Outrageous Oral features four outrageous speakers

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Vivienne Armstrong (left) and Louise Young

The Dallas Way presents its 9th edition of Outrageous Oral on Thursday with speakers Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, Terry Loftis and, um, me.

I’ll be talking about my experiences writing for Dallas Voice and broadcasting Lambda
Weekly for the past 20 years.

Armstrong and Young were at the University of Colorado’s Gay Liberation Front in 1971 where Young was completing her Ph.D. Since then, their lives and relationship have been interwoven with the movement for LGBT rights.

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Terry Loftis

They moved to Dallas in 1976. In 1977 they joined the newly formed Dallas Gay Political Caucus (now the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance) and soon assumed leadership roles. They were the architects of the political arm of DGLA that established strong ties between the Dallas LGBT community and mainstream political parties.

In 1993, they represented LGBT Americans in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade on the “Family of America” float. They are recipients of numerous awards, including the Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Humanitarian Award. Both have been featured in media throughout their relationship of over 42 years and have put a public face on long-term same-sex relationships. They were featured in the books, Uncommon Heroes: A Celebration of Heroes and Role Models for Gay and Lesbian Americans and Creating Civil Union: Opening Hearts and Minds and many articles on long-term relationships and domestic partner benefits.

Young has been especially active in the workplace equality movement. She retired after a 33-year career with Raytheon Company where she was instrumental in Raytheon becoming the first aerospace and defense company to score 100 percent on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. Armstrong retired after a distinguished career of more than 30 years with the Visiting Nurse Association, including leadership in HIV services.

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David Taffet

Terry Loftis is a brand strategist and was president of Verve Communications Group, a full service marketing communications firm, from 1997 until 2013.

A Dallas native, Terry’s life began in the North Dallas projects until his family moved into their first home in Oak Cliff where he grew up. He graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and moved on to Eastfield College as a jazz studies major.

His community work began when he joined the board of directors for the Resource Center, where he served for eight years and ultimately became board president. During his tenure at the Resource Center, Loftis was instrumental in the restructuring of Toast to Life, and he assisted in the creation of the Lone Star Ride and GayBingo.

His company donated over $100,000 in creative services to Resource Center that helped increase revenue across all programs and services. For his efforts, he was awarded the Lambda Legal Civil Rights Award for Leadership.

Loftis returned to Resource Center in 2012 as a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Terry has served on the boards of Legacy Counseling Center, Friends of the Katy Trail and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In addition to his career and work in the community, he is a jazz vocalist and ordained minister.

The Rose Room inside S4, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Free.

—  David Taffet

LGBT groups, Holocaust museum partner to bring gay history to Dallas

Alice Murray

Dallas Holocaust Museum opens exhibit on Nazi persecution of gays

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

About 100,000 gay men were arrested in Nazi Germany, targeted by Adolph Hitler’s barbaric regime as an obstacle to building an Aryan population. An exhibit that opened June 3 at Dallas Holocaust Museum helps bring some of that hidden LGBT history to life.

Despite the massive amount of literature about the Holocaust, little was known about the gay victims of the Nazis until the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in 1993 and began doing research.

At that time, Paragraph 175, the statute dating from the Weimar Republic that was used to arrest gays, was still on the books in Germany. It remained law, with the brutal amendments that Hitler added, until 1994.

The exhibit created by the USHMM, called Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 and opening at the Dallas Holocaust Museum in time for Gay Pride Month, came to Dallas through a partnership formed between the museum and members of the LGBT community.

The partnership began a year ago when Westboro Baptist Church protested at the Holocaust center. While museum staff and board members were apprehensive about the demonstration, hundreds of members of the LGBT community confronted the Phelps clan in the street.

Museum President and CEO Alice Murray said that Westboro’s visit taught her how extreme hatred can leave such a devastating impact on the world. But the visit also forged a friendship between the museum and the LGBT community.

“Not only is our relationship strong, but we’ve evolved into a partnership teaching tolerance as the response to bigotry and indifference,” Murray said.

Louise Young, an exhibit sponsor, became a Dallas museum volunteer last year when she arranged a program about the Holocaust at East Central University in her hometown, Ada, Okla.

“About four years ago, I established a fund for an endowed diversity lecture series in my name at the university,” Young said. “Each year the university allows me to set the topic for the annual lecture.”

This time, she wanted to bring a Holocaust survivor to the school.

The Museum’s education director Kathy Chapman “quickly put me in touch with a remarkable Dallas resident, Max Glauben, who survived horrible conditions in Nazi slave labor concentration camps, and then a death march from Dachau at the end of World War II,” Young said.

Glauben spoke at the school to standing-room-only audience, filling a 1,000-seat auditorium. After a standing ovation, the president of the school made Glauben an honorary alumnus.
Young has been working with the museum ever since.

“Maria McMullen, director of development, called me in April to ask for my help in both raising funds for and suggesting community partners in the Dallas GLBT community for their upcoming exhibit,” she said. “I jumped at the chance to contribute.”

Earlier this year, the museum opened new, temporary exhibit space. Members of the LGBT community suggested bringing the traveling exhibit on the treatment of gays during the Holocaust to the museum.

Museum staff contacted the U.S. Holocaust Museum about availability. The only opening for several years was this summer, so they booked it and began a fundraising blitz to raise the money to transport it and program around it through the summer.

Among the sponsors are Dallas’ LGBT synagogue Congregation Beth El Binah, Young and her partner Vivienne Armstrong, and Jay Oppenheimer and Dolf Haas. Resource Center Dallas, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas are community partners. Dallas Voice is the media sponsor.

Other sponsors include Texas Instruments, Waldman Brothers and Raytheon.

Museum Marketing and Communication director Nanette Fodell said that programming around the exhibit is still being planned. Director of Exhibitions and Curator Edward J. Phillips from the UUSHMM speaks on June 16 at a reception for sponsors and museum members.

Fodell said that she would like to put together a program on bullying that includes members of Youth First Texas. Glauben, who was arrested and put in a concentration camp at age 10, said that the Holocaust began with bullying.

The film Paragraph 175 will be shown later in the summer.

To schedule a private reception or a group tour of the exhibit, contact Chapman at the museum.

Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 Record Street at West End Station. Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed July 4. $8. 214-741-7500.

—  John Wright

ANNIVERSARIES: Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, George Amerson and Mike Grossman

ARMSTRONG-YOUNG  | Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong celebrated their 40th anniversary Monday, April 18. The couple met on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1971 through the Gay Liberation Front organization there. They had a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and were legally married in California in August 2008.

 

GROSSMAN-AMERSON  | George Amerson and Mike Grossman marked their 40th anniversary Wednesday, April 20, after celebrating the event with a gathering of family and friends the previous weekend. Grossman is a Minneapolis native who had lived in Dallas a year when he met Amerson, a native of west Texas who had already lived in Dallas several years when they met. The couple say they are most proud of their children, Laura and Devon Cloud and Barney and Stephanie Grossman, and their grandchildren, Miles and Rachel. The two work in residential real estate, Grossman for 50 years and Amerson for more than 35 years.

—  John Wright

CROSSPOINTS panel to address opportunities, pitfalls of being out at work

Dennis Coleman

The opportunities and pitfalls of being out at work will be discussed at this week’s CROSSPOINTS panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 1 at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Equality March Texas is coordinating the six-week series, which will take a break next week for the holiday.

Union organizer Mike Lo Vuolo will moderate this week’s panel discussion.

CROSSPOINTS organizer Latisha McDaniel said five people are tentatively scheduled to be on the panel.

Dennis Coleman from Lambda Legal will offer a legal perspective on what rights people have to be out at work and what rights employers have to discriminate pending passage of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Laura Martin, LGBT community liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, will give her perspective on being out in an organization with few other out employees.

Binet’s Andi Reis will talk about being an out bisexual.

Louise Young and Rafael McDonnell will talk about Out & Equal employee groups. Young formed the LGBT groups at Texas Instruments and later at Raytheon when they purchased her division from TI. McDonnell is strategic communications and programs manager at Resource Center Dallas.

“There are plenty of pitfalls to being out at work,” said McDaniel. “But I hope they talk about some of the benefits. Being able to concentrate on your work rather than on people finding out about your personal life.”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which McDaniel described as the biggest example of workplace discrimination, will also be discussed.

—  David Taffet

Six local youth headed to National Equality March, thanks to chamber dinner attendees

Youth

Last night during the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Pride Dinner at the Warwick Melrose Hotel, keynote speaker Cleve Jones issued a challenge: If you can’t make it to the National Equality March in October, send someone in your place.

Shortly after Jones concluded his remarks, six chamber members and/or Pride dinner attendees responded, with each agreeing to pay for one of the local LGBT youth on hand to go to Washington. The six beneficiaries from Youth First Texas, shown after the dinner, are Will Mason, Chris Lopez, Victor Rodriguez, Steven Richmond, John McKnight and Hai Duong. They are pictured along with chamber member Jay Forte, far right.

Sending the youth to D.C. reportedly was the idea of longtime lesbian activists Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, who conceived it during the dinner and will be sponsoring one of the youth. Afterward, Young noted that many of Dallas’ pioneering activists, including Bill Nelson and Don Baker, attended the first gay-rights march on Washington in 1979.

“I think it’s so important for the next generation of activists to have some of the experiences that have sustained us,” Young said. “These things [marches] are very energizing.”

UPDATE: According to Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda, the others who agreed to send a youth to D.C. were Cordey Lash, Derrick Brown, Mark Reed (2) and Jonathan Palant.

—  John Wright