TCU LGBT alumni group forms

Organizer says school has been helpful, supportive in forming group for gay graduates

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

There are some schools that are — or have been — affiliated with religious institutions that  not only wouldn’t welcome an LGBT alumni group, they would block such a group outright.

But when Doug Thompson, a graduate of Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University, associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), approached his alma mater’s alumni association about forming an LGBT affiliate, he said, the response was, “Absolutely. No problem.”

TCU’s new LGBT alumni group will hold its first large meeting on Saturday, Oct. 22, after the TCU homecoming game. Thompson acknowledged that sports isn’t the main concern of many LGBT alumni, but homecoming is still a time when many alumni return to visit the campus.

Thompson said when he asked the alumni association whether the LGBT group would need approval by the school’s administration, he was told the administration would back it. The group was approved in April.

Unlike Baylor University, which sued to keep its LGBT alumni from using the school name to organize a group, Thompson said there has been no objection from the TCU campus.

“We just want to get people involved however they want to be involved,” Kristi Hoban, associate vice chancellor alumni of relations, said. “We just reach out, whether it’s a class or the business school or a special interest group.”

She said that black alumni were not participating until the Black Alumni Alliance formed about 11 years ago. Now, she said, they’re active leaders in class reunions, homecoming and department alumni events, adding that she hopes to see the same thing happen with the LGBT network.

Finding LGBT alumni hasn’t been easy, Thompson said, as students aren’t asked about their sexual orientation before they graduate.

But Thompson said about 120 alumni have already responded, mostly to calls on social media sites. And now that the school has a Gay Straight Alliance, he said, finding future alumni will be easier.

“Our goal will be to support gay and lesbian students and start a scholarship,” Thompson said. “And we’ll form activities around things gay alumni have an interest in.”

He mentioned support for the Trinity Shakespeare Festival on campus as a direction for the group.

Thompson said that having an LGBT alumni group will help the school provide a better environment for its LGBT students.

Two years ago, TCU proposed setting aside dorm space for LGBT students. A week after the announcement, when only eight students had signed up for the housing, the school scrapped those plans.

“That got totally blown out of proportion,” Hoban said.

She said the intention was never segregated housing but really just an LGBT campus group.
Thompson said the school would have avoided the bad publicity if it had the alumni group to guide them.

The LGBT alumni group will get together after the homecoming game against New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 22. They will meet at Tommy’s Hamburgers’ Camp Bowie Boulevard location from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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OUT, PROUD ATHLETE

Pryor.Victor

Victor Pryor

Perhaps one of the best known Texas Christian University grads that will be attending the new LGBT alumni group’s meeting this weekend is Vincent Pryor, a TCU Horned Frogs football star from 1994.

That year, before the final game of the season against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Pryor came out to his teammates. Rather than shunning him, Pryor’s coach told him he was proud of his honesty

“My teammates and my coaches overwhelmingly supported and accepted me,” Pryor writes on his website, VincentPryor.com. “All of the fears and concerns I had about being kicked off the team, or losing my scholarship, or embarrassing my school — none of that happened.  And the best part of it was that I became a better athlete after I came out.”

That day, Pryor had the biggest game of his college career, tallying a record 4.5 sacks — a record that still stands today. His performance helped TCU win the conference title and a berth in a post-season bowl game.

Today, Pryor works in sales and lives in Chicago with his partner of 12 years, who was a classmate at TCU. To watch his just-
released an “It Gets Better” video, below.

—  Kevin Thomas

Just to reiterate Today’s Best Bet — you should really stop by Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight

Twist Dallas is offering a different kind of night out. Stepping away from the gayborhood, Twist hosts a lineup of (mostly) local LGBT musicians playing a mini-fest at the Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight — and it’s ambitious. Things start rolling at 7 p.m. (early!) with a lineup of seven acts lasting till past midnight. We’ve featured a couple here in the pages of the Voice such as Immigrant Punk and Infidelix who both hail from Denton. They join SuZanne Kimbrell, a regular at Jack’s Backyard, Da’rell Cloudy from Longview and Gringo Soul from Chicago on the stage tonight for this month’s Twist session. Chasing the Muse, Jay Bean and artist Erica Felicella round out the roster.

Twist Dallas has the intention of doing something like this every month. The site states “Each month we will bring you something new from the GLBT community, whether it be music, art, comedy, theater or fire breathers.” Live music in the community is making some strides with Woody’s back patio series and TMC’s Patio space, but I appreciate Twist’s attention given to these musicians with original work. Twist Dallas has picked a fine selection that ranges from folk to rock to hip-hop. And kudos to LBG for opening its doors to the community.

I’m looking forward to more from these guys. And honestly, I would dare to say I’m begging you to go to this. It’s the perfect opp to support LGBT-created music that’s not getting enough notice. Seven bucks to get in and a free drink? Totally worthwhile. Plus, it’s gonna be a long night, so come up and say hi.

—  Rich Lopez

Brittany Novotny fires back at Sally Kern

Brittany Novotny, the transgender candidate who’s challenging anti-gay Republican State Rep. Sally Kern in Oklahoma, has issued a statement responding to an attack last week from a Kern supporter who called Novotny a “confused it.” In the statement titled “How do we move Oklahoma forward?” Novotny notes that Kern issued a statement Sunday attempting to distance herself from the attack:

In a statement released today, Rep. Kern claims that she has “repeatedly asked [her] supporters not to use any degrading or insulting comments toward [me].” Unfortunately, the evidence indicates this is not the case. In a speech on August 7, 2010, Rep. Kern told supporters:

“And this year, in 2010 election, I have a very interesting race, I have an individual who was born a man, has had a sex change operation, and now considers themselves to be a woman. So, if you live in my district or know anyone who does, please get the word out. Because if I say anything about it, it’s gonna look like I’m smearing, and I’m not, it’s just a fact. And ‘they’ talk about it themselves. (Emphasis added).”

Does this rhetoric sound like someone asking her supporters not to use any degrading comments? Does this rhetoric sound like someone who is trying to keep the campaign about the issues facing Oklahomans?

When I announced my intention to run for this seat, Rep. Kern said she planned to keep this campaign focused on issues. As you are now aware, she has failed to keep her word on that count.

Novotny also posted the above video ad, accusing Kern of ignoring real issues to promote “her narrow social agenda” and “her own extremist interpretation of the Bible.” Ya think?

—  David Taffet