana Goldberg, singers Todrick Hall and Deborah Cox and more. If you were there, here’s your chance to relive the evening in photos. If you weren’t there, you can see what you missed.

Watch for more slideshows to come!

All photos by Cassie Quinn of Hummingbird Blue Gallery.

—  Tammye Nash

Defining moments

Leo-CusimanoIt was 1992 and I had just moved to Dallas from a small college town in Florida. HIV/AIDS was a growing issue in my experience, but it had already taken many people in Dallas, including leaders in our LGBT community. I was too young to understand the power of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, so my personal experience with HIV/AIDS was my first defining moment to get involved in the community.

The mind-set in our community was different then. We had lost so many, and ACT-UP was in the streets and angry. Our community was under attack.

I remember making signs for protests and joining the board of DGLA. Lesbians fought to help save the lives of their gay brothers and in the process galvanized our community. Drag queens and transgender people were at the heart of many community actions. The sense of LGBT community was very strong.

Today, HIV/AIDS is still a devastating diagnosis for anyone, but is viewed by some in our younger community to be a manageable illness. These millennials have not experienced the struggles and death at the same scale. Our sense of community has waned over the years.

But then ….

It’s 2 in the morning in Los Angeles, where I have traveled for work, and the phone rings. Fifty people lay dead in a Florida gay bar, and more than 50 others are injured.

This is the start of another heart-wrenching, defining moment that unfortunately will make history and play out as Pride celebrations prepare to march.

The morning stretches on and I find myself sitting in a hotel room in West Hollywood preparing for LA Pride. I feel sick as the stress rises in my body, watching the reports from Florida, then the vibration of my cell phone makes me jump. A text message about an arrest near L.A. that has foiled another attempted attack on our community illuminates the room. My heart drops.

What is next?

We have come so far as a community, and each positive or negative defining moment presents an opportunity for us to come together in a way that makes our community stronger.

My husband Tony and I had been living in Dallas for several years when the Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws with the Lawrence vs. Texas ruling in 2003. This was a positive defining moment for us that provided hope for our community and empowered our movement.

We experienced a setback in 2008 when California passed Prop 8, but our commitment to stand up and fight just made us stronger. Last year, the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling legalized our marriages, and as a community we have seen growing acceptance as Love Wins.

But now, once again our community is under attack. We are devastated by this senseless act of violence. As we mourn the victims in Florida, we also march on in solidarity and in honor of those we lost.

This is another defining moment for me. I feel like our community has a renewed fight. Once again, arm-in-arm we march. We stick together and support each other. My hope is that we find renewed strength in this tragedy and we once again become galvanized and strengthened as the LGBT community.

Our life experiences and defining moments influence our choices and how we choose to show up in the world. What is your defining moment? How will you make a difference?

Leo Cusimano is co-owner and publisher of Dallas Voice and Voice Publishing Co

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Abounding Prosperity’s PJ Moton named one of 10 HIV 360 Fellows

PJ Moton_042116_webPJ Moton, the interim clinical programs manager for Dallas’ Abounding Prosperity, has been named an HIV 360 Fellow, one of 10 young nonprofit leaders recognized by the Human Rights Campaign and supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The nine-month program will help these advocates “elevate their work ending HIV in hard-hit U.S. communities,” according to a release. But as PJ told me, “It’s a much bigger deal than I anticipated. We have met all types of big-wigs.” How big are the wigs? I asked. “Traci Turnblad big,” PJ said.

Wow, that’s big.

Contrats to PJ and all the others! You can learn more about the program here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

McCrory and his lies about North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’

McCrory.Pat

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in March signed into law a bill that not only rolls back an equal rights ordinance recently passed in Charlotte to protect LGBT from discrimination and prohibits such local ordinances from being passed in the future, but also prohibits transgender men and women from using the appropriate public restrooms. Since then, individuals, businesses and others — like Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz — have been standing up in droves to denounce McCrory and the legislation, and announce their intentions to boycott the state.

Last week, McCrory told the press that the bill doesn’t take anyone’s rights away and that all the hoopla was created by the media and political correctness run amok. I already called him out for being a Mr. Lying Liarpants on that. Now here’s a video offering some proof that he’s lying.

—  Tammye Nash

Parkland, V.A. receive HRC’s highest score, Methodist the lowest on HEI

Parkland

Parkland Hospital

The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual Healthcare Equality Index, and Dallas hospitals fared far better than they have in the past.

Parkland Health & Hospital System received HRC’s top rating for the fourth year in a row. Rated separately, all of its facilities throughout the county — like Amelia Court and other clinics — fared well.

The four categories rated are patient non-discrimination, visitation, employment non-discrimination and training. The rating for each were “yes,” “no” or “not applicable.”

The Dallas V.A. hospital also received HRC’s top rating.

UT Southwestern, Medical City, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake and Green Oaks Hospital received positive ratings in every category except training.

Who ranked worst across the board? Methodist Hospital received the lowest rating, with a “no” in every category.

Baylor has non-discrimination in patient visitation, but may still fire you if you’re LGBT or not give you equal patient care. One of the few cases filed and won under the Dallas non-discrimination was against Baylor.

Presbyterian doesn’t have a patient non-discrimination policy, but does have visitation and employment policies in place.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized by the HRC Foundation. Parkland is committed to providing a safe, respectful and caring environment for everyone,” said Ildemaro Gonzalez, Parkland’s vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer.

In Fort Worth, no hospital received top rating.

Cook Children’s Medical Center and Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth have policies in place without training.

Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth has a policy allowing visitation.

John Peter Smith, Tarrant County’s counterpart to Parkland, allows visitation, but doesn’t have non-discrimination policies for patients or employees.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth allows patient discrimination but has a nondiscrimination policy for its employees and visitors.

In Arlington, Medical Center of Arlington has all categories covered except training.

Baylor Medical Center at Irving lacks the same protections as the other hospitals in the Baylor system.

Las Colinas Medical Center in Irving and Medical Center of Plano only lack training.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano has no patient protections in place.

Across Texas, 13 hospitals or hospital systems received the highest rating. None in Oklahoma received that score.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 1

This is the first of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

First of two photo slideshow posts. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 2

This is the second of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

This is the second of two photo slideshow posts. See the first one here. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

This is what National Coming Out Day was meant for

WWIn case you missed it, Sunday, Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day — the day designated for giving folks in the closet a kind of permission to tell people they care about that they are members of the LGBT community. It’s a great idea — after all, there’s strength in numbers, right, so why not come out on a day you can point to countless other folks being upfront about their sexuality?

Of course, for many of us, coming out happened long ago, and we can forget what it was like to become so self-possessed as to tell someone who we are. So what about telling thousands of people?

Our friend Israel Luna knows one such guy — Walker Williams. Walker is from Israel’s hometown of Wellington, Texas, and this weekend he wrote a piece for the Amarillo Globe-News, in which he explained the confusion, fear, concern and even depression associated with hiding in the closet. Especially when you’re a star athlete.

Here is Walker’s story (as told to reporter Terrence Hunley). It’s an inspiring piece, and one that may strike many as very familiar.

Congrats, Walker! We’re proud of you. You’re toaster oven will be shipped to you soon.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DFW Federal Club elects new co-chair

Steve Wiscaver

Steve Wiscaver

Steve Wiscaver has been elected as the new co-chair of the DFW Federal Club for 2016-2017. He will replace Chris Lindsey, who is completing his second year as co-chair, and joins Liz Rodriguez, who is starting her second year as co-chair, in heading up the organization.

Wiscaver has served on the DFW Federal Club Governing Committee for four years. He started out on the member services team setting up the monthly mixers, then became Member Services Committee co-chair. As co-chair of the committee, he began a number of new programs designed to reach out to new members, departing members and continuing members. He also led the Recruiting Committee for a while before returning to Member Services earlier this year.

Wiscaver was one of the Holiday Party chairs last year.

DFW Federal Club holds its October Mixer on Friday, Oct. 16, 6-8 p.m. at Renfield’s Corner, 2603 Routh St.

For more information about the organization visit the DFW Federal Club website.

—  Tammye Nash