LGBT Democrats meet to strategize for the future

Texas Stonewall Democrats assess 2010 ‘ass-whipping’ at the polls during weekend meeting}

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From Staff Reports

editor@dallasvoice.com

Members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus from all across the state met in Austin on March 5-6 to assess the “ass-whipping” Democrats took at the polls last November and to develop messaging and other strategies for winning in 2012, according to caucus president Dan Graney.

Keynote speakers were openly bisexual Arizona state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and national transgender activist Mara Keisling.

Sinema warned Texas Democrats that “Arizona is coming to a state near you,” calling her home state the breeding ground for the anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-worker’s rights and anti-children’s health care measures currently being proposed in many state legislatures, including Texas.

Sinema called the spreading efforts an attempt by the Tea Party to “mainstream hatred in this country,” adding that “Tea Party” is just another name for Republicans.

Sinema said Democrats must build coalitions to stop such legislation, and encouraged LGBT Democrats to reach out to even unlikely allies to get — and give — support.

“After all, LGBT people make up only 4 percent of the electorate and you need 50 percent plus one to win,” Sinema said, who stayed after her speech to autograph copies of her book, “Unite And Conquer: Building Coalitions That Win — And Last.”

Keisling, mixing healthy dose of humor in with her experience and expertise, urged LGBT Democrats to move outside their “issue silos” and talk about racism, immigration and other progressive issues. She jokingly referred to former President George W. Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry as her “prior husbands” and referred to the Tea Party as a reincarnation of the John Birch Society.

Keisling expressed little hope for the advancement of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act over the next two years, saying that the measure is dead for now thanks to the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

Other guest speakers at the conference included Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman and state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

Villarreal led a plenary session that included an analysis of the November 2010 election and small group sessions to develop messaging for the 2012 election. A second plenary session, led by TSDC Vice President Erin Moore and Rio Grande Valley Chapter President Eli Olivarez, focused on winning strategies for the 2012 election.

Awards were presented to Houston LGBT activist Brad Pritchett,  Stonewall Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. The conference also included a TSDC executive board meeting and workshops on a variety of topics, such as building a bigger club and youth involvement and use of social media.

Many who attended the conference stayed to participate in Equality Texas Lobby Day on Monday, March 7.

A total of 70 LGBT Democrats and straight allies from across the state registered for the conference. There was representation at the conference from all nine active chapters statewide, including many young people, as well as from Galveston and Tyler.

For more information about the conference, go online to  TexasStonewalldemocrats.org

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—  Kevin Thomas

Sally Kern supporter now calling her transgender opponent a ‘he’ instead of ‘a confused it’

Brittany Novotny

The Oklahoman reports that a right-wing group backing anti-gay State Rep. Sally Kern, which previously referred to Kern’s transgender opponent Brittany Novotny as “a confused it,” is now referring to Novotny as a “he.”

Charlie Meadows is chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee:

Meadows in an e-mail he sent out Tuesday, talks about an invitation he extended to Novotny, the Democratic candidate in the House District 84 race, which covers western Oklahoma City and the Bethany area, to attend his group’s weekly meeting.

“Hopefully Brittany will decide to attend,” Meadows wrote. “If he wants to talk about issues, we will do that.

“If … Brittany is a conservative, is he confused? After all, if he is a conservative, why is he a member of the liberal Democratic Party?”

Meadows, who earlier called Novotny a “confused it,” said he now refers to Novotny as a male because he believes Novotny still has the DNA makeup of a male.

“That’s a more accurate description,” he said.

Novotny said: “He’s free to call me what he wants. I’m comfortable with who I am.

Novotny has declined Meadows’ invitation to appear at an OCPAC meeting alongside a representative from the extremist John Birch Society. Instead, she has proposed a town hall where both she and Kern could appear and answer questions for voters from the district. Not surprisingly, Meadows has declined Novotny’s invitation to help put together the town hall, citing his busy schedule, according to an e-mail exchange posted on Novotny’s website:

I have significant events on October 8th, 9th, 12th and the 26th which all will require a fair amount of my time in planning and attendence,” Meadows wrote. “In addition, I will be out of state for a few days in October. I simply don’t have the time to be part of this effort.”

—  John Wright