Bill Clinton wore a lovely blue pantsuit to the Democratic Convention


Bill Clinton (Photo (c) Washington Blade by Michael Key)

Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill wore a blue tie and white shirt under a dark blue pantsuit as he introduced his wife at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, July 26.

First gentleman watchers speculated that Mr. Clinton’s suit may have been designed by Hart, Schaffner Marx or Hickey Freeman and expected a buying frenzy when the actual label is revealed.

Mr. Clinton, who looks like he had his hair done for the convention, has been sitting in front row center of the balcony of the Philadelphia Convention Center, acting as the charming host, surrounded by Democratic dignitaries as his wife campaigns before addressing the convention on Thursday.

The presidential candidate’s husband spoke about Mrs. Clinton’s experience but apparently has had quite a career for himself as well. In addition to two terms as governor of Arkansas, he served as president of the United States. He also addressed the Democratic Convention in 1988 as the keynote speaker and is expected to be a trusted adviser in his wife’s administration.

Dallas Voice has sent a message to Dallas-based delegates to find out if the potential first gentleman can bake chocolate chip cookies.

Now, can we stop talking about who designed Mrs. Obama’s dress and concentrate on how she gave one of the best speeches ever delivered at a political convention?

—  David Taffet

Trans woman murdered in Mississippi


Dee Whigham

A Navy seaman in training has been arrested and charged with robbing and murdering Dee Whigham, 25, a transgender woman from Shubuta, Miss., who was found dead in a motel room in Ocean Springs, Miss., near Biloxi on July 23.

According to a count kept by The Advocate, Whigham is the 16th trans person to be murdered in the U.S. this year.

Whigham was found stabbed, according to the South Mississippi SunHerald based in Gulfport. She was staying at the Best Western Plus Cypress Creek hotel off Interstate 10 in Biloxi with several people after traveling to Biloxi to attend the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Dwanya Hickerson, 20, of New Orleans, was arrested Monday morning, July 25, and charged with capital murder in Whigham’s death, according to the SunHerald. Jackson County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Stratton said Hickerson was shown on surveillance video leaving the hotel , and investigators obtained a warrant to search the Hickerson’s residence at Keesler, where he had been in training since April.

Sheriff Mike Ezell has said his department is investigating and “If this turns out to be a hate crime, we will pursue this to the fullest in court.”

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses. The photo of Whigham with this post was taken from that page.

—  David Taffet

Lambda Legal sues nursing facility for elder abuse


Marsha Wetzel (Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal)

Lambda Legal filed suit today, Wednesday, July 27, against Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Niles, Ill. for failing to protect Marsha Wetzel, a lesbian senior who is a resident of the facility. In her suit, she claims the facility and its administrators failed to protect her from “harassment, discrimination and violence she has endured at the hands of other residents because of her sex and sexual orientation.”

From Karen Loewy, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney and Seniors Program Strategist:

Glen St. Andrew calls itself ‘a community of caring,’ but when the staff ignores the harassment and violence directed at Marsha, they are not caring at all.

There is a clear pattern of discrimination here. The facility and its staff have ignored our client’s pleas for help after being harassed and attacked because she is a lesbian and because she is a woman who loved and created a family with another woman for 30 years.

Marsha deserves the same compassionate care and safety provided for all the other seniors at Glen St. Andrew but instead, the staff have created an environment where it is acceptable to isolate, harass and attack someone because of who they are and who they loved.

Over the weekend, the Coalition for Aging LGBT held a conference at the SMU campus in Plano to discuss issues that included treatment of LGBT elderly in assisted living and nursing facilities.

—  David Taffet

More photos from Dallas delegates to the Democratic Convention

—  David Taffet

13th annual Miss LifeWalk Pageant breaks records

2016 Miss LifeWalk Contestants
Tiaras, glamorous gowns and house-rocking performances raised $53,412 — 33 percent more than in 2015 — at the 13th annual Miss LifeWalk pageant Sunday, July 24, at the Rose Room in S4. The 2016 Pageant was produced by the Guys and Dolls LifeWalk Team and hosted by Heather Thomas and Mark Manley.

“Guys and Dolls is delighted that the Miss LifeWalk Pageant continues to grow and gets bigger and better every year,” pageant organizer Landon Starnes said. “It is exciting to watch the contestants competitively raise money and bring in record numbers each and every year, not to mention the passion and generosity of those that give, and this year was spectacular! We are truly grateful to be a part of this journey and work with such lovely people!”

The 2016 contestants were Miss Rita Fine representing Guys & Dolls, Linze Serell representing the Green Team, and Vanity Storm representing Team Metro (GDMAF). Serell raised more than $23,000, a new record for an individual contestant. Special guest performances included former Miss LifeWalk winners Sabrina Starr (2005), Anita Nother (2010), Lotta Pink (2011), Veda Chardonnay (2013), Heidi Liquere (2014) and Charlotte Bardeaux (2015) who crowned the 2016 winner — Vanity Storm.

Miss LW 2016 Vanity StormThe 2016 Miss LifeWalk winning categories are as follows:

Miss Congeniality – Rita Fine

Miss Spirit of LifeWalk – Linze Serell

Miss Money Bags – Linze Serell

Evening Wear Winner – Vanity Storm

Talent Winner – Vanity Storm

2nd Runner Up – Rita Fine

1st Runner Up – Linze Serell

Over the 13 years the pageant has raised more than $189,283 for LifeWalk.

LifeWalk 2016 takes place Sunday, Oct. 9, beginning and ending in Lee Park. This year’s walk will benefit AIDS Arms, Inc. and other AIDS services partner agencies: Abounding Prosperity, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas, Cathedral of Hope, Dogs Matter, Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, Tucker’s Gift, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and UT Southwestern Community Prevention and Intervention Unit.

Register for LifeWalk here.


—  David Taffet

Dallas delegates at the Democratic National Convention

The Texas delegation to the Democratic Convention has a number of LGBT members. Here are a few of them:


“That moment when you place your delegate vote for Hillary! Wow tears,” Jeff Strater wrote on his twitter feed with this picture.


Lupe and Jeff

Delegates Jeff Strater and Sheriff Lupe Valdez



Barbara Rosenberg officially casting her vote for Hillary on Monday, July 25, in a picture posted on her Facebook page.



LBJ’s daughter Linda Robb with former Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and his husband J.D. Angle

—  David Taffet

Democrats ratify most pro-LGBT platform ever


Delegates to the Democratic National Convention meet at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25. (Michael Key/Washington Blade)

‘It says we’re welcome, we’re going to make life better’


CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Courtesy of National Gay Media Association


PHILADELPHIA — Democrats ratified a party platform late Monday, July 25, that is being called the most LGBT-inclusive in history and a unifying document after a bitter primary.

As convention chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, presided, delegates at the Democratic National Convention approved the platform by voice vote. Although loud “nays” were heard, the overwhelming “yays” in favor of the platform carried the day.

Jessica Frisco, a Manhattan-based delegate pledged to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said having LGBT inclusion in the Democratic Party “has always been really important to me.”

“Not that it’s become less of a priority, but I think the Democrats have always been pretty progressive on the issue, at least in recent years, and you know, it’s been Democrats that have been supporting that type of legislation in contrast to Republicans,” she said. “I guess I wasn’t really surprised to see that that was a big part of the platform and I wouldn’t be surprised to know that everyone in the Democratic Party supports that.”

The 55-page document has a specific LGBT plank titled “Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights” and includes LGBT references in planks throughout the document.

The LGBT plank endorses LGBT comprehensive non-discrimination legislation (although it doesn’t explicitly address the Equality Act by name), condemns violence against transgender people, endorses the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage and repudiates state laws seeking to undermine LGBT rights.

“Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people — like other Americans — have the right to marry the person they love,” the platform says. “But there is still much work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, restaurants can refuse to serve transgender people and same-sex couples are at risk of being evicted from their homes. That is unacceptable and must change.”

In contrast, the platform adopted last week at the Republican National Convention seeks to reverse the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, indicates supports for widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy and supports state anti-trans bathroom laws.

Matt Hughes, a 25-year-old delegate from Chapel Hill, N.C., pledged to Hillary Clinton, said the LGBT inclusion is important to him both as a Democrat and a gay man.

“For me as a Democrat, it’s important, but also as a gay man that we have these ideals in our party’s platform about non-discrimination in terms of employment and transgender rights and really everything,” Hughes said, “especially when you compare and contrast it to the Republican Party platform that was passed last week, which is definitely the most anti-LGBT platform that the Republican Party has ever put forward.”

Hughes said he helped draft a North Carolina platform that included similar language, which he said is important because of the recently enacted House Bill 2 in the state. That law bars pro-LGBT city ordinances and prohibits transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

“That language says to me that for the second time in four years, that on LGBT issues, North Carolina is on the wrong side of not just fairness and equality, but also just the wrong side of history,” Hughes said. “And I think that the Democrats have always stood up for the marginalized and oppressed in our communities, and so having language that is so strongly in favor of rights for our transgender brothers, I think, is very important.”

Other language throughout the document recognizes immigration detention for LGBT people who sought refuge in the United States “can be unacceptably dangerous.” Referencing the recent end to the ban on transgender military service and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, the platform says the U.S. military is stronger with people of different “sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Delegates ratified the platform after the full platform committee reviewed and made changes to the document during a meeting earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.

During the meeting, the committee enhanced the LGBT language further by adding a plank insisting LGBT rights should be part of U.S. foreign policy. The language was based on Clinton’s 2011 speech in Geneva where she declared, “Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

Mara Keisling, a D.C.-based transgender advocate and member of the platform committee, called the platform “the most progressive platform on LGBT and trans rights in the history of the United States.”

“It says we’re welcome; it says we’re going to make life better to make lots of different marginalized people whether it’s supporting the people of Puerto Rico, people with disabilities or people facing environment racism or LGBT people,” Keisling said. “We’re going to work together and we’re going to make things better for everybody.”

Although Keisling acknowledged the platform is “symbolic,” she said that symbolism can be a “big thing” to leverage change.

“It’s just symbolic, but it gives us a hook, it again starts getting more and more people thinking about transgender and LGBT people and thinking about do they support or do they not support us, and it gets some of our issues in front of people who maybe wouldn’t have seen it before,” Keisling said.

In 2012, the platform for the first time endorsed marriage equality in addition to other language rejecting the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and endorsing a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but the 2016 document exceeds those milestones.

Marveling at the Democratic Party’s progression on LGBT inclusion in its platforms was Diego Sanchez, a D.C.-based transgender advocate in attendance at the convention and in 2008 the first openly transgender member of the platform committee. He wasn’t a member in 2016.

“The progress has been tremendous,” Sanchez said. “In 2008, we didn’t have the word marriage by design. We were responsible for three things: Bringing in the definition of same-sex couples as families, to have gender identity included in non-discrimination and to include HIV as a domestic policy priority. We’ve come so far from that place of using language that is cautious to where we can boldly be inclusive of the entire community.”

But one proposed change that didn’t make it into the Democratic platform was changing the LGBT acronym throughout the document to LGBTQ to explicitly include people who identify as queer.

During the platform committee meeting, David Braun, a Sanders appointee from Oakland, Calif., sought the change, which platform committee chair and former Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said he would take as a request for a technical change to the document. It wasn’t immediately clear why the change wasn’t made.

Vincent Harding, a 28-year-old delegate from Austin, pledged to Clinton and chair of the Democratic Party in Travis County, said advanced LGBT-inclusive language is important because “we need to make sure we treat everyone equally.”

“The ability to love who we want to love is fundamental to all of us, so it is essential that it is part of the platform,” he said. “I don’t know what took so long, but I think things are changing and we have seen Republicans move a little bit, we’re going to keep pushing them a little bit and hopefully we won’t have the situation like we saw in Kentucky where people don’t want to grant gay marriages. Hopefully, that’ll be universal around the country and we’ll continue to move forward together.”

Chuck Rocha, a 47-year-old D.C. delegate pledged to Sanders, said the LGBT-inclusive language is “hugely important” to him because of his opposition to discrimination in all forms.

“I’m one of the only Latino delegates in the nation, the only one from D.C.,” Rocha said. “Discrimination doesn’t know a sex or a color, we shouldn’t discriminate for no reason, and everybody, no matter who they love, should be able to get married and live their lives the way they want to.”

—  Tammye Nash

Connie Britton to speak at Black Tie Dinner


Connie Britton

Actress Connie Britton will be a featured speaker at Black Tie Dinner.

Britton, who starred in the TV series Nashville, may be best known to Texans as Tami Taylor, wife of Coach Eric Taylor in the series Friday Night Lights.

Friday Night Lights took place in fictional Dillon, Texas and was filmed in and around Austin. The football field was the former Del Valle High School field directly across the highway from Austin Bergstrom Airport.

“I’m very excited to attend the 35th Black Tie Dinner on Oct. 1, and for an awesome celebration with Dallas and the LGBT community!” Britton told Black Tie representatives.

Look forward to meeting Britton at Black Tie, because she was as accessible and friendly on the set of Friday Night Lights as her on screen persona.

During the run of the show, I played a reporter, usually standing somewhere on the sidelines. I’m sort of easy to spot in any of the football scenes because I’m the only one on the field in a sports coat — because, you know, that’s how us reporters always dress, especially in the heat.

But we spent long nights out of the field filming each of those scenes that were cut down to less than five minutes.

Britton, who was usually in the stands during filming, was always accessible, chatting with the crowd. And while we usually filmed in summer, the season 3 championship game was done on a freezing November weekend in the UT stadium. I wasn’t on the field that game (because state championships were covered by the international press, not the local Dillon press corps). Britton sat for hours freezing in the stands along with the rest of us.

Also announced, comedian Dana Goldberg returns to Black Tie for a third year to host the luxury auction. Goldberg brilliantly increased bids and generated excitement during her previous turns as Black Tie auctioneer.

Previously announced were a performance by Deborah Cox and Kuchling Award winner Steven Pounders, who will not be portrayed on stage by Jennifer Garner.

—  David Taffet

Oversold conference on LGBT aging looks for ways to improve lives of elders


Mayor Henry LaRosiliere, left, with Dawnetta Miller, middle, and Jeannie Rubin

The second annual Summit on LGBT Aging packed the meeting rooms in one of Southern Methodist University’s Plano campus buildings on Saturday, July 23.

“In the 90’s, the idea of aging just didn’t resonate with many of us,” said GALA NTX President Jeannie Rubin in opening remarks to the conference. “We have become the LGBT aging community we never thought would exist.”

Rubin introduced the opening speaker, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere.

While LaRosiliere wasn’t there to provide solutions, he was there to offer his support in “a city that believes everyone matters.”

He said that all elderly communities have concerns about affordable housing, their finances and health, but acknowledged the LGBT community has “an extra layer you have to contend with.”

“As a city, we will continue to foster our relationship” with the LGBT community, LaRosiliere said, “and find ways we as a community can collaborate.”

Aging Coalition founder Cannon Flowers said in the LGBT community, people on the margins are treated harshly. He defined the margins as those under 21 and those over 45.

“We discriminate in our own community,” Flowers said.

University of North Texas LGBT researcher Bart Poche gave some of the statistics. Currently, about 143,000 aging LGBT people live in North Texas. That number will grow to more than 200,000 over the next decade. Of those, some groups are more marginalized than others. One in three transgender people have been turned away from shelters and are four times more likely to live below the poverty line than the community in general, for example.

One problem addressed at the conference was discrimination in healthcare and housing. Some LGBT elders go back into the closet so they’re not discriminated by healthcare workers or in assisted living.

In a breakout session on improving the social lives of elders to improve their health and quality of life, lots of ideas emerged. Among the suggestions was a buddy program that was successful during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The program would pair a younger person with an older person to help with a variety of needs.

Flowers said during the break out that it’s the policy of the Coalition not to recreate or reinvent services that were out there. So he liked a suggestion at existing groups help create social events targeted at or inclusive of LGBT elderly. One example came from someone from DIVA, the volleyball organization. They recently held a volleyball event for people 45 and older that brought together former DIVA members and others who hadn’t played the game in years.

A breakout session on housing addressed problems faced by LGBT elders in assisted living and nursing care. While most facilities welcome LGBT residents, that welcome is often not much more than acceptance. No programming is available at any facility in the area that addresses LGBT interests.

Moderator Robert Emery noted that the Coalition is creating an equality index this year that will be sent out to all senior facilities in North Texas.

Other panels address transgender, legal, caregiving and legislative issues.

Mike McKay, former Resource Center CEO and current regional manager for the Peace Corps, said, “One thing we all have in common is we’re all aging.”

He summed up the conference with three takeaway ideas:

Change: Figure out how you can change to make your life better as you age.

Connect: Connect to your community by working together with others, through organizations, churches or friends.

Contribute: Whether that’s financially or with your time, especially on legislative issues in the upcoming legislative session.

A Tarrant County summit will be held in Arlington on Nov. 12.

—  David Taffet

The Gay Agenda • 07-22-16



­­­Have an event coming up? Email your information to Managing Editor Tammye Nash at or Senior Staff Writer
David Taffet at by Wednesday at 5 p.m. for that week’s issue.

• Weekly: Lambda Weekly every Sunday at 1 p.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM. United Black Ellument hosts discussion on HIV/AIDS in the black community (UBE Connected) at 7 p.m. every fourth Tuesday of the month at 3116 Commerce St., Suite C; Core Group Meeting every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.; Fuse game night every Monday evening except the last of the month at 8 p.m. at the Fuse space in the Treymore Building, 4038 Lemmon Ave, Suite 101; FuseConnect every Wednesday from 7 p.m. For more information call or e-mail Jalenzski at 214-760-9718 ext 3 or

• Through Aug. 11: Back to school donation drive
Real Live Connection, HRC, AIDS Walk South Dallas, and Oak Lawn UMC present a donation drive to collect clothing and school supplies for homeless LGBT youth and allies. Drop box locations are at the UPS Store,
3824 Cedar Springs Road, Alexandre’s,
4026 Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Branch Library, 4100 Cedar Springs Road.
For information visit

• July 22-23: Designer Relationships Symposium
PolyDallas Millennium LLC presents the 2nd annual symposium on Designer Relationships, Friday-Saturday , with the opening night speaker, Joe Kort, at 7 p.m. Friday at Viva’s Lounge, followed by a special performance by Dem Damn Dames Burlesque Troupe. Saturday’s panels and speakers — including Tristan Taormino, Joe Kirt, James Wadley and more — take place from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. at Crowne Plaza Dallas Downtown, 1015 Elm St. For information visit

• July 23: Summit on LGBT Aging
Second annual summit is a joint venture with GALA North Texas. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Southern Methodist University Plano Campus, 5326 Tennyson Parkway, Plano.

• July 23: Down to Float
Impulse Group presents DTF2 with performance by Ab Soto, runway show presented by Marco Marco, Underwear, hosted by Chris Sapphire and beats by
DJ Brandon Moses from 1-6 p.m. at
7044 Royal Lane.

• July 23: Red Summer Nights Dream
Dallas Red Foundation and Dannee Phann Productions present Ru Paul’s Cynthia Lee Fontaine and 2016 Miss Red, Raquel Blake with Gloria Devine, Onyx Anderson, G Licious G, Nicole O’Hara Munro and Dallas Sheraton. Doors at 9. Show at 11. Tickets $15 online or $20 at the door. Table for three with meet and greet privileges $120 at The Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave. Tickets at

• July 23: Pride Sizzlin’ Summer Bingo
Tarrant County Pride and Tarrant County
Gay Pride Week Association present Pride Sizzlin Summer Bingo at Trinity Metropolitan Community Church, 933 E. Avenue J,
Grand Prairie. Tickets at

• July 24: The Brick Closing Party
The Brick/Joe’s, 2525 Wycliff, will close after 25 years with a farewell party with owners Howard Okon and Greg Parrish who are retiring.

• July 25: High Tech Happy Hour Christmas in July
Benefits The Senior Source. A $50 gift card to Target or Walmart will help a senior purchase personal items and a $100 check will purchase and install an air conditioning unit.
From 5-7 p.m. at Two Corks and a Bottle,
The quadrangle, 2800 Routh St. #140.

• July 28-31 Texas Queerlesque Festival
Queer burlesque takes center stage in the 4-day Texas Queerlesque Festival, where cabaret-style performing arts meets the culturally-rich queer community. The festival aims to unify, celebrate and elevate, and showcases Texas premiere performers in two mainstage shows at Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St., and Viva’s Lounge, 1350 Manufacturing St., Ste. 120. For information visit

• July 28: LGBT-Friendly West Coast Swing
Dallas Pride Dance country-western dance group invites couples and singles of all gender identities and skill levels to learn basics and beginning, intermediate, and advanced moves with award-winning dancer and instructor Lori Hayor. 9 p.m. at You Can Dance studio, 14833 Inwood Road, Suite 600, Addison. $15 suggested donation per person; no one turned away for inability to pay.
817-500-4962; 214-566-1260.

• July 30: DFW Federal Club summer luncheon
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, the Democrat representing Texas’ 33rd Congressional District, and Joni Madison, chief operating officer and chief of staff of the Human Rights Campaign, will be featured speakers at the DFW Federal Club’s Summer Luncheon. The event is capped at 200 guests. Business casual luncheon from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Tower Club, Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. 48th floor. For information visit

• July 30: TAG Game Night
Tyler Area Gays hosts TAG Game Night in the Genecov room at the Tyler Chamber of Commerce, 315 N. Broadway, 6-9 p.m. Refreshments and games will be provided, but you can also bring your own games. Attendees are encouraged to bring back-to-school supplies to be donated to local charitable organizations to be distributed to needy children. For information visit

• July 30: Zika presentation
A presentation about the Zika virus and what you can do to protect yourself and your family featuring Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson
at 3 p.m. at Lochwood Branch Library, 11221 Lochwood Blvd. Refreshments served.

• July 31: Holocaust survivor speaks
If you have never heard survivors tell their stories, this is your chance at 12:30 p.m. at Dallas Holocaust Museum,
211 N. Record St #100.

• July 31: Sunday Night Fever
Cathedral of Hope’s 46th anniversary party with ’70s costumes and karaoke. From 5-8 p.m. at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road.

• Aug 4: LGBT-Friendly West Coast Swing
Dallas Pride Dance country-western dance group invites couples and singles of all gender identities and skill levels to learn basics and beginning, intermediate, and advanced moves with award-winning dancer and instructor Lori Hayor. 9 p.m. at You Can Dance studio, 14833 Inwood Road, Suite 600, Addison. $15 suggested donation per person; no one turned away for inability to pay. 817-500-4962; 214-566-1260.



Dallas Pride Dance, a new community organization promoting country-western social dance, starts its four-week, LGBT-friendly West Coast Swing class July 28, with award-winning instructor Lori Haynor. Couples and singles of all gender identities and skill levels are invited. You Can Dance Studio, 14833 Inwood Road, Ste. 600, in Addision. $15 donation is requested, but no one will be turned away because they can’t pay. For information call 817-500-4962 or 214-566-1260.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 22, 2016.


—  Dallasvoice