WATCH: Dallas County passes 1st LGBT Pride Month resolution

LGBT advocates who attended Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting gather on the steps of the administration building after the Pride resolution passed. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

LGBT advocates who attended Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting gather on the steps of the administration building after the Pride resolution passes. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Dallas County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday declaring June LGBT Pride Month.

The resolution is the first of its kind for the county. The Dallas City Council has issued proclamations the past three years recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel presented the resolution, reading it to the room before it passed. Commissioner Mike Cantrell, the only Republican on the five-member court, was absent from the meeting.

“On this special occasion, we must bear in mind that while we have overcome difficult obstacles, tolerance and acceptance is something we must all practice and teach future generations,” the resolution reads in part. (Read the full version here)

After its passage, activist Omar Narvaez then addressed the court with several LGBT supporters standing behind him. He spoke about the importance of the LGBT community having showing its Pride during June.

“It’s so appropriate that our symbol for the LGBT community is a rainbow because we are every single part, we are every fabric of that rainbow,” he said. “We are African-American, we’re Latino, we are white, we are Asian, we are Native American.”

—  Anna Waugh

Dallas wraps up June Pride series

The panel, from left: Roger Poindexter, Lorie Burch, Scott Whittall, the Rev. Dawson Taylor, Harold Steward, Cece Cox, Pastor Jon Haack and David Fisher. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

The city of Dallas wrapped up its LGBT Pride Month celebration Wednesday with a discussion of how the LGBT community has enriched the city.

A seven-member panel moderated by Fahari Arts Institute founder Harold Steward discussed the contributions their LGBT organizations have made to Dallas over the years and where they envision Dallas in the future. They then took questions from the handful of people in attendance.

The event in the City Hall Flag Room was the last event in the city’s Pride series “Honor, Educate and Celebrate.”

Panelists included Resource Center Dallas CEO and Executive Director Cece Cox, Cedar Springs Merchants Association Executive Director Scott Whittall, Turtle Creek Chorale Executive Director David Fisher, GBLT Chamber of Commerce board member Lorie Burch, Lambda Legal South Central Region Executive Director Roger Poindexter, Cathedral of Hope Executive Minister the Rev. Dawson Taylor and Promise Metropolitan Community Church senior Pastor Jon Haack.

City Council was in executive session so members could not attend, but Councilwoman Delia Jasso stepped out to speak briefly about her pride in the LGBT Task Force for planning great events over the last four weeks. Councilman Scott Griggs also stopped by the Flag Room and spoke briefly. The series began with a kickoff followed by conversations about city services and out officials. Jasso expressed a desire to have another celebration next June and promised it would be “bigger and better.”

While many of the organizations began as a way of welcoming the LGBT community with safe havens to worship, gain access to HIV/AIDS care and enjoy a safe evening out or unbiased legal council, the panel focused on how far Dallas has grown over the decades and how spread out the LGBT community has become. The days have passed where members of the LGBT community only live near Cedar Springs and the only bar patrons along the entertainment strip are gay.

Instead, the LGBT community and its businesses have integrated into Dallas while still maintaining a focus on their original customers, Whittall said. Even religious organizations have grown in attendance with allies who no longer find a barrier between spirituality and sexuality, but Taylor added that the next step is working from being a community that is tolerated to one that is accepted and celebrated.

Task Force member Pam Gerber closed the event by expressing how proud she was to have a June Pride celebration and welcomed input for next year’s events. She said that while the community is working toward acceptance, she “just wants to be.”

“I want to be nothing extraordinary, nothing out of the ordinary,” she said. “I just want to be.”

Suggestions for next year’s Pride can be made to Councilwoman Delia Jasso at 214-670-4052.

—  Anna Waugh

WATCH: Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson records LGBT Pride Month message

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, pledged her continued support for equality in an LGBT Pride Month video.

The video was posted on the congresswoman’s YouTube page Friday.

A longtime supporter of LGBT rights, Johnson voted in favor of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 but now is now a sponsor of the bill to repeal DOMA.

In the video, she mentions that this year is the 43rd  anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, reflecting on the “enormous advancements in gay rights” since then that include the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“These laws strengthen our commitment to value every American’s life equally, both publicly and privately,” she said. “The law of the land must protest every American’s civil rights.”

Johnson pledges in the video to continue to support gay rights as a member of LGBT Equality Caucus and to help pass legislation that “ensures a more united fight against discrimination and intolerance.”

“While great progress has been made, more work needs to be done,” she said.

Watch the video below.

—  Anna Waugh

Dallas city officials, LGBT Task Force members kick off Pride Month events at City Hall

Councilwoman Delia Jasso addresses an audience of about 80 people during an LGBT Pride Month kick-off Wednesday in the Flag Room at City Hall.

The Dallas City Council and the city of Dallas officially proclaimed June Dallas’ LGBT Pride Month at a Pride kick-off event Wednesday.

About 80 people gathered in the Flag Room on the sixth floor of City Hall to hear council members speak about the LGBT community and the pride the city shares with them in the month of June.

Last year marked the first time Dallas held a reception recognizing LGBT Pride month, holding a one-day gathering for officials and community members to celebrate the city’s diversity.

This year a series of events will offer something every Wednesday in June, highlighting the importance of different accomplishments of the city’s LGBT community.

Councilwoman Delia Jasso spoke at the kick-off first and addressed the success of her LGBT Task Force, which she said has accomplished a lot in the three years since it formed. She said it has helped the Dallas police install a full-time LGBT liaison officer, worked on implementing LGBT sensitivity training for Dallas Fire-Rescue, and reviewed the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance complaints with a goal of helping improve the process.

“Perhaps the most significant accomplishment for the city is the embracing of the LGBT community.” Jasso said. “Not only do we embrace the LGBT community but we also celebrate and most especially this month.”

Mayor Mike Rawlings could not attend the kick-off because he was at a funeral, but he prepared a video message for the audience to view.

“Dallas is a city that really celebrates its diversity,” Rawlings said in the video. “I think it’s what makes us strong, it’s what makes us growing, it’s interesting. It’s a lot more fun. I think one of the strongest — strongest — communities we that have in all the diversity, a rainbow if you will, is the LGBT community.

“Thank you. I want to say, personally, thank you, for the coaching, the dialogue and the support that you’ve given me as my time as mayor,” Rawlings said. “I think we agree on so much. Sometimes we haven’t agreed. But you’ve stayed steadfast, talked about the issues that are important to you and treated me with a real honor and respect. Your style, your character, it’s truly something to be proud of. I love the way you advocate for your issues. I’m proud just to have you in Dallas.”

Rawlings also said he was proud to have the Pride flag in the Flag Room among the flags of the world for the entire month of June. A Pride flag also hangs in over a railing in the first-floor atrium of City Hall.

Council members who attended Wednesday’s kickoff were Jasso, Angela Hunt, Jerry Allen, Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, Scott Griggs, Linda Koop, Monica Alonzo, Carolyn Davis. Other prominent city officials in attendance included City Manager Mary Suhm and Fire-Rescue Chief Louie Bright.

Hunt and Medrano also spoke briefly, along with task force members Omar Narvaez, Cd Kirven, Bright and Carter Brown, founder of Black TransMen, Inc.

Task force members read the proclamation that declared June LGBT Pride month in Dallas before the close of the event. (Watch the reading below.)

The Turtle Creek Chorale provided musical entertainment, singing “God Bless America” at the beginning of the kick-off and closed the gathering with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Look for an in-depth story about the Pride events in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

More photos and video below.

—  Anna Waugh

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Monday’s 1st-ever LGBT Pride Month Reception at Dallas City Hall

We apologize for the shaky camera, especially at the beginning (I blame David Taffet). But below is video, in three parts, from Monday’s LGBT Pride Month Reception at Dallas City Hall. To view more photos of the event, go here, and for our story, go here.

—  John Wright

LGBT Pride Month Reception at Dallas City Hall

Photos by John Wright/Dallas Voice

—  John Wright

Obama issues LGBT Pride Month proclamation

Pres. Obama signs proclamation

Pres. Obama signs proclamation

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 28, 2010

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2010

- – - – - – -
A PROCLAMATION

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise. An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

—  David Taffet