GEAR awards go to members, allies

Marla Compton, left, receives an award from Henry Ramirez.

Resource Center Dallas held the fifth annual GEAR awards Saturday, May 14 at Pride Pharmacy. GEAR, a program of the Center, is dedicated to empowering transgender men and women within the community through educational and social opportunities, outreach and medical services. Here are the award winners:

• The Katherine Walton Award for outstanding work in the community by a transgender person: Marla Compton and Shouna Leaher. Compton is the longtime coordinator of the GEAR program. Leaher was on the steering committee for three years and was instrumental in coordinating the group’s events.

• The Henry Ramirez III Ally Award for outstanding work in the community by an ally of the transgender community: Latisha Nichole McDaniel and Jamila Davis.

McDaniel served on the Transgender Day of Remembrance steering committee for two years. She helped transform it into a large community-wide event.

Davis works at the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic and developed the intake for transgender clients. The program she helped develop is staffed by doctors once a month. They see clients, and prescribe hormones and other treatment. Ramirez, for whom the award was named, said Davis has worked hard to ensure the transgender community is treated with respect.

Attendees also heard from Charlie Burrows, manager of the Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic; Rosemarie Odom, a member of the Center’s board of directors; Malcolm Roy of Pride Pharmacy; and the featured speaker, therapist Felesha Porter.

The event, sponsored by Pride Pharmacy, included a catered dinner. Pride Pharmacy has been a strong supporter of the Center and the programs and services it provides to the LGBT community. The pharmacy even re-painted several rooms in advance of the award ceremonies.

More pics below.

—  David Taffet

Cross Points to address race, class

Lovely Murrell

Cross Points continues Thursday, July 22 with a discussion of racism in the LGBT community. This week’s panel will focus on discrimination, class and privilege, and how these things are affecting the equality movement.

Panelists will include GetEQUAL NOW’s Cd Kirven, Mohammed Rahman of DFW BiNet and DJ Anderson of Equality March Texas. Lovely Murrell, a local co-chair of Creating Change, will moderate.

The series concludes next week with a panel on religion.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” said organizer Latisha McDaniel. “And we’re looking forward to continuing later with a new series.”

She said 20 to 30 people have attended each discussion.

The program begins at 7 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas.

—  David Taffet

CROSSPOINTS panel to address opportunities, pitfalls of being out at work

Dennis Coleman

The opportunities and pitfalls of being out at work will be discussed at this week’s CROSSPOINTS panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 1 at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Equality March Texas is coordinating the six-week series, which will take a break next week for the holiday.

Union organizer Mike Lo Vuolo will moderate this week’s panel discussion.

CROSSPOINTS organizer Latisha McDaniel said five people are tentatively scheduled to be on the panel.

Dennis Coleman from Lambda Legal will offer a legal perspective on what rights people have to be out at work and what rights employers have to discriminate pending passage of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Laura Martin, LGBT community liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, will give her perspective on being out in an organization with few other out employees.

Binet’s Andi Reis will talk about being an out bisexual.

Louise Young and Rafael McDonnell will talk about Out & Equal employee groups. Young formed the LGBT groups at Texas Instruments and later at Raytheon when they purchased her division from TI. McDonnell is strategic communications and programs manager at Resource Center Dallas.

“There are plenty of pitfalls to being out at work,” said McDaniel. “But I hope they talk about some of the benefits. Being able to concentrate on your work rather than on people finding out about your personal life.”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which McDaniel described as the biggest example of workplace discrimination, will also be discussed.

—  David Taffet

Equality March 2010 organizers will beat the heat and take their message to Main Street

In other march-related news, as I was nosing around YouTube last night, I came across this short promotional video for the Equality March 2010 in Dallas. This is the second incarnation of last year’s “Million Gay March,” in which thousands (yes, thousands) braved 100-degree heat to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion — and, as it turned out, get fired up about the Rainbow Lounge raid.

This morning I spoke with organizer Latisha McDaniel of Equality March Texas, who confirmed what is stated at the end of the video — that the event has been moved to October this year.

“We discussed about last year, with the heat and everything, how awful it was,” McDaniel said.  “We decided to have it around National Coming Out Week.”

While organizers have settled on a date, Oct. 16, they’re still working to finalize a route. After being accused of preaching to the choir by holding the march in Oak Lawn last year, McDaniel said the group looked at Oak Cliff, the SMU area and Addison, but is now zeroing in on downtown Dallas as the likely location, possibly followed by a rally at Victory Park.

“A lot of people had concerns that we were basically speaking to our own people, so we’re going to take our message to Main Street,” McDaniel said.

But isn’t Oct. 16 awfully close to September’s Pride celebration?

“Pride is more a of a festive thing. This is more of a march commemorating National Coming Out Week, so I’m not really too worried about it.”

For more info about Equality March 2010, visit the group’s Web site or e-mail info@equalitymarchtexas.org.

UPDATE: McDaniel says credit for the video goes to Jason Williams, who’s also on her “short list of baby daddies.”

—  John Wright

Holocaust march in solidarity with the LGBT community of Uganda

Latisha McDaniel
Latisha McDaniel

Equality March Texas will hold its first Holocaust Remembrance march on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Organizer Latisha McDaniel said, “The event is meant to recognize the sometimes forgotten victims of the Holocaust, the LGBT community. Many members of our community don’t even know the full meaning of the pink triangle and what happened to the people who wore that patch. It is extremely important not forget this horrific part of our history especially with the imminent legislation in Uganda and Rwanda. The persecution is far from over.”

There will be a march from the Highland Park fountain where Oak Lawn Avenue becomes Preston Road to the statue at Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road. Afterward there will be speakers at the Warwick Melrose Hotel.

McDaniel said that marchers should park near the Crossroads and a shuttle will run from Cedar Springs to the start point of the march from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The march will begin at 7 p.m. and it will take 20 to 40 minutes to get to the Melrose depending on speed of marchers and traffic.  The presentation at the Melrose will begin at 8 p.m.

In case of rain, go directly to the Melrose Hotel.

—  David Taffet

Welcome to the big leagues!

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What has to be one of the most common complaints editors hear from readers is, “It’s not newsworthy.” For example, when someone’s brother gets arrested for performing sex acts on the family cat and it shows up in the paper, they get mad and call the editor. “It’s not newsworthy,” they say.

This same type of criticism is rearing its ugly head over in the comments thread to this story about Queer Liberaction. But my question is, how much of this criticism is based on the fact that the commenters really don’t think it’s newsworthy, and how much of it is based on the fact that they just don’t want it in the newspaper?

One of the first things QL founder Blake Wilkinson said when I called him this week was, “Why is it that you guys will never cover Queer Liberaction’s events, but then when there is internal squabbling, you want to write about it?”

I told Wilkinson to go back through our issues and review our coverage since the group formed last November. How many times have QL events been featured in a photo on our front page? I just now counted, and the answer is seven. That’s right, seven times out of about 40 issues QL demonstrations have been the main photo on the front page of Dallas Voice. Wilkinson also alleged we haven’t covered anything they’ve done in the last month. My response was that DVtv’s Israel Luna produced an excellent video segment for us about QL’s Kiss-In just a few weeks ago, and that this had been my idea. Wilkinson didn’t have any response to that, and he finally agreed to discuss with me what’s going on with QL.

So while some would undoubtedly prefer that we didn’t cover QL at all, others want coverage, but only when it’s in a positive light and only when they feel it’s “newsworthy.” The problem with this is, we would never grant such treatment to any LGBT group or individual, and for obvious reasons.

Consider this hypothetical: If Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore were to kick Jay Narey and Mike Lo Vuolo off the group’s board because they wanted to start another group with a competing mission, we would absolutely report on it. I’m not saying the same coverage would be given to every internal squabble at any LGBT organization, but Daniel Cates and Latisha McDaniel were high-profile board members for Queer Liberaction, which as I noted above has been a high-profile group.

Cates and McDaniel were the co-chairs of this year’s Million Gay March, which was organized by a coalition of local LGBT leaders and which drew more than 1,000 people. And they say they were kicked off the QL board because they insisted on starting another group that they hope will get along better with the rest of the community.

Now if that’s not newsworthy, I don’t know what is.

P.S. — After reading the story comments thread and this post, Publisher Robert Moore suggested that I also address the criticism that we don’t cover Fort Worth. There’s probably no better way to address this than by pointing to the centerpiece story on today’s front page about the AIDS Outreach Center, and the lead story in our Life+Style section about the aftermath of the Rainbow Lounge raid.

—  John Wright

Equality March Texas to hold 1st meeting

Daniel Cates, right, and Latisha McDaniel address the crowd in the parking lot of Kroger before this year's Million Gay March.
Daniel Cates, right, and Latisha McDaniel address the crowd in the parking lot of Kroger before this year’s Million Gay March.

Equality March Texas, the new group founded by the co-chairs of this year’s Million Gay March, will hold its inaugural meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

Equality March Texas co-founder Daniel Cates said the new group’s primary mission will be to prepare for next year’s march. The march, which drew 1,200 people this year, is a yearly event to commemorate the June 28 anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Next year, Cates said, the group will work to recruit organizers for marches in every major city in Texas. The other founder of Equality March Texas is Latisha McDaniel, who co-chaired the Million Gay March along with Cates.

For more information, e-mail Milliongaymarchtexas@yahoo.com or call Cates at 469-556-4249.

—  John Wright