Obituary • 06-24-16

Mike-JensenMichael Robert Jensen, 55, died Sunday, June 19, 2016, at his home in Oak Cliff, after a hard-fought battle with ALS.

A native of Door County, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Jensen had lived in Dallas for more than 25 years. He worked as the head of security at the Nasher Sculpture Center and was past co-owner of Roxy Art Deco. He loved classic cars and was a longtime member of Classic Chassis Car Club.

Jensen was preceded in death by his grandparents, George and Edna Jensen and Robert and Marion Malzahn; his godmother, Donna Marx; his niece, Sarah Marie; his grandparents-in-law, Edgar and Nora Parks and Dallas and Mildred Kniskern, and his father-in-law, James William Parks.
He is survived by his husband and partner of more than 29 years, Jim Parks; parents, George and Peggy Jensen; sister, Monica, and her husband, Jack; brother, Steve, and his wife, Kay; sister, Ann, and her husband Kevin; mother-in-law, Marion R. Parks; sisters-in-law, Kathy, Mary and her husband, Doug, Anita and her husband, Glen, and Patty and her wife Linda; as well a large extended family and friends, including his Nasher Sculpture Center family and his Classic Chassis Car Club family.
A memorial service will be held at the Nasher Sculpture Center on Sunday, July 17th. Memorial contributions can be made to the Nasher Sculpture Center, attention Mike Jensen Memorial Fund, 2001 Flora St., Dallas, Texas 75201.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Pet of the week • 06-24-16


Yepeh is a domestic shorthair mix, about 3 months old and weighing about 4 pounds. Like all kittens, she is a
ball of energy, bringing love and joy wherever she goes.
If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous companion, come meet Yepeh or one of the other kittens at
Operation Kindness.

Other pets are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, 3201 Earhart Drive, Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open six days: Monday, 3-8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3-8 p.m.; Thursday, noon-8 p.m.; Friday, noon- 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 for dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Marriage, one year later

Local couples talk about the impact of the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality in the last 12 months


Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

David Taffet  |  Senior News Writer

It’s been a year since the U.S. Supreme Court issued it’s landmark ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges, making marriage equality the law of the land, and in those 12 months, about 123,000 same-sex couples have been legally married in this country, according to a study released Wednesday, June 22, by Gallup.

The study, based on interviews conducted over the last year by Gallup, shows that 49 percent of the same-sex couples in the U.S. who live together are now legally married, up from 38 percent before the ruling. That means that about 9.6 percent of the gays and lesbians in this country are married, up almost 2 percent from 7.9 percent before the marriage equality ruling.

MarriagesAnd according to the Williams Institute, a progressive think-tank based at the UCLA School of Law and dedicated to independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity, those marriages generated about $1.58 billion in the federal economy, and added about $102 million in state and local sales tax revenue.

That level of spending, Williams Institute researchers say, could support an estimated 18,900 jobs for one full year.

That’s a lot of money in a lot of pockets.

But for same-sex couples in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex who got married in the last 12 months or who finally had their legal marriages performed elsewhere legally recognized here at home, it’s not about the money at all.

“It’s breathtaking!” declared longtime activist Louise Young. “the absolute joy I’ve seen on the faces of couples that have gotten married! The pure joy that same-sex couples have is something we didn’t have before.

“It’s like waking up from a dream and realizing [the dream is] real.”

Young and her wife, Vivienne Armstrong, have been a couple since they met on the campus of University of Colorado at Boulder in 1971. They went to Vermont for a civil union on July 24, 2000, when Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to recognize civil unions. They were married in California on Aug. 22, 2008, during the window between a state supreme court ruling legalizing marriage there and the vote on Proposition 8 that rescinded legal recognition. Then they were married again in Oklahoma on Oct. 14, 2014 at Young’s high school reunion.

Armstrong pointed out that the Obergefell ruling has had far-reaching effects, beyond that walk down the aisle.

“So many people who’ve taken advantage of marriage have so many rights that impact their lives,” she said. “A friend of ours who died recently, her wife had rights while she was dying and rights after death as a surviving spouse. But I am saddened that some people who have taken advantage of marriage have been outed and fired.”
Steve Atkinson, who married his long-term partner, Ted Kincaid, in California in 2008 before Prop 8 passed, also noted that hasn’t been all roses.

“It’s been a very interesting year, in mostly good ways. But it’s also been a mixed bag,” Atkinson said. “On the negative side of things, when we won marriage rights, that unleashed a whole new round of hate against us, against all LGBT people. There have been a lot of so-called religious freedom bills and stuff, and all of it is really just a license to discriminate against us.

“People got pissed off that we got marriage rights. They’re angry about that, so they are trying to take away our other rights and protections,” he added. “We still don’t have workplace protections. So we can get married, yes, but we can also still be fired for being gay.”

Linus Spiller married his partner of 18 years, Gregory Craft, in February 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Craft says the marriage equality ruling has “changed the conversation. Because it’s the law, [people] have to find something else petty to talk about now.”

But while the law has changed, Spiller said, a lot of attitudes haven’t. “Young people aren’t so bad,” he said. “But those my age and older have been the most resistant, as well as religious people. They have been the absolute worst. They feel like something has been taken from them, when it hasn’t.

“Every day, someone I interact with, either in person or online socially, has something negative to say,” Spiller added. “They do it covertly usually, but the attitude is still there. And I attack it each time it rears its head, whether I hurt feelings or not.”

But still, the joy that Young described is there — even for couples who have spent many years together and were legally married somewhere before the June 26, 2015 SCOTUS ruling made their marriages legal everywhere.

“What it means to me personally is that our life for the last 18 years together has not been in vain,” Craft said. “It’s actually recognized that we matter. It’s not just a fantasy or a fad.”

He continued, “For me, it has solidified our union. I am able to call Linus ‘my husband’ with strong conviction. Sometimes I notice people’s reaction when I call Linus my husband, and it tickles me. But I don’t care.”

Spiller said he and Craft have always had a good response from their families, who were only upset that the two eloped to D.C. instead of getting married locally, where family could participate.

“Once we save enough money to renew our vows and a have a reception the way we want to do it, we are going to have a tough time deciding who’s going to be in the wedding party, because everyone is jockeying for a slot,” he laughed.

Atkinson said he and Kincaid now “make a conscious effort to use the word ‘husband’” when referring to one another.

“Even though we’ve been together 26 years and legally married for almost eight years, we never made an effort to use the word ‘husband’ until the ruling last year,” Atkinson said. “Now we keep each other in check and make sure we use it — not because words are magical, it’s just important that people hear it. The more we treat it as a natural thing, the more people get used to it and accept it.

“We have to boldly put ourselves out there,” Atkinson said. “Just as it’s been important throughout the history of our community to come out [as LGBT people], it’s important now to be open about the fact that we are married, and that our marriage is as normal as any heterosexual marriage.”


Patti Fink and Erin Moore

Patti Fink and Erin Moore, another long-term couple active in DFW’s LGBT community and in Democratic politics statewide, were married on April 1, by Judge Teena Callahan in her courtroom. Callahan was the first family court judge in Texas to declare — in granting a divorce decree for a same-sex couple in 2009 — that Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed individual states to ignore the legality of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, was unconstitutional.

“Considering the long fight we had — first to prevent a constitutional amendment banning marriage through to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage — getting married by a judge who is a personal friend and who had a part in that fight made it all the more meaningful.”

And even though its been 12 months, it’s still sometimes hard to believe. “I still have to almost pinch myself sometimes at this great victory we’ve won,” Atkinson said. “Most of us never dreamed we’d have marriage this soon. Ten years ago, I would have said I’d be an old, old  old man before that happened. And now, here we are.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Winging it

Dallas Wings veteran Plenette Pierson says the team is happy to welcome its LGBT fans



Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Sports fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are accustomed to an embarrassment of riches, so to speak, when it comes to having professional athletes around. There’s the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the Texas

Rangers, the Dallas Stars, Dallas Elite, FC Dallas, Dallas Sidekicks … .

And now, you can add the WNBA’s Dallas Wings to the list. But don’t just lump the Wings in with, say, the Mavs or the Stars. “We’re different,” says team leader Plenette Pierson.

Dallas-Wings“If you see a player from some of these teams out and about, they probably have a whole entourage with them.

Not us, though,” Pierson said during a recent interview. “We’re all really relatable.

“You’re likely to see us out at the grocery store or wherever, and if you see and want a photo with us, ask us. We’re all OK with that. We’re real people, and we aspire to be in close contact with the community.”

The Wings — formerly the Tulsa Shock — are just shy of half-way through their first season as a DFW team. As of press time Thursday, June 23, they stood at 6-9 on the season, putting them in third place, out of six teams, in the WNBA Western Conference. They were set to play the San Antonio Stars, 2-10 on the season and in last place in the Western Conference, on Thursday night.

But Pierson said she and her teammates never take any game for granted, even against a 2-10 team. “You have to go out every game and play your best,” she said. “Win or lose, you have to take lessons from each game you play.”

In previous seasons, the WNBA playoffs have featured the top four teams from each conference, based on their regular season records. Starting this year, though, the top eight teams in the league, regardless of conference, qualify for the playoffs, and will be seeded based on their regular season records.

And instead of a series of games at each level, the first and second rounds are single-elimination. The semi-finals round and the finals will be best-of-five contests.

The Wings’ 6-7 record puts them, as of Thursday afternoon, in a tie for sixth place with the Eastern Conference’s Chicago Sky. But, Pierson said, the team is really just getting started.

“We had a phenomenal season last year,” Pierson said, referring to the team’s 18-16 season record, which earned them their first playoff berth since moving to Tulsa in 2010. “But even though we have a lot of the same players, we’re still a young team. We’ve still got a learning curve this year, because we’ve had some injuries and we’re still learning how to play together as a team” with those injuries and other factors in play.

And while the team got off to a slow start in its first year in Dallas, Pierson said, “We’re going to weather this storm. There are a lot of teams that are peaking early, and we’re still getting to top form. When we all get healthy and get out there on the court, it will be something to see.”

Wings history
The Wings were founded before the 1998 season as the Detroit Shock. They moved to Tulsa in time for the 2010 season, keeping the Shock name. But when they came to Dallas last year to get ready for the 2016 season in their new home, the management chose to go with a new name, choosing Wings in part in tribute to the Pegasus that has long been a symbol of Dallas.

For Pierson, the team’s move to Texas is something of a homecoming. Born in Houston, she grew up nearby in Kingwood, graduating from Kingwood High School in 1999. She played her college career at Texas Tech, from 1999 to 2003, and was a first-round draft choice for WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in 2003.

Pierson spent three seasons — 2003, 2004 and 2005 — in Phoenix before heading to Detroit in 2006 to join the Shock. She moved to the New York Liberty from 2010-2014, before rejoining the Shock in 2015, helping lead the team to its first playoff game since moving to Tulsa.

Now in her 14th season, Pierson is the Wings’ tried-and-true veteran. She has two WNBA championships under her belt — in 2006 and 2008, both with the Detroit Shock. She won the WNBA’s first Sixth Woman of the Year Award — recognizing the league’s most valuable player for her team coming off the bench as a substitute, or sixth woman — in 2007, and in 2015 played in the All-Star Game.

And now, she said, she’s happy to be back in Texas.

“Texas is a huge sports state, and Dallas is a huge sports town,” Pierson said. “The Texas fans really embrace you.”

That includes the LGBT community. A team spokeswoman said that between 30 and 35 percent of the Wings’ season ticketholders come from the LGBT community, which has always shown a lot of support and enthusiasm for the WNBA as a whole.

Pierson agreed that the LGBT community here as welcomed the team with open arms. “The LGBT community is a great community, really supportive of us. It’s a great market for the Wings, and a great market for the WNBA overall.

“We want fans in the seats for our games, and the LGBT community gives us that. They give us a lot of support, and we’re happy to reach out to the community in return. We’ve always had great fans, and we’re happy to see that continue in Dallas.”


Pride Night at Dallas Wings
The Dallas Voice and Dallas Wings Basketball invite you to come celebrate Pride Night with the Wings at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at College Park Center, 600 S. Center St. in Arlington, as the Wings take on the Indiana Fever.

Tickets are $10-$20, which is up to 50 percent off selected seats. Visit and use the code PRIDENIGHT for discounted tickets.

Pride Night with the Dallas Wings is sponsored by Dallas Voice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2016.



—  Tammye Nash

Celebration and remembrance

QueerBomb Pride party adds elements to honor Orlando victims



DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

QueerBomb organizer Daniel Cates hopes this year’s QueerBomb will be a way for the community to take action as it celebrates Pride and comes together to heal in the wake of the June 12 murders at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

In just a few years, QueerBomb has evolved significantly, Cates said: “It began as a statement against the corporatization of Pride,” he said. But what began as a protest is now the premiere LGBT June Pride event.

This year’s celebration begins at noon at RBC, a club on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum, with the Blow Torch Music Festival. (See box for lineup)

At 5 p.m., the rally yard opens. Organizations will be set up to encourage people to get involved.

“Artists will be creating art live,” Cates said, noting that proceeds will benefit the victims of the attack in Orlando.

Spoken word performances and open mike begin at 6 p.m.

The rally starts at 7:30 p.m., with a line-up of speakers that includes City Councilman Adam Medrano, who will issue an LGBT Liberation Proclamation.

At 8:30 p.m. the march leaves the rally yard and will wind through Deep Ellum, making its way up Main Street and down Elm Street before returning to RBC.

Cates said it makes more sense if QueerBomb is trying to make a statement, to march through an area of town outside the gayborhood. Noting it would be mostly straight people who would be on the sidewalks watching on

Saturday night, he said, “We’ll show these people how to have a good time.”

Anyone may participate since this is a march, not a parade. Police have promised security along the route.
The march ends where it began at RBC where the QueerBomb Ball begins at 9 p.m.

Cates said the rally yard will remain open and alcohol-free through the evening so younger people may participate. Drinking will be allowed inside and on the club’s patios.

In addition to police security, RBC employs its own private security and QueerBomb has volunteer security that will work the events throughout the day. People will be wanded before entering the club.

Other events are coordinating with QueerBomb to make the Pride celebration even larger.

Planned Parenthood is presenting FemmeBomb at Double Wide on Commerce Street. Live music and art will celebrate femme folks of all backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. Sudie, Francine, Moth Face and DJ Ursa Minor are among the performers.

Oak Lawn Band presents What’s Up Doc, a free concert, at the Latino Cultural Center with music from popular animated shows from TV and movies, both old and new.

“More and more people are coming on board,” Cates said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how it grows over the next few years.”

RBC, 2617 Commerce Street from noon-2 a.m.Walking distance to Deep Ellum Station on the Green Line and paid parking is available for $5 under the bridges.

Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St. 9 p.m.-1 a.m.


Blow Torch Music Festival Lineup:

Noon: Robert Olivas and friends
1 p.m.: Charlie and the Big Black Cup
1:45 p.m.: Queer Classical Hour – featuring Vincent Pierce
3 p.m.: Patrick Boothe
3:40 p.m.: Toshio Mana
4:20 p.m.: Mr. Pixie
5 p.m.: Mokah Soulfly
5:15 p.m.: Alsace Carcione

Rally yard speakers:
Keisha Hunter (Mokah Soulfly)
Christopher Stephen Soden
Luz Hernandez of Planned Parenthood
Michael Dominguez
Sammi Partida
CD Kirven
Danielle Jessica Pellet
Kilo Mx
Jalenzski Brown
Councilman Medrano

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 24, 2016.


Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St. at 4 p.m.

—  David Taffet

Celebrating Tammye Nash’s anniversary as managing editor

anniversary---Tammye-NashTammy Nash, managing editor of Dallas Voice, has a 28-year history with Dallas Voice.

Tammye started at Dallas Voice in June 1988 as a news writer and worked as a news reporter through March 2001. She worked about three years in the mainstream press, as a reporter for Cleburne Times-Review, before returning to the Voice staff in May 2004. Named senior editor in October 2006 following the death of longtime editor Dennis Vercher, she remained through mid January 2012. She spent a year as a freelance reporter and photographer before once again joining the staff of Cleburne Times-Review.

In June 2014 Tammye returned to Dallas Voice as managing editor.

—  David Taffet

Cathedral of Hope calls for passage of gun safety laws



A statement from Cathedral of Hope:

Following yesterday’s devastating lack of action from the U.S. Senate, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ joins national call to end gun violence and calls for comprehensive gun safety legislation.

Last weekend the LGBT community was the target of what is now known to be worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. The Rev. Neil G Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor said, “Enough is enough. It is beyond time to end gun violence and to implement a comprehensive gun safety laws.

Noting Monday’s (June 20) failure to act, Cazares-Thomas called upon all those who will vote later this year to remember this inaction; to call to account those who fail to serve the desires and wishes of the vast majority of Americans who continue to watch lawmakers fail us on a number of pressing issues in the United States.

“All people should be able to live without fear and this past weekend once again tore away the fabric our society and the sanctuaries that many minorities, including those that LGBT people have created for decades.  Too many people have paid the price for the inadequacy of those protections and for the inaction of Congress,” he said.

Reported LGBT homicides rose by 20 percent in the U.S. between 2014 and 2015, according to a study released this week by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Of the homicides reported last year, 62 percent were LGBT people of color.

The United Church of Christ has long advocated for sensible policies to end gun violence. The UCC 20th General Synod passed a resolution entitled “Violence in Our Society and World,” in which it recognized the complicated and interwoven layers at the root of violence.

That same General Synod also passed a resolution entitled “Guns and Violence,” inviting UCC members and congregations to advocate for legislation to strengthen licensing and registration of gun sales, strengthen regulations of gun dealers and ban semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips.

As a faith community we once again come together in the aftermath of gun tragedies and urge lawmakers to pass laws that prevent gun violence. Tested by our grief, resolute in our faith we remain committed to continuing this drumbeat.

—  David Taffet

Congressman John Lewis calls on House leadership to bring gun reform vote to the floor

Screen shot 2016-06-22 at 12.41.20 PM

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, is leading a cadre of his colleagues in a sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, vowing to continue the protest until the Republican House leaders call for a vote on “common sense gun control legislation.”

In an eloquent and impassioned speech before starting the sit-in, Lewis — surrounded by other lawmakers, most of whom, like Lewis, wore rainbow ribbons on their lapels in tribute to the Orlando murder victims — Lewis accused Congress of having “turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent.” He continued, “Where is the heart of this body? Where is our soul? Where is our moral leadership? Where is our courage?”

Lewis declared that “the time for silence and patience is long gone. We’re calling on the leadership of the House to bring common sense gun control legislation to the House floor for a vote Give us a vote! Let us vote! We came here to do our job. …

“We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.”

Watch the video of his speech below:

—  Tammye Nash

Pulse employee heads Houston Pride parade

Imran YousufImran Yousuf, a U.S. military veteran and bouncer at Pulse Nightclub, will be honorary grand marshal of the Houston Pride parade on June 25. His actions at Pulse saved dozens of lives.

The parade begins at sunset with a 30-foot by 20-foot Rainbow Flag inscribed with the names of the Orlando victims at the head of the parade.

Meet Yousuf at 1:30 p.m. on the Barefoot Wine® Stage in front of Houston City Hall.

Last year, the Houston Pride parade moved from the Montrose neighborhood to downtown. Held the night after the marriage-equality decision, the parade attracted more than half a million people.

The Houston Pride Festival runs noon-7 p.m. at McKinney and Smith streets.

The Houston Pride Parade starts at 8:30 p.m. and runs through about 11 p.m. The route begins at Lamar Street, goes north on Smith Street, to Walker Street, makes a right to Milam Street and then makes a left and continues to Jefferson Street. Bleachers, high rise parking garages that are open to viewers and sidewalks line the route and are open to attendees.

—  David Taffet

#ProudToBe gathers the voices and the faces of the LGBT community on YouTube, refusing to give in to fear

Screen shot 2016-06-22 at 10.26.15 AM

A coworker shared this video with me today. I am just going to put the info here from the “about” section and let that explain it for you:

“From commemorating Pride parades to opening up about transitions and explaining the ABCs of LGBT, YouTube is a place where anyone can belong no matter who they are or who they love. That is why today we want to help people honor and celebrate who they’re#ProudToBe.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that we help accept, love, and celebrate one another. In the wake of the tragic events in Orlando, we stand together in support of the LGBTQ community. We stand together with everyone who has the courage to own and share their identity. We stand together to show the power of solidarity, the power of love, the power of pride. To those beautiful and brave voices who continue to make YouTube the vibrant, diverse and empathetic community it is, we are #ProudToBe with you.

JOIN IN: Who are you #ProudToBe?
Upload a video or share a post with #ProudToBe in the title so others can find it.”

—  Tammye Nash