Queer Bingo gets new home

The Houston GLBT Community Center’s First Saturday Queer Bingo moves into new digs for this month’s venture. The long running fundraiser starts its residency at Don Julio’s (322 Westheimer) Saturday, January 7, at 4 pm. Tim Brookover, president of the Community Center, says that the new venue provides much needed off-street parking for the event adding that the second story space is easily accessible by elevator. Additionally, bar service will be available from Don Julio’s along with their full menu.

Queer Bingo is hosted by drag performers Tanya Hyde and Lana Blake and features food, fun and a 50/50 auction. All proceeds benefit the center’s John Lawrence & Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund. “We are very excited to move into the new home of Queer Bingo,” says Brookover. “We hope everyone can join us.”

—  admin

Drawing Dallas • 11.25.11

As ‘Twilight’ returns, Skylar Brooks shows blood sucking can be a service

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Skylar Brooks, 24

Occupation: Testing coordinator, Resource Center Dallas, and shift manager, Starbucks

Spotted at: Exxon on the Run at Maple and Oak Lawn

A twinkle in her unbelievably pale blue eyes and an effervescent smile are the first things you notice about this fine Virgo. Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Euless and Bedford, the perpetually positive Skylar considers herself a clown and a jokester — smiles and laughter come to her quite freely. She came out at 16.

She loves the nightlife. Skylar loves to dance, and her freestyle moves on the floor have garnered her three “dance off” wins at Station 4. She also loves to sing, especially R&B (Brian McKnight is a favorite). She auditioned for American Idol last year, and while she didn’t get through, says she’s determined to try again. Her love of music and dance is hereditary: Her mother was on the drill team and danced ballet, and her father plays drums and the trumpet and loves to belt out a song.

In addition to indoor activities, she plays midfield and forward in a local soccer league, and basketball for fun. Skylar loves to travel, she has a special affinity for the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Bahamas).

Enter love  “Three months in, I knew she was the one,” says Skylar of her fiancé, Shereen, whom she met through mutual friends 18 months ago; they have a wedding set in Vermont next June. Both of their families are excited for them.

Skylar’s goal is to become a surgical technician. Her motto: “I help people one blood draw at a time.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Defining Homes • Ask the EXPERTS

With the economy still in a wicked mess, reports are that the latest trend in homebuying is not buying. Renters are on the rise. But are they? Real estate source Inman reported in January that it is cheaper to buy in the majority of the country’s larger cities. Keith Jurow reported last year on World Property Channel that a Harris Interactive survey found renting a better option. So which is it? We asked locals in the industry how the trends are swaying the Dallas housing market and the frustrations behind them.

……………………

Michael Litzinger

Michael Litzinger
William Davis Realty Uptown

The trend has affected my business significantly. The firm I recently moved to seems to be more in tune with today’s market. Their streamlined, online process requires less paperwork which makes it better for the client, a much quicker turn around for me and better for the environment.

Leasing does move property these days, and I am just glad the industry moves in some fashion whether it’s leasing or selling.

I do think the trend has affected us locally somewhat, but not nearly as severely as in most other areas. I still feel good about the Dallas market.  I know Realtors in other areas that can’t say the same.

Buyers are decreasing to some degree. Even with low interest rates, I’ve had a lot of buyers come to me and then disappear.

 

……………………

Derrick Dawson

Derrick Dawson
Texas Pride Realty

As an active and producing Realtor also working in property management, I’d say the rental trend has picked up significantly, but that doesn’t mean it’s been ideal for property renters/owners or for the multi-family industry. The rental market has been stable but faces some challenges based on broken leases due to financial hardship or unemployment. Many are playing it safe by downsizing or combining rental homes based on economic conditions, being fearful of keeping their jobs and saving for the future.
Today is a buyer’s market and an ideal time to get out of the rent race. The downfall to the buyer’s market that I have seen personally is buyers and investors taking advantage of desperate people in today’s markets, possibly causing detriment to individuals or families in their time of need but also bringing down values in those areas making it harder for others to sell.

 

……………………

Dan Flynn

 

Dan Flynn
Dave Perry-Miller InTown

The trend of leasing over buying has changed the way I preview properties in my area. Leasing is so hot now, I’ve looked at rentals and try to know the different apartment communities close by. Now I am much faster to respond to leasing needs.

I process far more leases to build my future list of clients. I try to educate and prepare them for the buying process down the road. Using a Realtor to find the perfect place to lease makes a lot of sense for those wanting to buy in the future but also for those who don’t really want to do the legwork.

I recently represented a seller who could not sell his property for the amount he was hoping for. Finding qualified buyers in his market and price range wasn’t easy. Another Realtor’s client was interested in leasing the property so

I had to have that conversation with my seller. The seller decided to go with the lease. While sales are still going strong, leasing has increased. While this really is the time to buy, I think all the media attention scares buyers. Potential buyers need to know that the market is stable here and we are one of the cities leading the nation in sales right now.  Go buy a house now or pay more for it later both in price and interest rates.

……………………

Keith M. Thomas

Keith M. Thomas
1111 Apartment Locators

Although the economy has definitely affected us here, it is worse in other areas of the country. Dallas continues to grow and so I feel the trend’s impact on Dallas has been positive.

My company is a fully licensed real estate brokerage company and we handle all residential and commercial real estate transactions yet, our primary business is apartment locating. We want to maintain focus on renters, but we’ve created strategic partnerships with other real estate companies and have a referral program with them. We work closely with our clients to help with all of their real estate needs.

For homes that have reasonable mortgages there is good news. In Dallas, the rental market has significantly gone up, especially from 2010 to present to a  94-97 percent occupancy rate.

Buyers become renters for two reasons: First, they are able to get a nicer home for a lower monthly payment. And second, it doesn’t make sense to buy unless you’re planning to stay. However, buyers are increasing, oddly enough. MetroTex Association of Realtors reported that last August 2010 there were 1,223 properties sold and this August 2011 there were 1,485.

It’s a landlords’ market. Rents are at a premium and good ones go fast. When I show my clients rentals, they want to think about it, I encourage them to act quickly, because the unit is gone within a day or two. Why should homeowners take a loss on waiting for a qualified buyer, when they can rent quickly and hold out for the market to improve?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

‘Bedpost Confessions’ tonight at The Kessler

‘Bedpost Confessions’ moves sex talk from the closet into Oak Cliff

What would you do if your friend admitted to  being a prostitute? Or if your sister talked about having sex outside of her marriage with a 21-year-old virgin? Sexual talk outside of the bedroom can still be taboo, even in today’s desensitized world of fast hookups and Showtime melodramas. Bring up intercourse (or something far more intense), and most people will cringe or shy away.

Tonight, it all comes out. The Austin-based stage show Bedpost Confessions features performers talking up their sexual adventures out loud all in good fun. Trying to break away from the taboo of talking about sex, co-founder Sadie Smythe and company bring their show to Dallas. Local writer and Dallas Voice contributor Jenny Block, pictured, gets in on the action which makes perfect sense. As the author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, she’ll have ideal material for the night.

Her thoughts on tonight’s show.

“It’s just sex. It’s supposed to be this happy, fun, sometimes even spiritual experience. It’s all gotten so twisted and tangled when really it should be so simple. Consenting adults doing something that our bodies were built to do. But somewhere along the line, people got confused. Outwardly we are this over-sexed society. But behind closed doors we don’t talk to our kids, we don’t communicate with our partners, and we’re lost when it comes to all things sex. The funny thing is, the fix is an easy one. We have to talk to one another and to our kids and to our partners. We have to strangle the taboo. We could have solved all of the world’s ills by now if we stopped worrying so much about such a natural thing and started putting our brain power to better use.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Block will also be signing copies of her book after the show. Along with Block, Smythe and the other performers, the audience gets to play as they are encouraged to write their sexual confessions to be read aloud. Don’t worry, it’s all anonymous. Read the original article here.

DEETS:


—  Rich Lopez

Final bets at the finale of Team DV’s P-P-P-Poker Tourney

Ante up to the table

Team Dallas Voice and Pocket Rockets Dallas are raising money for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS by holding a P-P-P-Poker Tournament at clubs across town. After three weeks, the event has come to the grand prize final.

Because this is Dallas, not Vegas, the game play is free, so if you want to contribute to the LSR cause, bring cash to enter the raffle. Among the prizes available or that have been won are tickets to see Dolly Parton (we’ll resist the urge to call this one a “booby prize”), Ke$ha and Chelsea Handler,  tickets to the Texas Rangers and Lone Star Park horse races, Starbucks coffee, a set of poker chips, books, grooming supplies and much more … and the final grand prize: Two tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

DEETS: Check out the Facebook event page here for details.

—  Rich Lopez

Memorial Weekend dance party at old Club One

So you think you can dance?
You’ll have the opportunity to show off those dance moves at the star-studded Memorial Weekend party with DJs Seth Cooper, pictured, and Roland Belmares spinning out the night at the old Club One spot. It’ll be just like old times. The two will deliver the beats, while you boogie on down.

DEETS: 3025 Main St. 10 p.m. PaulKraftProductions.com

—  Rich Lopez

Twist Dallas at LBG tonight

Let the music play

SuZanne Kimbrell made major tweaks to this latest edition of Twist Dallas. First and foremost, the event moves to Thursday nights, and while this show continues at Lakewood Bar & Grill, she expects that the July show will be in a different venue.

Also, the lineup here is tighter with four performers on the bill (Kimbrell included), but she’s pulled together another eclectic group of performers. Guitarist Natalie Velasquez, David Siuba from Santa Fe and the sultry soul and slick guitar rock of Robinson Hall led by queer vocalist Jackie Hall.

Visual artist Sylwester Zabielski will have his photography and film work on display.

DEETS: Lakewood Bar and Grill, 6340 Gaston Ave., on May 19 at 8 p.m. $10. TwistDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Motor City Pride Moves to Detroit

Pride x390 (Getty) I Advocate.comThe Motor City Pride celebration will move from Ferndale to downtown Detroit this year in order to accommodate more participants and expand from one day to two.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

Dept of Education moves to aggressively curb anti-LGBT bullying

Today the Department of Education is sending out a letter to 15,000 school districts, colleges and universities nationwide providing new guidance on schools’ obligations under the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972 with respect to how those obligations apply to sex discrimination and sexual harassment directed at students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
In several cases over the last decade victims of anti-LGBT bullying have sued their schools over the discrimination and harassment they have suffered. The cases were the product of the intersection of two important Supreme Court cases from the late 1990′s: Davis v Monroe County Board of Education finding schools can be liable under Title IX for student on student harassment and Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services finding sexual harassment can include harassment where the harasser and victim are of the same sex. Almost immediately, federal courts began finding some forms of discrimination and harassment of students by other students on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation can violate Title IX. See for example Montgomery v. Independent School District No. 709, Flores v Morgan Hill Unified School District, Theno v Tonganoxie Unified School District, Ray v Antioch Unified School District and Schroeder v Maumee Board of Education.

In 1998, before both Supreme Court cases, the Dept of Education’s Office of Civil Rights had already pursued action based on Title IX in the matter of a formal complaint against an Arkansas school filed by the parents of a student who suffered anti-LGBT bullying and harassment so severe, his parents removed him from school. As a result, the school district changed a number of their policies and was required to better train faculty and staff to address harassment and bullying in the future.

But with today’s action, the Department of Education is trying to make such policy improvements nationwide by reminding schools of their obligations under the law and stressing the potential negative consequences of ignoring it, which include loss of federal funding and liability for damages in a lawsuit. From the letter being sent out:


Title IX prohibits harassment of both male and female students regardless of the sex of the harasser-i.e., even if the harasser and target are members of the same sex. It also prohibits gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping. Thus, it can be sex discrimination if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment and gender-based harassment of all students, regardless of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the harasser or target.

Although Title IX does not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, Title IX does protect all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, from sex discrimination. When students are subjected to harassment on the basis of their LGBT status, they may also [...] be subjected to forms of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX. The fact that the harassment includes anti-LGBT comments or is partly based on the target’s actual or perceived sexual orientation does not relieve a school of its obligation under Title IX to investigate and remedy overlapping sexual harassment or gender-based harassment.

On Monday, the Department of Education announced the move and hosted a conference call with several members of the LGBT press.

Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate reports


“A lot of bullying experienced by LGBT kids is accompanied by or in the form of sexual harassment or gender-based harassment because students are perceived as not conforming to traditional gender roles,” explained the department’s assistant secretary for Civil Rights, Russlynn Ali. “We want to be sure that recipients understand that that kind of discrimination and harassment can very much be a violation of Title IX in federal civil rights laws.”



Institutions that receive complaints but fail to take action to protect students who are being unlawfully bullied or harassed could face legal action or financial penalties. Ali said those cases could be referred to the Department of Justice to go to court or they could result “in the withdrawal or termination or conditioning of all federal funds received from the Department of Education.”

Administration officials said the effort was a response to a rash of recent bullying episodes resulting in a series of suicides that have grabbed front-page headlines. Although DOE officials said 44 states have enacted basic anti-bullying laws, only 14 have laws protecting students on the basis of either their sexual orientation and gender identity, with another three protecting sexual orientation only according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Asst Secretary Ali stressed the importance and timing of the measure. In remarks reported by Dana Rudolph of Keen News Service, Ali said, “If students don’t feel safe in school, they simply cannot learn.”

Rudolph also noted “The U.S. Justice Department also intervened in January in the case of a New York teen who was bullied and physically hurt for being effeminate. Justice Department lawyers argued that the federal law against gender-based discrimination also applied to gender expression. In an out-of-court settlement, the school district agreed to pay the boy ,000, legal fees, and the cost of therapy.”

Asst Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Kevin Jennings, said that resources for schools, students and parents would be available at the web site bullyinginfo.org. Twenty years ago, Jennings, a former educator, founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a group dedicated to addressing homophobia, discrimination and bullying in schools and a key resource for many student lead Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) around the country that promote tolerance in schools. According to Eleveld, Jennings said the administration is trying to take a proactive role in protecting LGBTQ youth, especially in light of recent events:

“In this administration, we plan to apply the letter of the law to fullest extent of the law in order to extend the greatest level of protections humanly possible to LGBT students,” Jennings said.

There are currently two bills pending in Congress that are relevant to the topic of bullying of LGBTQ youth: the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) which is sponsored by openly gay Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. When asked by Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly whether the administration supports the bills, Asst Sec Ali responded, “We certainly support the goals of both Polis’s bill and the bill on safe and healthy schools,” but declined to give either an endorsement. “Today, though, is about using the tools at our disposal now.”


This is precisely the kind of move on LGBT issues the Administration has needed to make for a long time. Just two months ago, I said as much in a diary on Daily Kos on the administration’s lack of coherent messaging compounding a lack of sufficient action on the issues. Hopefully this won’t be the only “proactive” move the administration intends to make on LGBT issues. Several people on twitter late yesterday tweeted that a meeting would take place today between top White House officials and gay rights groups (used in plural, so hopefully that means more than just HRC is invited). Just yesterday, HRC President Joe Solmonese changed course and joined the growing chorus lead by GETEqual and Dan Choi calling for the President to drop the appeal of the DADT case and/or issues a stop loss order to halt DADT discharges. See indiemcemopants’ diary for more info on that “shocking” turn of events. Could we be in store for a new aggressive move to insure the authorization of a potential repeal of DADT in passed in Congress and some sort of plan B if attempts to pass the legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act fail? Stay tuned.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Sheridan v. Cherry Moves Forward

NICOLETTE SHERIDAN MARC CHERRY X390A Los Angeles superior court judge is allowing Nicollette Sheridan’s million wrongful-termination lawsuit against ABC and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to move forward.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright