Weekly Best Bets

Saturday 04.16

No, the jacket won’t make you look fat
DIFFA’s back in a big way this weekend. The event promises to be off-the-charts fabulous, but we can’t wait to see the designer jean jackets. Pretty much our eyes are set on this cotton candy fur-sleeved one. Almost makes us want winter to come back quick. Oh, and we feel sorry for the person who bids against us. You’ve been warned.

DEETS: Hilton Anatole, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. 6 p.m. $300. DIFFADallas.org.


Sunday 04.17

Dog days are just beginning
You think you know what your dog thinks and says? You will when you head to the 5th Annual Dog Bowl. Sipping pools, dog games and the Cotton Bowl as the largest dog park for them to run around in will make them happy as clams. And give you some good karma in the doggie-verse.

DEETS: Cotton Bowl Stadium at Fair Park. 1 p.m. Free. FairPark.org.


Thursday 04.21

Ushering in a new queer agenda
Kenyon Farrow is a man the LGBT community needs to get to know and the Fahari Arts Institute is doing just that with its (Queer)note Lecture Series. Farrow comes to speak to Dallas in the presentation Moving Toward a True Black Queer Liberation

DEETS: South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. 7 p.m. FahariArtsInstitute.org.

—  John Wright

How can you tell a gay Republican is self-loathing? (Hint: His lips are moving)

No, not all gay Republicans are self-loathing. And of late, a number of Republicans, both gay straight, have really done a great job advancing marriage equality – a shockingly good job, really. But then, there’s always guys like this one to remind us of how far they still have to go.

It’s always fun when someone who comes off totally gay complains about guys who come off totally gay. (About 2:15 into the video – Ebone Bell of Metro Weekly does a good job of hosting the video.)


—  David Taffet

To Me, The LGBT Movement Seems To Be Moving Towards Irrelevancy

Remember the Women’s Movement of the 1970’s? — A movement with it’s myriad of issues? When many think of the women’s movement these days though, it’s thought of as a one issue movement — and that one issue is abortion. If you’re currently not part of the women’s movement, can you quickly name one other current issue of the women’s movement issue?

And if you can name a second issue, I would still argue that you’re in the minority; that many others would be hard pressed to name a current women’s movement issue beyond abortion that doesn’t deal with reproductive rights.

In this way, I believe the women’s movement has become functionally irrelevant to the politics of the United States. We do have the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act from a couple of years ago, but I’d be hard-pressed to name any other legislative initiatives from women’s movement of recent years.

Let me work off of that hypotheses that a movement becoming a one or two issue movement is working itself to irrelevance. In my mind, this is what’s happening to the LGBT movement — we are functionally becoming irrelevant because our federal focus is so narrow.

Right now, we have two major national issues — marriage equality, and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). It appears to me that passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has fallen off the LGBT community’s national discourse.

Want an example? Well, what was the subject matter, at the recent media conference between the President and five bloggers, of the LGBT community related questions? You can look it up: the two LGBT specific questions were about marriage equality and DADT.

This is not to knock the LGBT bloggers who met with President Obama — the questiona they asked were on the two issues that our community appears to care the most about.

But in asking those questions on those two issues, did we learn anything from the President on marriage equality or DADT that we didn’t already know? Was any national news made from the media conference that made it into the mainstream media (MSM)?

If we become a movement only interested in those two issues, I believe we in the LGBT community will work ourselves into national irrelevance; I believe we in the LGBT community will basically become a clanging bell of a sounding alarm that legislators will just ignore as an irritating noise.

I can think of some questions that I would have liked to have asked of the president at that media conference. For example, some questions I would have like to have asked if I were invited to that meeting:

• The Family Acceptance Project put out a press release this week, entitled “Critical Study Finds Direct Link Between School Victimization Of Gender-Nonconforming LGBT Youth With Depression And Quality Of Life In Adulthood.” In the release, they reported that LGBT young adults who did not socially conform to gender roles as adolescents reported higher levels of anti-LGBT victimization, with significantly higher levels of depression and decreased life satisfaction in young adulthood. This research shows that the negative impact of anti-LGBT school victimization affects both quality of life and the LGBT young adult’s capacity to enjoy life. Most crucially, the findings show that anti-LGBT bullying in school largely accounts for this psychological harm.

The issues related to school bullying go far beyond LGBT youth dying by suicide after severe bullying related to perceived membership in the LGBT community. Is there going to be any initiatives coming from your administration regarding quality of life for LGBT youth? Remember, we are talking about how bullying impacts the “jobs, jobs, jobs” of LGBT young adults — the gainful employability of bullied LGBT youth.


• We hear a lot about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, regarding lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers being able to serve openly in the military services. But, what about the Department of Defense civilian employees? Even though the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a memorandum in June of 2009 that addressed antidiscrimination policies regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees in the federal government, I’m told that the climate in DOD isn’t good for the LGBT employees.

When Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in unequivocally repealed via congress or the courts there obviously should be a major training component included as part of the change of policy. Yet when we look at the DOD’s civilian employee side of the house, there hasn’t been a major training component for LGBT antidiscrimination in the Department of Defense — especially in how gender identity, which was added to the OPM’s antidiscrimination policies last year. So there are two questions here: 1) How is the DOD going address the poor employment climate for LGBT civilian employees, as well as the lack of a training component in the implementation of LGBT antidiscrimination policies, and 2) does the lack of a training component for LGBT antidiscrimination policies for DOD’s civilian employees in any way signal how the DOD is going to deal with LGB antidiscrimination for military servicemembers when they’re finally allowed to serve openly?


• While anyone can become infected with HIV, some Americans are at greater risk than others — And this includes gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, transgender women of all races and ethnicities, Black men and women, Latinos and Latinas, people struggling with addiction, including injection drug users, and people in geographic hot spots, including the United States South and Northeast, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Many states — such as California — have cut services to HIV infected citizens because their budgets in this economic downturn have become exceptionally tight. Your administration does have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and it calls for increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV. With states cutting back on what resources they’re putting towards people living with HIV, and the United States being under its own budgetary pressures, where do you think the resources are that can be brought to bear that will increase access to care and improvement to health outcomes for people living with HIV?

I could go on, but I believe y’all get my point.

In all this, we can say a lot about how our national LGBT organizations have had few legislative victories over the years, but the HRC, The Task Force, NCLR, GLAAD, GLAD, Lambda Legal, NCTE and many other organizations are focusing on a broader range of issues than just marriage equality and DADT. It seems to me that the focus on marriage equality and DADT is partially coming from the focus of LGBT media — both legacy and new media — and that emphasis has also been picked-up by mainstream media. And too, it also seems to me that the focus on marriage and DADT is coming from the collective LGBT community “us” — the issues that we in the LGBT community talk about with our peers, friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances regarding community’s issues.

As the LGBT community seems to more and more narrowly focus on marriage equality and DADT, to the exclusion of other community issues, I believe that the LGBT community is moving closer to legislative irrelevance.

Tell me how and why I’m wrong — I want to be wrong. But even though I want to be wrong, at this point I don’t think I am.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

4 Legal Issues to Consider Before Moving In With Your Partner

When a relationship starts getting serious, people think about living together. For some couples, this happens after just a few months. Others might wait a year or more before deciding to move in together.

Often, especially for younger couples, this means moving into one person’s apartment or other rented home. Here are 4 legal issues you should consider:

1. Telling Your Landlord

Your lease may say that you have to tell your landlord if you want to add a roommate. It may even limit how many people can live in your unit. Even if it doesn’t specify any of these things, you should still tell them so that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to give your landlord any reason to evict you or charge you some penalty for not revealing a change in occupancy.

You certainly don’t have to tell your landlord your relationship status with your partner. You can just call yourselves “roommates” and be done with it.

Most couples probably don’t bother telling their landlord, and think that the landlord probably won’t notice or find out anyway. They will. Go ahead and tell them so that you avoid problems later.

2. Will You Have to Pay More?

Probably. The landlord can increase the rent and usually the security deposit based on an additional person living in the apartment. Go ahead and pay it—it’s not worth it to hide the fact that you and your partner are now living together there.

3. Rights and Responsibilities of the New Person

If you move into your partner’s apartment, can the landlord make you pay rent or charge you for damaging property? Can you live there if your partner moves out?

No, unless you decide to become a cotenant. Let’s say Amy moves into Jannelle’s apartment, and Janelle tells that to her landlord. This could develop in four ways:

They don’t do anything else. The lease will still only be a contract between the landlord and Janelle, so the landlord can’t make Amy pay rent, and the landlord doesn’t owe Amy anything.

Amy and Janelle sign a new lease that makes them both cotenants. Now, they each have obligations to pay rent and other things and each have a right to live in the apartment.

Without signing a new lease, they tell the landlord that Amy is going to be a cotenant. Depending on state laws, this might create an oral contract that has the same effect as #2

Without signing a new lease or telling the landlord that she’s now a cotenant, Amy starts acting like one. She pays rent directly to the landlord. Also depending on state laws, this might create an implied contract, again having the same effect as #2.

4. Subtenants

Sometimes the person moving in will contribute to the rent, but will pay the money directly to his partner, not to the landlord. This is a subtenant relationship.

The key difference between being cotenants and one person being a subtenant is in who can legally kick someone out:

Cotenants: The landlord, but not the original tenant, can end the lease for either person.

Subtenant: The original tenant can legally tell the new person to move out.

A lot of couples like this relationship better at first. If the couple breaks up, the original tenant can legally tell his ex to move out. But watch out—your landlord may not let you do a sub-tenancy. If they don’t—and it’s what you want—it’s much better to find an apartment complex that will than to hide it from your landlord.

[Cross-posted at the Gay Law Report, where I discuss LGBT laws and related news.]

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

HRC Volunteers Keep Equality Moving Forward in the Keystone State

The following post comes from Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir. Sultan is just one of 30 HRC staff that will be on the ground in 16 states by Election Day, working with HRC-endorsed candidates and engaging our membership about the upcoming elections:

This week, HRC members in the greater Philadelphia area joined in on another phone bank to help turn out HRC members in this critical election.  Across the state, HRC members are being plugged into key races, working hard to ensure that pro-equality are elected to represent us.  With just under two weeks left, the energy is high and we’re working harder than ever to make sure our people get out to vote.

Thank you to everyone who has helped out all across the state, and thanks those who will do so between now and Election Day. Together we will continue to drive equality forward in the Keystone State this fall.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Moving Forward on Marriage and Safe Schools in Minnesota

All across the country, progressives are gearing up for a tough election. Our friends and allies will need our help this year; perhaps more than ever. Here in Minnesota, we are in marathon mode. The prize at the end of this race is the possibility of finally passing a safe schools bill and the chance at securing full marriage equality for Minnesota families. We know what is at stake, and Minnesotans are stepping up to the plate.

If this week was any indication, we are going to spend November 3rd celebrating. Our recent phonebank was packed with supporters and allies calling across Minneapolis to spread the good word about Mark Dayton and other pro-equality candidates to let people know about their support for LGBT rights. We made thousands of calls and had hundreds of conversations to remind them about the importance of voting for pro-equality candidates this November.

I also recently had the pleasure of running into Senator Al Franken. Senator Franken has been a solid ally in Congress and he stopped by a Get Out The Vote training to thank and support us staffers. He promised us that together we will keep Minnesota moving forward. If we elect Mark Dayton this November, we will truly make history.

If you have not already signed up to volunteer or help out, shoot me an email to get plugged in – terry.mcguire@hrc.org

See you on the campaign trail!

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC and authorized by Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota and the Minnesota DFL

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Majority Leader Harry Reid is moving the Defense bill with DADT language

This afternoon, I went to the Capitol to hear the Majority Leader and Minority Leader address the media about what’s ahead in the Senate over the next couple weeks. Reid made it clear that he is moving ahead on the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. He said DADT is a critical piece of that legislation. He expects the GOP to try to block the bill — and he even told McConnell that the GOPers could have a separate vote to try to take the DADT language out of the Defense bill. Reid also said he wanted to add the DREAM Act to the Defense bill.

Reid also said:

I think we should choose common sense over discrimination. We’re going to match our policies with our principles and finally say that iin our country, everyone who steps up to serve our country should be welcome.

Here’s Reid:

Reid will file a cloture motion this week, setting a up vote to end the McCain-led filibuster. Reid was asked by by Kerry Eleveld if he has the votes to proceed on Defense bill. He answered,”we’ll sure find out.”

During his remarks, McConnell kept saying that the Defense authorization bill was “controversial.” McConnell did say that DADT is one reason that the Defense Authorization is “controversial” in response to a question from the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson.

So, game on. A vote is coming. Call your Senators: 202-224-3121. You know the homophobes are in overdrive.


—  John Wright