What’s Shakin’ – People Empowering People happy hour, Chaz Bono takes on the National Enquirer

1. People Empowering People is a collaboration between The Men’s Group, a social group for African-American gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men, and TMG One Voice, The Men’s Group’s co-ed counterpart.  PEP’s monthly happy hour tonight at F Bar (202 Tuam) provides a casual social setting open to all regardless of ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression and an opportunity to mix and mingle with the fabulous men and women of both organizations.  The festivities kick off at 6 pm.

2. Joe My God has a copy of the Cease and Desist letter sent by lawyers for Chaz Bono to the National Enquirer. Seems the tabloid ran a story in this week’s issue claiming that Bono’s gender transition has shortened his life expectancy to 4 years.  The Enquirer article quotes the opinion of Dr. Patrick Wanis, identified as a medical doctor specializing in transgender health issues.  The problem?  According to Bono’s lawyers not only is Wanis not an expert on trans health issues, he’s not a medical doctor.

3. Today is the last day to early vote in the Houston Municipal election, but if you miss this opportunity you can still cast your ballot at your precinct voting location on Nov 8. A list of all early voting locations and sample ballots  are available at harrisvotes.org.

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Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Snap shots: ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ turns the camera on fashion’s most influential paparazzo

LENS ME A SHOE | The Times photographer documents foot fashion in ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Maybe Project Runway’s to blame, maybe The Devil Wears Prada, but for the past few years there has been a surplus of documentaries about the fashion industry, with profiles of designers like Valentino (Valentino: The Last Emperor), Yves Saint-Laurent (several in fact), even young designers (Seamless) and Vogue magazine’s editor (The September Issue). (By contrast, I can only recall one fashion doc from the 1990s: Unzipped, about a young designer named Isaac Mizrahi.) Is there really that much to say about dressmaking?

Maybe not, but while Bill Cunningham New York fits broadly within the category of fashion documentaries, its subject is unusual because he eschews the trappings of haute couture even as he’s inextricably a part of it — a huge part, really.

If you don’t read the New York Times, you might not recognize Cunningham’s name, and even if you do read it, it may not have registered with you. For about, well, maybe 1,000 years, Cunningham has chronicled New York society with his candid photos of the glitterati on the Evening Hours page. At the same time, however, he has documented real fashion — how New Yorkers dress in their daily lives — with his page On the Street, where he teases out trends (from hats to men in skirts to hip-hoppers allowing their jeans to dangle around their knees). Anna Wintour may tell us what we should wear; Cunningham shows us what we do.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Wintour observes.

What makes Cunningham such an interesting character is how impervious he seems to the responsibility he effortlessly wields. He loves fashion, yes, but he’s not a slave to it himself. He scurries around Manhattan (even in his 80s) on his bicycle (he’s had dozens; they are frequently stolen), sometimes in a nondescript tux but mostly in jeans, a ratty blue smock and duck shoes, looking more like a homeless shoeshiner than the arbiter of great fashion. He flits through the city like a pixie with his 35mm camera (film-loaded, not digital), a vacant, toothy smile peaking out behind the lens, snapping the denizens of Babylon whether they want it or not.

One of the funniest moments is when strangers shoo him away as some lunatic paparazzo, unaware how all the well-heeled doyens on the Upper East would trade a nut to have Cunningham photograph them for inclusion in the Times. Patrick McDonald, the weirdly superficial modern dandy (he competed as a wannabe designer on the flop reality series Launch My Line a few seasons back), seems to exist with the hope that Cunningham will shoot him. And shoot him he does.

Many artists are idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but Cunningham is supremely odd by any standards. He lives in a tiny studio near Carnegie Hall filled with filing cabinets cluttered with decades of film negatives on the same floor as a crazy old woman, a kind of urban variation on Grey Gardens. He knows tons of people but most of them seem to know very little about him. By the time near the end when the filmmaker, director Richard Press, finally comes out and ask him outright whether he’s gay, Cunningham arches in that prickly New England way, never really answering outright, though he says he’s never — never — had a romantic relationship. Things like that were simply not discussed by men of his generation.

In some ways, we never really know any more about Cunningham at the end than any of his friends do, and perhaps even him. Cunningham comes across as defiantly non-self-reflective. He lets his work do all the talking for him. And that work has a lot to say on its own.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Non-Gay Singer Patrick Wolf Engaged To A Man

Patrick Wolf, the Elton John BFF and British techno pop singer who once refused any attempt to be labeled "gay," announced on Twitter he accepted the New Year's Eve wedding proposal of his boyfriend William Charles Pollock, who he's been with since August 2007, just months after declaring "Sexually and romantically, I want to be free always." To a long happy and healthy life together, gents!


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In 2011 Neil Patrick Harris Will ‘Try Not To Insult Aged Soap Stars’

We demanded to know your New Year's resolutions, but we didn't think Neil Patrick Harris got the message. Alas, he's come forward with his own list of self-promises in 2011, all focusing on the body, mind, and spirit.

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Guest post by Rev. Patrick Cheng – The Truth Will Make Us Free: A Queer Year in Review

Give a hearty coffeehouse welcome to Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at

Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The author of
Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology, he shares a year-end piece for discussion. –Pam


The Truth Will Make Us Free: A Queer Year in Review

By Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D.

Follow on Twitter @patrickscheng

Anti-gay Christians love to quote John 8:32, which says that “the truth will make you free.” According to them, if only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people would simply accept the truths of the Christian faith, we would discover the error of our ways, repent of our sins and miraculously change our misdirected sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

As an openly-gay theologian, ordained Christian minister and seminary professor at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I agree that the truth will make us free. However, the anti-gay Christians have it backwards. As the groundbreaking events of 2010 have demonstrated, it is actually the truth of the fundamental goodness of LGBT people and our lives that will make us free. Ironically, this truth also will free anti-gay Christians of their own heterosexist prejudices and theological blind spots.

What were some of the truths about the goodness of LGBT people and our lives that were demonstrated in 2010? In August, the first fully-litigated U.S. federal court trial about same-sex marriage concluded that there was no rational basis for prohibiting LGBT people from entering into civil marriage. The trial court struck down California Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped LGBT people in California of the right to marry. Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s ruling demonstrated the truth that LGBT civil marriages are grounded in the same ethical values of love, mutual caring and commitment as non-LGBT civil marriages.

In September, after a rash of horrific suicides by young gay men across the United States, the openly-gay author and syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller started the “It Gets Better Project.” This project has resulted in more than 5,000 Internet videos of LGBT people and our allies, speaking directly — and giving hope — to suffering LGBT young people around the world. Each video tells the truth about how even though many of us suffered at the hands of bullies and bigots while growing up, our lives ultimately have become better in the process of coming out and speaking the truth about our lives to the world.

More below the fold.

In December, the U.S. Congress authorized — and President Obama signed into law — the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell statute that had prohibited openly lesbian and gay soldiers from serving in the U.S. military for the past 17 years. The repeal was based upon overwhelming evidence that allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly in the military would have no adverse consequences to national security. In fact, the evidence showed that encouraging truth telling by lesbian and gay soldiers would actually enhance the effectiveness of our armed forces. As most of us learned from an early age, telling the truth is a virtue and not a vice.

There were a number of other encouraging examples in 2010 of speaking the truth about LGBT people. For example, in September a Florida state court struck down an anti-gay statute that expressly prohibited LGBT people from adopting children in that state. Shortly thereafter, the Florida Department of Children and Families declined to appeal the decision, thus conceding the truth of that ruling.

In December, the United Nations spoke the truth by voting to protect LGBT people around the world from extrajudicial killings and arbitrary executions, notwithstanding the strenuous objections of a number of member countries. Even Pope Benedict XVI, in a recent book-length interview with a German journalist, took a first step toward speaking the truth about LGBT people by saying that the intentional use of condoms by a male prostitute to prevent HIV/AIDS infection could be the “first step in the direction of moralization.”

Interestingly, anti-gay Christians love to cite over and over again the half-dozen or so verses in the Bible that purportedly condemn same-sex acts as sinful. However, they ignore the nearly 200 verses in the Bible that emphasize the importance of truth-telling from a theological and ethical perspective, not to mention the explicit prohibition of bearing false witness against one’s neighbors in the Ten Commandments.

These anti-gay Christians would do better to heed the stern biblical warnings against bearing false witness. Recently, the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) officially designated 13 anti-gay Christian groups — including the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition — as “hate groups” for spreading “known falsehoods” against LGBT people. Another five groups — including the Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel and the National Organization for Marriage — were cited for their use of “demonizing propaganda” against sexual minorities on the SPLC’s website.

Anti-gay Christians, including those who are affiliated with the above groups mentioned by the SPLC, would do well to read more closely the first chapter of letter of St. Paul to the Romans. In particular, they should read Romans 1 as applying to themselves. Often that chapter is used solely as “proof” of the sinfulness of LGBT people. What anti-gay Christians seem to forget, however, is the traditional doctrine of original sin, as articulated in Romans and interpreted by theologians such as Augustine of Hippo onwards, applies to all people — including themselves!

What if the warning of Romans 1:18-21 against the “ungodliness” and “wickedness” of those who “suppress the truth” — and those whose “senseless minds” are “darkened” — actually referred to those anti-gay Christians who fail to acknowledge the truth and empirical evidence about the fundamental goodness and loving nature of LGBT people and our relationships?

What if the “lusts,” “impurity” and “degrading” actions (including “exchanging the truth about God for a lie”) as described in Romans 1:24-25 actually referred to the lust for political power, wealth and idolatrous self-worship as exhibited by many anti-gay Christians, some of whom scapegoat LGBT people as a convenient way of diverting attention from their own sexual sins?

What if the condemnation of the “shameless acts” committed with “one another” and the “debased mind” described by St. Paul in Romans 1:27-28 actually referred to the brutal gang rape (metaphorically speaking) of LGBT people by anti-gay Christian hate speech – hate speech that has resulted in numerous queer bashings and suicides by LGBT people, including innocent young people whose lives were tragically cut off before reaching their prime?

Although admirable progress was made during 2010 with respect to basic human rights for LGBT people, much more needs to be done. In particular, the rise of state-sanctioned anti-LGBT violence in other parts of the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Africa, is frightening. For example, the upcoming vote by the Uganda legislature on its “kill-the-gays” legislation is one example of this state-sanctioned violence that must be condemned by people of faith everywhere.

As LGBT people, we must remain ever vigilant and hopeful that the truth of the fundamental goodness, and holiness, of our lives and relationships will free us from the sinful bondage of homophobic and heterosexist oppression. However, LGBT people are not the only ones who will benefit from this truth. The truth will also free anti-gay Christians from their own heterosexist prejudices and theological blind spots — shortcomings that would otherwise prevent them from entering fully into the reign of God.

Other year-ender items to click over to:

* Truth Wins Out – Year in Review — LGBT Top 10

* Michigan Messenger – Year in Review: LGBT issues figure prominently in 2010

* Ranker – Top 10 People Out of the Closet in 2010
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Neil Patrick Harris, Hostess With The Mostest: Now the Video Game Awards MC, Just Because

Neil Patrick Harris will host the eighth annual Spike TV Video Game Awards on Dec. 11, adding another bedpost mark for the actor, who's already led the Emmys, Tonys, TV Land Awards, and even the World Magic Awards. Give this man the Grammys already.


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Neil Patrick Harris Did Not Take Any Lesbian Parenting Advice From Sara Gilbert

It seems Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka asked every famous celebrity parent for advice on raising kids, whether it's The Talk's Sara Gilbert or How I Met Your Mother co-star Alyson Hannigan. But the best part of Neil stopping by the CBS daytime talk show — dedicated to kids and parenting — is that the actor being the most famous gay parent (next to Ricky Martin?) was barely part of the conversation.

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Log Cabin seeks vacation (*and not like the way they helped vacate DADT hero Patrick Murphy by endorsing his opponent)

Screen Shot 2010-11-05 At 4.56.43 PmThe Log Cabin Republicans have filed with SCOTUS, seeking to vacate the Ninth Circuit Court order staying Judge Phillips’s injunction pending appeal. Translation: The gay GOP group thinks the stay stinks, so they want it go the way midwestern Democrats did on Tuesday night:

If the Court vacates the stay order, DADT is dead pending the appeal, and we have for all intents and purposes won. If it doesn’t, we will next move in the Ninth Circuit to expedite the Judge Phillips’s decision.

Log Cabin Republicans File U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Of DADT Overturn Stay [J.M.G]

We’ll have to wait and see if this goes anywhere. You DADT watchers are used to that by now, yes?




Good As You

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Heading Out in Philly for Patrick Murphy

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:

Last weekend, I joined our Field Intern Alex Conlan and friends for some canvassing around local restaurants in Philadelphia to remind the LGBT community that our vote is key this year.  Many of the targeted races are extremely close and turning out the progressive vote will be a key part of ensuring that fair-minded candidates return to Congress.

All this week, Alex has been out to canvass for Patrick Murphy, one of the leading advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Voters are still making up their mind in this race and Alex is doing his part to inform voters of Murphy’s record of standing up for all Americans. HRC will be working hard throughout the state all the way up to Election Day, talking to our membership and getting out the vote for pro-equality candidates like Murphy.

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Patrick Murphy for Congress


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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