Cedar Springs hit-and-run driver found

Hit-and-run-vehicle-1024x457The driver who hit a pedestrian and killed her dog on the corner of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton in January has been found.

On Jan. 30, a car turned from Cedar Springs Road onto Throckmorton Street and hit Holly Mosley and killed her dog. Mosley had the walk signal as she was crossing Cedar Springs Road in front of the restaurant Zephyr.

After hitting Mosley and killing the dog, witnesses described the driver as gunning his engine and running several stop signs as one witness followed him, trying to get the license plate number.

Zephyr, which hadn’t opened yet at the time, had just installed its surveillance cameras. From that, Zephyr owner Danny Sikora said, they knew the car was a grey Mitsubishi Endeavor.” The angle of the camera wasn’t right to clearly read the license plate from the video.

“Since then, it’s bothered me,” Sikora said.

Every time he saw a car that fit the description in Oak Lawn, he’d take down a license plate or try to identify the driver, whom he remembered as a “bearish white guy.”

Driver and description didn’t fit until this weekend.

Sikora said he was at Walgreens on Cedar Springs and parked next to a grey Mitsubishi Endeavor. He wrote down the license plate number and waited for the driver to come out of the store. The description matched. He sent the plate number to the detective.

Sikora said the detective called Mosley and asked if she wanted to file charges. When police talked to the driver, he said he drives through that intersection often and didn’t know anything happened.

Mosley said she would file charges. Police didn’t confirm what charges would be filed, but for hit-and-run offenses a driver is usually charged with failure to stop and render aid.

—  David Taffet

Out Tongan swimmer speaks his mind on outing, Daily Beast, Nico Hines

Fonua selfie

Selfie taken by Amini Fonua at Olympic dining hall.

Tonga is made up of 170 islands just west of the International Date Line, 3,200 miles east of Australia and 1,400 miles northeast of New Zealand. In Tonga, homosexuality is still illegal, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. But that hasn’t stopped out Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua from speaking his mind.

NicoHines

Daily Beast reporter Nico Hines

When Nico Hines, a straight, married reporter from the Daily Beast, used Grindr to find out which Olympic athletes were gay and outed some who were from countries where the penalty could be death, Fonua took to Twitter and Instagram to call Hines out.

“Shame this inhumane CREEP who thought it’d be funny to endanger people’s lives in the village @NicoHines,” he wrote on Twitter.

He explained, “It is still illegal to be gay in Tonga, and while I’m strong enough to be me in front of the world, not everybody else is. Respect that.”

He had a number of other messages for Hines and others:

“No straight person will ever know the pain of revealing your truth, to take that away is just… I can’t. It literally brings me to tears,” Fonua wrote.

And: “Imagine the one space you can feel safe, the one space you’re able to be yourself, ruined by a straight person who thinks it’s all a joke?”

And this: “As an out gay athlete from a country that is still very homophobic, @thedailybeast ought to be ashamed #deplorable.”

The Daily Beast post has been removed.

Kudos to Fonua for standing up for LGBT athletes around the world. We’d like to think he learned to stand up to injustice in college. Fonua is a graduate of at Texas A&M University.

—  David Taffet

The sign on the bathroom door

Gender-neutral facilities are so hard to adjust to, after all

Gender-Neutral

Haberman-Hardy-As I pushed open to door of the men’s restroom, I was met by a woman who was just leaving. It was a little bit of a shock, but then I remembered that the signs had included the words “Gender Neutral Restroom.”

You see, I was attending the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C. over weekend, and the hotel had agreed to make the change to gender-neutral facilities throughout the conference areas to accommodate our attendees.

When I say “we,” I refer to the fact that I am co-chair of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, organizer of the annual conference. As believers in social justice for all sexual orientations and gender identities and forms of expression, having gender-neutral restrooms was a natural extension of what we stand for.

But surprisingly enough, I hadn’t experienced gender-neutral restrooms prior to our conference.

I guess I assumed that only transwomen and transmen would be affected by the change, But I forgot the word “neutral” is pretty hard to misinterpret.

Since we have a large number of women attending — both cisgender and transgender — the initiative also had the bonus effect of eliminating the “potty parity” problem all facilities face:

Most men never have to wait more than a few moments for a urinal or stall at a public event, but women’s restrooms are notoriously too small and with too few stalls for a crowd.

As the weekend progressed, I became more and more comfortable with the occasional woman in what was previously the “men’s” room. And frankly, so did everyone else.

Why the American psyche is too fragile to deal with people of either gender in a restroom has long puzzled some Europeans. When I was a teenager, my family visited France, and I distinctly remember walking into the restroom at the Paris Opera and seeing women walk past the row of men at the urinals to access the stalls. Today, unisex toilets are common throughout the continent, though most are single-stall facilities.

Meanwhile, back at our conference, I still found myself going only into the facility that had previously been the “men’s room,” never quite getting up the nerve to visit the other gender-neutral restroom. I suspect I would have felt uncomfortable there, perhaps because the last time I was in a women’s restroom was when I was 3 years old and accompanied by my mother.

Even at 3, I felt somehow my masculinity was being challenged by using the women’s restroom  — and maybe that is the problem. Why does a sign on a door say anything about our gender anyway?

Woodhull’s weekend conference went off without a single bathroom scandal, and though I know it was more of a statement than a practical solution, the unisex bathrooms did dispel a few fears.

No women were assaulted while in the restroom and no men were solicited. No transgender people were made to feel uncomfortable, and no one was stigmatized for using the wrong restroom.

Though I suspect it will be years before a multi-stall restroom in a public space is actually specified to be gender neutral, our experiment showed it is possible. And while that’s not surprising, considering that our attendees are enlightened individuals when it comes to sex and gender, I am pretty sure that the general public could adapt pretty easily.

Our curious obsession with bathrooms in America leads to some real problems, specifically political ones. The specter of the “man in the ladies room” is always good for a few votes, and lately it is being trotted out both as a fear tactic to drive people to the polls and in bone-headed laws also intended to generate support for an otherwise failed elected official.

Until we get over our obsession with gender and who’s in what bathroom, we will always stigmatize transgender people as potential threats to the “sanctity of the toilet.” We need to admit that restrooms are good for two things — relieving ourselves and washing our hands — and neither of the two should be the basis for public policy.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

‘Friends of Dorothy’ come out of closet

LGBT community apparently no longer needs to have special, secret parties on cruises. We’re just part of the crowd

Cruise-Athens

David Webb discovered, during his recent Mediterranean cruise, that LGBT parties on cruise ships have come out of the closet. Webb enjoys the view above Athens, left, and from the ship above.

David Webb  |  The Rare Reporter
nash@dallasvoice.com

It was bound to happen eventually: “Friends of Dorothy” meetings, once posted on daily cruise ship programs as mysterious, informal get-togethers, now tend to be noted for what they really are — LGBT mixers.

That came to my attention during my trip on the Carnival Vista, July 9-19, cruising from Barcelona to Athens with port stops in France, Italy, Turkey and Greece along the way. One of three straight women with whom I traveled asked me before we flew to Spain what “Friend of Dorothy,” a phrase she had noticed so often on cruise ship programs, actually means.

Cruise-LagoonI explained that cruise ships began using the term decades ago, when homosexuality was still illegal in many places, to signify to passengers who wanted to meet other gay men or lesbians that they could do so at a designated spot, usually one of the smaller ship bars.

“Well, who is Dorothy?” my friend persisted.

I had always assumed that Dorothy referred to the main character in the Wizard of Oz, a role played by Judy Garland, because Garland and her song from the movie, “Over the Rainbow,” became favorites of gay men. Turns out, I might have been wrong about that.

Some gay historians theorize that “Dorothy” actually refers to Dorothy Parker, the poet and scriptwriter who produced “A Star Is Born.” Parker was infamous for her glitzy social circle in the 1940s and 1950s that included many gay men and bisexuals.

The term “Friends of Dorothy” gained widespread use after World War II, and investigators for the U.S. military began to suspect that the mysterious organization might be a spy ring, according to the gay historians. Given that many gay activists prior to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 belonged to the U.S. Communist Party, it’s easy to see how the organization became somewhat notorious, even though it really never officially existed.

Cruise-Wall“That’s interesting,” my friend said about the history of the term. She noted that she had always wondered what “Friends of Dorothy” meant but never before met anyone who could tell her. “I know a lot of lesbians,” she said.

She asked me what went on in the gatherings, and I said that I really didn’t know. I never went to one. I tended to turn wherever I partied into a gay bar, whether it be a country-and-western bar, jazz club, casino or whatever.
“Do you want to go?” I asked her. “It might be interesting to see what they do at them.”

My friend said that would be OK with her because she harbored no anti-gay bigotry. Four times divorced with three children, I knew she was unlikely to be confused about her sexual orientation, just curious — as I had become by that point, too.

But much to my surprise, when we got on the ship and perused the schedules I couldn’t find a reference to “Friends of Dorothy” anywhere. My last cruise, in September of last year on Holland America’s  Amsterdam going to Alaska out of Seattle, had included such a meeting on the schedule in one of the bars.

“That strange,” I said.

Then my friend asked me another curious question: “What is ‘LGBT’?”

So I looked at the schedule again, and I told her that the ship apparently had dropped the “Friends of Dorothy” ruse and was outright publicizing a gay and lesbian party.

Cruise-Ship“But what does LGBT mean?” she asked again.

I explained it referred to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. I was surprised she had never come across that term. I had seen plenty of LGBT people on all of my cruises, including one tall transgender woman wearing a huge platinum wig on the Alaskan cruise.

“Do you still want to go to the party? I said.

We agreed to check out the LGBT gathering. And that led to another shock. The bar turned out to be open to one of the ship’s hallways, and it included about a dozen barstools and a few tables with chairs. The bar was packed — but not with the people I expected to see.

Straight couples sat at all of the seats, enjoying pre-dinner cocktails. I didn’t bother asking any of them if they had come to attend the LGBT party. I knew they wouldn’t have a clue as to what I meant. It looks like the LGBT community has come so far that it no longer needs any sort of special meetings, no matter what the cruise ships might call them.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

 

—  Dallasvoice

East Texas LGBTS forming Stonewall Democrats chapter

“It can be hard to be gay in East Texas, but it can be harder to be a Democrat”

Stonewall-Democrats

Former Stonewall Dallas President Erin Moore, second from left, with E. Texas Stonewall organizer Karen Wilkerson, second from right, at Democratic state convention.

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

East Texas Stonewall held its first meeting on Aug. 1 in Longview with an ambitious plan: become the largest Stonewall group in Texas.

That goal may be possible, because East Texas Stonewall covers a 30-county area stretching from the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders on the north, to the Louisiana border on the east, to the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas on the south and the DFW area on the west.

While 30 counties out of the total 254 in Texas may not seem like that much, its actually almost 1 percent of all counties in the U.S. Fifteen states have fewer than 30 counties and these counties cover an area larger than New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island put together.

But the new Stonewall group’s organizers aren’t scared off by the size of the area they’re looking at coordinating. And, according to Dallas Stonewall President Jay Narey, organizing such a large geographic area under one umbrella isn’t unique in Texas. The Central Texas Stonewall group also covers a large multi-county area, he said.

The first East Texas Stonewall meeting was held in Longview and the next one will be in Tyler. But over the next couple of months, the group will also hit Ben Wheeler, a tiny community halfway between Tyler and Canton, and Nacogdoches, situated about 70 miles south of Longview, as well.

Josh Gibson from Longview went to the state Democratic convention for the first time as a Hillary Clinton delegate from Senate District 1. There he met Karen Wilkerson from Tyler and became reacquainted with Patrick Franklin, who’s also from Longview. Franklin became the first openly gay person to run for office in East Texas when he ran for a Texas House seat in 2006.

Wilkerson said starting an East Texas Stonewall group was something she’d thought about for years, but “We’ve never been able to get enough people interested.”

Gibson.Joshua

Joshua Gibson

But that changed this year. “Patrick and I discussed the idea at the state convention,” Wilkerson said, adding that they formed a steering committee at a convention lunch.

After returning from the state meeting, Wilkerson said they met a few times by phone and email and set up their Facebook page. Gibson said they wrote by-laws and were ready to meet by the beginning of this month. They met at RMC, a gay bar in downtown Longview.

Attendees included Shirley McKellar who’s running for the U.S. House against the man many call the stupidest person serving in Congress, Louis Gohmert of Tyler.

Gibson said this was just a good time to organize the area’s LGBT community politically. “People in East Texas are fed up with the leadership in Austin and D.C.,” he said.

Wilkerson acknowledged that organizing in a 30-county area will be a challenge. “There are no political organizations for LGBT people in those areas,” she noted, adding that Stonewall organizers’ goal is to help activists become more aware and give them more tools to have a voice in their representation.

“It can be hard to be gay in East Texas, but it can be even harder to be a Democrat in East Texas,” Wilkerson said, comparing the original Stonewall rebellion in New York to gay people living in East Texas now.

“Their backs were against the wall and had nothing to lose,” she said of the Stonewall rioters. “That’s how we feel in East Texas, where meddlesome bigots still control the political power. We’ve had it.”

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its marriage equality ruling, Wilkerson and her partner went to the county courthouse to get a marriage license and were denied. After they threatened a lawsuit and officials held closed-door meetings, a deputy clerk issued the license the following Monday. Wilkerson had to travel to Rusk in nearby Cherokee County to get East Texas P-FLAG member Judge Dwight Pfifer to sign a waiver of the three-day waiting period, so that she and her partner could marry that day.

With that paper in hand, their minister married them and they became the first same-sex couple to marry in Smith County, where Tyler is located.

Wilkerson compared her ordeal to what happened in Dallas, where nearly every judge was available to sign waivers and perform weddings on Marriage Equality Day and other elected officials came out to celebrate. “There’s a pall of oppression here [in East Texas], especially on politically-charged matters,” she said.

Wilkerson said a number of factors came together this summer — Trump, a Democratic candidate in Hillary Clinton that people could rally around, the need to organize to oppose the bathroom bills expected to be introduced in the next Texas Legislature.

“It’s time for everyone to get on the same page and push for equality,” she said.

She said a number of things are going on in East Texas. Project TAG — Tyler Area Gays — is working to fund a community center for the area and is already a member of Centerlink, the national organization of LGBT community centers. Pineywoods Voice, a support group for young LGBT people, meets twice a month.

And when the next East Texas Stonewall meeting takes place in Tyler at the Chamber of Commerce building, the Tyler Transgender Support Group will meet in the same space immediately after.

“Stonewall wants to be fighters for candidates,” Wilkerson said. That will involve lots of fundraising and block walking. And she knows it’ll be an uphill climb. The last time Smith County voted for a Democrat in a presidential race was in 1948 for Harry Truman.

But Gibson is optimistic East Texas Stonewall will make a difference. He thinks it just makes sense to organize in all 30 East Texas counties, because

“There are gay people in every one of those counties.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

 

—  David Taffet

Vasquez announces affiliation with MDVIP, changes in practice

Oak Lawn doctor says change will allow him to give patients more personalized, thorough care, but some question the cost of new model

Jaime-Vasquez

Jamie Vasquez

 

Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Oak Lawn area physician Dr. Jaime Vasquez announced in a recent letter to his patients that he has affiliated with a Boca Raton, Fla.-based company called MDVIP and as of Nov. 22, will be changing his practice to what many people refer to as “concierge medicine.”

In affiliating with MDVIP, Vasquez will reduce the size of his practice to about 600 patients, each of whom will be required to pay an annual membership fee of about $1,600. That fee, Vasquez told Dallas Voice in an email, “includes services that aren’t covered in a traditional practice, the cornerstone of which is a comprehensive annual wellness program with in-depth screening, diagnostics and counseling.”

He said the membership fee, which breaks down to about $4.50 a day, can be paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Patients are still responsible for applicable co-pays and co-insurance and for maintaining primary-care insurance coverage, including Medicare.

Vasquez said the new practice will allow him to develop “real relationships” with his patients and work “as a team” with them to create “personalized wellness plans” that will help them reach their health and fitness goals.

“My patients have indicated through feedback surveys that they want more time with me, which is nearly impossible to provide in a traditional, high-volume primary care practice,” Vasquez. “The MDVIP model will enable me to deliver more personalized care with a greater focus on total wellness and prevention to patients who join.”

Vasquez said, “I’ve been practicing in the local community as a family doctor for more than 25 years, treating patients from all walks of life. This new practice is one that I’ve considered and researched for many years.

“My new practice opens in November, which gives me and my staff several months to explain the benefits to my patients,” he continued. “Many of my patients have already committed to joining, and I’ve been humbled by the response. For those patients who choose not to join my new staff, I will provide a list of physicians in the community who are accepting new patients.”

In his bio on the MDVIP website, Vasquez notes that his practice has welcomed “all ages, from pediatrics to geriatrics,” and that he is fluent in Spanish, which “creates an important bridge to providing adequate care for the Hispanic/Latino community.”

It also notes that Vaasquez has treated “those affected by HIV disease since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1980s,” and that he “has also welcomed the LGBT community for all these years and looks eager to many more healthy years.”

In his letter to patients, Vasquez said that reducing the size of his practice will make it easier for patients to schedule same-day or next-day appointments, easier for all doctor visits to start on time and easier for patients to reach him “during and after hours.” He also wrote that it will allow him to call patients with lab results “in a timely manner and explain by phone or in person how they pertain to your condition. In short, I’ll be available whenever you need me.”

Vasquez has scheduled to informational sessions for his existing patients in the coming weeks, and said that patients will be added to the new practice on a first-come, first-served basis. Once he reaches capacity for the new practice, interested patients will be added to a waiting list.

One patient said that although the annual membership fee is a significant amount, he will likely enroll in the new practice for at least the first year.

He said he considers the cost an investment in his own health.

But another patient was not pleased with the change. “It’s just another way for doctors to get around [the Affordable Health Care Act,” said the man, who asked that his name not be used. “I love Dr. Vasquez. He’s my favorite of all the doctors I’ve ever had. And if I could afford it, I would definitely [pay the membership fee]. But I can’t afford that, and I’m sure there are a lot of other people who can’t afford it either.”

He added that as a 60-year-old, HIV-positive man, he’s concerned that he won’t be able to find another primary care doctor, and that he’ll have to again resort to going to Parkland Hospital for medical care.

“Dr. Vasquez said he will give us a list of doctors taking new patients, but finding one who will accept you as a patient and that you like is not so easy,” he said. “Who wants to take an old person anyway, besides the HIV on top of that?”

Winter Laurel Mullenix, a local transgender activist, said that while Vasquez is not her doctor, she has many transgender friends who do go to him and rely on him for the hormone treatments they need. Once his practice changes to the new model, she said, many of those transgender women, who fall in lower income brackets could be left without a doctor.

“I’ve trustingly recommended Dr. Vasquez to trans individuals I’ve mentored,” Mullenix said. “As an activist of 20 years, it is impossible not to see a move to concierge service as potentially exploitative of an already-marginalized community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Pet of the week • 08-12-16

Cali

 

Cali, a 5 ½-year-old domestic tabby, is a large, fluffy girl who is very friendly and easy to handle. She has beautiful green eyes and loves having her cheeks scratched. She seems to be a very social lady and talks to you when you say her name. Cali is a calm cat and probably would love someone to cuddle with.

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 August 12, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

The Gay Agenda • 08-12-16

Gay-Agenda-image-05-27-16

 

­­­Have an event coming up? Email your information to Managing Editor Tammye Nash at nash@dallasvoice.com or Senior Staff Writer
David Taffet at taffet@dallasvoice.com 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. This week’s guest is Helen Holy; 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 Jalenzski@myresourcecenter.org.

• Aug. 13: Back to School Block Party
Clothing and school supplies collected for homeless and in need LGBT youth and allies through the summer will be distributed from 4-7 p.m. at Oak Lawn UMC, 3014 Cedar Springs Road. For information visit RLC365.org.

• Aug. 13: U.S. Rep. Veasey’s Fort Worth August Town Hall
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-District 33, hosts a town hall to give residence the chance to
share thoughts and concerns on issues affecting their communities, 6 p.m. in the Forest Hill Library, 6962 Forest Hill Drive.
For information call 817-920-9086.

• Aug. 13 Rugby skills lesson
Lost Souls rugby team, which recently won the Bingham Challenger Cup, will hold a skills session beginning at 10 a.m. at Bayles Elementary, 2444 Telegraph Road. No experience necessary. For information visit LostSoulsRFC.org.

• Aug. 14: Top Dog Couture
An evening of high canine fashion benefiting Tucker’s Gift’s LifeWalk team from 6-9 p.m. at The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. $5.

• Aug. 14: AIN’s 30th anniversary
Celebrate 30 years of service with champagne, cupcakes and live tunes from Denise Lee from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Interfaith Peace Chapel,
5910 Cedar Springs Road. RSVP at Facebook.com/AINDallas.

• Aug 15: Adam Medrano’s Budget Town Hall
Learn about the fiscal year 2016-17 Dallas city budget and provide your input from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park in Browder Springs Hall (the brick building with the Dr Pepper mural), 1515 S. Harwood St. Free parking.

• Aug. 16: Stonewall Democrats of Dallas
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas holds its monthly meeting upstairs at Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. Featured speaker will be Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Cocktails at 6 p.m., meeting at 6:30 p.m. For information visit StonewallDemocratsOfDallas.org.

• Aug. 18: The Wisdom of Inside Out
Counselor Molly Behannon presents “a truly unique wellness and wisdom event,” featuring a screening of the movie Inside Out followed by a “feelings check,” at the Angelika Film Center and Café, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets are $30 each, available at EventBrite.com. For information call 214-526-3374.

• Aug 18: 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.

• Aug 18: Back to School Mixer and School Supply Drive
Rainbow LULAC and Congregation Beth El Binah teamed up for a mix and school supply drive from 6:30-8 p.m. at Havana Lounge, 4006 Cedar Springs Road.

• Aug. 18: East Texas Stonewall Democrats
Dallas resident Craig McCartney will speak in his hometown at the first Stonewall Democrats meeting to be held in Tyler from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 315 N Broadway Ave, Tyler. That meeting will be followed by the Tyler Transgender Support Group from 7-9 p.m.

• Aug. 19: Cabaret & Cabernet
Sammons Center for the Performing Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd., presents Cabaret & Cabernet, featuring emcee Tracy Fulton along with Denise Lee, Linda Petty, The Larry Petty Combo, Teddy and Lorena Davey, Jay Gardner, WT Greer, Sheran Goodspeed Keyton, Keran Jackson, LaLa Johnson, Carolyn Lee Jones, Shelley Kenneavy, Pam Musgrove and Diana Savage. Wine tasting at 7:30 p.m., performances at 8 p.m. Admission is $400 for a table of eight; $300 for a table of six, available by calling 214-520-7788 and online at bit.ly/CabaretAndCabernet.

• Aug. 20: Flame Games Gaybingo
Monthly fundraiser for Resource Center takes place 6-9 p.m. the third Saturday of the month at Rose Room at S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Doors open at 5 p.m. For more information, call 214-540-4458 or email Bscott@myresourcecenter.org.

• Aug. 21: 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.

• Aug. 25: Pineywoods Voice
LGBTQIA support group meets at 6:30 p.m. at Special Health Resources of Tyler, 1300 Clinic Drive, Tyler.

• Aug. 25: Trivia Night
North Oak Cliff Branch Library hosts Trivia Night at Barbara’s Pavilion, 325 Centre St., with prizes for the winners. For information email NorthOakCliff@DallasLibrary.org.

• Aug. 25-26: Sister Helen Holy
Sister Helen Holy headlines her own benefit show for Legacy Counseling Center saving sinners at Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd. $45-100 plus sponsorship opportunities. HelenHoly.com.

• Aug. 26: Back-to-School fundraiser for Youth First
Resource Center’s Young Professionals Advisory Council hosts a special “after-work recess” to raise funds for the upcoming school year to benefit Resource Center’s Youth First program, featuring DJ Brandon Moses, Stoli cocktails and light bites. 6-9 p.m. at 1626 Hi Line Drive, #C. For information email jwilliams@myresourcenter.org or visit MyResourceCenter.org/ypac.

• Aug. 27: Austin Festival and Parade
Festival at Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin.  Parade starts at the state Capitol.

……………………………….

Valdez-on-horseback

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, fresh off her speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, will be the guest speaker at the August meeting of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. The organization meets upstairs at Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St., at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Obituary • 08-12-16

Doris-Mitchell

Doris Jean Mitchell

 

Doris Jean Mitchell, a long-time resident of Oak Lawn, died Aug. 4 several hours after she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.

Born April 23, 1939 in San Antonio, Doris lived briefly in Chicago with her parents — Dr. Holland Mitchell of Weatherford and Hazel Jones Mitchell of Floydada, Texas — before moving to Waco where she attended Waco High School. She graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1960, and earned her masters in Library Science at the Texas Women’s University in Denton.

Doris began her working life as a librarian at Jesuit High School in Dallas, but it was at the newly-opened Richardson Public Library in 1970 that she spent more than four-and-a-half decades as a reference librarian, ending her long career this past April at the age of 77.

Respected widely for her easy laugh, inquisitiveness and vast store of knowledge, and especially for her willingness to help her patrons and fellow workers, Doris will be remembered by many for her attachment to her cats, her Halloween costumes and her love of gentle people of all shades and hues of the rainbow.

Doris was preceded in death by her parents and by her brother, William Nelson Mitchell, of Reno, Nev. She is survived by her cousins, Lovene Moore and Sharon Decker Henson, both of Waco, and Charlotte Decker Henson, of Auburn, Ala.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 3-6 p.m., at Seven for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd, Ste. 107, in the Design District near downtown Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

NAS Fort Worth employee charges discrimination

For 10 years, supervisors got away with calling Almodovar ‘big girl’ and ‘fag’ without consequences despite Navy’s no tolerance policy for harassment

Carswell-art

 

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

A North Texas man has filed suit against the U.S. Navy, charging that officials at Naval Air Station Fort Worth at Carswell Field allowed officers and other staff to target him with anti-gay harassment and bullying throughout his 10 years as a civilian employee there.

Allen Almodovar served as secretary to the fire chief at NAS Fort Worth — commonly known as Carswell — from 2006-2015. During that time, he saw the military scrap its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy — which prevented open military service by LGBT people and also, supposedly, prevented witch hunts intended to find and discharge closeted LGBT people.

Almodovar never “told” during his time at NAS Fort Worth. But in fact, DADT never applied to civilian employees anyway.

“At work, I never said anything about being gay,” Almodovar said. “It was nobody’s business at work.”

But still, the harassment continued. His attorney, Chad Norcross, said bullying started soon after Almodovar began working there, following an internship at the base.

Almodovar said while he never denied he was gay, he never came out at work, either. He simply didn’t talk about his personal life at the fire station.

“I never did things that made them think I was gay,” he said. “I never gave them a reason to believe otherwise.”
The bullying began with derogatory remarks and fat jokes. Almodovar has asthma and when he used his nebulizer, he’d get comments like, “What are you sucking on today?”

Once at the fire station, he was giving an assignment to a firefighter and was correcting him about something related to his task. Rather than accept the correction, the firefighter said to him, “Don’t get mad at me because you can’t get married in Texas,” and then bragged about the comeback to two others.

A chief repeatedly referred to Almodovar as a “big girl.” Even though Almodovar told the chief that the name bothered him, the man continued using it. In one instance, as Almodovar was leaving the fire station with one chief, a second asked if they were going to the post office. The first chief replied,

“Yeah, I’ll take that big girl anywhere she wants to go.”

In another instance, while Almodovar was on the phone with a vendor, one person in the office asked loudly, “Who are you talking to?” to which a second person replied, “Probably his boyfriend.” Both comments were made loudly enough for the vendor on the other end of the telephone line to hear.

“I had to apologize to the vendor,” Almodovar said. “It was done to humiliate me.”

Such incidents, Almodovar said, were endless. In one case, someone gave Almodovar a photo of actor Erik Estrada pointing his finger, with the caption, “I just want you to know you’re a homo.” In another, Almodovar said, he was talking to one of the supervisors when someone in the office grabbed and twisted his nipple.

He reported that to the commanding officer, who dismissed it as “horseplay” based on what others in the office said.

“Had that happened to a woman,” Almodovar said, “any reasonable person would know it wasn’t OK.”

Almodovar said he is suing because of how long the harassment lasted, because of the intensity of the bullying and because it was coming from management. He said he began by going through the EEOC process.

“Dallas EEOC summarily dismissed it,” Norcross said. “Allen appealed the case to D.C., and we cited several Supreme Court cases of hostile work environment based on sexual orientation.”

Those cases included Oncale v. Sundowner from 1998, in which the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex harassment is sex discrimination under Title VII. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority that this wasn’t the problem Congress was addressing, but “statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.”

Another case Norcross cited in the appeal is Heller v. Columbia Edgewater Country Club, in which the court wrote, “If an employer subjected a heterosexual employee to the sort of abuse allegedly endured by Heller — including numerous unwanted offensive comments regarding her sex life — the evidence would be sufficient to state a claim for violation of Title VII. The result should not differ simply because the victim of the harassment is homosexual.”

Norcross said he recently received the go-ahead from a federal EEOC administrative law judge to work out the complaints before going to court. But he will take the case to court if the issues aren’t resolved in arbitration.

While penalties assessed in such cases are usually monetary, Norcross said the people who harassed and bullied Almodovar at work could be prosecuted for assault, a state charge that could be filed in federal court.

Almodovar has solicited statements from some fellow employees that corroborated his story.

One co-worker called him “knowledgable and shy” and said the chief often called him a “fag,” in violation of the Navy’s no tolerance policy. Another wrote about having seen Almodovar “being abused,” saying that others in the office “were messing with him.” That same person described  Almodovar as “a pleasure to work with.”

And another former coworker called Almodovar “professional, knowledgable and among our most reliable IT representatives.” That co-worker then recalled how Almodovar worked out and lost weight, but was then harassed for that, too.

Almodovar said the rising level of bullying over the years might have been retaliation for him having reported to the Office of the Inspector General that one of his coworkers — someone who often called him “fag” — didn’t have the “secret clearance” necessary for the job he was doing. That man no longer works at the base.

Almodovar said he also reported to officials after discovering that four or five people at the fire station, including the fire chief, had fake college degrees they had paid for. Those individuals claimed they didn’t realize the degrees were not authentic, and after that, Almodovar said, the harassment against him increased.

Norcross said his client put up with the abuse because he had to “in order to keep his job.”

Now, though, Almodovar has no interest in going back to work at NAS Fort Worth. He’s been working at the Bush Presidential Center where, he said, everyone from the former president to his supervisors and co-workers are very pleasant. He said neither his weight nor his sexual orientation is an issue in his new job; he’s judged only by the work he produces.

But what Almodovar would like to see — among other things — is the Navy issue him a letter of apology and a good reference, and then put letters in the files of those who were bullying him.

“I want the chief to know what they did was wrong,” he said.

Almodovar said he wants to publicly shame base officials for allowing the harassment and bullying happen to him, because if it happened to him, it was and is happening to others.

“They need to do something when someone reports something,” he said.

Norcross said the case will probably take a year or two to be resolved.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

 

—  David Taffet