Say so long to Jesse Garcia at Sue’s tonight

Jesse Garcia

A while back we briefly mentioned that gaytino extraordinaire Jesse Garcia is leaving Dallas for Washington, D.C. — and a position at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Garcia, former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, current president of LULAC #4871-The Dallas Rainbow Council and host of The Jesse Garcia Show on KNON, has declined our request for an interview about his departure. He says he’s barred from discussing his new position with the media, and he wants to leave town “quietly with no drama.” Which is too bad, because there’s plenty to talk about. But the good news is, if you want to hear from Garcia about his time in Dallas and what lies ahead, you can drop by Sue Ellen’s tonight, where Stonewall Democrats’ Board of Directors is holding a “Thank You for Being a Friend” reception. Just don’t start any drama. From a recent email to Stonewall members:

Jesse Garcia former Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President is hanging up his Texas boots and moving to Washington, D.C. He will leave us on July 15th. The board of directors is having a “Thank You for Being a Friend” reception for him on Tuesday July 12th at Sue Ellen’s from 6:30pm – 8:30pm (UPSTAIRS VIXEN LOUNGE). Please stop by, have a drink and bid him good luck on his next journey! For more information, contact Omar@stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Dallas Morning News reportedly agrees to publish same-sex weddings

Thomas-Mark-Reed-and-Dante-Karl-Walkup
Mark Reed-Walkup and Dante Walkup

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Mark Reed-Walkup, a local GetEQUAL board member who filed a discrimination complaint against The Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish his paid same-sex wedding announcement, reports that the newspaper has agreed to change its policy and he will be dropping the case. “We met with the CEO and Editor today of the Dallas Morning News and they are changing their policy to allow same-gender wedding announcements be placed in their wedding section,” Reed-Walkup wrote Thursday evening. “We are dropping our lawsuit tomorrow. OH F’ING HAPPY DAY! Thank you Dallas Morning News for doing the right thing today!” Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more.

2. Jesse Garcia, president of Dallas’ gay LULAC chapter and former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, says he is moving to Washington, D.C., to accept a position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Stay tuned for more on this as well.

3. Thanks to KPRC in Houston, which also broke the original story, we now know what Southwest Airlines pilot Capt. James Fritzen Taylor looks like. Sort of. At left is a grainy, black-and-white photo of the Argyle man whose anti-gay, mysoginistic rant over an stuck cockpit microphone in March has created a PR nightmare for the Dallas-based airline over the last 10 days. Taylor has apologized for the rant, and a flight attendants’ union has accepted his apology. No word on whether Taylor’s wife has forgiven him, but any gay, granny or grande will tell you that if this guy really wants to get laid, he needs to post some better photos of himself online.

—  John Wright

Rio Grande Valley sees 1st LGBT prom

Rio Grande Valley native Jesse Garcia sent over a link to this story from ValleyCentral.com, which reports that the Stonewall Democrats’ Rio Grande Valley chapter hosted the region’s first-ever prom for LGBT youth in McAllen on Saturday:

Stonewall Democrats Local President Eli Olivares told Action 4 News that young people from across the Valley participated in the event.

“We wanted to create a safe environment for them to enjoy their teenage life,” Olivares said about the event.

Publicity for the event was kept low and mainly in LGBT circles for security reasons and to prevent protests.

But Olivares said it went so well that organizers want to expand the event and continue it each year.

“There’s no need to be underground anymore,” Olivares said.

On the downside, there’s a poll at the end of the story which asks, “Do you think it’s necessary to have a separate prom for gay, lesbian and transgender youth here in the Rio Grande Valley?” Thus far, 58 percent have said no. We’re sure a few respondents answered “no” because they don’t think an LGBT prom should be necessary, in a perfect world. But the polls results also probably show why the prom is in fact very necessary: Because most people are uncomfortable with the idea.

—  John Wright

PHOTOS and VIDEO: Dallas marks IDAHO

About 45 people attended a candlelight vigil in downtown Dallas on Tuesday night to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. A number of pedestrians also stopped along the sidewalk to listen to speakers at the JFK Memorial.

The evening began with singing and an invocation by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Maeve O’Connor spoke about transphobia. A video of her talk is below.

BiNet Dallas president Morgan O’Donnell and event organizer Elizabeth Jayne Webb addressed biphobia by the gay as well as straight communities. Jesse Garcia, Steven Sprinkle and Davlin Kerekes spoke about homophobia.

After the speakers, there was a candlelight vigil along several downtown blocks.

This is the first time Dallas participated in IDAHO. The event has been marked in Europe and Canada since 2004 and is held on May 17 because that is the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

No counterprotesters showed up at the vigil.

More photos and video after the jump.

—  David Taffet

LOCAL BRIEFS: AIDS Candlelight Memorial set, Butch Voices seeking submissions

AIDS Candlelight Memorial set

The 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial will be held May 15 at 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1819 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Started in 1983, the International Memorial is one of the oldest grassroots AIDS awareness campaigns and is held the third Sunday in May. More than 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries host local memorials to remember those lost to HIV as well as to raise awareness.

Three people will share their stories of living with HIV including a 15-year-old young woman. At the end of the service will be a candlelight dedication to remember those lost, celebrate those living with HIV and those not infected.

Cornerstone Baptist Church does work with the homeless, people with addictions and provides assistance to those with HIV.

Free forum on redistricting set

Dr. Ruth Morgan, former provost of Southern Methodist University and author of Governance by Decree, will be the keynote speaker at a free public forum on redistricting, “Why Does It Matter,” Tuesday, May 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, Oak Corner, 2900 Live Oak St. in Dallas.

Other panelists include former League of Women Voters-Dallas president Libbie Terrell Lee and LULAC 4871 President Jesse Garcia.

Although admission is free, advanced reservations are required, and can be made online at NCJWDallas.org or by email at info@ncjdwdallas.org.

The event is sponsored by League of Women Voters chapters in Dallas, Irving, Plano/Collin County and Richardson, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater Dallas Section, Women’s Council of Dallas County, Delta Sigma Theta Dallas Alumnae, the Health and Human Services Coalition, LINKS Inc.’s Dallas Chapter, LULAC 4871 and the Dallas Branch of the NAACP.

Butch Voices seeking submissions

Butch Voices, a grassroots organization dedicated to of all womyn, female-bodied, and trans-identified individuals who are “masculine of center” and their allies, is now accepting submissions for workshops, performances, presentations, skill shares, photography/visual art and video presentations for the second national Butch Voices Conference, being held Aug. 18-21 at the Oakland City Center Marriott in Oakland, Calif.

Submission deadline is June 1. Early registration has begun and is $100 for regular attendees, $125 for VIP access and $50 for students. Volunteers can also register online and are needed in all areas of the conference.

For more information, to volunteer or to register go online to ButchVoices.com.

—  John Wright

Low turnout could amplify gay vote

Dallas mayoral candidates make final pitch to LGBTs

MORE ELECTION COVERAGE:
COMMUNITY SPLIT OVER DISTRICT 14 RACE
FORT WORTH ELECTION ROUNDUP

JOHN WRIGHT | Online Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

With turnout expected to be dismal for Saturday’s municipal elections, LGBT voters could play a pivotal role in determining which two candidates advance to an all-but-certain runoff for Dallas mayor.

It’s arguably the gay-friendliest field in the city’s history, with all three major candidates seeking the endorsement of both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance. And all three — David Kunkle, Ron Natinsky and Mike Rawlings — have their share of high-profile supporters in a community that’s still smarting from the betrayal of former Mayor Tom Leppert.

Overall turnout in municipal elections is expected to hover around 10 percent, or just 50,000 of the city’s half-million registered voters. But with hotly contested council races in Districts 3 and 14, as well as a gay candidate in District 7, turnout among LGBT voters could be much higher.

“With a turnout as small as it’s predicted to be, for everyone who goes to the polls, their turnout almost counts multiple times,” Natinsky said this week. “Every vote becomes more important. We’re just trying to get voters out.”

In an interview with Dallas Voice, Natinsky again touted his record of support for the LGBT community during six years on the council, as well as the backing of three openly gay former councilmembers. Natinsky was also endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

“I have not hesitated from day one, or previous to that, over the years to participate and support the GBLT community,” Natinsky said. “I think I’ve got a lot of strong supporters and friends within the community, who are seriously out there working hard to help me get elected, and they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t believe in me. And the difference is that I’m a proven quantity.”

Even in a nonpartisan race, Natinsky’s Republican Party affiliation could hurt him among some LGBT voters. But gay former Councilman Ed Oakley, a Democrat who lost a runoff for mayor to Leppert four years ago, said he doesn’t think it should.

“I’m supporting him because he’s the right person at the right time for Dallas, and I don’t care if he’s a Republican,” Oakley said recently. “I wish everybody would just put their partisan issues aside and look at the candidates, and support who you think is the best person.”

Natinsky initially sought the backing of Stonewall Democrats but withdrew from the screening process at the last minute over questions about whether his party affiliation would make him ineligible for the group’s endorsement.

Stonewall Democrats voted to endorse to Kunkle, the former Dallas police chief who this week predicted he will win the overall LGBT vote.

“I believe that I will be the one who will work the hardest to make their [LGBT residents’] lives better and also to help grow the economy in a way [in which] they will personally prosper,” Kunkle said. “I think I will do better [than the other candidates] within the LGBT community. I think the Stonewall Democrats’ support carries a lot of weight. … I’m not going to change who I am and what I believe. My core, basic way of thinking and reacting is not going to change, and that will be supportive of the GLBT community.”

Both Natinsky and Rawlings said recently during a forum that they opposed Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. But Kunkle said only that he didn’t vote on the amendment.

This week Kunkle clarified that if he did vote, he would have voted against the amendment.

“It seems to me that if two people love each other and want to commit to each other … that’s not a bad thing to happen in society,” Kunkle said.

Jesse Garcia, a past president of Stonewall who’s backing Kunkle, pointed to things like the former chief’s support for a full-time LGBT liaison officer at DPD.

“I’ve had the honor of meeting all four candidates for mayor. I respect their decisions to seek office and truly believe they want what’s best for Dallas,” Garcia said. “But when it comes to the LGBT community, Kunkle stands out as someone that was tested on LGBT issues and made the right call.”

Rawlings, who’s raised by far the most money and is perhaps an odds-on favorite to at least make the runoff, said his plan for economic development and philosophy of inclusion makes him the best candidate for the LGBT community.

“When this city is grown in the correct way, we all win, and most of the LGBT community I know are very pro-growth, are great professionals, and want to have a fabulous business environment,” Rawlings said. “We have the ninth-largest city in this country, and the more we include all the diversity throughout the city, I think the stronger we are.”

In endorsing Natinsky, DGLA issued a rare “warning” about Rawlings, saying the former Pizza Hut CEO’s “passion for commerce and business interests supremely overwhelms his appreciation for the civil rights of all people.”

But Rawlings has vehemently denied DGLA’s accusation, saying he demonstrated his willingness to stand up for people’s civil rights as the city’s homeless czar.

“I don’t think any CEO that I know has spent five years dealing and working with the homeless,” Rawlings said. “If I’m able to do that, I would think I could do it for groups that are much more powerful than them, and I think the LGBT community is one of them.”

Lesbian activist Pam Gerber, a member of both DGLA and Stonewall, has called DGLA’s warning about Rawlings “irresponsible” and immature.”

Gerber, also a member of a city task force on LGBT issues, said this week she’s supporting Rawlings because he has “the right combination of skills.”

“Whether it was him running a successful company or running a successful nonprofit endeavor, he’s proven that he can do it all, and I think that’s a valuable pallet of skills,” Gerber said. “I just think Mike has more to offer.”

But Gerber added that she doesn’t think any of the three major candidates would do harm to the LGBT community as mayor.

“I think they all have our best interests in mind,” Gerber said. “I think we’re really lucky to have the candidates we have. The only thing we’re not lucky about is the apathy of our community to get out and vote.”

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. For a full list of locations, go to www.dalcoelections.org.

—  John Wright

Pride Fiesta at Club Exklusive on Sunday benefits LULAC scholarship recipients, AIDS Arms

Kaliente Management, Bravo Groups, Noches Latinas and LULAC 4871 have come together to raise money for a good cause.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

On Sunday, the weather promises to be hot like summer and the entertainment at the 2011 Cinco De Mayo Pride Fiesta is forecasted to be muy caliente!

The management of Kaliente and Club Exklusive will once again host Pride Fiesta this Sunday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Club Exklusive’s outside premises, 4207 Maple Ave. in Dallas. The event is free and open to the public.

On the main Budweiser Stage folklorico dance troupes, live singers, drag performances of Latin America’s most famous artists, and festive mariachis will continue the Cinco De Mayo holiday well into Sunday evening.

Food, games and refreshment booths, along with local artists, will be featured at this outdoor event for the whole family.

Pride Fiesta is an annual benefit that helps raise funds for the philanthropic projects of League of United Latin American Citizens’ LGBT chapter, LULAC 4871 – The Dallas Rainbow Council. Event proceeds will go toward the group’s Jesus Chairez — LULAC 4871 scholarship and to AIDS Arms Inc.

This is the third year for Pride Fiesta, which was originally held inside Kaliente night club and raised funds through generous patrons and drag performers donating their tips.

“This year Kaliente’s management decided to kick it up a notch and make it outside during the day, like a block party,” said Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC 4871. “I’m so grateful to the staff and entertainers at Kaliente and Club Exklusive for helping the LULAC Rainbow Council make a difference in the lives of young scholars and for supporting the largest AIDS services organization in North Texas that is currently expanding its clinic to help more people with HIV/AIDS.”

Budweiser, the Dallas Tavern Guild, Bravo Groups, and local Latino social networking group Noches Latinas have also been instrumental in making the 2011 Cinco De Mayo Pride Fiesta bigger and better, according to Garcia.

Along with favorite Mexican delicacies like tacos, tamales, tostadas and elotes, booths from Lambda Legal, LifeWalk and Resource Center Dallas will be featured.

Voter registration and HIV testing will be available on site.

A special guest at Pride Fiesta will be North Dallas High School graduate and University of Texas student Joseph Zuniga, this year’s winner of the 2011 Jesus Chairez – LULAC 4871 Scholarship. Zuniga, an openly gay Latino, is majoring in business. Zuniga’s father is currently working two jobs to help put him through school where Zuniga is currently excelling in courses and tutoring others to succeed as well. Zuniga’s resources go straight to tuition and cost-of-living expenses. He has had to borrow school books and check out books weekly from the library to keep up this semester.

“We are very proud of Joseph and the obstacles he overcame to make it at UT,” said Garcia. “We are also raising money for two additional candidates whose stories were so compelling we needed to award them as well.”

Diney Hobgood, is a senior at DISD’s Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. This young straight ally who left home at an early age turned her situation around by concentrating on her studies and excelling in school. Hobgood is active in her school’s LULAC Youth Council, where she got to learn more about her Latino heritage and work on community service projects. She plans to go into medicine to help others.

Another young woman going into the field of medicine is Mignote Chamiso. This young scholar born in Ethiopia is on her way to realizing her American Dream. Placing No. 2 in her class at the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Chamiso has been very active in community service and is a proud equal rights supporter of LGBT and Latino people.

“Both Hobgood and Chamiso will be awarded $500 by the LULAC 4871 council, and if Pride Fiesta is a success, we want to fully fund these young women at $1,000 each,” Garcia said. “These young scholars will lead the next generation into a more tolerant and accepting future.”

LULAC 4871 Board Member Melinda Rios, from left, scholarship recipient Joseph Zuniga and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.
LULAC 4871 President Jesse Garcia, scholarship recipient Diney Hobgood, and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.
LULAC 4871 board member Melinda Rios, from left, scholarship recipient Mignote Chamiso and LULAC 4871 board member Sean Lozano.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Marathon of LGBT speakers call on Commissioners Court to add trans protections

Here’s video of the first six LGBT advocates who spoke at Dallas County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, with video of the remaining six to come later. As we noted earlier, the unprecedented marathon of speakers exceeded the maximum 30 minutes for public comment on the issue — a proposal to add transgender protections to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. It was the fourth straight week in which LGBT advocates addressed the Commissioners Court, and the community’s advocacy led to the court ultimately approving trans protections in a 3-2 party-line vote. The speakers in Part I (above) are Rebecca Solomon, Jesse Garcia and Louise Young; and the speakers in Part II (below) are Cd Kirven, Jeffrey Barnett and Mark Reed. As the old saying goes,  “This is what Democracy looks like!”

—  John Wright

‘Lambda Weekly’ moves to drive time

After more than 27 years on the 89.3 KNON-FM schedule as a Sunday show, Lambda Weekly moves to drive time this week. The oldest LGBT radio show in the nation will broadcast Wednesdays at 7 a.m.

From left: David Taffet, Lerone Landis, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Patti Fink

Patti Fink and Lerone Landis host the show with me (David Taffet). Alex Hanselka is the show’s intern and tech guru. John Wright, online editor for Dallas Voice, will be our first drive-time guest this week.

The station features a variety of talk shows during morning drive time including The Jesse Garcia Show on Thursdays at 7 a.m. At 8 a.m., the nationally syndicated Democracy Now with Amy Goodman runs Monday through Thursday and NPR’s Tavis Smiley airs Fridays.

Fink, who is president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, is excited about the move because of the potential for a much larger audience. Landis has a work conflict but will be in the studio to open the show before running downtown to work and will continue to contribute the entertainment report.

The show is one the the station’s original programs and began broadcasting in August 1983.

Guests on the show include authors, politicians and other people of interest to the LGBT community. Mayor Annise Parker of Houston was a guest last year when she appeared in Dallas for the Pride parade. Counselor Candy Marcum appears regularly to give relationship and other advice. Her next scheduled appearance is in May and coincides with her 25th anniversary. Instead of giving the relationship advice, she’ll be getting some from the crew.

Other guests have included Chaz Bono first on-air appearance as an out lesbian, Charo, Elizabeth Birch, E. Lynn Harris as well as LGBT community leaders from throughout North Texas.

The show features a segment called “Those Darn Heterosexuals,” highlighting stupid things straight people do and heterosexual parent of the week awards for examples of really bad parenting.

This week’s first drive time show with Wright will be a news round-up. They’ll discuss current events including the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending Defense of Marriage, the progress of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and what was Dave Chaos, station manager of KNON, really thinking when he put us in drive time.

The final Sunday guest was also from Dallas Voice. Life+Styles editor Arnold Wayne Jones appeared this past Sunday for the annual Oscar predictions show. That show can be heard here.

Lambda Weekly, Wednesdays at 7 a.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Channel 5 shines a very favorable ‘Spotlight’ on the LGBT community in N. Texas

 

A while back Dallas Voice received a visit from some folks at NBC 5, who interviewed Publisher Robert Moore and Senior Editor Tammye Nash about the newspaper’s role in the LGBT community.

To be perfectly honest, no one around here was quite sure what the segment was for, but thanks to a tip from Rafael McDonnell at Resource Center Dallas, now we know: It’ll be part of a program called Spotlight, which airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Channel 5. On Spotlight, “North Texas correspondents come together in order to spin narratives from real-life stories involving persons who contribute to their community,” according to the NBC 5 website.

We also found a site dedicated to the show, where they’ve posted several of the segments about the LGBT community. In addition to Dallas Voice,  there are segments on Youth First Texas, transgender Dallas Police Officer Deborah Grabowski, a Haltom City lesbian couple that adopted a child; the Dallas Diablos; three LGBT-affirming churches in Oak Cliff; gay filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs; and LULAC #4871 President Jesse Garcia.

We know, it seems like a lot, but each segment is only a few minutes long, and they’re all well done.

Major kudos to NBC 5 for putting these together, but you don’t have to wait till Sunday to see them. We’ve posted all of the segments, in the same order they’re listed above, after the jump.

—  John Wright