Forget Gaycities — tell everyone what’s great about Big D with the Readers Voice Awards

The web site GayCities.com released its list of the best about dozens of cities worldwide, from bars to sex clubs to restaurants to fundraisers. And just how well did Texas do? Not great, actually.

Sure, we have several of the top hotels (a W, two Kimptons, a few Hyatts) and Resource Center Dallas came in fourth overall for best LGBT center (preceded only by those in San Francisco, New York and Toronto), but otherwise, the Lone Star State was practically overlooked: Splash Weekend in Austin came in sixth for an event to cross the country for, and Austin’s Kiss & Fly landed on the best strippers, but otherwise we were pretty much shut out. (Neighboring New Orleans’ Southern Decadence landed on best events list, too.)

This is, to put a fine point on it, bullshit. Dallas has so many great bars, businesses, boys and babes, it’s hardly possible for the staff here to list them all.

And that’s where you come in. We’re currently conducting the Readers Voice Awards, which single out the best of the best across the Metroplex: Favorite eateries, role models, doctors, drag queens, dog walkers, bands and more than 100 other categories. When you vote, you get to register to win two free tickets on American Airlines almost anywhere in the U.S. and its nearest neighbors. You can also vote for your favorite local Ultimate Diva!

So let’s make sure everyone knows that it’s not just NYC and San Fran and L.A. that have great gay cultures — so does Dallas. And we do it in cowboy boots.

Vote now — just click here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GetEQUAL to hold ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ protest outside Sen. Hutchison’s Dallas office next week

GetEQUAL board member Mark Reed of Dallas, far right, is shown chained to the White House fence prior to his arrest in May.

GetEQUAL board member Mark Reed of Dallas sends along word that the Texas chapter of the national LGBT direct action group will hold a “don’t ask, don’t tell” protest outside GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office next Tuesday, Dec. 21. As we reported this past Tuesday, Hutchison says she plans to vote against the standalone bill to repeal DADT because it “could negatively impact unit cohesion and overall troop readiness — especially during a time of war.” The bill, which passed the House today, is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate sometime next week.

The protest will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday outside Hutchison’s office at 10440 N. Central Expressway, Suite 1160 in Dallas. From the Facebook event page:

Tired of being relegated to second-class citizenship, Texan LGBT activists say “Enough is enough!” It’s time for Texans to fight back against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s hate-filled votes in Congress and tell her to vote YES on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Closeted Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) military servicemembers are forbidden to stand up and demand repeal for themselves, so we must be their voice…. Join us in a state wide rally as Veterans, allies and LGBT community members show our support to repeal this law.

Join GetEQUAL Texas in front of Kay Bailey’s Dallas office for a grassroots protest. Please consider scheduling an appointment to discuss DADT with Kay’s staffers during our around the protest time.

Not in Dallas? Check the GetEQUAL TX Facebook page for other participating Texas cities.

***GetEQUAL Texas is a local chapter of the national organization, committed to fearlessly and urgently pushing for LGBT equality throughout the Lone Star State.***

—  John Wright

Best bets • 12.10.10

Friday 12.10

Dog days in Big D
Gays and their dogs are a breed unto themselves and we imagine some will be competing in this weekend’s Lone Star State Classic dog show. For sure, we know local Laurie Foley will be there with her cocker spaniel to compete for top dog honors. Forget watching Best in Show again, see it for real.

DEETS: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Through Dec. 12. LoneStarStateClassic.com

……………………..

Saturday 12.11

Some cracked nuts for Christmas?
Mark-Brian Sonna brings back his snarky wit with The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-less-Q Nutcracker!  When food poisoning wipes out an entire ballet company, it’s up to stranded burlesque troupe The Velvet Kittens to save Christmas in Beulaville. Nutcrackin’ funny stuff.

DEETS: Stone Cottage Theater, 15650 Addison Road. Through Dec. 26. $18–$22. MBSProductions.net.

……………………..

Sunday 12.12

Holidays the Wright way
Fort Worth pianist Danny Wright performs a benefit concert for Chelsea’s Fund which promotes pet hospice in Dallas and Fort Worth. Rebecca Miller hosts the evening that includes Wright’s concert, a silent auction and champagne reception.

DEETS: Casa Manana Theater, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 7 p.m. $50. CasaManana.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Drag Race’ contestants named; none from Texas

OK, everyone knows the best drag queens between the coasts — maybe including them — are in Dallas. So how come none of the new season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants are from the Lone Star State? It’s an outrage!

Well, we can take comfort in knowing that it means we didn’t have to give up any of our talent for a few weeks of filming … and it makes it easier to meow about who deserves to go.

Two (Mariah and Phoenix) are from Atlanta (Ru’s hometown), two from L.A. (Raja and Venus D-Lite), one (Yara Sofia) from Puerto Rico like last season’s Jessica Wild, with the remaining seven scattered around the country. Get ready to watch these girls lip synch … for their lives.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

ACLU executive director to speak on BOE’s highjacking of public school curricula

Back in May, we published this story about the new social studies curriculum approved by the Texas State Board of Education that, according to activists, completely ignored the Lone Star State’s LGBT community and the contributions that community has made to the state over the years.

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, had attended a public hearing on the changes, and he said the SBOE, weighted with religious conservatives, was using the curricula to impose the religious beliefs of some board members on the state’s public schools. He said: “They want this to be a theocracy, based on religious law, but with their own personal version of religion. And it’s incredibly narrow. There’s nothing in this about being for the benefit of the kids. It’s all definitely to perpetuate their world view, their religious views.”

And some of those revisions, Terrell added, were just “bat-shit crazy.”

The LGBTs weren’t the only ones condemning the curricula changes. Folks with the Texas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had some pretty strong words to say about it, too — and they still do.

Texas ACLU Executive Director Terri Burke will be in Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to talk about “the State Board of Education’s recent abuse of its authority, including the efforts of some members to insert personal ideology into curriculum content. She will also discuss issues of importance to voters in the upcoming State Board elections in November,” according to an ACLU press release sent out today.

Burke’s speech, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session, begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. The meeting is open to the public, and admission is free.

—  admin

Texas Democrats add four pro-LGBT resolutions to platform

While we’re on the subject of political party platforms in Texas, looks like the Democrats approved four pro-LGBT resolutions over the weekend during their state convention in Corpus Christi.

It’s safe to say the Lone Star State has gotten yet another black eye, albeit deserved, in national LGBT circles over anti-gay language in the state GOP platform. So let’s hope some of those same bloggers will pick up this positive story, but don’t count on it. After all, the idea that everyone in Texas wants to lock up “homosexuals” makes for better headlines.

Anyhow, according to the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, the four pro-LGBT resolutions that were adopted at the convention call for (1) a state employment nondiscrimination policy that includes LGBT protections, (2) competitive insurance benefits for LGBT employees at Texas universities, (3) accurate birth certificates for same-sex parents of adopted children and (4) policies that would prohibit bullying and harassment in Texas public schools.

TSDC also reports that the new Texas Democratic platform, for the first time ever, now uses the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” in calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies.

“The 2010 State Democratic Convention proved beyond a reasonable doubt that LGBT Texans have a place at the table of the Democratic Party,” said TSDC President Dan Graney. “As for the Republican Party of Texas, it might as well call itself the Republican Party of Uganda because of all the hate and bigotry that is dripping from its platform.”

Here’s the full press release from TSDC:


TEXAS DEMOCRATS ADOPT PRO-LGBT PLATFORM/
RESOLUTIONS AT STATE CONVENTION

Delegates meeting at the Texas Democratic Convention this past weekend in Corpus Christi adopted a platform and resolutions that champion gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality and nondiscrimination on a variety of levels. This is in stark contrast to the State Republican Party Convention two weeks ago, which adopted a platform that denounces homosexuality as “tearing at the fabric of society” and calls for the felony prosecution of anyone who performs a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple in Texas.

For the first time ever, the 2010 State Democratic Party platform uses the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” in calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against the LGBT community.  The platform also advocates for anti-bullying policies in public schools, diversity in institutions for higher learning,
passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, increased education initiatives and services to address HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, an end to discrimination in the state foster care system, strong enforcement of both federal and state hate crimes laws and repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

All four pro-equality resolutions that were proposed by Equality Texas and that passed numerous senate district and county conventions also were adopted on the floor of the convention without opposition.  These resolutions included (1) a state employment nondiscrimination policy that includes LGBT protections, (2) competitive insurance benefits for LGBT employees at Texas universities, (3) accurate birth certificates for same-sex parents of adopted children and (4) policies that would prohibit bullying and harassment in Texas public schools.   Similar resolutions had been approved by previous convention resolutions committees but never made it to the floor of the convention for a vote.

Hundreds of LGBT Texans were among the 5,000 delegates and alternates who attended the convention.  The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus (TSDC), which is the official LGBT Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party, hosted a reception on June 24 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its founding.  The TSDC also held an Executive Board meeting and Caucus membership meeting at the convention, both of which were well attended.  Dan Graney of San Antonio was re-elected President, Erin Moore of Dallas was re-elected Vice President and Carol Cappa of Fort Worth and Shaun Nelson of Houston were respectively elected the new Secretary and Treasurer of the Caucus.  Graney and Moore will represent the TSDC on the State Democratic Executive Committee or SDEC, which is the governing body of the State Democratic Party between conventions

Also elected to the SDEC were four members of Stonewall Democrats chapters in Texas: Eli Olivarez of McAllen, Garry Brown of Austin and DeeJay Johannessen and Mary Edwards of Tarrant County.  Stonewall Democrats members were also elected to all five of the permanent committees of the convention, which includes credentials, rules, platform, resolutions and nominations.

“The 2010 State Democratic Convention proved beyond a reasonable doubt that LGBT Texans have a place at the table of the Democratic Party”, exclaimed TSDC President Dan Graney.  “As for the Republican Party of Texas, it might as well call itself the Republican Party of Uganda because of all the hate and bigotry that is dripping from its platform”, he said.

Texas Democrats are gearing up for the midterm elections this November and are hoping to elect Bill White the first Democratic governor of this state in 16 years.  The 2012 Texas Democratic Convention will take place in Houston.

—  John Wright