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

JHud gives surprise private mini-concert at the W’s same-sex wedding

IMG_3173I teased readers this week that they might want to attend an event, sponsored by the W Victory Dallas Hotel and the HRC, where a same-sex couple would wed. I said Lady Bunny would be the DJ, and she was. But I didn’t say who the surprise musical guest would be … because, ya know, it was a surprise. So, following the beautiful ceremony on the 33rd floor of the W, promoting the #TurnItUpForChange movement HRC and W promote, the curtain behind the grooms dropped to reveal a gorgeous, soulful Jennifer Hudson, singing to the newlyweds (with a pair of hot backup dancers). It was an awesome moment for everyone.

We should all have weddings like this. Maybe the haters were right: Gays are ruining straight marriages … or at least weddings. Cuz we know how to bring it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Jim Obergefell in Dallas

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Chad Griffin, left, and Jim Obergefell

Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the marriage equality case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, was in Dallas on Monday, June 29, with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

At a press conference in downtown Dallas, Griffin said they had come to Texas to protest Attorney General Ken Paxton “encouraging obstruction and delay.”

Obergefell told his story of having to fly to Maryland from Ohio in order to marry his husband who was dying from ALS. After a ceremony in the plane, parked on the tarmac at a Baltimore airport, they were married for three months and 11 days. But they were together 20 years.

While Griffin thanked Obergefell for putting his life on hold for two years to fight the case that won marriage equality for the country, Obergefell said he was fighting to make sure his husband’s life was respected.

He repeated the story at a reception later that evening at the Round-Up Saloon.

“When John died, he deserved to have his last record say I was his surviving spouse,” Obergefell told a packed house at the Round-Up. “What better way to love him and respect him than to stand up to that bully attorney general.”

He was referring to Ohio’s attorney general but then called Paxton the same sort of bully.

“I didn’t put my life on hold for two years,” he said. “My life began as I fought for my husband and my community.”

He said that today his life is filled with family and friends from coast to coast and said his husband would be proud of him.

“Keep being pissed off and make your attorney general represent all of us,” he said.

 

 

—  David Taffet

Jim Obergefell and HRC President Chad Griffin at Round-Up tonight for celebration

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HRC President Chad Griffin

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, will be at the Round-Up Inn, 3912 Cedar Springs, tonight at 6 p.m. to celebrate Friday’s historic ruling.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information check out the Facebook event here.

—  James Russell

Hudson ‘Turns it Up’ with video for W Hotels, HRC campaign

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It was nine years ago that Jennifer Hudson was up on the silver screen, telling us that she was NOT going. Now she is taking to the small screen to encourage us all to “Turn It Up For Change.”

Hudson is the ambassador for “Turn It Up For Change,” a fundraising and awareness intitiative launched last October as a joint effort of W Hotels Worldwide and the Human Rights Campaign. Today (Thursday, June 4), W Hotels and HRC announced the launch of an exclusive music video set to Hudson’s song, “I Still Love You,” from her recently-released album, JHUD.

The video, directed by Tabitha Denholm and Molly Schiot, depicts a father’s last-minute decision to attend his gay son’s wedding. It features cameos by model Shaun Ross, actress Leisha Hailey and model/activist Claudia Charriez.

The video premiered exclusively on MTV, VH1 and Logo Wednesday, June 3, and is now offered here on the W Hotels site and here on YouTube. You can also watch it below, here on Instant Tea.

“There couldn’t be a better time to release this video, Hudson said, adding that she owes “a large part of my success to the LGBT community, who has embraced and supported me from early on in my career, and music continues to prove a powerful platform to help promote LGBT equality. I hope my video inspires everyone to keep fighting for 50” marriage equality states.

Anthony Ingham, global brand leader for W Hotels Worldwide, said the video and it’s message are “especially timely as the country awaits the monumental Supreme Court decision about marriage equality later this month.” He said W Hotels has received “incredible support and positive feedback” since launching Turn It Up For Change. He added that the company is “proud to continue standing alongside our guests and HRC in the fight for equality, and Jennifer’s moving song and new video provide the perfect soundtrack for our mission.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

DFW Federal Club wins awards

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DFW Federal Club Co-Chairs Chris Lindseyy and Liz Rodriguez

The DFW Federal Club was recognized as the “Best Federal Club Committee of the Year” during the HRC Spring Equality Convention held last month in Washington, D.C.

The annual convention brings together HRC members from around the country to learn about HRC’s national plans and about what’s happening in specific cities and states around the country, as well as to share best practices and showcase working strategies.

A total of 15 people from the DFW Federal Club’s board of directors, board of governors, governing committee and steering committee attended the three-day convention. Vice President Joe Biden keynoted the opening night plenary session, linking the March on Selma to Stonewall and pledging the Obama administration’s support to the LGBT communities.

In addition to the Best Federal Club Committee of the Year honor, the DFW Federal Club also received the Best Membership Outreach Program of the Year (Steering Committee) and Top “Strive for Five” Club awards. The DFW club was also the only federal club to have recruited members in every month of the year and was recognized for special achievement in support of HRC-endorsed candidates and extraordinary partnership for a dinner (HRC-Black Tie).

—  Tammye Nash

Twitter joins rising chorus of business voices against RFRA, other anti-gay legislation

In an “@Policy” Tweet today (Monday, March 30) hailed by Human Rights Campaign as a “bold move,” Twitter today declared its disappointment not just with Indiana’s newly-passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.21.42 PMwith the flood of similar bills and other anti-LGBT legislation being considered across the country.

The Tweet read: “We’re disappointed to see state bills that enshrine discrimination. These bills are unjust and bad for business. We support #EqualityForAll.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to sign into law last week his state’s RFRA was the spark that lit a flame of outrage among some of the country’s leading businesses, including Apple, PayPal, Wal Mart, Yelp, Salesforce and Indiana’s own Angie’s List, officials of which last Friday (March 27) — the day after Pence signed the RFRA — announced they had decided to at least delay, if not cancel, plans for a $40 million expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters.

But in applauding Twitter’s tweeted statement today, HRC pointed out that Indiana’s RFRA is just one of more than 85 anti-LGBT bills under consideration in 28 legislatures, including Texas’, and in Arkansas a measure very similar to Indiana’s awaits Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s signature.

To see HRC’s list of pending LGBT legislation, go here. The bills fall largely into four categories: religious refusal bills, bills promoting conversion therapy, anti-transgender bills and bills nullifying local nondiscrimination statutes.

Texas lawmakers have introduced bills in three of those four categories: religious refusal bills, anti-transgender bills and bills to nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances. To see Equality Texas’ list of legislative alerts, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

DFW Federal Club welcoming lead plaintiff in marriage case before SCOTUS to spring luncheon

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Jim Obergefell, left, and his husband, John Arthur, aboard the specially-equipped medical plane that flew them to Baltimore in 2013 to be married.

Jim Obergefell — lead plaintiff in a marriage equality case out of Ohio, one of four cases scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28 — will be joining Susan Warbelow as a guest speaker at the DFW Federal Club‘s Spring Luncheon 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 28,, at the Tower Club in Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. in downtown Dallas (on the 48th floor).

Seating is limited to 200, and RSVPs are required. Federal Club members can attend free of charge, and each member is entitled to bring one guest, also free of charge. The fee for additional guests is $35 per person, and the fee for visitors not accompanied by a member is $50. For tickets and to RSVP, go here.

Obergefell and his partner, John Arthur, had been together more than 20 years in 2013 when they traveled from their home in Ohio to Maryland to get legally married. That trip might have been relatively easy for most couples. But because Arthur was suffered from ALS and was paralyzed and confined to his bed, this couple’s trip required a small, specially-equipped medical plane, two pilots, a nurse and Arthur’s aunt, who officiated over their marriage ceremony.

The plane landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, sitting there for about 10 minutes — just long enough for Arthur and Obergefell to exchange wedding vows — before returning the men to Ohio. Arthur died three months later, but Obergefell has carried on with the fight for marriage equality.

—  Tammye Nash