ALLGO seeking LGBTQ people of color who’ve experienced violence to participate in study

ALLGO, a statewide organization for queer people of color, is looking for transgender, lesbian, bisexual, gay and queer people of color who have experienced violence in their lives to participate in confidential, two-hour small group discussions asaprt of an effort to “understand what violence people have encountered, witnessed, or been affected by; how they think these experiences have or have not changed them; and why people respond to their experiences of violence in the way they choose.”

The project is being conducted in partnership with the UT Community Engagement Center. Elvia Mendoza and David Glisch-Sanchez will conduct the small group discussions, scheduled to take place this Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. in Dallas; and Thursday, Aug. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a location in San Antonio to be announced later.

Anyone who identifies as a person of color and who also identifies as transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, same-gender-loving and/or two-spirit, and who is a resident of Texas and at least 16 years old — and who has experienced some sort of violence in their life — is eligible to participate. Those who are interested in participating should contact Glisch-Sanchez by email at glisch.sanchez@gmail.com.

—  admin

Bigot of the Day: Sally Kern v. Justin Thompson

Sally Kern, left, and Justin Thompson

The competition for today’s honor is pretty intense, and in the end we couldn’t make up our minds. So we’re turning to you to decide this toss-up between the undisputed heavyweight bigot from up north, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern, and a fiery young challenger from the south, Texas A&M University student Justin Thompson.

Let’s start with the familiar Kern, who on Wednesday said that minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and don’t have as much initiative, according to the Tulsa World. Kern made her comments during debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban affirmative action in state government.

“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?” Kern said. “I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

And now for the newcomer, Thompson, who penned a guest column for the Battallion, the student newspaper at Texas A&M, in support of a bill to slash funding for the school’s LGBT resource center. Here’s a snippet from Thompson’s column:

“I do not hate homosexuals; their lifestyle is offensive and against my beliefs. I feel the same about extramarital sex and similar actions common today.  All are a misuse of a gift from God. Sex is not about recreation or either of the two participants; it is about an attempt to create new life. Sex that has no possibility of conception is wrong because it deprives a person at a chance at life. Extramarital and homosexual sex is selfish and reprehensible because they put the participants first at the expense of the most vulnerable.  …

“I know that many have homosexual tendencies that may or may not be natural. Even if they are, that does not excuse acting them out. I can have innate feelings for a married woman, but that does not excuse adultery. We are not animals, dominated by instinct. We have free will and, to some extent, self-discipline. It is our instinct to sleep until the sun wakes us, but we set our alarms and go to class in the morning. We diet, exercise, take medicine and do a multitude of things that are against our instincts. Sometimes, doing the right thing takes effort and goes against what we want to do.  I sympathize with those fighting the temptation; I know it is a long, hard struggle.”

So, who should take home today’s Bigot of the Day prize? You decide, and let us know in the comments.

—  John Wright

Equality Texas is looking for a few good board members, especially from places like Dallas

Last week we told you that in the face of staffing cuts, Equality Texas plans to rely heavily on active, volunteer board members to assist with lobbying duties during the state legislative session that began today.

Well, it turns out that the group is also looking for a few additional board members, and particularly people of color from Dallas, El Paso, Lubbock and Corpus Christi. An ad posted Monday on SmartBrief Jobs notes that Equality Texas board members serve a maximum of three two-year terms and have a fundraising requirement of $7,500 in 2011, which will increase to $10,000 in 2012:

This is a challenging opportunity with an emerging organization dedicated to the most compelling civil rights issue of our time. It may appeal to a younger person whose career would be enhanced by association with a high profile organization that can effect social change, as well as by the opportunity for building relationships with other business and civic leaders who serve as Directors. Alternatively, this might appeal to a more senior executive who has a strong personal conviction about the importance of addressing these issues in the state of Texas.

To read the full ad or apply, go here.

—  John Wright

Aspiring queer journalist Daniel Villarreal of Dallas vies to become America’s next Gay Travel Guru

Aspiring Dallas homo-journo Daniel Villarreal is competing for his dream job as GayTravel.com‘s Gay Travel Guru, and he needs your help by July 30. We’re going to overlook the fact that Villarreal writes for Queerty.com and focus on the fact that he’s a native Texan with a lot of experience who probably deserves this opportunity. Villarreal is among 60 contestants who’ve advanced to Round 2 of the competition, and the field will be narrowed to eight next month based on this public vote. It looks like Villarreal is currently at No. 3 with 755 points, so he’s definitely viable. Above is a video about Grapevine Bar that Villarreal produced for the competition (you can watch one about Lower Greenville by going here), and below is the flier he’s been circulating in the gayborhood, which includes instructions for voting. Here’s the note Villarreal sent us on Monday:

My name is Daniel Villarreal and I’m an aspiring queer journalist and regular contributor to the LGBT blog Queerty.com. I’d like you to vote for me so I can become GayTravel.com’s travel reporter. Your support would go a long way towards helping me highlight the diversity of national LGBT culture and assisting in my continued aims of being a serious queer journalist.

A) I’m mega-qualified: I have 17 years experience in print journalism, an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, a handful of web-based comedy sketches, a vast growing social network, a love of people, and extensive travel experience around the US, Japan, India, and Europe. All of these enable me to deliver travel coverage that’s fun, insightful, and entertaining.

B) I’ll represent everyone: In my work with Queerty.com, I have always tried to give a voice to under-represented parts of the LGBT community including local activists, artists, women, trans folk, people of color, the elderly, the poor, and HIV-positive people. As a travel writer, I would give coverage not only to popular LGBT destinations but to worthwhile local venues and events welcoming of our entire community.

C) I’m a good long-term investment: This vote isn’t just about the travel job. Working with GayTravel.com would also provide me the exposure and training I need to continue developing into an asset to the national LGBT community as a serious queer reporter.

—  John Wright

Queer People of Color Summit in Austin next weekend

Chastity Kirven
Chastity Kirven

This year’s Statewide Queer People of Color Summit begins July 9 at Alma de Mujer, a retreat northwest of Downtown Austin.

The summit is a gathering of LGBT people of color and activist allies. The goal of the weekend is to build relationships, think critically, envision liberation and create strategies that build and sustain a queer people of color movement across the state of Texas.

Dallas activist Chastity Kirven is among the speakers.

The registration fee includes includes two nights lodging at the facility, six meals, snacks and materials.

The summit is from 6 p.m. July 9 through 3 p.m. July 11 at Alma de Mujer, 3621 FM 2769 in Austin. The cost is $120. For more info, call 512-472-2001.

—  David Taffet

Valiente, HRC team up for 2nd diversity roundtable

On Thursday, Nov. 19, Valiente, an organization for LGBT Latinos and their allies, and the local Human Rights Campaign Diversity Committee will present the second in a series of roundtable discussions aimed at increasing the level of collaboration between LGBT organizations for people of color and mainstream LGBT organizations.

The first such meeting was held in August. At the Thursday meeting, participants will brainstorm ways to improve community collaboration through collective support. They will also review and discuss additional points from an HRC report on LGBT organizations and diversity.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Monica’s Aca Y Alla, 2914 Main St. in Deep Ellum. For more information, call Darriane Martin or Fernie Sanchez at 214-521-5191, or e-mail dmartin@aidsarms.org or fsanchez@aidsarms.org.

—  admin