All I want for Christmas …

World peace, a new leather jacket and a healthy dose of resoluteness top this list of Christmas wishes

Hardy Haberman
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I received a most unusual early Christmas gift from a couple of dear friends. It is a Christmas ornament, and what makes it unusual is the subject matter: It features a very bearish traditional Santa bent down on one knee smiling broadly. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as ornaments go, except that he is holding a tiny baby Jesus in swaddling clothes.

Say what?

This strange, mixed-up ornament really is meant to hearken back to one Christmas Eve when we were driving around looking at lights and decorations in Highland Park. There on Beverly Drive was a full-blown nativity with shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph and — you guessed it — Santa Claus!

Theologically as well as historically, this just offended my sense of style. Talk about mixing your metaphors! But I guess I should expect it in the rich hole of the donut that is Dallas.

Santa, in the popular imagination, is that jolly fellow who brings you everything your heart desires, especially if you are well-heeled. According to a lot of folks who ascribe to the “prosperity gospel,” he’s a lot like Jesus: If you are good you succeed and if not, well you must have done something wrong to keep you off the “A” list.

It’s no wonder kids grow up confusing the two figures, and in fact, I suspect a lot of kids would much rather have a visit from the Jolly Old Elf than the Prince of Peace.

And that brings me to my point: As we bustle about helping to fuel our slow economic recovery, it’s a good time to take stock of what is really important in your lives.

I have a tradition in which I make a list of what I would ask for each Christmas if I could have anything in the world. Funny thing is, it sounds a lot like a Miss America acceptance speech.

“World peace” is always at the top of the list, followed by a lot of other altruistic wishes before I get down to me.

Now I say this not to claim any moral high ground, for I suspect my list would look a lot like most folks to a point. Oh, my list includes lots of things like a gym membership (that I will use), a new leather jacket to replace the one that has become worn and ratty. It also includes that one thing that doesn’t cost a penny: resoluteness.

I want to remain active and engaged and continue to have fixity of purpose. I want to remain somewhat altruistic when cynicism threatens to get the best of me, to be able to look at silly things and not take them too seriously.

I want to be able to listen to politicians and pundits and not lose faith that I can still make a difference, to be able to write this and not dismiss it as a load of sentimental tripe.
Seriously, what more could anyone ask than that?

It’s not a big deal, just some little purpose that keeps me going and fires my spirit. Now wouldn’t that would be a really nice gift to find under your tree?

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Update on Miss Texas Pageant and its gay connections

Don Maines, the contributor who wrote the piece in the June 25 edition about Miss Dallas Ali Burrow and her gay pageant consultants, sends along this update from the stages of the Miss Texas contest, which concluded last week:

Miss Dallas Ali Burrow placed 11th in Friday night’s Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant in Arlington, just a hair’s breadth from getting to compete in the top 10 in the annual contest to select the Lone Star State’s representative to Miss America. Burrow’s strong showing netted her a $500 cash scholarship that will help her continue studies at KD College Actors Conservatory.

Burrow was coached by best friends and roommates Chris Bertrand and Hunter Daniel, who worked so closely with her that she moved into their Uptown apartment last month so the trio could focus 24/7 on preparing Burrow for the annual state faceoff. Last summer, the guys’ house guest was Ashley Melnick, whom they coached as Miss Grapevine 2009. Under their tutelage, Melnick scored a preliminary fitness award and placed as second runner-up to Miss Texas in 2009.

Returning this year as Miss Fort Worth, Melnick won preliminary awards in both fitness and talent (singing “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”) and captured the coveted crown of Miss Texas 2010.

In fact, all five finalists represented communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including (in order) Misses Irving, Frisco, White Settlement and Arlington. The winner and first runner-up Jordan Johannsen are roommates at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where third runner-up Kendall Morris is a featured twirler.

Rounding out the top 10 (in order) were three more North Texans: Misses East Texas, Plano, Ellis County, Houston and Harris County.

Because this was the pageant’s 75th crowning celebration, an inordinate number of gay men attended the weeklong pageant that featured many former Miss Texas titleholders who emceed and performed in production numbers. In addition, both former Miss Americas from Denton, Phyllis George (1971) and Dr. Shirley Cothran Barret (1974), held court at several of the festivities.

The new Miss Texas will compete for pageantry’s most prestigious title when the 90th annual Miss America finals is broadcast live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on ABC-TV on Jan. 15, 2011.

Meanwhile, fans can spot Miss Dallas in a new TV commercial for the Big 12 Conference, in which Burrow plays a Kansas State University tennis player.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones