Get Totally Twisted tonight at the Dallas Eagle

Leather and vocals?

Well, the Totally Twisted Karaoke peeps have invaded again. This time they go leather and Levi finding a Monday night home at the Eagle. Hunky Robert O. hosts the night and all you daddies, bois, cubs and bears can get your sing on. Just don’t flog anyone if they aren’t on board with your voice.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 9 p.m. TotallyTwistedKaraoke.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas celebrates end of DADT

As ban on open gays and lesbians in the military ends, active-duty military personnel come out, some who were discharged consider re-enlisting

Johnson.Cully
Cully Johnson

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

As the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” became final this week, some active-duty service members came out while some who were discharged under the policy made plans to re-enlist.

Dallas celebrated the repeal with a reception at Resource Center Dallas during which

Dave Guy-Gainer, a board member of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, presented his archive of photos, papers and other memorabilia to the Phil Johnson Library.

Among the papers was correspondence with senators and representatives about supporting the repeal effort. Also included was correspondence with the White House that concluded with Guy-Gainer’s invitation to the final repeal signing ceremony in July.

Guy-Gainer said that he almost missed the invitation, because he almost forgot to check his email one Monday night. When he did remember and checked the inbox, he realized that he had received an invitation to the repeal certification signing ceremony in Washington that Wednesday.

Guy-Gainer said he immediately cleared his schedule and made plans to attend.

Despite repeal of DADT, Guy-Gainer said, SLDN’s  work is not over. Although gays and lesbians may now serve openly, those who are married will not receive 40 benefits that married heterosexual service members enjoy.

Those benefits include their partners having an identity card to get on base and using that card to shop in the PX or use the library.

Same-sex dependents will not be able to use the base attorneys to write wills and other legal papers.

Same-sex couples will not have the access to base housing that opposite-sex couples have, nor will they be eligible for subsistence payments to subsidize off-base housing. That money is offered to many heterosexual couples.

Dependents of heterosexuals also have access to full health care that same-sex partners of servicemen and women will not receive.

Across the country, a number of gays and lesbians who had been discharged under DADT started talking to recruiters Tuesday about re-enlisting, including Cully Johnson, one of the owners of Dallas Eagle.

Johnson was a captain and said he is consiering re-enlisting in the Air Force. He had an appointment with a recruiter to discuss the possibility on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Johnson said he was stationed in Germany for the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. When Turkey refused to allow American planes to use its airspace, he said, he was responsible for finding alternate routes and bases that allowed the mission to happen.

After serving more than nine years, Johnson was dismissed from the military under DADT.

But like many who were dismissed, Johnson never “told.”

Another member of the Air Force asked him out on a date. When he turned the man down, that airman went to Johnson’s superior and reported him as being gay.

Johnson said there was no defense he could present. His attorney said that explaining the story of why he was turned in would just be seen as retaliation.

So Johnson was given an honorable discharge and he returned to Dallas while the closeted gay man who turned him in remained in the Air Force.

Johnson said he would like to finish his 20 years to take advantage of full military retirement benefits. Although he is talking to a recruiter, Johnson said that in addition to his business, he recently purchased a condo and has a new partner.

His partner was taking a wait-and-see attitude toward Johnson’s re-enlistment.

“We’ll deal with it when the time comes,” said his partner, who works for an employer that doesn’t offer nondiscrimination protection and asked not to be identified.

Because Johnson was an officer, there may not be an immediate slot for him in the Air Force. With President Barack Obama’s proposed drawdown of armed forces, many who want to re-enlist whose specialties have been filled will also have to wait for an opening.

Pepe Johnson had an appointment with a recruiter on Wednesday also. Before his DADT discharge, he had been named soldier of the year at Fort Sill and became a sergeant.

Today, the former Dallas resident, who still owns a house in Oak Cliff, works as a petroleum land man in West Virginia.

“I want to sit down with a recruiter and look at the options available to me,” Pepe Johnson said, adding that he holds no resentment against the Army for his 2003 dismissal.

“‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a law created by Congress and imposed on the military,” he said. “The Army was an incredible experience for me.”

If he re-enters, Pepe Johnson said he would have to go through basic training again because of the length of time since he served. Then, he said, he’d like to enter officer candidate school.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

UPDATE: Police say man found shot to death in Oak Lawn may have committed suicide

Earlier we reported that 28-year-old Javier Ahumada was found shot to death at an apartment on Dickason Avenue in Oak Lawn on Monday night. Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, said the actual address of the complex is 4120 Dickason Ave. He also provided the following update:

“We are still waiting for the M.E. [Medical Examiner's] report but are not ruling out anything at this point. He had mental issues and has tried to harm himself in the past. This may very well be a suicide but we will wait for the M.E. to rule on that. A weapon was found by his body.”

—  John Wright

Raunchy videos point to bigger problems in Navy, says ensign who alleged anti-gay harassment

Steve Crowston

We received a note Monday night from Steve Crowston, the Navy ensign from East Texas whose allegations of anti-gay harassment against his military superiors remain under investigation by the Inspector General’s Office. But Crowston wasn’t writing to give us an update on his case, which we wrote about back in September. Instead, he wanted to point out some apparent links between his allegations and the lewd video controversy involving Capt. Owen Honors, who earlier today was permanently relieved of his command. Crowston says members of his squadron — who are accused of hazing him with call signs including “Romo’s bitch,” “Gay Boy,” “Fagmeister” and “Cowgirl” — were on board the USS Enterprise when Honors showed the lewd videos. He also says his former commanding officer came up the ranks in the aviation community with Honors. “The Navy has a serious problem on its hands with the aviation community …” Crowston says. Here’s his e-mail:

My former squadron VFA-136 is assigned to the USS ENTERPRISE.  When the aircraft carrier gets ready for deployment and deploys, pilots from VFA-136 are on board the ship. The pilots from VFA-136 would have been on board during the time frame of these videos shot by Captain Honors who was then the XO of the aircraft carrier.

Captain Honors and my former CO from VFA-136 (Commander Liam Bruen) are both F-14 Tomcat pilots who came up the ranks in the aviation community together. Can you tell the CO of my squadron and the CO of the ENTERPRISE act similar as evidenced by their inappropriate behavior! The Navy has a serious problem on its hands with the aviation community, as evidenced by my case with Commander Bruen as CO and Commander Christopher now as the CO of VFA-136 and now Captain Honors, who was then the XO when these videos were shot. Unbelievable!

—  John Wright

Anti-gay TX GOP platform inspires 2 straight guys from Dallas to bike across the country for HRC

Chris Linville, left, and Justin Snider

Chris Linville and Justin Snider set out Friday morning on a training ride that will take them to Austin and back by Monday night, according to an e-mail we received from Carl L. Andrews of HRC’s DFW Federal Club this morning.

Linville and Snider, both straight Dallas residents, are training for Bike For Equality 2011, a 5,000 mile cross-country tour beginning in March to promote awareness of the fight for LGBT equality. The tour, part of HRC’s “Athletes for Equality” Program, aims to raise $100,000 for the organization.

According to the video below, Chris was raised by lesbian parents and was inspired to do the ride in part by the anti-gay Texas GOP platform.

“I recently read the Texas GOP’s platform and in that I read a lot of things that set me off,” he says. “They want to make it illegal for gay and lesbian couples to have children and have custody of children. Obviously that would have had a huge effect on me personally growing up. If that were the case my parents couldn’t have had custody of me. … When I read the Texas GOP platform it set me into a place where I felt this was what I needed to do, and if I could bring my message or bring attention and awareness to as many people as possible, that’s what I needed to do. In order to bring attention to it, you’ve got to do something that’s a little over the top. You have to really step out there and show that you believe in it, and that’s what I think we’re trying to do.”

To donate to the ride, go here.

—  John Wright

NFL analyst Dan Hampton to apologize on the air to the gays — but probably not the Cowboys

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that “Pro Football Weekly” co-host Dan Hampton is set to apologize on the air this week for a homophobic comment he made last week, when he said the Dallas Cowboys are more “Brokeback” than “Eastwood.” Hampton apologized Monday night for another offensive comment, in which he suggested that the Minnesota Vikings need to “hit that town like Katrina” when they play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. From GLAAD’s blog:

Hampton publicly apologized for the Katrina gaffe, but has not yet addressed the Brokeback comment. Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush told GLAAD that Hampton will be leading this weekend’s show with an on-air apology for both statements. Arkush said “it shouldn’t have happened” and assured GLAAD that similar incidents will not happen again.

No word on whether Hampton plans to apologize to the Cowboys, who undoubtedly will perpetuate the homophobia by using his comment as bulletin-board material.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Bill White on why he’s coming to gay Pride in Dallas — ‘I think parades are great’

We weren’t sure of the topic when we headed down to the Hyatt Regency this morning to catch a press conference featuring Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White. But we figured since Valdez is the nation’s only lesbian Latina sheriff — and since White is coming to Dallas’ gay Pride parade in a few weeks — we’d better go check it out.

As it turned out, the press conference was about White’s border security plan, which Valdez really likes. But Instant Tea also managed to sneak in a question about White’s upcoming appearance in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — which was announced Monday night by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. If you can forgive the shot of a pantleg at the beginning of the video, above is White’s response to our question, as well as some footage of Valdez talking about White and LGBT issues afterward. Enjoy!

—  John Wright

Will the real Lady Gaga please stand up?

A woman who identified herself as “Lady Starlight” snaps a photo with her cell phone aboard a flight from Edmonton to Minneapolis on Saturday. Was “Lady Starlight” really Lady Gaga?

Resource Center Dallas’ Rafael McDonnell, who describes himself as a “casual Lady Gaga fan,” reports that he was vacationing in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, last week when — by sheer accident — he ended up in the same city as her Monster Ball tour. McDonnell took advantage by catching one of her two shows in Edmonton and then apparently ended up on the same flight as her to Minneapolis on Saturday. Or did he? McDonnell said he wanted to invite her to stop by the Resource Center when she visits Dallas again in March, but first he had to figure out which one she was, and that wasn’t going to be easy. Turns out Gaga likes to outsmart the paparazzi by donning a poker face while traveling. Here’s McDonnell’s report:

Saturday afternoon, I was wrapping up my Canadian vacation, preparing to head home from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Minneapolis and then DFW. The plane back to Minnesota was a fairly small, 90 or so seat regional jet, and for a Saturday afternoon wasn’t expected to be a crowded flight.

As I was going through the metal detector and bag check, the Canadian security official told me that they were expecting a celebrity to come through. I asked who, and she answered, “Lady Gaga.” Her concert tour had stopped in Edmonton on Thursday and Friday, and would pick up in St. Paul on Monday night.

I don’t think most of the passengers on the flight probably wouldn’t  have known who Lady Gaga is; there were a fair number of couples in their 50′s and 60s in the departure lounge. Still, the flight crew and gate personnel were excitedly talking about her being on the flight. In fact, either the pilot or copilot called somebody before takeoff to share the news. I heard a member of the cabin crew saying she was seated in row 2 (first class on the regional jet only had three rows). They also said she was already on the plane when the rest of the passengers boarded.

When I boarded the plane, I approached row 2 and there was a woman seated there wearing a red leather jacket, a multi-color blouse and dark jeans. I introduced myself, said where I worked, and thanked her for supporting the community. She smiled, and said thanks. Then, she said, “But, I’m Lady Starlight.” I responded, “Well, if you see Lady Gaga, tell her hello for me.” With that, I headed for my seat. There was a second woman sitting next to her wearing a hoodie. On the same row across from them was a beefy tall man in a blue shirt. Several people who looked to be backup dancers also sat in first class and the first couple of rows of coach.

There was also a woman who sat in the same area at the front of coach, wearing an obviously dark wig, large Jackie Onassis-style sunglasses, dressed in all black. She was of average height and of a thin build. During the flight, she thumbed through a Star magazine. She passed by me as she went to the restroom in the back of the plane, but didn’t say anything.

Since I was towards the back of the plane, I didn’t see the first class passengers leave, or even the woman in black. But the flight attendant did confirm that Lady Gaga was on the flight. When I got back to Texas, I searched the Web and found that “Lady Starlight” is the name of a DJ who worked with Lady Gaga early in her career. So, was “Lady Starlight” really Lady Gaga? Was she the woman in the hoodie? Or, was she the woman in black who sat in coach? I don’t doubt the airline and security personnel, so she “had” to be on the plane. But, who was she?

—  John Wright