Tarrant Pride parade a rousing success, organizers say

Spectators largely ignore anti-gay protestors; police arrest, ticket Kingdom Baptist members for disorderly conduct

FW-parade

ON MAIN STREET | The float carrying members of the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association makes its way down Main Street in downtown Fort Worth. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com
FORT WORTH — Organizers of the 30th annual Tarrant County Gay Pride celebration said this week that the events were a rousing success, despite the presence of a relatively small but loud contingent anti-gay protestors at the Oct. 1 Pride parade.

This year the parade was moved from its traditional three block route down South Jennings Street to a seven block stretch of Main Street in downtown Fort Worth. And Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association President Daune Littlefield said she was pleased by the number of spectators who turned out.

“I saw people lining both sides of the street for all seven blocks of the parade route,” Littlefield said. “I know there were definitely more people there than in previous years. I’d say we had maybe three times as many people at the parade as last year. We will definitely be bringing the parade back downtown again next year.”

Littlefield acknowledged that “there were a few glitches” in the parade and the street festival that followed on Main Street near the Fort Worth Convention Center. But she said, “I guess that was to be expected since this was our first year to hold the parade downtown. Next year, it will go even more smoothly.”

Although the Pride Week association had to raise more money to cover the higher costs of moving the parade downtown this year, Littlefield said organizers still came out ahead.

“Money-wise, it was a real success,” she said. “We paid for everything, and we still have money left over, seed money for next year’s event and money for the scholarship fund.

We made a commitment to the community in moving the parade and expanding our celebration that we would create this scholarship to give back to the community. And we will follow through on that commitment no matter what,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield also said that the annual Pride Picnic in Trinity Park — Tarrant County’s original Pride event and long considered its most popular and most successful Pride event — also went off “without a hitch.”

“We had more people there than last year. We usually have around 2,500 people at the parade and this year, I’d say we had at least 3,000,” Littlefield said. “The weather was fantastic and the event was just phenomenal. There was no ruckus, no problem anywhere.”

Littlefield said that she was pleased that spectators there for the parade for the most part ignored the anti-gay protestors, at least some of whom were reportedly with Kingdom Baptist Church, a small congregation out of Venus led by Pastor Joey Faust.

“I was on a float at the end of the parade, and as we moved down the parade route, the protestors kind of moved along with us, shouting nasty things through their bullhorn,” Littlefield said. “But we would just start cheering and yelling, and the crowd would cheer and yell with us to drown them out. I was really glad to see that everybody just ignored them and didn’t engage with them, for the most part.”

Faust and other Kingdom Baptist members also staged protests outside Fort Worth City Hall two years ago during a meeting  in which the City Council approved the addition of transgender protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Faust and his followers also confronted activists during demonstrations staged in Fort Worth by Queer LiberAction in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid.

And prior to the Pride parade, Faust sent an open letter, addressed to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, to area media outlets castigating Price for participating in the parade as one of three grand marshals.

At the end of the parade, the protestors — who had started out standing on Main Street near the Weatherford Street intersection where the parade started — moved down Main

Street to position themselves near the Convention Center in the area near where the street festival was being held. Using a bullhorn, the protestors continued to harangue festival attendees, at one point calling those attending the parade “wild dogs” and “wild animals” who were “parading their perversions in the street,” until Fort Worth police officers ordered them to leave.

Littlefield said she was told that three of the protestors were arrested and another 10 ticketed. But FWPD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Kellie Whitehead said that only two of the protestors were “cash bonded” for disorderly conduct because they were using offensive language over the bullhorns.

Being “cash bonded,” Whitehead explained, means that person arrested on a Class C misdemeanor offense has to pay a set fine, or a portion of that fine, before they are released.

She said her superiors instructed her not to release the names of those arrested, but Whitehead did say she believes those arrested were members of Kingdom Baptist.

Littlefield said she had heard complaints from several people who were upset that the protestors were allowed to stand at the edge of the street festival after the parade for so long — about an hour and a half, she estimated — and harass those attending the event before police forced them to move.

“That’s something we will talk to the police about for next year,” Littlefield said.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Oak Lawn shooting victim released from hospital

Doug Tull
Doug Tull

Doug Tull, the gay bar patron who was shot during a robbery a few blocks from his apartment in Oak Lawn in late August, was released from Parkland Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 15 after two surgeries.

“It’s nice to be home but there are a lot of medical things I have to do,” Tull said.

Tull thanked his friend Darwin Kopaska, who has been by his side since the shooting; and Ron Nelson and Frank Holland, owners of Pekers, for saving his life by their quick action.

“I have a home nurse that comes by Monday, Wednesday and Friday to take vitals and all that,” he said.

So far there are no suspects. Photos from a bank surveillance camera of the suspects’ vehicle driving through the parking lot were not clear enough to reveal the license plate number.

“I just hope the police catch those guys so they can’t hurt anybody. Anyway, I’m doing all right and thanks for asking,” Tull said.

And yes, we keep using the same photo of Tull, but we’ll get a new one once Tull is feeling up to it. He preferred this one of him smoking outside at Illusions taken last year to a current one of him looking like crap after surgery.

—  David Taffet

Bunny tales

Dallas get a dose (3 doses, actually) of drag royalty with the Lady Bunny

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer jeftingley@sbcglobal.net

BUNNY, HOPPING | The drag diva makes three appearances during Pride weekend in Dallas, both as a DJ and performer.
BUNNY, HOPPING | The drag diva makes three appearances during Pride weekend in Dallas, both as a DJ and performer.

BUNNY DOES DALLAS
DJing at the ilume,
4123 Cedar Springs Road.
Dish on Sept. 18, 11 p.m.–1 a.m.,
lot along the parade route on
Sept. 19, noon–4 p.m.
Drag show at the Rose Room at Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Sept. 19 at midnight.

…………………………………….

A founding foremother of the modern drag scene, Lady Bunny hides some big brains and even bigger ideas in her oversized wigs. Best known for creating Wigstock (a gender-bending drag fest in NYC) and DJing some at see-and-be-seen parties around the country, she has recently taken to the boob tube as the “dean of drag” on RuPaul’s Drag U, exposing a new audience to her machine-gun-style sass.

We caught up with Bun Bun to chat about her upcoming Dallas appearances, as well as some good behind-the-scenes gossip on the set of the Logo hit.

Dallas Voice: Welcome back to Dallas. You’re giving us the whole Bunny: DJ and drag diva. Which is more fun, performing or spinning? Lady Bunny: I like both. Who knows, I might be flipping burgers in the kitchen and checking coats, too. You never get bored if you are constantly changing it up.

You have a rep as a DJ who gives the people what they want, but what song makes you just want to just slit your wrist with a press-on nail? I hate Britney — I think that her music is like nursery rhymes. I’m really glad Gaga has come along. I’m not even Lady Gaga’s biggest fan musically, but at least she’s not some prepackaged dummy. She writes her music and sings it.

Tell us about “West Virginia Gurls,” your send up of the earworm hit by Katy Perry, Once I realized that West Virginia could be substituted for California, the possibilities were endless. It’s all about moonshine, inbreeding and blacked-out teeth. And the video is bound to go viral — every cast member has a couple of viruses.

You serve as dean of drag on RuPaul’s Drag U. If it wasn’t Ru hosting that show, who do you think should have had their name on the marquee? I think Lady Bunny’s Drag U has a nicer ring to it. I’m kidding. Ru is my old roommate — we are thick as thieves.

Why have shows like Drag Race and Drag U developed such cult appeal? This whole nation is makeover crazy. There’s this notion that has been kicking around since Queer Eye that gays have the secret, but now drag queens have it. That’s how Drag U became a show — women loved the transformations on Drag Race. And I have a message for these women: Honey, we will make you over and make you look fabulous, but return the favor. Go home and teach your husbands and your sons that we are worthwhile people — don’t beat us and kill us.

Any good footage of you on the cutting room floor? I got a lot of stuff in there that they didn’t use. There was one episode with a girl who was self conscious about her big nose. I said, “You look great, and I don’t know why you think you have a big nose. By the way, I love those sunglasses. Oh wait, those are your nostrils.” I guess they thought that was too mean.

You’re also profiled in a new series called Queens of Drag. Tell us about that. It’s all about the many wacky queens of New York City. My webisode just came out on Gay.com. You just can’t get away from Bun Bun, she’s everywhere!

If you had the opportunity to create your personae all over again, is there anything you’d changed? The name was like a bad joke that stuck, but by the time I realized it, I was like, “Girl, this is your career.” I was too far in to really change it. In a weird way it does fit: It’s a retarded name, but I guess I’m retarded. Somehow it works. If I changed anything, it would probably the name.

Speaking of names, what’s the best drag name you’ve heard? Suppositori Spelling from San Francisco. That’s a good one.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

New block party added to Tarrant Pride celebration

Parade, picnic highlight week of gay, lesbian Pride events in Fort Worth

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Tarrant County Pride
MARCHING THROUGH | Celebration Community Church celebrated the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion with a float in a previous Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade depicting a high-heeled shoe kicking down a wall.

Dallas isn’t alone in holding Pride in a month other than June. Fort Worth’s 29th Pride parade will take place two weeks after the Dallas event, on Oct. 3.

A week of Pride events begins with a Sunday afternoon parade on South Jennings Avenue that steps off at 2 p.m.

“The parade is going to change directions,” said Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association President Jody Wasson.

The route will be reversed from previous years, heading toward downtown. Line-up will be on South Jennings Avenue at Rosedale, where the parade traditionally has ended.
“What’s new this year is the block party,” said Wasson.

The intersection of South Jennings and Pennsylvania avenues near the new end of the parade route will be blocked off for a street party starting at noon. He said the block party will include entertainment through the afternoon and food, soft drinks, beer and wine will be available.

“There will be an area for the kids and for pets,” he said. “Even your pets have Pride.”

Tony Coronado of the TCGPWA committee said that anyone can enter their dogs in the parade. They will compete in small, medium and large categories. From the winners, a king and queen will be chosen who will preside over next year’s Pride Pets competition.

Although it rained last year, that parade was the largest in Fort Worth history, coming just months after the Rainbow Lounge raid.

Wasson said he couldn’t predict participation in this year’s parade and that applications are just now coming in.

To participate, applications with payment must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 24. Forms are available online. A $100 late fee must accompany applications received later than that.

But Sept. 30 is the absolute cutoff date since recent changes in Fort Worth’s outdoor events ordinance require organizers to notify the city of expected attendance by the end of this month.

The standard entry fee is $50 but groups that meet certain eco-friendly standards qualify for a discounted fee of $35. Those groups must be in a hybrid vehicle or be a walking group and not distribute any items.

TCGPWA is sharing the national “One Heart, One World, One Pride” theme that Dallas is also using this year. One of the awards that will be presented after the parade is for the entry with the “best interpretation of the national theme.”

Other awards will be given for best performance, a “brothers and sisters” award for the best out-of-town entry and “vivaciously vivid” for best costume.

Pride Week ends on Oct. 10 with the Pride Picnic. Traditionally, that is the largest LGBT community event in Fort Worth.

Wasson said TCGPWA plans a bigger main stage with entertainment continuing non-stop from noon to 6 p.m. He said he expects everything from church choirs to a stomp group to perform.

“We’re adding a new area this year,” Coronado said. “In addition to the health and wellness area and family-friendly area we’ll have an arts and cultural area.”
Applications are available on the website.

The picnic takes place at Trinity Park near the 7th Street Pavilion.

The following day is National Coming Out Day.

QCinema plans to screen “Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride” at Four Day Weekend Theater on Oct. 4. Other Pride Week events are scheduled at Fort Worth’s bars.

For more information, visit TCGPWA.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

DVtv: Video from Sunday’s Stonewall commemoration and, how The Dallas Morning News got it wrong — again

Apparently the Dallas Morning News attended a different rally last night than me. At the rally The DMN attended, all the LGBT community did was complain about Democrats. There was no mention of the Texas Republican platform. There was no mention of the hatred from religious extremists going on across the street. No mention of the success last week at the DART board meeting. No mention of the Rainbow Lounge Raid. No remembrance of Harvey Milk or other hate crime victims.

Nope. Just non-stop complaining about Democrats.

At the rally I attended, one banner read, “Dems: Keep your promises.”

One. That’s it.

But signs accused homophobes of murder and demanded equality now.

After savagely ridiculing the Republican platform and skewering the handful of protesters blaring hatred on bullhorns across the street, Daniel Cates did have a line for some Democrats who are bowing to right-wing pressure.

“The time has come to lead or get out of the way,” he said.

One line.

But from the Morning News article, the rally was a Democrat-bashfest.

What happened?

Several of the speakers asked me if I thought it was odd that the Morning News contacted them ahead of time. I answered that if a writer didn’t report regularly on LGBT issues, he was just doing his homework so he’d be up on the issues and concerns of the community when he got there. That’s just being prepared.

But that’s not what happened. The DMN article doesn’t quote what any speaker said during the rally. The article might quote what some of them said ahead of the rally. On the phone.

But not one quote FROM the rally. Not one chant from the parade route. Not one answer to the religious extremists.

So according to the Morning News, the rally was all about bashing the Democrats. Interesting, because it would have been hard to find a single Republican in the crowd. And if there were any Republicans there, other than the reporter whose piece could be used as a Republican Party press release and the counter-demonstrators across the street, it sure didn’t seem like they were very excited about the current Texas Republican Party with its platform calling for making criminals out of LGBTA people.

Read our coverage of the march and rally by going here.

—  David Taffet