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

FEEDBACK: Why I’m supporting Kunkle

Why I’m supporting Kunkle

Thank you for the in-depth expose on the three major mayoral candidates (“Decision in Dallas,” Dallas Voice, April 8).

While there are different opinions regarding the candidates, David Kunkle is my personal choice. I have watched him closely over the last several years and was so impressed with his style of leadership and soft-spoken manner when he was police chief. He went all over this city, listening and getting feedback from not only the GLBT community, but everywhere.

Additionally, he is effective. He may not be the flashiest or most dynamic of the candidates, but he’s a keen thinker and avid reader focused on real world solutions on what works and what doesn’t.

He also appreciates the eclectic aspects of Dallas. That’s an important place to be in my mind, so that we can attract not only Fortune 500 companies but also the small businessman/woman and the budding creative entrepreneurs who want to live in our city.

I don’t know that I necessarily want another CEO as mayor. We hear all the time that government should be run like a business. I think it should not be. Contrary to popular belief today, government is not a business.

Municipal government needs an experienced and competent administrator. In addition to serving as Dallas police chief, David Kunkle also has experience serving as the assistant city manager of Arlington, which will provide him with a skill set from day one that will no doubt serve him well as mayor.

Ron Natinsky and Mike Rawlings both are pleasant gentlemen and they each bring their own “skill set” to the table and there are good people supporting them. But I’m going to be casting my ballot for David Kunkle.

Jay Narey
Dallas

—  John Wright

The Westboro Baptist Church Needs A Sassy Gay Friend

OH SNAP — "My friend Hillary created a powerful poster to combat the venomous Westboro Baptist Church protesters in Washington D.C. Friday. Solution to bigotry? A 'Sassy Gay Friend' reference of course!" Like this one. [Hillary Wass via Buzzfeed]


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Queerty

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NOM needs to stop peddling in fantasy and face reality about same-sex families

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, published a Christmas message on the group's blog featuring a picture of him and his family:

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Brown looks like he has a wonderful family and he has every right to be proud of them.

But something is bothering me. What's the difference Brown's family and these families:

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None of these families are any different except for the sexual orientation of the parents. Yet it is this one little thing which propels Brown, NOM, and other members of the religious right to oppose not only same-sex marriage, but also same-sex households.  I could cite many studies which easily demonstrate that there is nothing with same-sex households, but sometimes I just feel like I don't need to.

At what point do we recognize the fact that same-sex families having to always have to “prove” themselves is a basic insult?

The truth is we all know of same-sex households which include children and we all know that these children are happy and healthy.  We all know that these households provide children with the love, support, and structure they need to get through life.

To claim that same-sex households are harmful or even push the cynical talking point that same-sex households is an “untested experiment” is an insult to basic intelligence. 

The question that those on the right, Brown included, never seem to want to answer is what makes them the arbiters of what constitutes a “good family.” What gives them the right to create a caste system for families who doesn't fit their narrow idea of an “idealized situation?”

An “idealized situation” is not reality. It's a fantasy.  Reality is the fact that two-parent heterosexual families are not always the best place to raise children. Reality is that sometimes children thrives in single parents households or even same-sex households.

If Brown and company really cared about families or children, they would do something more about the reality rather than to manipulate the fantasy.

By writing this, I mean no disrespect to Brown and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to his family. But it is patently obscene to me that someone will show pride in his family while attempting to deny others the chance to have the same privilege simply because he does not agree with their sexual orientation.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Randy Rainbow Needs Brent Corrigan’s Non-Judgmental Advice About His Mel Gibson Sex Tape

I justknew that Randy Rainbow (aka this generation's TV Funhouse) was getting into trouble when he started dating Mel Gibson. Now there's a sex tape of these two that leaked! Can you believe? When Randy went to Dr. Laura for advice on his relationship, I never thought it would be Brent Corrigan who offered the best counseling: next time, use better lighting.


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Queerty

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Take Action: Tell the President that he needs to literally call Senators about DADT

It’s been a busy day. The President hosted at meeting with the leaders of Congress to talk about priorities for the lame duck session. Doesn’t sound like they gave much thought to the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. Also, today, as you know, the Pentagon released its long awaited report on DADT.

We need the direct involvement of the President if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. A short time ago, the White House issued a statement from the President on the DADT report, which included this line:

Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally.

We need more than a statement on paper from the President. Here’s an idea: The President could start calling Senators to make sure he can sign the law this year. And, how about standing in front of t.v. cameras and using the bully pulpit to call for repeal. Put some skin in the game, Mr. President. You promised.

We sent out the following appeal to our AMERICAblog list. We’re still asking the President to start calling Senators directly. That will have more impact than a White House statement:

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s study on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was just released, and it is better than our wildest dreams. The study concluded that repeal would have a “low risk” to the military’s mission capability.

With congressional debate beginning as early as Monday, the calendar is our biggest obstacle — there is no time to lose. Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have already said they’ll be talking to the Senate about the report. The grassroots will be doing our part. But the White House is still on record saying the President’s made no calls to Congress on this issue!

Join thousands in telling President Obama to start calling senators in support of repealing DADT now. Click here.

Add your name to our open letter, and we’ll personally deliver it to the White House for you. Then share this email with others.

More results from the study:

* 70% of servicemembers believe repeal would have little or no effect on their units
* 92% of respondents had a positive or neutral experience with a gay servicemember
* 74% of military spouses are not concerned about repeal
* Secretary of Defense Gates strongly urges that the Senate repeal DADT based on the findings of this report

We can not afford for the President to be MIA on this issue yet again. We need his fierce advocacy right now.

Click here to join over 2,500 people in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call Senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

Obama can call on the Senate to act — and call Senators to make sure they do.

More and more people are signing the letter. We’ve passed our initial goal of 2,500 signatures and have doubled it to 5,000. The President just told us how important the Senate is. Let’s make sure he’s doing his part.

And, everyone should call their own Senators today or tomorrow. The switchboard at the Capitol is: 202-224-3121.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Gates: DADT repeal needs to happen before new Congress is seated

Gates: DADT repeal needs to happen before new Congress is seated

No sh*t, Bob. This is what the Secretary of Defenses said about the upcoming lame duke session.

“I would like to see the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but I’m not sure what the prospects for that are. And we’ll just have to see.”

– to reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft shortly before landing in Australia for annual bilateral talks.

He sure hasn’t been urgent about the matter until the whole political house of cards fell down last week, and of course the remote chance of passage makes it easy to say this now.

Unless the lame-duck Congress acts, the repeal effort is considered dead for now.

The current, Democratic-controlled Congress has not acted to lift the ban, which President Barack Obama promised to eliminate. In his postelection news conference Wednesday, Obama said there would be time to repeal the ban in December or early January, after the military completes a study of the effects of repeal on the front lines and at home.

With Republicans taking control of the House in January, and with larger margins in the Senate, supporters of lifting the ban predict it will be much more difficult.

Meanwhile, there wasn’t any comment from the President; he was hard at work abroad…


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Butte hole: Montana GOP needs, doesn’t care to find patch

MT-GOPThe AP is reminding all Americans of a truly startling reality about the Montana state Republican Party: That they still have a call to criminalize homosexuality in the “crime” section of the official party platform:

Montana GOP policy: Make homosexuality illegal [AP via Yahoo]

While the AP does quote some like state Sen. John Brueggeman (R-Polson) who wish to see the mean-spirited, legally-insignificant wording removed, the seemingly more significant sentiment comes from state GOP executive director Bowen Greenwood, who says that the matter has never even come up for discussion. Never even come up. Not once. In over twelve years. Just slipped the mind.

The obvious response: THEN. BRING. IT. UP, EXECUTIVE. DIRECTOR! The state party literally calls for gays’ hands to be bound and thrown into a cop car — nobody’s binding your own lips and hands from putting a word and deed to a remedy!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Tennessee lesbian couple burned out of home in suspected hate crime needs help

Venore, TN is reeling from what is being investigated as a hate crime against Carol and Laura Stutte, whose home was destroyed in a fire this week. The garage had “QUEERS” spray painted on it. The couple had been routinely harassed by a homophobic neighbor. (WATE):

Carol Stutte has an adult daughter from a previous relationship who also lived with them. At the time of the fire, they were in Nashville celebrating their fifth anniversary in Tennessee.

“My daughter was supposed to be here. She was sick,” Carol Stutte said. “I was grateful my baby girl didn’t get killed in this fire. She would have been trapped in the basement.”

…Carol Stutte says her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. She says they’ve been harassed all five years they’ve lived there by one neighbor.

She also says recently the neighbor threatened to kill them and burn down their house,” Stutte said. “I knew we had been threatened, but we never thought anything would be followed through.”

PFLAG-Maryville is getting the word out about immediate needs of this family for those who are asking how they can help.

The Stuttes have identified the following immediate needs:

  • Women’s clothing size 10 and size 16
  • Women’s clothing for college-aged daughter size 18
  • Women’s shoes size 6, 8, and 9
  • Toiletries (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo…)
  • Dog food for 3 dogs (Purina Dog Chow)
  • Women’s scrubs size small in both top and bottom (Navy Blue along with other styles/color)
  • Other items that could be useful…used laptop, tools, cleaning supplies, gift cards (dept. store, grocery, restaurant), storage tubs.

Options for donating $$: TVUUC, MCCK, Knoxville Pridefest.

A letter from activist David Massey is below the fold.


Sept. 10, 2010–David Massey Email

All,

Please forward this email to your friends and networks.
The two-story home of a lesbian couple in Vonore, TN, was completely destroyed by fire this past Saturday evening, and there is little doubt that it was arson. The word “Queers” was painted in large letters on the side of the garage. WATE covered the story; go to www.wate.com.

Efforts are underway to support the couple, Carol Ann and Laura Stutte, and their adult daughter.

First, the newly formed Maryville chapter of PFLAG (Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) will be gathering needed clothing and household items.

Second, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is collecting financial donations. Please make your check payable to TVUUC and write “Vonore Family Fund” in the memo line. Send the check to Vonore Family Fund, c/o TVUUC, 2931 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.  This fund starts off with a 0 donation from the Knoxville Area chapter of PFLAG. Please include your email address so we can let you know how much money was raised.

Third, we want to be sure that the arson investigation is not swept under the rug, and there is reason to believe that it could be. If you know a Tennessee state representative or senator, please call that legislator and urge him or her to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and express interest in the arson investigation at 2715 Highway 360, Vonore, TN 37885.

Fourth, join the campaign to write a letter to your local newspaper… or post messages on media websites … expressing your outrage at such hate crimes in the state.

Stay tuned for a possible “gathering of support” for this family.

David Massey

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

—  admin