‘Coming Out’ for National Coming Out Day

rick-peters-left-and-alden-peters-right-in-coming-out-courtesy-of-wolfe-videoAlden Peters is a typical young closeted gay man. He’s been coping with his sexuality — or more directly, hiding it — his entire life. Then, when Princeton student Tyler Clementi commits suicide after being outed, Peters realizes that could have easily been him. So he decides it’s time to tell the people in his life. And being a millennial with a camera, he decides to do it on film.

The 2015 documentary Coming Out, now available from Wolfe Video, tracks Peters’ process — first telling his older brother, then his friends, his mom and stepdad, and finally his dad and younger siblings … all with the camera rolling.

What’s distinctive about Coming Out is how ordinary and undistinctive it is. Peters hand-wrings about what kind of reaction he’ll get, especially from his parents. Will they be shocked? Hate him? Reject him? But first and foremost, they love him. And seeing that love manifest itself in the most prosaic of ways — “That’s cool, son,” a hug, even an awkward conversation with a younger brother who thinks doesn’t “act gay” — have played out for most of us in nearly identical ways across the years.

dvd-cover-coming-out-courtesy-of-wolfe-videoOf course, there are much worse stories of rejection, even violence. Not all coming out processes are as smooth and supportive. But the message is, and should be, that even the “bad” coming outs are ultimately positive experiences for the one coming out. Admitting who you are — not just to others, but to one’s self — is an important, even necessary step toward long-term happiness and acceptance. It’s one reason why gay people refer to each other as “family” — because even when our blood relatives aren’t there for us, there’s an entire chosen family anxious to step in. Even today, coming out can be difficult. But it’s also amazingly important — psychologically, emotionally, politically, socially.

Think about all that when you watch Coming Out, and remember that today, Oct. 11, is National Coming Out Day, a date once each year that says, “Why not come out now? You’ll feel better about yourself.” But that’s not an excuse to wait until next year if you don’t today. There’s no wrong time to come out … whether one-on-one to your mom or on film for the whole world to see.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This is what National Coming Out Day was meant for

WWIn case you missed it, Sunday, Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day — the day designated for giving folks in the closet a kind of permission to tell people they care about that they are members of the LGBT community. It’s a great idea — after all, there’s strength in numbers, right, so why not come out on a day you can point to countless other folks being upfront about their sexuality?

Of course, for many of us, coming out happened long ago, and we can forget what it was like to become so self-possessed as to tell someone who we are. So what about telling thousands of people?

Our friend Israel Luna knows one such guy — Walker Williams. Walker is from Israel’s hometown of Wellington, Texas, and this weekend he wrote a piece for the Amarillo Globe-News, in which he explained the confusion, fear, concern and even depression associated with hiding in the closet. Especially when you’re a star athlete.

Here is Walker’s story (as told to reporter Terrence Hunley). It’s an inspiring piece, and one that may strike many as very familiar.

Congrats, Walker! We’re proud of you. You’re toaster oven will be shipped to you soon.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Davis Campaign to Hold “Out for Wendy” Day of Action Across Texas

WDNCODThe Wendy Davis campaign will celebrate National Coming Out Day tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 11, with “Out for Wendy” canvassing events across the state.

Joining LGBT Texans will be Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Amber Davis, daughter of Wendy Davis, and other campaign surrogates.

Click here to RSVP.


WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHO: Amber Davis, daughter of Wendy Davis

WHEN: 9:00 AM

WHERE: Austin Coordinated Campaign Office

1910 E. MLK Boulevard

Austin, Texas 78702


WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHO: Zac Petkanas, Communications Director for Wendy Davis for Governor Campaign

WHEN: 10:00 AM

WHERE: Oak Lawn Library

4100 Cedar Springs Road

Dallas, Texas 75219


WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHEN: 9:00 AM

WHERE: Starbucks

2720 W. University Drive

Edinburg, Texas 78539

Fort Worth

WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHO: Libby Willis (Candidate for State Senate – District 10)

WHEN: 10:00 AM

WHERE: Davis Campaign Field Office

La Gran Plaza – Suite 1711

4200 S. Freeway

Fort Worth, Texas 76115


WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHO: Houston Mayor Annise Parker

WHEN: 2:00 PM

WHERE: Matthiesen Law Firm

511 Lovett Boulevard

Houston, Texas 77004


WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHEN: 9:00 AM

WHERE: Davis Campaign Field Office

1701 Jacaman Road, Suite 1

Laredo, Texas 78041

San Antonio

WHAT: Out for Wendy Day of Action

WHEN: 12:30 PM

WHERE: Sparky’s Pub

1416 N. Main Avenue

San Antonio, Texas 78212

—  James Russell

Welcome aboard, Erin Moore


We are thrilled to welcome aboard the newest addition to the Dallas Voice family, graphic artist Erin Moore.

That name may sound — probably does sound — familiar. That’s because Erin has been an active member of DFW’s LGBT community for years. She has been president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and vice president of Stonewall Democrats of Texas.
Erin’s also served on the Human Rights Campaign’s national Board of Governors and co-chaired National Coming Out Day.She grew up in Slidell, La., and moved to Dallas in 1992 to be staff adviser to Southern Methodist University’s student newspaper the Daily Campus. From there she began doing layout and design for Texas Lawyer and most recently worked at Brown & Partners designing jewelry advertising for national clients. Erin’s partner, Patti Fink, is currently president of DGLA and hosts the show that Dallas Observer named best talk show in Dallas, Lambda Weekly.

—  Tammye Nash

From LIFE magazine leather to Baylor and Channel 39: A coming out story

The June 1964 issue of LIFE magazine.

Someone asked me recently when I first “came out.” I started to rattle off a date, but decided to consider my answer more seriously. For me coming out was a process. I had a pretty good idea I liked guys by my first year in high school, but at that time, 1964, there was little support for someone like me.

I first realized there were others who might share my desires in a very strange circumstance. I was on a jet, bound for London, with my parents. The flight attendant was passing around magazines and I ended up with the June 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. That issue had a bombshell article in it called “Homosexuality in America,” and though it was supposed to be an expose of a sordid world, the double-page photograph of the Tool Box Bar spoke to me only of desire. It was a shadowy, black and white photo of dozens of men, most wearing leather jackets and caps, crowded into what was one of the early San Francisco leather bars.

To a 14-year-old boy who had never quite been able to put his finger on what he wanted sexually, it was all I could do to not scream out, “YES, that’s what I want!”

It took another three years before I finally spoke with my mother about my sexuality, and then only in the most general terms. My father died when I was 18 and our household was pretty much in upheaval, so I don’t think my mom really got what I was telling her. My friends already knew, and in fact I had already had sexual experiences with a few of the guys I hung out with. To them it wasn’t important to “come out”; we were just exploring sexual possibilities and by the time I entered college, there were plenty of opportunities to explore.

—  Hardy Haberman

2 ways to come out in Denton on National Coming Out Day

Two LGBT events are planned in Denton on National Coming Out Day — Thursday, Oct. 11. A concert with Justin Roth benefits OUTreach Denton, a support and advocacy group for LGBTQA teens, and The Dallas Way — the GLBT History Project presents its third Outrageous Oral storytelling program, the first outside of Oak Lawn.

Outrageous Oral takes place at the Willis Library on the University of North Texas campus in Denton. The school has begun a project archiving the North Texas LGBT community and opened a repository for papers and artifacts. The Phil Johnson Library has moved from Resource Center Dallas to UNT.

The first two Outrageous Oral events took place in the Vixin Lounge at Sue Ellen’s on Cedar Springs Road.

Each edition of Outrageous Oral includes a number of LGBT community members telling their stories. The program in Denton includes pieces by Monica Greene, Bruce Monroe, Penny Krispin, Buddy Molino, Arturo Ortega and Don Maison.

Restaurateur Green tells her story of transitioning in the ’90s. Her story, as she told it at the first Outrageous Oral evening at Sue Ellen’s, is posted below.

Krispin, a nurse, will recount how she offered Pentamidine Mist treatments to prevent a fatal pneumonia at a time when Parkland Hospital was refusing to administer it. Her work was the beginning of what became the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic.

Maison, President and CEO of AIDS Services Dallas, was an attorney and will recount two cases he handled in the ’80s. He represented Dallas Gay Alliance, which sued in 1988 Parkland to eliminate a waiting list for medication and limit the number of beds for persons with AIDS. In another case he litigated, Southwest Airlines was forced to hire men as flight attendants.

Justin Roth concert: Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1111 Cordell St., Denton at 7 p.m. $10.

Outrageous Oral: Willis Library, 1506 Highland Avenue, Denton. Oct. 11. 7–9 p.m. Free and open to the public.

—  David Taffet

UTA celebrates 1st-ever Pride Week

The University of Texas at Arlington will celebrate its first Pride Week this week with several events, activities and speakers planning to attend.

The festivities kick off tonight at 6 p.m. in the university center with gay bingo.

Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer will speak Tuesday afternoon about ways colleges can meet the needs of their LGBT students.

Windmeyer will also speak Tuesday night as the week’s keynote speaker, addressing challenges facing LGBT youth and ways to provide safer and more welcoming communities.

Gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns will talk about bullying on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a Thursday National Coming Out Day event on campus with a pink door and the college’s Safe Zone training in the afternoon.

Most events are free and open to the public. For more information, go here.

UTA has planned events around National Coming Out Day before but funded a $42,000-initiative this summer for the planning of LGBT events and activities on campus. Leaders of the new program said they wanted to have larger events, a Pride Week and even a drag show eventually in the coming months.

Check out the flyer with the full schedule below.

—  Dallasvoice

Equality Texas encourages LGBT people to come out to their legislators

Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day but Equality Texas has named the day, “Come Out to Your Lawmaker Day.”

Equality Texas field organizer Daniel Williams said it’s not enough just to come out to your parents, employers or hairdresser. He said this year it’s important to come out to your lawmakers.

Here’s what Williams says to do:

Step 1: Go to www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us and look up your state representative and senator
Step 2: Call them and tell them that as a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender Texan, or as an ally to the LGBT community you want them to support LGBT legislation
Step 3: Tell your friends to do the same
Step 4: Let us know how your call went by e-mailing comingout@equalitytexas.org

Below is a video of Williams calling his state representative Garnet Coleman of Houston who’s been a big ally of the LGBT community. While it’s important to let allies know you live in their district, it’s even more important to let those who vote against the LGBT community know you’re from their districts.

Want to know more about National Coming Out Day? The Human Rights Campaign tells the history of the event that commemorates the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

—  David Taffet

YouTube celebrates National Coming Out Day

Kinda digging YouTube’s efforts at recognizing today as National Coming Out Day. They’ve created a playlist of videos by LGBT bands and artists that is rather impressive. Instead of going with the obvious, they featured an eclectic selection of groups like Xiu XiuHidden Cameras and San Antonio band Girl in a Coma. From YouTube:

In honor of National Coming Out Day, we celebrate bands who make great music…and who also happen to have gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members. Vive la difference!

Right on! Now finish your day out with the playlist starting with this.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay Day at State Fair disputed

On Thursday we reported that Saturday, Oct. 8, appeared to be this year’s unofficial “Gay Day” at the Texas State Fair, based on a Facebook page which now has more than 200 confirmed attendees.

Not so, says one Jason Bradberry, who wrote the following on Dallas Voice’s fan page in response to our post: “Gay Day at the State Fair of Texas is ALWAYS has been and ALWAYS will be the Sunday before National Coming Out. State Fair PR offices can confirm this. Please put out the correct information, not what some Facebook event was created.”

According to Bradberry’s calendar, “Gay Day” is Sunday, Oct. 9, since National Coming Out Day is next Tuesday, Oct. 11.

I say we just call it a whole gay weekend and dedicate it to this guy.

—  John Wright